Real Farmwives of America
Home is where your story begins. It’s a saying I have hanging in my home and it’s oh, so true. I was born and raised on a farm, grew up and moved away for six years, and now I’m right back where I started.
Well, almost … one mile away still counts. Right?
My fabulous and long-time friend Jane from Going Jane introduced me to Heather, a farm wife with 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs. Each week she hosts Farmer Friday on her blog. This week she’s adding a “Real Farmwives of America” feature.
They’ve invited me to join the fun!
Each month, we wives will share a few farm follies … then you can hop around and learn more about other farm girls and life on the farm. Today we’re each sharing our own answer to the question, How did I get here?
I shared my story not long ago, but I’m going to tell it again. This time I’ll spice it up with a little dairy barn romance. Grab some coffee … tea … Diet Coke … whatever your poison. It’s going to be a long read … and you’ll want to visit the other ladies, too. They have some fantastic stories to tell.
Now settle in and hold on to your hats!
My husband and I are a mixed up mess of agricultural experience.
He was raised on a dairy farm like his father and grandfather. I was raised on a fruit and vegetable farm, and my dad raised Angus cattle. I picked apples, peaches, green beans and pumpkins, started rotten tomato fights with my siblings, and daydreamed on the back of a very old Quarter Horse named Cherokee. County fair steer shows and hog shows were conquered.
I went to college, came home to the county fair on assignment for Farm & Dairy (I was an intern), and somehow caught Farmguy’s eye. We’d known each other for years, you see … but that’s another story — you can read about his Holstein harem here. It’s quite entertaining.
But back to 1996 and the Carroll County Fair …
We both entered the 4-H alumni showmanship contest. I had never shown a Holstein before. I did, however beat him in the goat showing part of the competition … pure luck, I tell you.
He won of course. And then he started chatting up my mom. Years later he told me his strategy was always to get in good with the parents before working on their daughter. It worked. My mother hounded me to call him for weeks … and everybody knows how 20 year-olds like to listen to their mothers.
It began as a romance via e-mail (cutting edge, I know!). We went to dinner and a movie on our first date. Three weeks later I was helping him milk cows. Our minds were literally in the gutter … after all, it had to be cleaned.
We married in 1998.
I had graduated from a liberal arts college barely aware of the agriculture industry. I had a job at PBS Animal Health while going to school. I worked at a chestnut farm when I graduated. Then I took a job as public relations coordinator at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. I loved it there … until my first baby came along. And then I loved her more.
She came along in 2000. Soon after, I quit my job. Farmguy worked at Certified Angus Beef LLC and luckily, they were looking for a freelance writer to help in the public relations division. I was hired and I worked from home. Somehwere in there, I had two more babies and became a part-time employee.
I still work from home.
I get to do the work I love while being at home with my kids.
It is truly a blessing I do not take for granted.
Now it’s 2010.
I’ve been focusing on Angus cattle for nearly 10 years, and FarmGuy has worked there for 13.
The truly messed up part?
We feed Holstein steers for my father-in-law at our farm. It’s situated one mile from my parents, two pastures from my brother’s farm and about five miles from my in-laws’ dairy farm. We balance our loyalties between my father-in-law’s freezer beef, the Angus beef grown and sold by my family at Manfull Orchards Farm Market, and the Certified Angus Beef ® brand products we market and promote as employees of a company that’s been around since 1978.
My brother and sister-in-law grow produce for their CSA:
We help with the marketing — managing their website and such.
And Farmguy mostly manages the steers. I won’t even mention the chickens, rabbits and at one time, goat that live amongst us all. I still daydream from the back of another, very old Quarter Horse … though not as often as I’d like. There’s a fat little pony around here somewhere, too. Dogs and cats come and go.
It’s a big hot mess.
We wouldn’t have it any other way. We don’t grow acres and acres of corn and beans. We don’t rise every morning before dawn to head to a milking parlor. We’re in a unique position to enjoy and take part in so many aspects of agriculture that some days our heads spin. We’re in a fortunate position … a rewarding position … to assist and represent and promote agriculture from many angles.
We help tell the stories that help consumers understand where their food comes from.
We do that at county fairs …
At work …
and for our families.
And that makes us smile!
As my friend Jane can attest … we don’t farm full-time, but we do earn our livings from agriculture and promote it with everything that we do. It’s not always easy, but most things worth doing seldom are.
That’s my story …
Now read about other Real Farmwives of America!
o Amy at A Latte with Ott, A.
o Marybeth at Alarm Clock Wars
o Leah at Beyer Beware
o Jeanette at Fence Row to Fence Row
o Lauren at Four Ransoms and a Farm
o Cris at GOODEness Gracious
o Meggie at Hoosier Farm Babe
o Jent at My Front Porch
o Katie at On the Banks of Squaw Creek
o Whitney at Life is a Highway and Mine’s Surrounded By Corn
o Lana at Walking the Off-Beaten Path
o Denise at Who is the Grown Up