couple of conversations with women this last week gave me some food for thought. First I connected with someone I knew a long time ago, after the usual bragging about children’s degrees, general gossip, and questions about professions, or lack thereof, it became apparent to me just how many people look down on farmers still, and even more on farm wives, and women who are farmers and farm wives combined.
After all the niceties were out of the way the conversation went something like this:
“What are you doing these days, still farming?”
“Yeah, still farming, no more chickens, just beef and concentrating on growing most of our own food.”
“Oh…well you know you can go down and get cheap food at the grange. I go every week and you wouldn’t believe the stuff they have there, even organic bread.”
“Hmmm, yeah I have heard they have quite an array of overbake, and old produce down there…” (I’m thinking, yuk, she’s thinking, yum.)
“You really should go, it’s fun looking through all the stuff, then you wouldn’t have to garden, and farm, and did I mention cheap?”
At this point I realized that there was no point in saying I would go to the grange or not, my idea of foraging was completely different than hers, and my idea of worthy professions was quite different also. In school I was the A+ student in home ec, and she was the activist who begrudgingly took home ec and announced it wasn’t for her.
It’s funny after all these years I am still steeping myself in home economics and she is dependent on others for her staff of life. Go figure. Fast forward a few days and I’m at the stable where my daughter takes riding lessons. While she is tacking up, the stable owner ( a friend and colleague) and I are going over our garden and cooking list and hatching a plan to trade potatoes for cabbage. I was able to squeak in a canner load of chicken stock before the lesson that morning, and she had picked peas from her new moveable greenhouse, there was no bragging, or snarkiness, just like-minded individuals yakking. She had just had a similar conversation with one of her acquaintances who admonished her for cooking all the time. Who would want to do that? As if, that is all she does. She owns a diagnostic lab (and works there), she gardens, cooks, takes care of a herd of horses, teaches the finer points of horsemanship, and she is of retirement age and puts in longer hours than many 30 somethings I know. And she is self-reliant.
I have to say farm wife is too restrictive when it comes to describing what farm wives do. Farm woman? Does that suit better? I have no idea, but farm wives deserve some street cred when it comes to juggling house and farm keeping. Maybe street cred isn’t the correct term, lane cred perhaps?
We have to be the royal taster…
Most likely the head wood chopper…
Haul water constantly.
Scrub gross things in the house and in the barnyard.
Bake pies for those days when you need a knight with a shining cat to pull you out of a snowbank after he gets home from slaying dragons in the city.
But it’s a great way to live, dog hair and all.
So what do you think all you farm wives or someday-to-be farm wives, do we need a different title?