Being the Farm Wife

A post from Kelli–

As many of you know, Jason is a farmer.  While a lot of people have hobbies and such outside of their career, Jason just enjoys working.  It seems as though he’s always working–to the tune of 16 or so hours a day, 7 days a week…if not more.  While I love that he’s a hard worker, I don’t like that he feels the need to work almost every waking hour–literally.  It has made for a few odd conversations when I have to remind him that going to bed at 10:15 doesn’t warrant the comment “Why are you going to bed already?” or when I have to remind him that it’s not odd to want to go out to eat or do something together more than once each month.

I would say that the majority of our disagreements usually focus on not spending as much time together or him working all of the time.  Rather than continue getting mad at him, I am trying to just go with the flow more and try to do things like ride in the tractor or go on a parts run with him.  This past Saturday was no different.  He was once again chopping hay and had mentioned maybe doing something, however a few hours before we were going to go out, he called to tell me it wasn’t going to work out.  They were a few people short to haul loads and they needed to get done before it rained, so they were going to have to run until they were done.  I initially was MAD, but then he said I could come ride with.

So off I went–I grabbed him a pop, changed into some outside clothes and was on my way.

When I got in the chopper, he asked if I was going to take pictures for the blog.  He swears that he doesn’t really get the blog or understand why people like to read it, but I secretly think that he likes his farm things being featured and always asks if anyone thought his stuff was cool or if anyone had any questions.

So per Jason’s idea, here are some pictures from when I was in the chopper with him–

This is how chopping works–One day they use a big lawn mower type attachment and mow all of the hay.  They then windrow it to put it into rows that end up looking like this–


Chopping 2 (225x400)

Then they take the chopper through and it picks up the long piles.

Chopping 1 (225x400)

And then it runs through the chopper and gets chopped up.  Once it’s through the chopper, it gets thrown back into a chopper box.

Chopping 3 (225x400)

These chopper boxes get filled up and then transported back tothe farm with tractors.  They usually empty them into the bunker, cover them with plastic, and then are able to feed the cows throughout the year.

Usually, they are able to do this three times throughout the summer, sometimes four depending on the weather, how much time they have, and who they rent the farm from.  If they consistently cut hay four times each summer, the quality of the hay can diminish, so sometimes, landlords limit the hay cuttings to three.

While I often complain about Jason and his working all the time, I really do appreciate it.  While I never have to come home and get mad because he’s playing video games, I do wish he’d take a bit more time off.  Maybe someday–But I’ve been saying that for 8 years or so.

30 thoughts on “Being the Farm Wife

  1. Linda in NE

    Love your “technical” terms for the hay chopping. :)

    Sounds like your hubby is a workaholic. So’s mine. He’ll make work for himself just so it doesn’t look like he’s slacking off…and he’s retired!

  2. Debra Hageman

    Kelly, (and mom:) I’ve been saying that for 39 years! My husband works just as hard as when we were first married! I remember being a young farm wife, getting mad because of all the things we were either late for, or had to cancel altogether. I can tell you that you do get used to it. I quit getting mad a long time ago. I am thankful that my husband is also much better at quitting with the field work so we can visit our kids and grandkids. All three of my daughters and their families live a couple hours south of us. At first we had a hard time taking off to go visit them, but as we approach retirement (gee I bet you’re thinking that’s a long way off :) we take off whenever we can. Just last night we left at 4 (I worked til 4) drove to CR and watched my granddaughter play Little League ball. It’ll come,,,,,,,if you have patience :)

  3. Jen

    Sounds like my husband, I have just learned to do whatever I want with the kids, and if it works for him to go..he does. On Sundays, he will fix equipment or work in the yard, but will not go to the field….so I kinda have help that day if I want it. ha

  4. Susie Q

    Why does the chopped hay not rot like compost? A year under a plastic tarp is a LONG time.

  5. Debbie

    This sounds like how we make silage but silage is not made from hay here. It is planted each year with an assortment of greens.

  6. Robby

    I grew up in an agricultural area (even have family that farm and ranch). Still, a hay ‘chopper’ is new to me, so kudos for Jason suggesting the pictures.

  7. Ranch Wife

    You probably got a good taste of being a farm wife since you were raised by one – I’m a ranch wife and 40 hour weeks do not exist in this life either. Kuddos to you for just jumping in and spending time with Jason while he works. I’m betting he appreciates the company. I love this lifestyle and we just find ways to have fun while we’re ‘on the job’ which is pretty much all the time! After 30 years of marriage, I’d much rather have a tailgate picnic while fixing a water leak than drive into town to eat at a restaurant.

