Ten pieces of advice for those considering marrying a farmerThinking of marrying a farmer? Perhaps you should read this list before you do ;)

Apparently in the 1940s and 50s, there were many single farmers in Ireland – partly due to not being able to afford to marry as they looked after aging parents and partly because some women had decided that marrying a farmer would be too much like hard work and wanted to marry those with other professions/jobs.

Admittedly, it can depend on the type of farming and the size of the farm.  However, the advice tends to be relatively standard – farmers tend to be similar in many ways!

I’ve been married to Brian for 20 years now, 10 years as a scientist where he worked mostly 8-5:30ish and did all the cooking as well as lots of DIY.  For ten years too as a farmer when it couldn’t have been more different, he’s working longer hours but is around most of the time but does very little cooking. We were just saying today that when we retire, he can claim the kitchen back again and I’ll gladly pass it over to him. Now I’m counting the years to retirement!

Here’s  the advice if you are thinking of marrying a farmer:

1. Sorting Cattle

When sorting cattle, bear the following in mind: (sorting means dividing a batch of calves or cattle into 2 groups, perhaps separating male from female calves or dividing them according to size/thrive).

You will probably be standing by a gate as your loved one sends the relevant calves or cattle in your direction so you can let them past the gate into the shed. However, if a wrong one comes towards you (beside another one or even two) you are supposed to intuitively know this and wave your stick to separate them, sending the wrong one back to the batch and the other into the shed.

‘The black one’ – does not mean that the animal is all black. It simply means that it has slightly more black on its coat than its comrades. The same goes for ‘the white one’!

‘The bull, let the bull in’ doesn’t help when you have 3 calves heads coming towards you and you can’t see between their legs.

‘The biggest one’ – You must learn to tell the difference in size between calves, even if one is only an inch or so taller than the other.

Above all, you both must appreciate that any bad language hurled at each other while sorting cattle can be forgotten about once they are sorted into their two separate batches.  In fact, bad language is expected and can even be enjoyed as at what other time can you tell your loved one he is a F**king idiot for not realising you’re not telepathic.

2. Moving Bulls

Moving yearling bulls can be a dangerous task and it is important not to belittle the dangers.  Having a good cattle dog is imperative and we are lucky we do. But it still involves standing in a gap at some stage, behind a gate pulled over partially if there is one there, gripping a sprong or pitchfork tightly ready to jab it into a bull if need be.

When moving yearling bulls and your husband leaves the door on the tractor open so that you can jump in should the need arise, it is comforting to remember that should a bull attack you, that you 1) have good life assurance and 2) that your husband will probably risk his own life to save you!

Tip: it helps if you wave your arms, dance and shout too at the bulls if need be. No one but your husband will see you so don’t worry about looking a fool.

3. You Become A Chauffeur

When driving anywhere, your husband is likely to fall asleep after an average of ten miles so you turn into a chauffeur if you are travelling with him – doing the driving while he nods away in the passenger seat,  waking at intervals to marvel at how quickly the journey is going.

4. No Domestic Gods

Even if your husband cooked most of the meals pre-farming or pre-marriage – don’t expect that to continue.  The children see it as a novelty when Brian cooks which I find worrying so this winter, he (as a much more creative cook than I) is going to teach our very keen 8 year old to cook some meals and experiment a bit too.  I, for one, can’t wait for the cows to be dried off!

Advice to those considering marrying a farmer

5. Illness is not recommended

Don’t get sick! Once your husband has milked cows and calved cows for a week while experiencing ‘flu – you will never get sympathy again. Instead, there’s no time to get sick – according to farmer husband.

6. Single Mum for Ten Months of the Year

Driving children to activities coincides with milking cows. You might have friends who go to the hairdresser on a Saturday while their husband brings the children to football. Forget about the hairdresser – you’ll be standing at the side of the football ground. Fancy a quiet peaceful hour in the evenings? – you might get it if you’re waiting in the car outside a Scout hut. Remember too that most farms are at least 20 minutes drive from all these activities so it is a case of doing the grocery shopping or sitting in the car as it’s not worthwhile heading home and back in.

advice tot hose considering marrying a farmer

7. Scrub up well?

Farmers aren’t known for their dress sense but for hard wearing jeans, t-shirts, warm jumpers, dirty wellies and yes, splattered with much on occasion. One advantage is that when he (and you!) do get scrubbed up for a night out, that you both look pretty impressed with each other and fall in love all over again :)

8. Chauffeuring again

Going on holidays or travelling different roads than he normally would means that your farmer husband has lots of entertain him when he does wake up occasionally in the passenger seat – as long as you’re not driving along the motorway!  Looking over the ditches to see what crops are going, how they are yielding, at the quality of the grass, if silage has been cut yet, whether the cows look in fine fettle or not – it’s all fascinating to a farmer. Expect your conversation to be interrupted by ‘they have their cows out already’, ‘wouldn’t it be lovely to have a dry farm in Cork’, ‘those cattle could do with feeding up’, ‘that silage is light/heavy’ etc :)

9. Telepathic Wives Required

Being telepathic is handy. We usually have our main meal at 3:30 when the children are home from school. When they are on holidays, it tends to be a bit earlier, 2:30-3ish. I tend to text him to let him know it will be ready shortly as heaven forbid he might have to waste 5 minutes waiting for it. However, even texting him may get a reply that says ‘be home in an hour’ or perhaps no reply at all and then he wonders why the dinner is dry/burnt/less appetizing.  However, my cooking is sometimes not the best to start with so blaming lateness can sometimes be handy!

10.  Signature Dish

When you marry a farmer, you also marry the farm, his mother, his father, the rest of his family, the dog and all the neighbours.  There’s often lots of parish and community events for which you will need to bring a dish or ‘traybake’. Apart from the fact that people will know lots about you, you may be judged on the quality of your own ‘signature dish’ so it’s great if you have one up your sleeve. Never compete against your mother-in-law on this by the way – choose something that is completely different. Biscuit cake is mine – easy to make and everyone always loves it.

Still thinking of marrying a farmer? Now that I have derided the occupation, I’d love to hear what farmers’ wives (and wives to other occupations) think?!

Update: 24th November – this blog post became so popular that it inspired my book ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?’ which is now out and can be purchased here. It’s a quirky and witty look at life married to a farmer and how you can prepare yourself as well as staying married to said farmer!

would you marry a farmer snippet 2

177 thoughts on “Ten Tips – Advice To Those Considering Marrying A Farmer

  1. Laughed my head off reading this. I should do a blog post about being married to a chef
    and begins member of the Restaurant Widows association. No path is easy Lorna…but love always finds a way xx happy 20th anniversary. Looking forward t seeing what Brian teaches the kids to cook!

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    • Brian is just in and read him bits of it – he was amused too! Yes, a comparison of which occupation is best to marry is a good idea – surely they wrote them in Victorian times??

