This time of year when the farm is at its busiest , Farm Boy and I joke about being a single parent. We dont see much of each other when there are a million things to do. Right now we’re focused on bringing the hay in. This is no simple task. Typically, we have a time frame of 4 to 6 weeks where the grass is at its optimal nutritional value and in that time it has to be cut, raked, baled, stored and tarped. I make this sound alot simpler than it is. The hay has to be cut at the right time. Its been said that between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm are the best to cut and get the best quality hay. In a perfect world this would be great. However when you are dealing with not only a time frame for cutting, raking, baling ect, throw in a myriad of obstacles that could potentially make this whole scene pretty darn stressful.
I’ll start with the weather! Good hay requires a cool and wet spring followed by dry hot weather. I dont know about you, but I don’t have a weather fairy that I can call up and put that exact request in. Seems unfair I know, but we gotta roll with the punches. Now that we have the weather dealt with, let’s add equipment breakdowns. That’s always fun! If one piece of equipment gives up, the production line stops. While we wait for the parts to arrive and our amazing Mechanic and Farm Boy to fix it all, let’s not forget the animals. The daily chores of feeding, going back and forth to the abitiour( yes meat has to go to an abitoiur, except for Beyond Meat, but DO NOT get me going on that) The animals of course are why we do this.Animals can do fun things to your barn! We have a special group of pigs we call the “Renovators”. I think you get the picture!Soooo….when you throw all those extra tidbits into an all ready busy day, life can get fairly hectic. Being a farm wife means you need to know that you are on call for the most interesting tasks(on top of your regular working day in the Farm Store)
In this big world of factory farmed everything….animals and plants,( the things we need to live) we have chosen to farm this way partly out of our belief in the importance of a local food system and our love of farming.
We make about 500 large round bales every summer, which allows us to feed our crew of cattle, pigs and now sheep. Farm Boy spends the majority of his life in the fields for the month of July and possibly August. Summer vacation for us is the 1/2 hour that we spend walking the fields and checking on the cows ect. Multi tasking at its finest! Our days are filled with jobs that change constantly. Sometimes we work together , sometimes we work apart. Sometimes we (argue)discuss how we want things done, sometimes we do our own thing. We sometimes have to navigate working with each others ideas(mine are mostly right😉) but mostly we understand what needs to be done and get on with the job!
The job of farming requires alot of years of understanding animals, dealing with weather and a whole lot of patience. Every year, seasons come and go, and with them we work with sun, rain, snow, cold and heat. Knowing how this affects your farm is one of the biggest tools in the pouch. The other tool in the pouch is knowing what your role on the farm is. Farm boy and I generally work well together, knowing that we are there for each other. He has his strong points and I have mine. While we occassionaly step into each others ring, we know each others strengths (and weaknesses). This recognition allows us to run a fairly smooth operation(knock on wood).
My lessons learned as a Farm Wife? Work hard, listen to each other and laugh as much as you can!