On being a farmers wife

Looking back at some archives on the blog, and found this one that I never posted. It was fun to read, since we are now married 7 years this month, and they are all still very relevant.

I still don't know what my "role" on the farm is exactly; its never been as defined as I imagine it could be, but I've been learning that its more important to keep connected to my husband, to communicate and listen for what he needs - which is sometimes routine but often different every day - and surprisingly freeing.
We just came back from a week away from the farm so of course I'm inspired and energized again! haha I'm just so grateful that even in my tendency to question everything, we're still here, together! And wonderfully, those questions have led to a deeper understanding and gratitude for our work and life. I'd call that progress.


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I still feel really new at farm "wife-ing". I did not grow up on a farm, and nearly 3 years of marriage is just enough time to realize all the things I really don't know. I am constantly in need of practical solutions to any of the abnormal routines or sudden crisis that may occur. While most of that is actually life as an adult in general, there are some very specific things I'm finding that really help with the farming lifestyle.
When I find something that works and makes the day to day function more smoothly I get really excited about sharing it. Not because I'm into marketing (which I'm not), but because, well, my practical side really does exist underneath all that dreamer facade. Or maybe it's just called growing up. 
Most of you might already know about all the things listed here but I love hearing from others about what is working for them so here is my list of a few things I have learned to love since becoming a farmer's wife.

Oxy-clean | Doing laundry for a farmer is beyond my wildest imagination. Some days my beloved farmer comes in from the farm so dirty I don't even want to look at his clothes. I don't want to wash them, I want to burn them! My MIL told me to use Oxy-clean and I really, really don't know how I would do laundry without it. Even cow manure comes out if you can get to it soon enough and give it a good soak before washing. 

Mother-in-law | While I'm mentioning her... Yes, my Mother-in-law is one of my favorite things! She is not like my Mom at all, in nature or personality, and learning not to compare the two has helped me so much to enjoy her. She is an invaluable part of my life. She helps soften the impact of an unexpected harvest meal by sharing the cooking and hosting responsibilities, teaches me homesteading skills like soap-making and canning, and is always ready to pour a cup of coffee whenever I stop by. She's keeps me informed and up-to-date about things my husband forgets to tell me and can tell me how to make his favorite mac n cheese.

Laying Hens | I love keeping chickens. Only 2 casualties so far, I think I'm finally learning to keep an animal alive! Maybe it's just because they're a hardy breed but whatever it is, it seems to be working. They require very little care, which I can manage, and except for a little break in december, keep me with a steady supply of eggs. They compost, till the garden for me in the off season, eat bugs and their manure makes great fertilizer.

Pest Control | Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, put them outside in your flower bed or wherever you think they may be coming in. I have been putting a fresh one out every spring. Wonderful solution to the ant problem. Also Tomcat makes a little enclosed bait station for poison. You can keep one at the 4 corners of your house. They can get in to the poison but bigger animals can't, so the mice get to the poison before they get inside. As a disclaimer I should say I just became a mouse expert, oh, about a month ago. 

Buying pantry staples in bulk | This might be one of those simple things that seems a bit obvious but it's helped me so much to have basic supplies, like flour, oatmeal, oils and sugar on hand at all times. You can always make something out of nothing if you have those things plus a few things from the cellar or the garden, and eggs from the coop. We don't live too far from town but it's nice not to go more then necessary. 

A butcher | Having access to a freezer filled with a variety of meats is a huge benefit of living on a farm. If you grew up on a farm you may not realize that is not the norm in a lot of places. 

Stanley thermos | Stanley makes a good travel mug now with a vacuum lid that's perfect for a bumpy tractor ride. We always need things to take out to the field and this one is much easier then the big thermos because it doesn't require another mug. 

A good routine | I'm always working on this one. How do you keep a good routine and stay flexible? It can be really hard to roll with the punches of day to day farming and life in general. Keeping lists instead of keeping a planner has helped me so far to keep track of what I need to do and not get too upset when things don't go as planned. 

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Not an exhaustive list by any means, but I did not do the bait stations outside this year and wah, I got to deal with mice inside. I still love keeping chickens, and am currently working out ways to use them as duel purpose birds so I don't have to figure out how to deal with old laying hens. Just hold your ears if you think chickens should be pets.  =) 
I always hope to keep writing here, even though its tempting to think I should move to a fresh platform to do that. One of life's great lessons is that you make more progress by building on what you have rather than starting fresh EVERY TIME so I'm glad to be able to practice that here.

Hope this finds you enjoying all the cozy warmth of deeeeeep winter.
xo

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