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  2. Oh lady, can I relate !! How often have I been sorting cows or pigs and be told “THAT ONE!” Get THAT ONE” Lucky you at least you get directives like “black” or “big” But like yours my hubby would put himself between me and a bull or nutty horse or big fat pig anytime…the last thing he wants is to have to cook again :)

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    • And there I was thinking it was love that would make him protect me. You’ve just blown my bubble Donna ;) Mind you, maybe I am right – after all, you haven’t tasted my cooking yet ;)

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  3. Lorna,

    Excellent post, love it! I have helped once or twice moving cattle and bulls on the road and it wasnt a good experience, I was told to wait at the gap, however the gap comprised of 3 seperate gaps (two house lanesways and the road), my job was also to stay in front to block a gate further ahead too which was difficult as I was expected to sprint up the road at high speed to get by them all including the bull, meanwhile the cars were building up on the road, needless to say I didn’t get ahead and the bad language started. Lucky we had drafted in some help and all worked out in the end. We had a good laugh after too!

    I have to say my husband cooks my tea every evening after work though as he is in for his and has mine ready when I get in the door. So in that sense I am lucky!

    As I have just recently married a farmer here are a few pointers for those of you thinking of embarking on this journey…

    1. Be prepared to help out from the start… and forever more, come hail, rain or snow….
    Jobs include feeding calves, checking that there is no scour, washing buckets, washing the milking parlour, doing something with the clusters (think it is opening them when they are washed) and opening the taps at the end to drain the water. Please note the tasks will increase and as you learn your husband will assess your work and then you may progress to greater things.

    2. Also for those of you thinking of marrying a farmer, the Farmers Journal and Done Deal is a must every week! Oh and as for television and radio, listening to the weather every time the tv or radio is on becomes the norm

    3. Be prepared to eat some of your cattle, because at some stage the freezer will be full. All large portions too…

    4. Your husband will not drink low fat milk as it is just water….

    5. You will become familiar with terms such as paddocks, turbo diesel, straws, and also the fields all have names of their own which you should know… Although there are hills all over the land you should know exactly where your husband means when he says at the back of the hill…

    There are lots more but this is way too long of a comment. Love this post Lorna.

    All things nice…

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    • Yes would definitely buy the book!! Keep me updated-if you need any inspiration I can whinge for hours, even though I love it….lollllll xx

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  4. That is brilliant, thank you for adding to it with your new wisdom as a relatively newly married farmer’s wife. As I am a farmer’s daughter too, some of them aren’t so apparent to me as I’m accustomed to them e.g. I know all the meanings of the word ‘straw’ and am accustomed to feeding calves and everything else that goes with it.
    How lucky you are to have a husband who is in in time to cook your tea – Brian just retorted that if he blogged he could write an equally funny one about being married to an undomesticated farmerette!
    And yes, that weather forecast – the smartphone is a godsend as he on longer rings that irritatingly loud (and we must all be quiet) Farmers Journal weather line.
    Great comment – thank you :)

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  5. My experience is quite different-my husband was a chemical engineer, which means he spent his 10 to 12 hours a day in a chemical plant! I did a lot of chauffering the kids to various activities and volunteering at school while he “lived” at the plant. Several times a year, he was out there 24/7 when equipment had to be changed out. There was always the danger of an explosion-one happened while I was expecting our first child-a terrifying time until I finally heard from him and knew he was safe. I worked at a local hospital after our children were grown and we are now both retired early and enjoying our grandchildren! He made a good living, but I don’t miss his plant engineering days at all! (And neither does he!)

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  6. I burst out laughing reading this! I’m engaged to marry my farmer and I never realised that the chauffeuring, the sleeping after 10 mins in the car, the fascination with looking over previously unseen ditches and the telepathy were common themes!! So funny..nice job:-)

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  7. This has made me smile – currently dating a farmer, should I be worried?! Already been milking and had the ‘it’s not proper milk if it’s not out the tank’ lecture. And slowing the car down to look at someone else’s spud field… Dear oh dear what am I letting myself in for?!

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    • Be very worried!! Wait till you are finding the occasional calf nut on the bathroom floor ;) Lots of advantages to it too though. And yes, we drink the raw milk from the tank, well, I don’t – I have the irony of being severely allergic to cow’s milk but we did have a goat for a while.
      yes, looking over the ditches seems to be a necessary hazard of farming :)

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  9. Hi. Just started dating a farmer and this is our first summer together and he was very worried I’d not like it. See am a towney so this is all new to me but loving it he’s not aloude to tell me if any of the cattle pass away or anything like that I get upset haha I no I will harden up. Any. How do i make him less worried that am going to leave him. I love that he works a lot and it don’t bother me coz I work too and it’s for our future he wants wife kids ect and I do to. How do I make him understand farming is now my love and am loving it. Xox

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    • Hi Nikki,

      I think if you pull on some old clothes and wellies and get out there prepared to get dirty, stand in gaps, help dose cattle, learn how to drive the tractor etc, that will convince him. Plus it’s a great way to spend time together.

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  10. Too late for me, I’m already a farmer’s wife. But was I nodding and laughing reading this – I so was! I’ve become so proficient at delaying just ready to eat dinners!

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      • This is bloody hilarious!! I agree with everything youve jus said- I was a townie but moved in to the country to be near the farm and for th love of a good man!! We are now engaged, our life is hectic working during the day and then on the farm any other time. My father in law is a complete farmig stereotype- the thing im finding at the moment is their very stuck in their ways.. wont change vets because theyve used them and their parents before them used thay company too, wont change accountants because its a local business that theyve always used… change is not something that comes easilly, if theyve always done it then its very hard to convince them to do otherwise..the answer will always be “its worked for me for 40 years” also ive had to learn the ‘lingo’ I get the mick taken because I dont know many yorkshire sayings when apparently theres at least in in every conversation!!!! If you dont know the lingo and dialect then they may as well be speaking german especially when sorting cattle and they are trying to tell you wher your supposed to be standing!! Thats brings me on to gaps-everything above is completely true, you will always be stood in th gaps with th cows/bulls coming towards you instead of just following them down a corale with a stick!! Holding the doors open and making sure cattle dont escape.. when the descriptions come in to play always remember that with colour black and blue is completely different and also a heifer is a female that hasnt yet had its 2nd calf and a cow has had its 2nd calf…you need to know all cattle names even if its the same line and they all look very similar we have elsie 1, 2 , 3 etc so everything to me is called elsie!! You will never be right, in an argument there is always someone who is right and wrong and you will always be wrong.. an argument or conversation will not end until this is confirmed and until someone is at fault!!! We got engaged last year and have been together nearly 7 years and I can say I still get suprised by things that they do and say-bright as a button when it comes to things around the farm, strong even when they dont look it, can tell things about the animals with just looking at them, can come up with things that you would never even think of…but te them to go to the shop for a loaf of bread and they will come back with everything but!! No common sense what so ever and memory like a siv with everything unless its to do with cattle!!! Can remember every calf, every birth, every date or anything for every animal but wont remember to bring back a paper if there going passed a shop on the way home!!! Dont plan anything in advance because there will always be a cow calving on the date you have planned to do something either thay or you will be late…remember that their mums have always done everything for them, my other half told me of a ‘bell’ that he used to ring…I think you get the picture butni have firmly told him that a bell is out of the question!!! They dont want a wife they are quite obviously wanting a mix between a mother/ house keeper and farmer. I sound like a miserable cow mentioning all this but these may be their faults but they are also part of the charm!! You have to laugh when they are asking you what to wear coz they have no sense in colours or fashion, you have to laugh when there shouting and swearing at each other when theres cows all over the place, also when getting cattle in and your in the gate hole and their running about all over the field losing their temper because the cows are running circles around them and have no intention of going anywher near the gate hole whether your rattling a feed bucket or have a pile of hay!!! Its a busy life but its all good fun, love your farmer love their ways!!

