One woman down just when the farm (and the man) needs her

Fix fence with baby on board

Fix fence with baby on board

I’ve agonised over this post but, as a neighbour reminded me, it’s important to let non-farmers hear what life’s really like on farm, warts and all. And the wart-encrusted truth is that, right now, my frustration is matched only by the desperation of my husband.

He hasn’t been back to the house for a break since he left at 5am. Since then, he’s rounded up, milked, washed up, fed the calves, fed out 60kg of grain to the springers, fed four rolls of silage to the milkers and another three to the dry and young ones, rescued a sick cow, buried a still-born calf, and with our help, brought in a new calf and cow. He still has to muck out the calf pens before rounding up again at 3pm. It’s 1.50 as I type.

Still on doctor’s orders not to lift anything, plus a five-week-old strapped to my front and a five-year-old beside me, the list of things I must not do is far, far longer than the list of things I can. I’ve been doing the finances while feeding Alex, fixing fences, working out pasture rotations and shifting stock. Nothing like my normal contribution or even what I did during late pregnancy. Not enough to make a dent on my husband’s workload. Not enough to avert a creeping sense of failure.

The rational me alternates between the compassionate “you’re doing everything you can” and the sterner “just get on with it” stiff upper lip. We’ve faced tougher tests and will get  through this one but if anyone thinks life on the land is cruisy, think again.

10 Comments

Filed under Farm, People

10 responses to “One woman down just when the farm (and the man) needs her

  1. Oh Marian so wish a cache of hard working angels will shortly lighten your load

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  2. Gillian Hayman

    Hi Marian,
    I well remember the days when our little fellas were young and calving time came around! With calving in full swing here I fully understand your feelings! Keep the home fires burning and a pot of soup on the go and just think of all you will be doing to help out next year when calving comes around. Meanwhile Alex & Zoe will be loving having you around.
    Take care, Gillian

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  3. VMLCG

    Marian, We will be down to your place next Friday night. We would love to help out so please ask Wayne to load up tasks people like us can do. Fencing is good., mucking out is good, whatever we can do to lighten your load over the weekend. Be in touch by email to let you know how many of us.

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    • milkmaidmarian

      Thank you so much for your incredibly generous offer to come down on Friday night, Doug. Your support and that of my friends while I haven’t been able to drive reaffirms my faith in human nature!

      Here’s the thing: we are at the stage where Wayne is so flat out doing milking, calves and tractor work and my time is so unpredictable that extra hands are hard to coordinate and look after. If the weather is rotten or Alex is needy, I suddenly become housebound again. We’ve had to keep our heads down and become quite the hermits of late!

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      • VMLCG

        Hhmm, Marian, you know us, we can manage this with some input by you.. We’ll call you by phone and convince you otherwise 🙂
        Julie has a cunning plan. You will enjoy it!
        We will restrict numbers so we are not en masse – leave that for the August trip… DP

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  4. Ron Paynter

    Hmmmm Marion. Thoughts are with you all at the moment. I think we all go through these awful spots where the pressure is on and you or someone else in the team are laid up for some reason or another, (which is no consellation to you at all at the moment of course!). Your blog is a bit at odds of the aspirations expressed by the family featured on Landline today in the section on FarmDay who were looking to a shift to the country as improving lifestyle and getting off the treadmill. Sometimes the treadmill is really whirring, and all you can do is run, knowing that things will improve.

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  5. Alexandra

    Hi Marion, have just found your blog – and wow – you are an amazing woman! The fact that you are a Mum of two, active on the farm AND doing this blog – it is inspiring.
    Don’t be too hard on yourself. And hope things ease up a tad for both you and Hubby.
    Alexandra

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  6. milkmaidmarian

    Thanks very much for the sage advice and kind thoughts, guys.

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  7. Marian
    Your blog has brightened my day for quite a while now and my heart really goes out to you. I quite understand what you have to say about co-ordinating extra hands when you are so flat out. I will be thinking of you a lot, and I hope things improve very soon. Just know that a farm is the best place to raise kids – hang in there!

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  8. Lisa Claessen

    I send you hugs and heartfelt empathy! Please give it too us warts and all – farm life is full of ups, downs, peaks and troughs – in fact so is life in general. Thank you for your helping to brighten my day also……..

    Like

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