Women On The Farm

In Texas, we’ve had quite a bit of rain in the last few weeks. I remember the drought we endured in 2011, with a lack of grass, no hay to be found, and dwindling water supplies. It brought back memories of another year when there wasn’t any hay, 1998. We kept our cows that year by feeding range cubes every day. It was my job to sit on the tailgate and sprinkle the cubes in the pasture while the herd followed the truck. My husband drove. I got off work, went home, and  we’d feed the cows…rain, sleet, or snow. It was winter, so it was usually sundown and cold. I used an empty feed sack to sit on if it was raining—didn’t help—the truck bed was wet. Just another day in the life of a woman on the farm.

There are other moments that are exclusive to the female gender in the country. For one example, she’s looking for a cow, checking the fences, or just enjoying a walk in the woods. What to do when nature calls? Go back to the house? No. Look at any dense wooded area that you’re acquainted with. There seems to be many places where alady” could use the facilities and not be seen. Try it…there’s always the chance of the ever-present poison oak growing at a strategic level…or the woods thin, plains of Kansasunderbrush is gone and you are now on the plains of Kansas.  Magically, about the time you find that perfect place, you hear your neighbor on their ATV, cruising just across the fence line.

Next, there is the pick-up bed. It’s fine when you’re young and the legs work. Vault on up in that thing to retrieve whatever you want. Get older, knees are shot, and climbing in these new, high beds, requires a ladder. A long hoe handle rides in my truck all the time for guiding the wayward twine or other objects that mysteriously move to the front during transport.

But, there’s always the awkward “try to fetch” what you want by standing on your tiptoes and reaching over the rails on the bed to get that elusive thing that you need. After successfully completing my retrieval of an item, another ‘woman on the farm moment’ was pointed out to me. My grown children laughed at the two, clear round spots that were now visible on the dusty side of the bed. Now, ever vigilant, I must stand away from the side so there isn’t any sign of mom leaning against the truck, or I make one of the “laughers” get it for me.

In the past, the housework waited while the lady of the house helped in the fields. I saw this happen to my Mom and had the same experience when I married. Working side by side in the field, you come home worn out, with hay in places hay wasn’t meant to be, and grandma beads on your neck. To the uneducated, grandma beads is dirt that’s mixed with sweat and settled into the creases of your skin. Upon entering the house, ‘he’ asks, “How long ‘til lunch?”

This is the way it used to be, but life on the farm for the modern female has probably changed for the younger generation.  They still hear that question, “How long ‘til lunch?” I can hear her answer, “Whenever you fix it.”

One Response to Women On The Farm

  1. Becky says:

    Hello Linda, I am Becky, your ‘nuttier than ever’ cousin from Highlands. Your aunt grace was my grandmother, and I remember you, your sisters, your sweet mama and daddy and uncle ‘B’ (abbreviated for privacy). I also remember your daddy ‘shooting’ me with milk from his dairy cows and uncle ‘B’ pretending to sleep with his boots on:>

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