        Fab article-this needed to be said!! (Sorry for the essay) xx

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        • Thank you for your lovely long comment and I agree with every word. I’m actually thinking of writing a book (inspired by this post and in the same tone) – would you buy it??

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  11. kids activities? I’m ususally feeding calves or milking while he does something else! For farmers wife read Jack(Jill!) of all trades

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    • I nearly cried the night this Feb I arrived back from the kids badminton at 9:30. The vet was out doing a section and I ended up feeding all the calves – about 80 plus about 8 newborns – finished at 11:30 :)

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  12. Brilliant so, so true every bit of exactly what I have. We are dairy farmers in Campbeltown, Argyll. And yes god forbid they have to wait for their dinner and telepathic causes many curses coming out of my mouth! I am a town girl marrying into farming life and 8 years down the line I still wouldn’t change a thing…….Well many a holiday longer than 4 days :D

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  13. I used to live in a rural place where farmers and fishermen were a plenty. One thing I will say is they are well-handed (can fix things) unlike many of their city-boy counterparts, but I did have a problem with farm smells and outside animals inside the house! My sister, however, unlike me, thought it was a dream and married her love and is blissfully happy. She horserides and her husband made jumps for her out of the inside of the bale-wrap, created a course, she’s got a sandschool and he feeds the horses when he feeds the cattle. She on the other hand often feeds the cattle while she feeds the horses and they support one another in a healthy balanced relationship. They have 2 children who play outdoors all the time and are healthy boys who enjoy all things farm/tractor and can name all tractors and who in the area has what (from only 3 years old!). Farming is not an occupation, it is a lifestyle unlike many other professions. It’s 24/7 and a partnership of a couple where there is no breaks but many find this rewarding. For me I’d give anything to have a man who feeds my horse and makes me jumps but along with all the hard work, I think I’ll give it a miss!!! Admiration though for those of you who do… x

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    • One thing I’ll say is that there is little point in being too houseproud when you live on a farm. Strangely enough, I find washing out dirty calf buckets more rewarding that washing my kitchen floor :)

      I agree – it’s a great upbringing for children.

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  14. You are so right. It would seem that things are the same in Scotland. I had the fortune to be brought up on a farm. I didn’t get Easter holidays, I was “chief lambing assistant” and weekends were often spent dozing/sorting/moving sheep or cattle. If things got really bad then I got to drive the tractor when Dad was trying to get hay/straw in dry. Mum always seemed to manage to whip up food whenever dad came in, and when it was harvest time she would get the CB fired up and find out where he was and we’d take out his tea, eating it in the bouts of straw. We learned to drive early to so we could control the landy (in low box) as dad put out the ewes and lambs.
    You would think I had learned my lesson but… love got in the way and my husband is a stockman and so the cycle begins again. I have to be able to read his mind from whichever field/shed he’s in.
    I can’t explain why I want to get up at 6 to help him, or why I’d stand in the rain/wind/midges to shift/sort/doze sheep. Farming is in y pi blood and through love in your heart. It may be stressful, upsetting, thankless and hard work but it makes it so much more rewarding when you finally get to cuddle up at night.
    I love my husband and I love farming.

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  16. Love the advice, so true, I’m not married to a farmer but sometimes you would think it I am a lady farmer who runs her own farm and helps out on others, as well as being a dairy field technician. I help out farmers for just about everything including all the things written in your advice, I bake and cook for them at the busy times of year, work with sheep, feed the cattle, milk, rear calves, drive the tractors, do their farm and personal paperwork, look after dogs, poultry, pigs. Am a sympathetic ear when needed, it’s constant to be honest, think it would be a lot easier if I actually married one. I am also a chauffeur when required and even I look over the hedgerows and comment too. Although I go to bed a bit earlier than 10 pm unless there is a problem I start my day at 3 am and I wouldn’t change it for the world, although having someone to cook and clean for me would be an advantage :-)

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  17. Soooooooo true, BRILLIANT article!! We keep goats but the stuff about sorting cattle is a perfect description for us too!! Love the lifestyle tho!!

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  18. Very true article and is 100% transferable to the horse industry! Especially from Feb to July. I often wondered if it got easier over time but Lorna you have confirmed that we just have to suck it up for the love of a great man! :) I would say that without a doubt mind reading is the most important skill for the spouse of any man in the livestock industry. Unfortunately they don’t teach that at college :)

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  19. I’m from the town and married a farmer 23 years ago. I can so relate to all that has been written above and think a book would be fantastic, maybe a compilation of stories from other like minded souls !

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  20. I’m just about to marry a farmer in two weeks, and after reading this …………………… I will still marry him lol lol

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  21. haha I loved this am 18 and worked on a few farms about the country and work with my dad right now on our farm but we always have shouting matches over what cows going where or what field is best for the sheep or cows. all farmers are the same I admittedly look at every field of animals or crops when I go anywhere but its good having a noisy at other peoples farms ;) hahah

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    • I was in Wales last week and travelling around in a taxi minibus, I could see over the ditches and I found myself thinking aloud ‘oooh, those cows don’t have much grass’ or ‘they should be strip grazing that field’!!!

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  22. I’ve had a real giggle and nodding my head in agreement with all that’s been written. I’ve been with my farmer husband for 20 years and they are little creatures of habit. There is just one particular thing that really gets my goat up, every time we have planned a day away from the farm (and that is not very often) we always seem to have an animal escapee from the field onto the country lane, just as we are driving down the road to make our escape. So I have to run(no sprint) down the road in my floaty pink dress and white sandals (I have learnt by now not to have any heels higher than 1 inch) to stop the animal going any further whilst my husband opens the gate, I take holidays with my parents and ensure there is at least one cooked meal a day with the day of the week labelled on it along with cooking instructions. Last time my husband holidayed with me was not my idea of fun, he worried about the animals all the time despite getting someone on the farm. He perked up on the last day because he new he was going home!!! Oh yes and he didn’t change our son’s nappy until he was 1 year old, but that’s another chapter!!.

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    • We do make my husband come on hols with us but don’t get away v often. Yes, like your husband, he starts to miss the cows and looking forward to see them again.
      I’m no domestic goddess so he’d either starve or have to cook himself if I went on hols without him.
      Yep, there’s a Sod’s law in planning a night out. Spent our 10th anniversary chasing cattle that broke out onto the road

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  23. I love what you have wrote. I have been married to my farmer for 1 year now but together for 14 years. It is true about standing in gaps and feeding calves. I was recently brought home 5 dairy calves to hand feed because he thought I needed out the house more. never mind the fact that i work full time 5 days a week. you are also expected to help during silage and harvest, learn the books for when mum wants to retire, answer phone calls during the day about farming even though you have your work head on and give up any free-time you have together if the weather is good. But i would not be without him as it is the best thing seeing a calf being born and suckling of its mum for the first time and then seeing them jump about the shed or field

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  24. All of these are terrifically dead on Lorna…..I especially love #7 specifically falling in love all over again. We are off to a wedding next weekend, so I look forward to seeing my husband in something other than muck covered dungarees + wellies =) Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Spent the afternoon helping my farmer husband sort and drench lambs in the pouring rain, while our 2 little boys had to occupy themselves jumping on wool bags and bales!!! It did make me chuckle as I am another who can relate to so much of it. But I wouldn’t change it for the world, and my children are growing up spending most days filthy and free range, healthy and happy. lambing time is a whole other story!!!!!

