welcoming a new farm wife…

01 Mar

I have just been going through all the comments from the last few weeks (and FINALLY answering them!) and i found this one from Ashley…

“Hey Cathryn, I’m a newly wed farmers wife and SO happy I stumbled upon your blog. I hope to be able to keep in contact with you and get some advice from you on this craziness I’ve married into!

My husband is in his second year of farming, although he grew up helping his dad and grandfather on the farm as a child. Jarrett (My husband) and I were married on September 1, 2012. Personally I’ve never been around the farming community so I’ve had to make some MAJOR adjustments to this lifestyle.

Hope to keep in contact with you!!”

oh ashley, ashley, ashley…
welcome to the farm life. it is like nothing you have ever been a part of before. i wish i had some words of wisdom to pass on, but uh, i don’t.

just take each day at a time, no two will ever be alike.

know that your man loves you, but the farm will always come first. it is his life and your family’s bread and butter, and he will have to pick it over anything else forever. it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or that he wants to pick the farm (in fact it will probably break his heart a million times even if he never says so), so support him and love him and don’t make him choose because you and your trip to get groceries together will lose every time.

but when you can, go with him in the tractor, listen to him introduce you to each cow and why he picked that bull, or how the crops are looking. you won’t care or understand what the heck he is talking about, but just watch his face as he talks and you will get it. the pride will shine and you will fall in love all over again. for you picked a man who has decided to live his life doing something bigger than he is and he will be a good man for it.

make sure you find friends in the same boat as you, they will be your rocks as you learn to live this farmer’s wife life. no one else will understand, your city friends or even your mom or sisters won’t get it if they don’t live it. and they will still have advice for you. farm husbands are a different breed from city husbands. the same rules don’t apply.

wait to have kids, you can’t give them back once they show up, and so take these short few years of just you and your husband and learn each other’s ways and quirks. there will be a steep learning curve.

you don’t have to know it all at once. but for now. make sure you ALWAYS do up any gate THE SAME WAY you found it. try to keep on top of the laundry (it can get scary) and take moments to absorb your new life. the smell of fresh-cut hay, how WHITE new calves are, the birds waking you up in the mornings and the silence that only farm life has.
thanks sooo much for writing me and i hope we do keep in touch!! us farm wives need to stick together!!!

and for all you fabulous farm wives out there…any other advice?!


Posted by on March 1, 2013 in My Thoughts


Tags: , ,

15 responses to “welcoming a new farm wife…

  1. Liesl Garner

    March 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    We are new to farming – and I just love your down to earth advice and cute boots! I can’t afford cute boots yet. I just finally got out of high-heeled flip-flops in the chicken coop. Now I have muck boots, which work just fine. And I have crazy boys, and a husband that is reveling in all the country fun of lots of new baby animals.

  2. kim

    March 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Yes, well said! Absolutely ride the tractor with him and always have food and a picnic basket ready. When it’s time to harvest, there are many all nighters. You need to keep your man well fed.

  3. kati

    March 4, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Thank you so much for the wonderful advice. I have been married to my husband 7 years now and been together 12 years, since high school. Starting out so young together really made it tough to understand the responsibility of running a cattleranch. It is great to here that and puts a lot of things in perspective for me.

  4. Nicole

    March 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Welcome to the club! I grew up in a city and married a farmer too. My best advice is to take time together to go on a date and spend time with each other away from the farm, that doesn’t involve work. While we might spend a lot of time with them on the farm working, it’s still important to keep that fun dating connection outside of all of the stress and work!

  5. Shelly Radcliffe

    March 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I borrowed this from but it’s so well said about farm/ranch life. I grew up on a farm and am stuck working in the city. I’d give anything to be back on the farm full time.

    25 Things I Want My Ranch Kids to Know
    1. You have chores, because we love you.

    They seem tedious, but they are the building blocks for your future. Responsibility, accountability, and basic life skills begin with sweeping the floor, scrubbing the toilet, and feeding pets and livestock. We love you, we want you to find success in life. Success comes from preparation, so we give you chores.

