So God Made a Farmer!

God bless Paul Harvey!!! This poem brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it or watch this great commercial they made about it. 

Luke&Hilarie wedding day

See, I’m married to just such a man, my own Farmer that God made for me and for my kids. And I have boys and a girl who admire us and want to work just as hard as we do. Paul Harvey’s poem inspired the gift below that I made for my good farmer. (I had a friend help me edit it a little, mounted and framed it and its now hanging on our bedroom wall.)

so god made a farmer

The story behind the picture is what makes it so great. One morning, as the sun was rising and my husband walked out to start the day. He reached down for his mud-caked boots and saw our three year old’s mud-caked boots sitting right by them. He snapped a picture and sent it to me. So I did what any good wife would do. I turned that special moment into artwork and gave it to him for Christmas that year and attached the poem to the back. That three year old cries “Daddy” when he gets hurt. All of my kids know their daddy is not only very hardworking, but will take the time to wipe away their tears and be there for the most important things- like dinner at the table even if it means he’ll be up an hour later to finish up his work.

Its still harvest season on our farm, so this paragraph really hits home to us.

God said “I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And…who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain’n from “tractor back”, put in another seventy two hours. So, God made a farmer!

Those of you in Ag understand- a hundred plus hour workweek is the norm during our busiest times. And we still love it!!!

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Gator Names Our First Doeling: Izabella

IMG_5296Back in January our female goats (does) were finishing their month-long rendezvous with a buck goat. When they returned we were filled with the hope that in about 5 months we would have baby goats (kids). At the same time one of our 7 year old’s best friends, Alex (or Gator) was going through some major medical difficulties. On January 18th we read this devastating news about the status of his condition, in summary his options were dim and without all the medical interventions he would only be alive for days. http://joinedbyourhearts.blogspot.com/2015/01/so-much-to-say.html

We were heartbroken. Devastated. Words cannot describe the feelings I had to see a friend of my own child being in that place. His love of life and amazing attitude really hid the severity of his condition well. We had been chatting with him a few times a week via Facetime and had just taken him on a virtual tour of our farm. He loved the animals and I told him when he felt better he could come out and see the goats. Having baby animals is the BEST part about running a farm, so I told him in May-June he could come and see the babies. Whenever any conception is plagator in surgerynned it is always a gamble, an act of faith. This amazing little boy’s life was also in jeopardy, so in another act of faith we told Alex that he could name our first girl kid (doeling) born. All doelings born on the farm get to stay and become future mothers. He was so excited.

This boy was sick, so very sick. He would get worn out talking to us for 5 minutes via Facetime. But he never showed any sadness or frustration- in his chipper voice he would always say, I’m feeling a little tired now- I better go. But true to Alex form he never gave up hope that he would get a heart. He knows he has important things to accomplish. He had already been on the donor list for over a year and was rapidly declining. BUT that boy was right- 4 days later we all got this news- there was a heart available that was a perfect match. http://joinedbyourhearts.blogspot.com/2015/01/so-much-to-say.html

And now- 5 months later we have our baby goats and like we promised he got to name the first doeling. These doelings were a little overdue, and we waited and prayed for them to come. Like any overdue mammal it took a little toll on their health. They were born with weak back legs. It’s a condition that we had to watch and gave some vitamin injections for. These girls are fighters- I think it’s perfectly fitting Gator got to name one of these strong little doelings. Alex is one of the strongest people I know- so this little doe will have the strength and faith of a mighty soul on her side.

Yesterday he came over to our farm and chose a name for this beautiful doeling: Izabella (or Bella for short). It was so heartwarming to reflect on the journey this boy has been through. When I asked him if his energy has returned, he said, “Oh yeah, watch me run.” And took off running. We’re excited to watch this boy and his goat have many happy play dates!

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Pray for Michigan Farmers

Michigan dairy farmsI admit I don’t know exactly the locations hardest hit, but some of my farming friends in Michigan were posting these pictures.  Its so sad and as a farmer, we know a small bit of the loss this means for them in so many ways. Farming is hard work. And weather can ruin not only a year but an entire farming operation. Despite what certain people try to sell, farmers truly care for their animals. Something will have to be done for these dairy ladies and quick!

I have a special place in my heart for Michigan farmers. I was able to attend a Farm Women’s Symposium in Michigan this past Spring and those Michigan farm women are some pretty exceptional ladies! I pray that God will send them comfort and help them to find quick resolution to their problems. On a farm you have to move quickly, because lives are literally on the line. These farmers will be in my thoughts and prayers for a while.

My heart aches for all of the farmers affected by this recent tornado. If you are the praying type- these farming friends could sure use your help!

If you have some extra cash to help out http://www.gofundme.com/xe6je8zc4

What’s in a Name? Am I a… Farm Wife? Farm Girl? Farm Woman? Farmer? Maybe They All Fit!

What’s in a name?

My Blog, Instagram and Facebook handles are all, “An Accidental Farm Wife”. But who am I? Am I the farmer’s wife? A farm wife? A farm woman? Or a farmer? Maybe all of them! Let me explain:

A fellow blogging friend and new first time author, Lorna Sixsmith wrote this article that really got me thinking about my title of my relatively new profession. http://irishfarmerette.com/2015/02/27/farmer-female-farmer-farmers-wife-farmerette/

In her article she states in regards to the term- farmer’s wife, “To be honest, I’d never refer to myself as anyone’s wife – either in terms of whatever his occupation is or in regard to his name. I might say I’m married to Brian but I would never describe myself as his wife; nor do I tend to describe him as my husband unless I really can’t avoid it.”