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    • yes, kids tend to just get on with it I find. It’s handy if the grandparents live nearby for wet days when you’re busy! Living on a farm makes kids much more realistic about life and death too I find.

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  26. Very Funny must say, I an currently engaged to a full time dairy farmer, AI man and silage contractor, just finished my studies as an animal scientist in UCD, loved the comments left, Yes I have experienced the same and the main comment I hear the hole time is it for the both of us which make u feel guilty wen u ask for a even off for the cows, what all yea lady’s said is true, man people laugh at people who marry farmers but being a farmers daughter it how I have seen life, staying in bed is not a topic for discussion, being sick either, u just have to grin and bear it, since I started going out with himself, I have been full time involved with all his business from drawing silage bailing and spreading slurry get a lot of funny look for a lot of people esp wen u pass through the village, but would not change any of it., and yes through bad words at each other does exist if the neighbours herd da be wondering wats going on but it all in the name of fun once the job is done….

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    • I think it really helps when you’re brought up to the lifestyle and you see it as normal. Well done re the driving – have to admit my tractor driving wouldn’t be the best! – fair weather farmer here at times which is why I called this blog ‘farmerette’ ;)

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  27. I have just married my dairy farmer and can identify with every single point. I am now in charge of the calves (apparently us women are much better at it) and have been known to help with the milking in emergency situations. The realisation that I have married a true farmer came when we were on our honeymoon last week and spent the first few days following tractors round to find where they were silaging and where the local dairy farm was. Once found we were able to concentrate on spending quality time together.
    I realised a long time ago that I was entering into a unique world, but am obviously still in the ‘honeymoon’ period, which I am sure will end soon enough!

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    • yes, I get told that I’m better with calves too :)

      And yes, holidays involve having a look at local farmers fields. Mind you, I know of a local farmer that used to go to marts in the West on their holidays!

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  28. Ha ha, Love this but in my case I am the farmer and my poor husband is the one who has to put up with all of that. Thankfully he is very supportive of me. And thankfully for him He gets to escape from it working 9 to 5 in the city.

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  29. Hi Lorna
    This is brilliant! I am still waiting for Farming Connect in Wales to deliver ‘telepathy workshops for farmers’ wives.’ I think it would be a big hit!
    Just spent the night climbing over fences in search of our cows who decided to go for a ramble in our neighbours’ fields and last night took part in the job I hate most but only have to do once a year – covering the silage pit!
    Good Luck with the book!

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    • I don’t mind throwing the tyres around (bit of a workout) but I hate if it is windy. I hate trying to retrieve animals who have escaped! esp if on the road

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  30. Brilliant!! I am a long suffering arable farmers wife and found this very funny, even the stuff about the cattle which I can empathise with from helping out with friends stock. It’s reassuring to know that we are all in the same boat together, slightly Victorian I think, that the women feed the men at work. I often get a sweat on when providing the ‘bait’ at 4 pm on the nose despite having 2 small children to look after, and it’s never as good as his mums picnics. If its egg sandwiches again it pretty clear there was nothing else in the fridge and has been a hasty run to the chicken coup with a baby under my arm!!! Don’t get me started on even mentioning the possibility of a holiday….!!! Love Laura x

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  31. Enjoyed your blog and all the comments – spot on – I could have written them myself if I was clever enough. I’m at the other end of farming life. Born on a farm, married a farmer, and now retired but still living on our farm, and still married!!!
    I miss the hard work, the milking, calving, silage carting etc, so when I get a bit ‘maudlin’ I rake up all the bad bits I can remember to convince myself that I am glad to be retired. I think of cows doing the splits in the slurry, the parlour frozen solid in the morning, the baby calf that dies after all the TLC and dozing it has had, having to strip off outside the back door after catching a well aimed cow poo, or letting our old scraping-out tractor run out of deisel, oh that made him angry.
    Mind you, I’m not sitting back whinging all day, I have so many new exciting things to do – now that I have the time to do them. Go for it girls, best way of life ever.

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  32. I am engaged to a farmer and loved this article. Would definitely buy the book! Can I add in the obsession with the weather forecast, a need to leap up and see who is it every time a tractor goes past, and complete ridicule at the price of horse feed / bedding… The advantages however are that they don’t think horses smell (which previous boyfriends have hated) , very good (almost instinctive) veterinary knowledge and are often willing to help muck out. I think being from a horsey background has definitely helped me as it doesn’t seem too alien to get the wellies on and get out in the rain, I love it, especially compared to my 9 – 5 office job. I hope this continues! My fiancés family has converted from dairy to beef, which has made life much easier for them and they have now been known to finish work as early as 7.30pm! However if another farmer drives past still working at 9pm my fiancé gets twitchy and worries that he should still be out there too, despite having just finished a 12 hour day!
    Agree with the looking over ditches and hedges, I find myself doing it too now!
    A weekend or day away is such a treat, I find he changes once away from the farm, and the ever present instructions of his dad, he stands a little taller, a little more confident, more willing to try new things, I love it.
    We stole a day away last weekend, and happened to be in a tearoom run by a retired farming couple, the husband knew instantly that C was a farmer too, even though we were scrubbed up and in our town clothes. When I asked him how, he said it was the walk, apparently you can spot it a mile off ? It had never occurred to me before but I think I have to agree, we now play a new game of spot the farmer in the supermarket!
    Best of luck with the book, I am more than happy to contribute all my ideas and experiences so far if it would help!

    Reply
    • That would be great Rosie, I’ve added loads to the book already but I’d love a farming eye over it at some stage :)
      I was walking along yesterday with a bag in each hand and suddenly wondered to myself if I looked like a farmer carrying two calf buckets!

      Reply
  33. Great column, thoroughly enjoyed reading it, although from the perspective of a farmer’s daughter.
    Telepathy is definitely the key when sorting animals, in my sisters case the ability to run very fast can also be included thanks to a rather grumpy bull that decided to chase her across the field, yes in hindsight me laughing my head off probably wasn’t the best response, but in my defence if I’d videoed it and put it to the Benny Hill theme tune I could have made millions!
    Oh and our favourite solution to summer harvesting interrupting lunch and supper was picnics in the field, we got to run up and down the straw lines and dad didn’t have to stop for any longer than necessary…. Stew in a Le’creuset still hot from the aga cannot be beaten!