  8. Myrna

    I’ve been married to a farmer for 44 years. For many years, we had a dairy and someone always had to be here to milk the cows twice a day. Later I got a job off the farm that became my career and hubby switched from dairy cattle to beef cattle. Now three years into retirement, I go on parts runs with hubby or spend time in the farm shop when he’s working on equipment. It does get easier as time goes on, although the long days of farm work continue. Spend time doing things you enjoy and enjoy those tractor rides with your hubby too.

  9. LisaS

    You can tell Jason that I find the farm stuff very interesting. Do you raise animals, crops or both?

  10. Laura

    After my husband moved away from the family farm, his mom started working on the farm with his dad. She learned how to pick peanuts and move cows. She had been a home ec teacher but really enjoyed working outside with her husband.

  11. Kim

    Love the pictures, bring back my days working the farm with my father and chopping hay. I can smell it now! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. I think its wonderful of you to share in Jason’s life as a farmer but I hope he also wants to share in your work also. My husband used to come in the kitchen and help with making dinner or doing the dishes just so we could talk and be with each other getting the chores of life done.

  12. Sandy D

    Tell Jason that I show my Husband your farming news. We too farm and he enjoys seeing what other farmers are doing. We live in Canada and our area is experiencing a drought this summer and we are hoping for rain.

  13. PattiLynn

    It’s interesting to learn about something … that I have no idea about. Tell Jason that he’s a very cool farmer! Thx Kelli!

  14. Pam

    Also wondering about the chopping. Sounds like our process here but after it is winrowed it gets baled

  15. Jocelyn

    I think the pictures were very interesting. And I have to add, it is wonderful that your hubby is a hard worker. There are so many these days, who shun work and expect things to be handed to them. My hubby is not a farmer, but he still works hard and long. It’s their way of slaying the dragon, so yes, they love the challenge. Congrats on 8 years. We’ve been married over 40 years, and I still appreciate his work ethic.

  16. ShirlR

    Thanks for posting about Jason’s farm work. I really enjoyed reading the comments from other farm wives. Some others also posed very interesting questions I’d like to know more about, too. The pictures and explanations you gave were great. Farmers, their wives and families represent the heart of America to me. So, thanks, Kelli, and a shout-out to you for going along with Jason when you can and enjoying time spent with each other!

  17. Sherri Crum

    Kelli and Jason, I enjoyed the pictures and explanations very much. Ree Drummond has so much success because she shows life on the ranch with her family– and her followers enjoy it.
    Keep on showing us what Jason’s doing and you’ll get to spend more time with him too!
    Love the blog. You all have a great family.

  18. Mary

    I, too, find the farming photos and info. interesting. I grew up in western NY and my b-i-l was a dairy farmer. Milking cows twice a day plus raising crops. In the summer it was hay, oats, etc. Sometimes I’d ride with him but it was hot and kind of boring. He didn’t have a tractor like my nephew has – the kind with a/c in the cab. He’d sit in the seat of the tractor and I’d be standing next to him, sort of leaning on the fender. He’d mow, then rake, and finally bale the hay. Originally he’d have to have someone ride on the wagon and move the bale to the wagon all the while the tractor, bale, and wagon are moving through the field. The stacker carried the bales – one at a time – and stacked them nice and neat on the wagon. Once the wagon was full, they’d unhitch the machinery and take the wagon back to the barn where the bales would be unloaded. After unloading several loads the hay loft would get filled up so then they used a piece of equipment, maybe it was called an elevator or escalator to move the hay from the wagon to the top of the hay loft. Again someone loaded the bales on the machine and someone took them off an set them in place. Hard work. Later they used a wagon with sides and a baler that shot the bales out into the wagon. That could be a one person job. When the baler wasn’t working the twine might not wrap the bales and that meant more work and longer hours. Some nights my b-i-l unloaded hay using the barn lights as if rain was expected there was only so much room in the barn for full wagons so they had to get unloaded. I remember some days when my b-i-l was working by himself and he’d have to send up bales on the elevator and then climb up and put the bales in place, climb down and do it over and over until the wagon was empty. Then it was back to the hay field to do the next load. Hot, sunny, long days. He supported his family well and all of their kids grew up knowing the value of hard work. Now my nephew farms but also works off the farm. They have another type of baler which wraps a rounder bale with white plastic. Some of these bales are left in the field rathe than being moved to the barn. If you’re still reading, I’d like to know why they grind the hay – the pros and cons. Also, how many containers does a farmer have to keep to feed his cattle and how they’re stored. Can they be stacked, etc. Thanks.

