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Farmers have bad days, too

June 14, 2012

Well, I’m sure that’s true. But it’s probably more accurate to say, “Farmer’s wives have bad days, too.” We are not amazing, or super-talented, or especially good with animals and plants. We aren’t naturally early risers. We don’t love being dirty and tired. We don’t get pleasure out of seeing and touching chicken guts. We don’t even necessarily prefer to be outside.

I had one of those especially bad days on Tuesday. One of those “Is all this work really worth it?” kind of days. Don’t get me wrong: my husband is amazing. He has two jobs (his day job, and the farm), is very involved at our church, is a faithful son and brother, and an even more devoted husband and father. Many nights he puts the kids to bed by himself. He is always thinking of how to serve others, and truly honors and takes care of me. But he works really hard, so he’s tired a lot. He doesn’t have “free time” or hobbies. We are investing almost all our extra time and money in a business, raising food that is worth eating.  It is a very worthy goal, and all it takes is a bout of being sick from food full of preservatives- they are everywhere– and I know that Haelen Farm is much more than a dream or a business. It is a necessity to provide food that leads to health- our health and yours. But it also wears on us.

Every so often, this wife just wants a “normal” life. I think it would be nice to go to the farmer’s market and buy all my meat and veggies. I could by artisan bread from a local baker. We could spend our weekends going to garage sales, watching football games, and grilling on the back porch. I could focus on keeping the house, and homeschooling the children. I could meet people at the park for lunch dates, exercise at a gym…you know, normal people stuff. That’s what I was wanting on Tuesday.

This past Saturday morning, I came inside around 9:15am, after working in the garden for almost 2 hours (an unusual occurrence for me, but something I hope to continue). I was reminded that the “normal” life would not make me as happy as I’d like to think. I just started gardening in the last few years, but it’s one of those hobbies I have truly fallen in love with. I still don’t love dirt under my nails, but I really do get a thrill from seeing things come to life.  A miracle is happening: what once was a dry seed is a living, food-bearing plant! I enjoy tending these plants and doing my best to protect them, in a similar way that I love being a mother (although the consequences are much less dire if I slack up in the garden).  The quiet draws me in, and it’s worth having to spend time around slugs and weeds for a piece of silence in my busy day. When the kids are outside while I’m gardening they are asking questions, learning how to identify plants and hopefully how to grow their own food. They have their own little gardens. Perhaps it will be easier for them one day.

Third batch of lettuce, ready to be transplanted

Without this life I wouldn’t have a huge tub full of fresh-picked lettuce in the sink, another bowl full of radishes, and 10 cups of strawberries, waiting to be eaten. There wouldn’t be the smell of freshly picked mint for mint juleps. I wouldn’t have had pastured chicken salad for lunch (well, I might have, but not chicken raised here). I wouldn’t have the daily visits from new and old friends, coming to pick up their farm fresh eggs. “How’s the new baby?” “Oh, blueberries are in at the local farm?” “Welcome back from China!” I had all these conversations this week. I’m looking out my window at a family who came to visit our farm, and watching as the couple strolls around our own raspberry bushes and the strawberry patch , and takes pictures of their girls holding baby chicks.  My farmer husband shows them around, hat shielding his eyes from the sun, holding hands with our 5 year-old and 3 year-old.  I sigh and think about how happy we really are.

So if you look in on us from time to time, you will probably see a very content family. Tired, but happy. And if you catch us on one of those worn-out hard days, please remind us to be grateful for all the good gifts we’ve been given. They are everywhere.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Priscilla Trice permalink
    June 14, 2012 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Brite!! I see a joyful and content family…..most of the time. That’s all of us, actually…..and we all have bad days. Love you!!! Ma

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