    Reply
  34. This made me laugh so much. I was not from ‘farming stock’ although lived in a very rural area with many farms around us. I have been married to a farmer for nearly 32 years and everything said above is so true. Meals can be very hit and miss. I used to serve the meal up for the kids and myself , when they were at home and just leave my husbands to go cold. When he came in he used to pop it in the microwave to heat up again and it was as good as ours was. Clipping time and silage time are the worst as we feed those who come to help us. As you can imagin it takes quite a bit of shopping and planning to feed 8-10 men for 2 days, but this is made worse by the ‘lovely’ English weather. Nicely get everything planned, the shopping done and then it rains for 4 days. Everything comes to a stop – no men to feed – lots of food!! We end up eating it so it doesn’t go off, then the sun shines and I have to do all the shopping etc again. Farming over the hedge seems to be a hazard of all farmers, but is even worse when they are driving themselves. As for cows calving on days you have planned to go away – I have lost count in the number of times that has happened, resulting in us either not going or being late. Meals on wheels is another ‘job description’ which comes to with being a farmers wife as many meals are packed up and taken out into the harvest/hay/silage fields.
    One of my friends once called with her two children who wanted to go on a picnic. My eldests comment to thier great excitment at the prospect of the afore said picnic was “Not another picnic, do we have to!” All this said I would not change things – well not eveything. It is lovely to live in the country side with peace and quiet (now and then) and the freedome to wander through your own fields where nobody bothers you.

    Reply
  35. Have been married for nearly 27 years now and I have to say that I wouldn’t change it. Such a lovely place to bring up a child. Can be fraught at times when you can’t get a commitment to meals, holidays, nights out and time off but the benefits outweigh the negatives. I have a husband who loves his way of life and is happy (well for most of the time anyway) and I really can’t see him doing anything else. When I was a Police Officer and really didn’t want to go back to work after her arrival where else could I have started up a B&B and catering business. I am now an NFU Group Secretary and NFU Mutual Agent which I have been for 16 years and that evolved from my farming connections. Previously I had little farming knowledge but have made a very swift learning progress. It is a lovely life and nothing can beat the early morning on a cold and misty morning and listening to both farm and wildlife :)

    Reply
  36. I laughed out loud reading your blog. I’ve been married to a Welsh Sheep Farmer who also has a full time job working in a animal feeds merchants. I could relate to so much of it. I have spent the last 8 years of Saturday mornings standing in the cold and rain watching our son play football and the only day we spend together as a family is Christmas Day (because I insist on it). As for a holiday, the last was 9 years ago and that was in January. We even arranged our wedding date around the farm calender (I should have known then!). One thing you did miss, or maybe it’s just me, it doesn’t matter where you stand when gathering or sorting the animals, you are always standing in the wrong place. I have given up trying to read my husbands mind as to whether I should be a foot to the left or right and just stand in the middle and move when shouted at!!

    Reply
  37. Brilliant! We are dairy farming in New Zealand, and this all sounds so familiar! I must add though, whenever we get together with friends, there’s is a distinct lack of variety in the conversation. Farm talk is the norm, grass growth, irrigation, bloat, any new gear needed, and what’s the best brand to buy. Drives me crazy! Surely we didn’t plan for a month to have 1 day away from the farm only to spend 6 hours talking about it!!
    Complaining aside… We wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s nothing quite like standing out in a paddock, with the sun shining, birds chirping, listening to the cows eating. Bliss! And as for my tractor crazed son…. its pure heaven!! :)

    Reply
    • I’m really hoping we get a good summer this year – really need one and it makes life so much more pleasurable especially when milking late. Nothing like letting the cows out at 10pm on a balmy bright summer’s evening :)

      Reply
  38. I’m a farmers daughter and this has made me laugh!! My poor Mum! It has also scared me a little as my (non farming) boyfriend has told me that I do some of these things– and I hadn’t even noticed.
    Currently living in an urban area and missing the rural life like crazy- yes, even chasing loose cows on a Sunday evening (always a Sunday evening and always the limo X’s), checking sheep at midnight in the rain, clothes that never lose that silage smell…. give me the smells of the farm over town living any day.

    Reply
    • Aw, thats lovely – I think you’ll have to find a farming boyfriend ;) I was in Wales last week and found myself mentally commenting on the stock in the fields – just like my husband usually does. The townie biz person beside me who had never seen such boreens thought I was demented :)

      Reply
  39. This wife really hit the nail on the head!she forgot to mention though the midnight calls to the maternity room or the cows are out. Or the parts run because the equipment broke down which is going to make a later night of milking. Being a farmer is not an occupation it is a way of life.

    Reply
    • I’m adding many more in to the book Rosa not to mention calving a cow while cooking dinner. We farmers wives seem to have so so much in common :)

      Reply
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  41. Lorna, I loved your post! For 24 years I was married to a grain farmer/custom harvester and for the first decade or so we ran a herd of stock cows, too. No dairying but friends who did. I came from a long line of Iowa & Illinois farmers and dad raised a few cows & pigs (I did milk a house cow all through high school) so was somewhat prepared, however, the huge machinery was a whole new ball of wax! First year it was, “Here, jump in this combine and pick up these rye swaths”. Say what???!! It was like sticking me in a jet cockpit and telling me to fly! Or drive this loaded grain truck back to the bins; run the pickup back to the farm and load it with seed, then bring it to me here in the field. That way I won’t have to wait around, can just re-fill the drill/planter right away. Ok, but the bags are 50pounds and it takes a LOT to fill the pickup bed! I know, just do it! Talk about having muscles – that will do it. Then in late May, hubby loads combines, trucks, campers, crew and off to Oklahoma to start wheat harvest, following it back north as it ripens. Meanwhile, I stayed home to see that crops are sprayed & cultivated, bulls turned out with the cows, bills paid, etc. Yup, farming is definitely something that has to be loved or you won’t last at it. My marriage did fail after 24 years but not due to the farm. Now I have moved away from there and have my own small livestock farm – beef cattle, 3 Jersey cows, Large Black and Gloucestershire Old Spot hogs, poultry and goats. Oh, and mini horses, couple of donkeys and a few Quarter Horse mares. I wouldn’t have it any other way – farming is hard work, it’s every single day, but it’s a wonderful way to raise kids and a rewarding way to make a living. Keep writing, fellow farm woman, you’re doing great!

    Reply
    • thank you Steph and I will visit your blog. Your farm sounds fabulous.

      I’m adding to this blog post by writing a book in the same vein so do stay posted :)

      Reply
  42. I live in the States and stumbled upon your blog while trying to figure out what to name my own blog I’m starting about my journey to becoming a farmer’s wife. Luckily my fiance’s family grows produce rather than keeps animals, but there are still many similarities…sometimes I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into! The things we do for love!

    Reply
  43. Doesn’t everyone know this… I mean, where did you grow up, in a barn? :) (Sorry, we have no barns.) By the way, comparing you to a cow, sow or other prized female breeder is of the highest complement!

    Great list. Lots of fun. Nuggets of truth!

    Reply
  44. My farmer husband has no sense of time. he says he will be home in half an hour…that means 2 hours because something will have gone wrong and he’ll be found fixing it. probably with bailing twine!! which is forever in the washing machine. i always put an hour on his time estimates and Im 9 times out of 10 right!

    Reply
  45. I am an 8th generation up-coming farmer – the daughter, as it happens – going to take over the dairy farm here in the USA. This post and the comments had me in stitches! Love it!! I’m divorced, now with a serious boyfriend, and both the ex and the current bf learned early that chasing cows in the wee AM is not an optional job… hoo boy. At least I knew enough to warn the bf what he was getting into, but bless him he is quite cheerful about helping out from time to time. He’s 6’2″ but still is learning how to convince a stubborn old cow that he *means* it when he wants her to move along, when I can come over (only 5’4″) and get her moving promptly. Oh well, there’s an art to everything…. =D

    Reply
    • My daughter is like that. We used to have a really stubborn goat who always got the better of me. My husband used to say we were too alike! but my daughter used to manage her beautifully (and she was only about 5 at the time :)

      Reply
  46. Reminds me of every time we moved cattle with Dad as kids…always ended in someone storming off!!! And while I married a sales rep he has morphed into an Alpaca Farmer and when it comes to moving Alpacas I guess I’ve married my Dad!!!!!! Aggggggh!

