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.