While the feminist in me shouts hooray, huzzah! I DO actually refer to Luke as my husband, my farmer, etc. I am completely comfortable referring to myself as his wife. For me, it’s another hat I wear-not a definition of self.

christmas ward party 14Professionally, I refer to myself as an educator, a business owner or a linguist- depending on which job I am referring to. I currently run a small business- the preschool on our farm. I also participate in ongoing training from my master’s degree in linguistics by teaching classes. Overarching all of these, are my church affiliations and service; I also volunteer in my kids’ classrooms, and tutor some young friends in Spanish- I am definitely an educator.

BUT – what is my role on the farm?

I like to question traditions regularly. Do I try to keep a clean house and make nice meals because it’s expected of me in order to be a good wife? Absolutely not, but if the “good” wife label comes my way, I’ll wear it when I can. In reality, I do it because I love my children and my husband and I want them to eat healthy meals and we all have more peace in our home when it’s clean(ish)– speaking relatively clean here.

When we moved to the farm seven years ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted my role to be. I love my mother-in-law, but we are two different people as far as our interests and efforts go. Some overlap, but not a lot- and that’s fine. After all, how do we progress if there are not intergenerational differences?

Assuming leadership of my husband’s family farm, was a hard adjustment for both of us. My farmer grew up seeing his mother involved in activities that aren’t necessarily at the top of my priority list. She is a remarkable woman, and a force to be reckoned with. I tried-and failed-to fill her elegant boots, to do everything she did-because that’s what a “farm wife” should do. It wasn’t his fault or her fault or even my fault- more a HUGE learning process. I have learned that I couldn’t be her and manage the interests that I loved-and it was a difficult realization to come to, but one that has given me more peace, more purpose.

So I pursued clarity. I sought talk therapy and the advice of MANY friends. From these efforts I learned acceptance. To accept what I am and she is, and who my farmer is, and that it’s OK to be who we were, are, and will be. Acceptance is a skill, and it doesn’t come easy for most of us. Letting go of expectations, whether our own or someone else’s is tremendously hard.

Still, farming is a unique lifestyle. I looked for a support group for farm women. AND… I. FOUND. IT. To say it was life changing simplifies it. Almost immediately found that there most certainly is not a cookie cutter farm woman. More like an entire bakery.

I have met farm women who are very much involved in the daily farm operations. Several who are “The” farmers themselves-those who labor kneading the doughy base of their farm. Many, like me, do supportive farm work-our work is the icing-the sweet, supplement that adds to the beauty and quality. There are some farm women who don’t do much at all on the farm, except for love and support their farm husbands-they are the sprinkles providing little splashes of love to the doughy grind.

These women get that sometimes we just want to scream and yell about the pressures we face without much (any?) monetary compensation. Yet, don’t diminish us with pity. This is, after all, a field we nearly unanimously chose. If not ourselves, our farmers farm because they love it. Farmers understand the importance of balancing love of work and family against the knowledge that our labors ensure our Nation’s security. That as a group we are providing the essence of what sustains all manner of human endeavor. Food. It’s a job, a calling and a challenge. I am continually grateful to those who rise to it.
Hilarie Family

Farmers and their families embrace this in a similar way to Military families. It is a vow of sacrifice, which is often manifested with poverty, injury and even death. Farming is a dangerous, essential and sometimes thankless job. I get emotional thinking about it. I am ashamed that I ever considered farming a less-than impressive occupation. My farmer has a master’s degree as well. Many years our combined incomes qualify us for earned income credit. We laugh at this fact and through our disappointment, yet still cling to the knowledge that we are doing something meaningful- giving service by the sweat of our brow.

I was ok with my title of “just” a farm wife. Because like the title of mother and educator, which are also titles that do little to describe the heartache and turmoil AND the joy and bliss that accompany them. I am ok with less glitzy titles.

Then this past December, my farmer approached me and said, “I need someone to drive tractor for our Christmas tree lot wagon rides”. I have always LOVED four-wheelers, motorcycles, etc.- so I jumped on that opportunity. It was cold- bitter, bitter, cold some nights, but so fun, so important and so visible.

I now drive tractor for our preschool wagon ride tours. I have done something tremendous-no longer solely the glossy frosting or cheerful sprinkles on our farm. “Miss Hilarie the “farmer’s wife” has “leaned in” ALL in. I’ve defined MY role and set my roots. My other titles nor the titles of generations of women before me don’t define the grit, determination and faith it takes to start a 1962 International Harvester when the starter is going out (the fact that prayers were the only thing that worked is DEFINITELY the subject of an upcoming post).

Still trying to figure out this new role, and the title it should carry. Weigh in if you like. Which has the best ring to it for my “farming” title: Farmer Hil? Farmer Rie (kind of sounds like farmery- like it is its own noun)? Farmer Hilarie? Farmer Mommy-Dearest? Something else? My farmer has taught me that any farm name- for animals or people—needs to be as few possible syllables. Not many farm dogs named “Rumpelstiltskin”-more like “Roy”. Names need be something that is easy to holler (and anyone with any farm experience KNOWS there are times you need to holler!)

I’m going to let you all help me decide, but know, whatever it is it will be hollered with pride—I’ve earned it.