    Reply
  47. Hahaha This blog really hits the nail on the head! – Love everyone’s comments, I married a Dairy farmer here in the USA 4 years ago and though we had some animals, I did not grow up on a farm. It is defiantly an eye opener to how much time and work it is. I can say I have chased cows, milked, fed calves, and rode around to pick up bales of hay as a ‘date night’. And yes, when I was pregnant my husband kept telling everyone that I was going to “Freshen” soon. The weather plans our events which we are never on time for – something always gets loose, breaks, or needs to be harvested. Hoping for many more happy married years – I know they will not be dull!

    Reply
    • Yep life is certainly never dull – you might think you have the day planned but something will always happen to change your plans :) – we had calves break out from their field the other day, something must have spooked them. Some ended up on the laneway between the two fields, a few stayed in the field and some raced up to the quarry! Trying to make sure we had 101 calves back was easier said than done too :)

      Reply
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  49. Oh what a RELIEF to know what that after 15yrs … I’M NOT ALONE! you’ve described my life to a tee! Dairy farming in Cape Town, South Africa …. there’s absolutely no difference in our farming experiences.
    thank you!

    Reply
  50. all the way from Canada, I too will be marring a farmer this Aug 17th coming, My fiances mom found your blog spot and sent me the link, Im so happy to know Im not the only woman out there, loved your blog, it is exactly the life we have here in Canada, we also have a dairy here and now Im so happy to know there’s other farmers wives out there that cant tell one calf from another, got stuck in a pen full of bulls, often gets interrupted while drive to look at other peoples farms and crops, cattle, and lastly soooo sooo happy to know that we arnt the only couple that swear at each other while separating cattle. Lorna this has been a great read and well needed, and it looks like it was an effective blog as it has reach so many woman all over the world. Us farmers wives need to ban together and remind each other that this is our life, its what we chose and we wouldn’t have it any other way!!! I look forward to your book if you can ever get the time to write it (farmers wives are the busiest women I have met) and I hope that I have the time to read it. I should start a facebook group for farmers wives so we can keep in touch for those tough days when one needs to rant, or just another woman out there who understands the situation at hand…. all of my other friends dont understand, they just think I can drop everything and go to the beach, or movies or what not….. not the case! Again it was a great read, I hope your farming is going great this year, not to bad in Canada here eh!

    Reply
    • Thank you – I know, I’m determined to write it this summer and if I get some funding, it will make me knuckled down!
      Am hoping lots will empathise with it, just as they have with this post :)

      Reply
  51. My sister just sent me this blog post and we died laughing. Our situation is reversed. Both of us farm girls married or dating non-ag boys. I will say most of these points work in the reverse quite well!

    Reply
  52. When I was a young women growing up in rural Ireland I always said I’d never marry a farmer… instead I moved to the big city and married a corporate man… and as such became a corporate widow… perhaps on reflection I’d have been much better off marrying a farmer… at least you do get to see him sometimes :)

    Post is so funny Lorna, its the first laugh I’ve had this week :)

    Reply
  53. Ah yes, the chauffeuring, the single-mothering, the stop-two-gaps-with-one-wife… I and my alter ego, Nora Forthright, have been there and done that. Except that we are hill farmers and not experienced in udder things apart from mothering-on pet lambs :) I did like the bit about scrubbing up nicely and falling in love all over again, though I really must hide my other half’s suede shoes (they were his dad’s!)

    http://www.jackdawebooks.co.uk/forthright.htm explains some of it!

    Good luck with the self publishing. Taking control of production is very satisfying.

    Reply
  54. This post was amazing im a dairy farmers wife to at 24 from Ontario we have twin baby girls who yes I am almost a sigle mother to except for bath time in the evening! My husband has been a farmer his whole life and he said when he read this even I think all of this is true lol I also have been a blocker for a gap but with the big cows its very intemidating to have a gaint cow running at you and your suppose to stop it and make sure it gets into the right bed! And I have been sent down in the field with the four wheeler to get the cows and told to hurry up bit dont make the cows run! Really how is that possible lol and falling alseep is soo funny to hear I thought my husband was the only one and yes most of our conversations are about the feild or equipment as we drive by!!! Oh the joys of a farmers wife but I wouldnt change it for the world!! Cant wait for my girls to grow up in this life style! Because its not just a job it is a life style!!

    Reply
    • Thank you Ashley :) I hope you buy and enjoy the book when it comes out :) well done on your husband reading it too – mine says he must read it someday!!!

      Reply
  55. Read this and thought i had to reply! I am married nearly 8 months to a pig farmer and also contract baler etc during the summer months. It was birthday yesterday, and I have officially decided that I shall be changing my birthday to january when he is not busy doing the contract work which is hectic obviously during the summer with the phone always ringing! I am currently sitting here, dressed up ready to go for dinner which unfortunately is not going to happen as the feed system to feed the pigs has broken down and needs to be fixed! So how to I go about changing my birthday??? I am a city girl who has moved to live on the farm with my husband, I am also a pilot so we have completely different job discriptions! which makes for an interesting conversation when we meet new people! Anyway just wanted to say that your blog on this was hilarious and I could definietly relate to many of the things you said! We don’t have kids yet but will be interesting when we do!

    Reply
    • Hi Sheena

      Loved your comment and yes, I sympathise. Luckily none of our birthdays are in Feb-May as it would be pretty miserable. I suggest you act like the Queen of England and have a second birthday at a suitable time :)
      I’m delighted with the response to this blog post and it’s definitely convinced me that people would enjoy a book so I’m working away on it :)

      Reply
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  57. Thank you for posting this, I laughed all the way till the end! I can agree to it all, I have been married to a dairy farmer for 14 years and every day is different; Our 11 year old daughter & 9 year old son is following in their daddy’s foot steps & I am teaching the kids to cook
    I would just like to add that farm wives need to know phone numbers & each salesman truck that comes in the yard
    Thank you again
    Renee

    Reply
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  62. Another thing about marrying a farmer……..they never let you know when they are not feeling well! My husband was a saint when I was ill, I had to stay in bed he’d cook the meals on top of all the many jobs on the farm. But when he wasn’t well……no time for the doctor he was fine….don’t make a fuss …..it’ll pass ….just a stomach bug! When forced to go see the doctor or else! Hospital, tests, more tests……..I’m sorry to tell you……you’re husband has stomach cancer! Your world stops….no we don’t want to go home and think about it! If it needs an operation do it now!
    Eighteen months later I’m still thinking…why didnt I push him to go to the hospital after the first week when the GP didn’t want to know! Why didn’t I nag harder……..ten months after diagnosis, operation, chemo………a valiant charity ride round Badminton for horses help heroes he lost his battle……..a strong, loving, “Gentle Man” lost the fight against cancer!
    Not saying he’d have had more time but……..the farm and the long hard hours made him a fit man that ultimately killed him! He never had time to be ill, the animals always came first, the silage had to be in……..make sure your other half looks after himself and takes time off for family time and quality time for himself life too short as we realised in the last short summer we had together…..

