Saturday, July 14, 2007

Life on the Farm

I remember clearly the day I met my husband. I don't recall the whole of the conversation we had. But I do remember at least one part. I told him that I had no desire whatsoever to become a farmer's wife. :-) He politely asked me why and the conversation continued with me bringing up objections and him countering those objections. Did either of us have marriage in mind? In a way, yes - but not to each other. After all, we'd only just met. :-)

That conversation made for a great story at our wedding. Here's Jodi who definitely, under no circumstances, wanted to marry a farmer and become a farmer's wife - sitting here happily married to a farmer. Oops! The best laid plans and all that.

Why didn't I want to marry a farmer? Basically because I didn't like the idea of living on a farm. How much did I really know about farming? Only what I'd seen on the news and read in story books really. I remember seeing news stories through the 80s of farmers being foreclosed on by banks and forced to leave the land. Real heart wrenching stuff. I also had visions of having to get up before dawn to light the fire under the stove, milk the cows etc etc. I think my 2 biggest fears though were the fact that I couldn't cook (and aren't all farmer's wives good cooks that cook for huge numbers at times?) and I didn't like the idea of being so isolated. Droughts, floods, hard times, lack of technology and facilities. Real pioneering type stuff. I knew I wasn't made of the right kind of stuff to survive rural living.

Thankfully farming life has changed quite a bit from those old story books. We do have phones and electricity. A combination of improved roads, reliable vehicles and the internet have helped with the isolation issues (although there are times when I still feel quite isolated out here). My DH (before he became my DH) was very quick to assure me that it didn't matter to him if I couldn't cook, that we could buy in food for shearing and that the expectations upon farmers wives weren't the same anymore. He even went so far as to say I wouldn't actually be a "farmers wife" but in fact simply married to a man who happened to be a farmer. :-)

I think it helped that we lived in the closest town for a few years before moving onto the farm. I was working at the local school so one of us was going to have to travel anyway. Plus there wasn't a spare house on the farm at the time.

Last night we had a small fire going outside and made damper with the kids in the camp oven. It was a really nice night and there's nothing like sitting around a fire to give you a real sense of peace and contentment. It was a great time to just sit and chat as a family. My 9 year old son was talking about the difference between living on the farm as opposed to living in the city and it made me ponder and consider the differences in my own life. I spent most of my teenage years living in Melbourne and considered myself quite "citified" and proud of it.

DS was talking about how much more there is to do in the city and how much fun you could have. As he thought more about it (and talked more about it) he realised that nearly everything that's *fun* in the city, you have to pay for. He concluded (of his own accord) that having a fire outside was just as much fun as anything he could do in the city and yet ít didn't cost us anything. :-)

I'm kinda glad now that I didn't stick with my resolution to not marry a farmer. Sure, farming life has it's struggles - but then, so does any life. I'm finally learning to appreciate the peace and quiet (it does take some adjusting to when you're used to the hustle and bustle of the city), to stop and take in the views. For a long time living on a farm was simply what I put up with in order to share my life with the man I love.

Now, as I move toward a more simpler, self sustaining lifestyle, I find myself more suited to rural living than ever before. I'm slowly learning that the peace and quiet the farm offers is a gift rather than a curse. I love the way my children have lots of space to run around and explore. That they're learning about animals (we're lambing at the moment) and at times can go with dad when he's "working". I guess you could say that farm life is "growing" on me.

It's not very clear, but here's a photo of DH and the kids near the fire we had last night:

It's a pity you can't see the kids faces more clearly - they were very excited about the fire. You'd think living out here we might do things like that fairly often - well, I'm not sure we do them often enough. But we're working on it. :-)


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your heartwarming thoughts. It made me a little "farm sick" and you will see why as you read on! Sob sob!
You won't guess it but the 3 men in my life are outdoors as I write, yes, lighting their own backyard fire in the brazier we bought yesterday! We even had to buy wood (this nearly killed me!)because we no longer have free supplies because my folks sold the farm since the last one. We were all badly missing our traditional July farm bonfire (at the farm) that our boys have had all their life up until this year. No 2 son has been "pining" for months so tonight is the night. Not sure what the neighbours will think! The snags and steak are ready to cook once the chef (no 2 son) is ready!The salad is waiting indoors and I must go and see the coals for myself!
They create a great team effort for all the family, collecting wood, setting it up, planning what to cook and eat, where to sit etc and I find the whole family can have a role and enjoy the special time!

Kez said...

You know what Jodi? You sound content :)

You'll have a wonderful memory of last night's fire and so will the kids - you can't buy that anywhere! (Mmmmm, damper - yum!)

emma said...

Awww! You'll have my family on your doorstep if you're not careful!

lightening said...

Hope the backyard fire went well. It's great that you can continue the tradition even if it has to take a slightly altered form. :-)

Kez - I think I am feeling more content lately. Starting to really *find* myself. :-)

Emma - wish you lived a little closer so it was easier for you to pop in for a visit. :-)