    2. Boredom is a choice.

    Don’t let me hear you say you are bored. Boredom is a choice, when your backyard is the whole outdoors, there are chores to be done, and books to be read. If you can’t entertain yourself with a stick and a bucket full of calf nuts, we’re doing something wrong.

    3. There is magic in watching the sunrise.

    Early mornings are hard, we don’t rise as early and as easily as Dad. Do it anyway. The beauty you will witness with the awakening of the world is worth sleepy eyes and cold fingers.

    4. A pet is more than a companion.

    Your cats, dogs, calves, and ponies are more than friends and playmates. They are lessons in empathy, responsibility, love, and letting go.

    5. Grow your own food.

    Our world is increasingly rife with poor food choices, the easiest response to unhealthy options is to grow your own food. I don’t care it’s a single tomato plant or a garden large enough to feed 10 families, cultivate an appreciation for fresh, whole food.

    6. Be open to learning.

    In horsemanship and life, you will never know it all, never assume that you do. A humble open, attitude towards learning will lead to new skills and experiences.

    7. Dress appropriately for the occasion.

    A cowboy’s uniform, hat, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots, evolved out of necessity. Protect yourself from the sun, wind and weather with the proper clothing. I nag and question your clothing choices, because you are precious to me.

    8. There is a time and a place for bad language.

    Sometimes you just need to cuss; spew anger and frustration in one grand verbal barrage. Smash your thumb with your shoeing hammer/fencing pliers, massive runback at the gate, ringy heifer won’t take her calf? Yes. At the dinner table, the classroom, in front of your grandmother? No.

    9. Feed your help.

    Neighbors, friends, or hired men? It doesn’t matter, sometimes the best way to show your gratitude for a long day of hard work is a lovingly prepared hot meal and cold drink.

    10. Don’t judge, but if you do, judge them by their abilities, attitudes, actions not appearances.

    Buckaroo or cowboy, flat or taco, slick or rubber? In some circles these comparisons can lead to heated debates, more often than not based strongly in personal opinion, rather than rooted in truth. This is true outside of the ranching world, as well. Words have power to create divisiveness, do not use them to speak against yourself or gossip about others.

    11. Stewardship.

    Dad and I choose to be responsible for landscapes and livestock, this lifestyle defines who we are. Sometimes that means ballgames are trumped by pasture rotations and dinner time is delayed by cesarean sections, it does not mean we love you any less. I hope you approach the world with a sense of respect and connectedness.

    12. Fake it till you make it.

    You don’t have to be confident in everything you do, but taking a deep breath and acting like you are helps you get through it. This can be applied in the arena, the sorting alley, to horses or people, and life as a whole. Stand up straight and look the challenge in the eye, as you gain experience confidence will catch up with you.

    13. That said, don’t mistake arrogance for confidence.

    No one likes a swaggering braggart, even if he is a competent swaggering braggart. There is honor in being unheralded, if you enjoy your work.

    14. Low-stress is best. . .

    . . .for you and for livestock. Don’t let it defeat your spirit and energy. Don’t let it impact your livestock health.

    15. The only dumb question is the unasked question.

    Where is the gate? Which calf? Can you help me? Ask questions, no one will think less of you. Clear communication helps prevent misunderstandings.

    16. Always do your best.

    There are days when your best is better than others, recognize that. Avoid self-judgement, abuse, and regret and enjoy the process.

    17. “There comes a time when you’re gonna get bucked and you’re gonna need to know what to do so you don’t get stepped on.“ -Betsy Swain, 1875

    Do not let fear of pain or disappointment stand in the way of new experiences. What I regret most in my life are opportunities missed out of fear. Pain and disappointment are a part of living, learn to take them in stride and keep moving forward.

    18. Be polite and kind.

    Enough said.

    19. But, don’t be a pushover.

    Stand up for yourself.

    20. Develop a sense of place.

    Wherever you may live, learn the names of plants, rocks, and animals, visit old homesteads (or neighborhoods) and educate yourself about Indigenous cultures. In doing so, you gain roots, a sense of belonging that will lend you stability in all that you do.

    21. Break a sweat everyday.

    Pound a steel post or take a jog, whatever you do, break a sweat daily. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

    22. Be present.

    If you are mindful of the moment, it is easier to catch a mistake before it happens, redirect a broncy horse before wreck, and have better relationships. It might surprise you, what you observe and what you achieve when you are fully in the moment.