    Reply
    • Oh goodness, I am so sorry to hear that Susan. I agree with you, men are always much slower to go to the doctor than women and in the case of farmers, they always seem to see another job as being more important and put it off for another day. I’m truly sorry for your loss and thank you for taking the time to comment,
      Lorna xx

      Reply
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  67. haha, I enjoyed reading this, it all sounds so familiar, although I’m a farmers daughter not a wife :)
    My mum was a towny (still is) and you can imagine the look of shear horror on her face when my brother and I started learning to feed out hay….. By standing on the back of a flat trailer attached to the tractor with 3 big bales stacked on it. We would stand on the bottom one to flip pieces of hay off the top bale and then do the two bottom bales, having to learn quickly to stand and balance on a moving trailer going through the bumpy paddock… We were all of about 4/5 when we started this! Also, riding 2 wheeled motorbikes as soon as we can walk, and riding the big farm motorbikes to round up cattle. We learnt to drive cars and other machinery on the farm.
    Oh, and don’t ever expect the husband/father to put his dirty overalls and his mud/poop clad “town clothes” into the washing pile… He will pile them up outside beside his gumboots(if your lucky) until they miraculously get washed and appear clean again!

    Reply
  68. Dear Lorna, Thank you for sharing your talent, wisdom, and life with the world. A friend of mine who has a suckler farm in Ireland was straight out busy and I could sense his frustration and exhaustion. Too much stock and not enough barn space, pastures too wet to turn out the cattle, et cetera. Sometimes you just have to listen to your instincts and take a leap off the cliff. I requested 17 days off from my employer, booked a flight, and landed on your shores in February 2013. In my mind I thought I’d help out on the farm and see a bit of Ireland in my off time. I quickly realized that all plans to jaunt about in my spare time were to be thrown out the window. Or rather, into the manure pile. I have never worked harder in my life and can honestly say that there wasn’t a single day where I woke dreading the day ahead. I ran the gamut of chores, shoveling in silage, scraping the slats, dosing, delivering calves, helping administer IV’s, you name it and I did it. It was there, some 44 years into my life, that I’d fallen in love with a rich and satisfying lifestyle. Better late than never I suppose. As I sat on the plane waiting to takeoff for home, I felt this huge emptiness inside of me, a yearning that I’ve never quite experienced, I was going to miss the farming life. Within less than a week of arriving home I was able to find a dairy farm that gladly accepted my offer to volunteer my time. I work Monday through Friday at my regular job and on weekends you can find me up before dawn and in the milking parlor with ‘the ladies’ followed by bottle feeding calves, mucking pens and well… you know. A heartfelt thanks to the truly amazing women who stand beside their farmer husbands. You’re a rare breed and an inspiration to me. I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your pledge and for your lovely comment. It was rough here in the spring and you sound like you are an amazing friend to have that you jumped on a plane and worked so hard during your ‘holiday’. You clearly love farming as you’re working at it as a labour of love.
      Many many thanks for your support and your pledge and I hope you really enjoy the book, I’m going to head over now and have a look at your blog,
      Lorna x

      Reply
      • Sadly, you won’t find anything on my blog yet. Between working full time, minding my family, volunteering on the farm, and training my two new bull calves to be oxen (which means I’m at the farm 6-7 days a week), I’ve not much left at the end of the day for any sort of creative writing. I’m constantly ‘writing’ in my mind but by the time all is said and done and I finally sit down in the evening, the creative flow seems to escape me. I created a blog page as a sort of motivation. Perhaps I’ll start blogging about falling in love with farming and two bull calves, Lorcan and Fionn. Both given Gaelic names in honor of the place I fell in love with farming. Hopefully soon I’ll put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. How do you find the time for it all?
        Lendie x

        Reply
        • I’m terrible at paperwork Lendie and as soon as I can afford it, I need a housekeeper and someone to do my filing :) Do start blogging – even a short post with photos of the calves and a little bit of text will get you started. Let me know when you start :)

          Reply
  69. Wow, I laughed my head off. I am a dairy farmers wife in Australia (I grew up on a dairy farm – you think I would know better) It is really nice to know there are people out there who understand the super powers needed to be married to a dairy farmer – particularly the telepathic powers. Not to mention you are at their beck and call, as if you are sitting around all day waiting for the help phone call because all the cows got out on the road, never mind you are in the middle of baking a cake or something!!!! Loved it, thanks

    Reply
      • I absolutely love this blog. I am marrying my farmer next summer. I am from the country but grew up as a carpenters daughter, farmers granddaughter. Not long after we started dating I realized the true difference between farming and other occupations. I learned how to do more hands on things in a little over a year than I did my whole life. We have about 120 head of cattle and he also farms about 1500 acres. You were so right about all of the points in your post.

        One thing I didnt see any of the girls say is about “moving”. Never did I realize how many pieces of equipment they need at each field. Even for something as simple as spraying beans they need the water truck, sprayer and chemical truck (thats all as long as nothing breaks or goes wrong).

        Also having the fun job of playing blocker when moving large equipment down the highway to a different farm. Stopping traffic at the end of gravel and speeding up the hill to “guard” the road from anyone poppibg over the hill, then over and over for 7ish miles.

        Forget birthdays during calving time or an anniversary during planting season. We will have another one next year but we might not have another day perfect for planting this spring!

        But, im sure like the other farmers wives, the men make it worth it! There’s nothing more attractive than working with my man(no matter how terrible he smells at times) !!

        Reply
        • Hi Maggie, thank you for your lovely comment and I hope you have a great wedding day. Farms tend to be smaller here and I guess the machinery isn’t as big but yes, good point re having to be the unofficial escort for big machinery – it’s all good fun isn’t it. My dad is retired but loves helping out, he is away at the moment so I ended up helping out more this week than normal – over 2 hours yesterday moving and dosing cattle that I hadn’t factored into my working day at all :) So much for getting more done with the kids gone back to school. You are right though, it’s a great life.

          Reply
  70. Actually, I dated a lady farmer briefly. It was a hell of a lot of work – and I am no stranger to hard work.

    However, in between dates I met a bellydancer in the city where I lived and fell deeply in love and now almost twenty years later she and I are still happily married.

    This isn’t nearly as sordid as it sounds in comment format…

    Reply
    • That made me chuckle – from a farmer to a belly dancer :)
      Yep, it’s hard work alright. Farmer husband has just fallen asleep in the chair,he got in at 11pm! Busy week this week but yet those hours seem to be becoming normal

      Reply
  71. This was great! I’m actually going on a first date with a farmer tomorrow night :) I’m super excited! Anyway it’s nice to learn more about what I may potentially getting myself into lol! Any advice would be more than welcome.

    Reply
      • It went really well. He’s pretty cute too. Since we’re 300 miles apart we met halfway since it was our first meeting. We’ve been texting and emailing back and forth for about a month prior to meeting. We met at an olive garden and ate and chatted for about 3 hours. I find his life so fascinating, I’ve always dreamt of the farm life. I know it’s a tough life, farming, but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Such a difference between city guys and country guys. Though we’re about three hours away I would have no problem driving to see him. Any advice from anyone in a similar situation?

