The time of year has come where things start to slow down around here. Harvest is in the bin, there’s snow on the ground, and manure is being spread to prepare the fields for next season. I’m looking forward to catching up with my friends and family that I haven’t been able to see for most of the summer. As well as spend some quality time, off the farm, with the Farmer. Although we did get to go to Saskatoon, SK last weekend for a Organic Farming Conference *woo-hoo!*… I’m thinking more like a beach or something warm though (hint hint, Honey).
This was my first full year working full-time on the farm, from seeding to harvest. I left my career in Post-Secondary Education in August 2017 to pursue farming. Around that time we were in the full swing of harvest. The weather was good, the energy was high, and the crops were coming off fast. I remember feeling like this was it; this was the job for me! Fast forward to now and let me tell you, it’s not all combines and happy times on the farm. This year was hard. Hard in more ways than I ever imagined it could be.
There are obvious reasons farming can be hard, like the weather. One reason farming can be difficult that maybe isn’t openly spoken about is the family aspect of family farming. Working with your family is hard. When your boss and your husband is the same person, that is HARD. Separating your personal life from your work life can be pretty much non-existent. Going to sleep at night with your partner talking about what field you have to disc the next day isn’t personally my idea of romance, but to each their own I suppose. There were good days and then there were bad. On the really bad days, I told him I quit; I wasn’t going to be a Farmer anymore only to find myself back out in the field a day later. Being married and working together has been and always will be a learning experience. Keeping love and respect for one another will always have to be a priority, even when you don’t understand their hand signals while unloading the combine into the grain cart. Team work makes the dream work, right?
Another challenge I faced this year was finding my place on the farm. Where do I fit in? It’s interesting the gender roles and assumptions that are typically applied to a farming operation. The men are in the field, the women are in the kitchen/office. When I tell people that I too work in the fields, I see the surprised looks on their faces and it makes me laugh. There are some days when I’m out in the field that I’m dreaming of being in the house cooking and cleaning. Then on the other hand, there are days I am running to the tractor hoping the magical Woodland creatures from Snow White will stop by to tidy up for me. It’s a struggle sometimes for me to prioritize where I am needed most. I know the importance of both rolls that I play on the farm, Farm Wife vs. Farmer, and am continuing working on balancing the overlap.
Don’t get me wrong here, this farming season wasn’t all bad. I learned a lot about myself and about farming too. I started my own little goat operation, learned to run more equipment, and heck I even mastered how to back up a trailer (probably my most proud accomplishment!). I got to work alongside a pretty great crew who kept me laughing all season long. I’m enjoying the Ag industry more and more as I continue to meet some pretty great people doing some pretty amazing things. Farming is not a job, it is a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that not everyone understands. It is also very much a privilege, one that I am learning to respect more and more everyday. Thank you for continuing to follow along my farming journey.