    23. Unplug.

    Go to cow camp. Leave the computer screen, TV, and cell phones behind. Watch the chipmunks and rock dogs, read a book, or share a conversation with your family.

    24. Sometimes the hard decisions are the right ones.

    We cannot rationalize suffering and pain to animals. Sometimes the best decision is the hardest one to make, know when to let them go.

    25. You do not have to maintain this lifestyle, but please appreciate it.

    I don’t expect you to grow up and follow in our footsteps, the long hours and low pay aren’t for everyone. Carry these early horseback mornings in your heart.

  6. Julie

    March 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    What great advice! I was raised on a farm and have been married to my farmer for 26 years and I still need to hear that! The farm always does come first – even if it means dragging the kids home in the middle of the rodeo finals because the sun came out and the hay might be ready to bale. If you have livestock, you will learn that working with them can bring out the worst in people. You have to learn to leave your frustrations out in the pen and not bring any bad feelings in the house. Good luck and enjoy…it really is the best life!

  7. City Life to Ranching Wife

    March 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

    very well said. My advice is to have an open mind and remember we are so lucky to live this life. I understand where Ashley is coming from! I’m so grateful for the wonderful network of ranching wives on the interwebz.

  8. Lesa Cox

    March 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Learn what you can so you understand what he is telling you, why it is important & how it impacts the farm or ranch. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. There is nothing greater than to see a calf born, or seeing the first sprout emerge from the ground, knowing you had a part in creating that new life. I live this life & love it but I am on the other side of the fence, I chose this, I am a single & raise cattle & shepherd for another ranch. I love the smell of fresh hay, cattle feed & the warmth & the smell of a cow. Walking into a show barn & smelling the shavings, the feed & the cows quite simply heaven on earth for those of us who love this life. Good luck & happy farming – may your crops be plentiful & your cattle be great producers & I hope you fall in love with this life it is like no other.

  9. Deana Fuchs

    March 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I love reading your comments about farming – and being in a farming family!

    I’m not a farmer’s wife – but a farmer’s daughter! I didn’t technically grow up on the farm (in the sense that we didn’t live there) and my dad didn’t “officially” become a farmer until I was in the 9th grade (he was an engineer in his previous life); but my grandparents were farmers, and my dad grew up on the farm – so I spent many summers and weekends out on the farm even before my dad was officially a farmer. I will be the first to tell anyone that it is one of the best lifestyles to live! You learn that you can’t control everything – and that sometimes, no matter how hard you work and how much time you put into something, it might just not be a success. But that doesn’t stop you from giving 200% every single time! Yes, farming does come first – but that doesn’t mean the farmer in your life doesn’t love you with every fiber of his being! We’ve had to pull a calf on Christmas Day; return early from a vacation; and make unexpected trips to the farm at strange hours of the day and night to “fix” something! My dad made us work for him every summer and that taught me so much about work ethic! (It also made me want to further my education so I could do something else besides farming for a career!)

    I’ve watched as my mom learned to adjust to the lifestyle of a farmer’s wife – and I know it wasn’t easy for her! She couldn’t plan family vacations and holiday events like other wives; didn’t know when my dad would be home (or if he would come home at all that night) during harvest; and yes, the laundry never ended! (And often there were impossible stains – don’t even want to know what happened – and destroyed clothes!) She even got out there and helped with the tractors and modul maker (cotton) when she could just to spend time with my dad! (And that was a pretty big thing for her being such a city girl!) Some of her “vacations” involved driving 2 days just to buy a part for the combine!

    But like I said – I wouldn’t trade my life as a farmer’s daughter for ANYTHING!!! If I could find me a farmer – I’d marry him – because their love of family, the land, and the life are unbelievable! And – they are usually pretty handy guys too!! I tell everyone that my dad is my hero and there is NOTHING he can’t do!!! I wish more people would go into farming – they are the backbone of our country!

    Good luck Ashley!!! Enjoy every minute of the life!

  10. Jesica

    March 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

    that was well said!


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