        Reply
        • I’m intrigued – how do you think the country guys differ from the city guys?
          Oh, do keep us informed. That does sound a big distance but I guess you are more used to travelling over there

          Reply
  72. so true. Especially the telepathic foul mouthed stick waving livestock sorting. I am a farmers daughter and v adept with stick waving. Also v familiar with the slow driving to peer over ditches. And once I was taken to a cattle shed in France in cream flip flops and told to ask the farmers wife (in my best A Level French) whether she found that if she crossed salers with charlois the cow’s pelvic opening was big enough for the calves. Funnily enough they don’t teach you how to say that at school for your French oral. Cue lots of undignified miming about “vaches enceinte” (but apparently they don’t use the same word for pregnant with cows – its “Plein” i.e. full.). she also asked me why I had worn cream flip flops to a cowshed. I tried to explain that cowshed had not been on the official agenda for the day’s outing but she still looked puzzled.

    Reply
    • oh yes, those surprise trips – not to mention when you’re called out to stop a gap quickly and you ask ‘do I need wellies’ and you are told no. YOU ALWAYS NEED WELLIES!! Or the fact that you might be wearing an old bra and then you end up having to race across a field after calves trying to also hold up your boobs (well, it has happened to me ;) )

      That is funny re trying to have a conversation in French about pregnant cows and calving ease :)

      Reply
  73. Also totally agree with the “black and blue” colour mystery. “NO NO nat the BLAKE yin, the BLUE yin!” (about two apparently identical heifers)

    Reply
  74. Definitely will buy the book. I’m a lawyer now and my poor husband is a law widow. And also complains that going out in the company of other lawyers is soooo boring because all we do is talk in a really enthusiastic way about really boring law stuff. And that he can never win an argument (because if I start losing I morph it into a different argument I can win). And my daughter is 5 and learning quick now he says he will never cope as there are two of us! There should be a book for every occupation. I won’t have the same punishment for my daughter though when she goes out as a teenager and gets drunk – funnily there were a lot of sheep/cows to be moved at about 8am on a Saturday morning in January when I was about 17. Nothing better to make you think twice about whether you want to risk a hangover than a 2 hour spell blocking a gap in a freezing cold field wielding a stick.

    Reply
    • I heard of an American lady who is writing a book on being married to a pilot I think ;)

      Yes, and not to be recommended is arriving home as your dad is getting up to go and milk the cows!

      Reply
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  77. Jut seen this :D :D Made me laugh so much. My boyfriend is a farmer and i’ve only started to feel the effects of the “farm comes first” now after a few years. (i know i was spoiled) i only get to see him at the weekend but he spends most of that farming and as its currently one of the busiest times of the year we cant really get out to do anything as there’s usually a “heifer who needs lookin at”. Any suggestions as what can be done??

    Reply
      • I recently started dating an owner of a diary farm..OMG. HA! I was raised in the country (not on a farm) but have lived in the “city” for 20 years. I work for a nuclear power plant and love learning about his farm. Love it. I love reading this post. Great advice!! If we work out, I will come back later and let you know if I still love it. haha Any advice for just dating one?? I like the “jump in and help” advice. I just need a bit of training!

        Reply
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  81. Ok, after reading this I sent it over to a friend of mine and she came back with …where can I find a farmer to marry…I had to laugh at this but I know my friend. when she sets her mind to something she will do what she is thinking about. so ladies where do you find a farmer to marry?

    I’m having a good laugh writing this.

    Reply
    • You’ll enjoy the book too then Jerri :) Lots of farmers at agricultural shows and marts. I also know of one American lady who met her Irish farmer husband via his blog, they got married last year so blogging and twitter would be good too ;)

      Reply
  82. Pingback: Ten Reasons Others Know You Are A Farm Wife « The Irish Farmerette

  83. Just found this article through Pinterest, what a laugh!
    I’ve been dating a dairy farmer for a year and a half and eagerly awaiting a ring (soon I’m told). I always laugh about questions and comments from townies, even though I am still definitely one. These include things such as:

    “What do you mean he doesn’t get a day off/public holidays off?”
    Well, the cows don’t milk themselves.

    “Do you think he would shift into town when you get married?”
    No.

    “Does he not have time to clean his car?”
    No.

    And my all time favourite:
    “So where’s Aaron today?I haven’t seen him in a while.”
    One word: calving.

    I’ve also learnt a few valuable pieces of information. Like times aren’t important. Half an hour is the same as two hours which is the same as all day. Oh and driving skills are a must! It is very embarrassing to have to call your boyfriend after just saying good bye because you got stuck in the muddy driveway. Or asking you future father-in-law how to start the 4-wheeler because you parked in the turning circle for the truck. Or driving at 20km because you can’t for the life of you figure out how to make the darn tractor go faster. So my one piece of advice to future farm wives is learn how to drive all vehicles well. :)

    Reply
    • It’s a totally different way of life isn’t it? I’m writing a second book now – How to be a perfect farm wife! V tongue in cheek I assure you ;)

      Reply
  84. I very much liked reading your blog!! I have been dating and in love with a farmer for 5 years now (dated all through highschool and I am now in my second year of college). I was born and raised as a tomboy but very much had to adjust to the farm life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the farm life but we have had a few problems lately. I am attending college to become a nurse and have at least 3 years left (depending on how far in my education I decide to go). I have been so busy with my hectic and tough school schedule that I don’t get to see my guy as often as I like, and when I do get a free afternoon or weekend, he is never available. This frustrates me because I end up missing him so much that it kills me when the days I can spend time with him, he can’t find the time to do so. It also seems like he doesn’t really care that he can’t see me as much because all that matters is the farm work and getting the cows milked. I just feel like our relationship is falling apart. I don’t want to sound selfish but it just hurts so much that he is fine with not seeing me for awhile but I end up missing him so much.
    I really love the farm life, being outdoors and being around the animals. I just feel as though my guy doesn’t care if I’m around or not…..
    I also know that sometimes in order to spend time with him, I need to go out and help him with his work. I do this as often as my schedule allows but when I do go with him, we never talk anymore. I need help understanding this because we have talked of marriage in the past (not lately though) but I don’t want to marry a farmer if it means feeling unappreciated and not missed..

    Reply
    • I think you need to get him to schedule some time off, even if it is just an hour or two, for when you are off work. He needs a break from it and should be able to manage that for most months of the year. I appreciate it might be impossible during harvest or calving etc.
      If he can’t give you time now, it’s not going to happen when you marry so yes, it takes give and take. Maybe he’s having a tough time in farming at the moment and is internalising the stress – this can happen. Good luck xx

      Reply
  85. I am so in love with this page! I was a city girl/towney, fell in love with a farmer and we got married. No one could have prepared me for the adjustments I was going to go through in becoming a farmers wife! This article is highly relatable! I had a really great laugh reading this! It amazes me just how quickly my husband can fall asleep! It can be a hard and sometimes disappointing lifestyle, but it in no ways compares to the joy of helping my husband out and making him feel supported! It certainly makes their day (especially if they are having a horrid day for eg. if the irrigators keep breaking down, or the cows have broken a fence down and are walking all over the public road, etc). And after awhile farming truly does get into the blood! I love my life as a farmers wife!
    Thanks for the article.

    Reply

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