  19. Louise SS

    I just want to thank you guys for working hard and providing the rest of us food! I have lived in the city all my life but both my parents grew up on small farms, even though my dad said to my mom that she grew up on a large one….. The difference was that my dad grew up on a farm with three cows and my mom on one with about twenty! As I said small farms! Anyway, I am so grateful for all the people like you, especially today when so many farmers are forced to sell out. Here in Sweden farmers quit all the time, not good, we need to use our land to grow food on! Keep up the good work :)

  20. Linda Smith

    I live in a rural area of New England, where there is pressure to sell off farmland for development. My favorite bumper sticker is “No Farms, No Food”. I guess it goes for farmers, too.

  21. Janine Baker

    Thanks for the explanation and for hubby’s idea of the pictures. It’s always interesting to observe the way of life different from our own. I would say that you are “making lemonade when being presented with lemons!” Enjoy, life is all in what you make it.

  22. Pat B

    The farm is a demanding mistress, there is always work to be done. When we were milking cows, I was the one who was operating the chopper, while my husband hauled wagons to fill the silos and milk cows all at the same time. It is always a question of what is the best use of his time, as he is the expert. As our sons have grown, I do less field work and it miss it dreadfully. Enjoy every moment you can to sneak away and spend time together. It is the little moments that count.

  23. Darby

    Jason you are super cool! Kelli, it won’t change :) We farm too (in WI) and I learned when we were dating if I wanted to see him I had to ride with. I’m working on the farm with him so it’s a little easier. Now that we have kids I just figure if he makes it great, if not I’ll take them and go. Most family gatherings are close enough I just let him drive himself. Last summer we went on our first vacation that was just the two of us. Three days in South Dakota and we drove through 12 implement dealerships! And I do the driving whenever we go anywhere. It’s just safer. That way he can look around at everyone else’s crops while I drive and we don’t have an accident. Although he tells me I’m going too fast for him to see everything ;) Keep it up Jason! Thanks for helping to feed the world! And Kelli, sorry. It won’t get any better. I’m just thankful to have a husband that knows how to work. And he’s teaching our kids how to work as well. A great work ethic is tough to find today.

  24. Beth H

    Oh Kelli and Jo, this is so my life. We are 40 years married and my husband works very hard 7 days a week. Though there is time on Sunday for church. For some years it was just the two of us running the dairy, hard but you know it was good to work together. I agree with many others and you Kelli have said it, you need to embrace it and take the part runs etc. Our “dates” are there. In all of this my friends have helped to cope. He too does not always understand but he also knows that I need those times with others so makes those oppurtunities work for me. Oh meals are crazy and getting up in the middle of the night to go running through a field with high grass is not romantic but IT IS working together as a team. I enjoy your blog and the way you tell of everyday life in the country. Thank you both for just being you. Beth in NH

  25. LeeAnne

    Yup, I can relate. Marry a farmer and marry a farm. I chuckled at Darby’s response – my story, too.

  26. Ellen

    I’m a farmer kid like you. Yep. To spend time with a farmer ya gotta go TO the farmer. I used to ride the milk truck into town with Dad. When the truck was pumped he would take me to breakfast with the boys. In the summer I would go to the sale yard with him so he could buy cows. i was his “secretary” and I knew all the guys. I would sit at the table with him while he conducted business. He took Sunday’s off (my brother did the Sunday work.

    Yup! To be “with” a farmer, you “get” to be on the farm.

  27. Nell

    Well, now you have a whole lot to tell Jason about. . .:) and questions even! Take the time where you can and you will be surprised at how his priorities change when/if he becomes a father.

  28. Ellen

    AH Nell, unfortunately a farmer is at the beck and call of the animals, the soil and nature. Cut hay when the sun is shining. Bail before the rain falls. The farming life doesn’t allow much leeway. And it’s before sunrise till after sunset.

    We farm kids know this even if we don’t like it. No doubt hard on newlyweds even when we know because we would like it to be different but deep down we know it cannot be diffrerent. Kelly, joining him at every opportunity will heal your loneliness wounds. And you’ve already started doing that! Jason will love you more for joining him than you might understand at this moment!!! Hugs!

  29. Emily

    Hi there, Kelli;
    My husband and I grew up on the farm and had parents and grand parents who did as well, My husband and I left the farm, but always missed it. Both of us made careers in the business corporate world working for other companies and ended up being self-employed. He is a CPA and I have a company which provides employment screening to companies. My husband “retired” three years ago and both of us relocated to Texas. Guess what….We bought a small farm! We are in the process of building a shop which has a small office. He is no longer retired. Both of us have realized when you love what you do and others benefit from what you do, it is best to do it as long as it can. In the process, our world becomes a better place.
    I can see you both are doing what you love to do. We love seeing what you do. Keep up the great work!

    My best to both of you.

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