Saturday, May 14, 2011

Does Puttering Need a Purpose?

Rain, dry-out, plant, repeat. Rain, dry-out, plant/apply anhydrous, repeat.

This has been my life since mid-April. I know that's only been a month, but for someone like me, who needs an "end date" in sight, this repetition with no clear-cut end is killing me...kind of like waiting for the birth of, say, a fourth child.


Today, however, it is raining: sweet, glorious, light, wonderful rain. The kind of rain that makes you want to sleep in, which we ACTUALLY did this morning, thanks to truly tired kids and a new mattress. I woke up to the sound of the gentle rain and thought, "YES!! Now Joe can do (fill in the blank with roughly fourteen things)." Seriously, what is my issue? Why can't I let the poor guy just be? Why, on a rainy Saturday, do I want to fill it with "fix-its" and "get-its?"

Well, because these are rare days. These days when Joe is literally doing chores, and then will be in the house for the rest of the day leads me to believe that he can be like a guy who works a nine-to-five, no travel, no take-home work job. The ones that putter in the yard, clean the garage, and have hobbies.

However, the farmer in Joe does not let himself putter. If he's going to do anything resembling puttering, it's with a bigger purpose. My honey-do list needs to be written from most urgent (i.e., getting a bed for our daughter to actually sleep in) to least urgent (hanging anything decorative). This character trait seems to be synonymous with many farmers. This observation has lead me to the conclusion that farmers don't putter. From what I see, they get their jobs done with careful urgency, always watching the sky or the temperature gauge, and when they're done, it's on to the next thing, with that same sense of "get it done-ness." In our operation, there's no messing around without a greater purpose.

If you're familiar with the "classic" movie, Old School, there's a part when Will Farrell mentions that he and his wife have a "lovely little Saturday, spending time at the Home Depot and having Olive Garden for lunch." We as a married, farming couple have NEVER had a Saturday like that. There's not any time for frivolous trips to the Home Depot. If we need to go to said improvement store, we're getting something to fix something that needs to be fixed immediately. Then, we're out of there. We're not the family to go to the mall together on a Sunday afternoon to look. As much as I love shopping, we have never done that because that's not in Joe's make-up or on his radar screen for fun.

Stuff we do has to have a purpose.

Which is okay, I have come to realize. Would I rather him be out golfing or playing around with his buddies rather than doing something that could better our operation, our livelihood? Absolutely not. However, do I want him to be fulfilled in all aspects of his life? Absolutely YES. So, where's the balance? In a profession that is hurry up and wait (for the crops to grow and cows to calve), as well as one that is at the completely mercy of good seed choices, good planting techniques and conditions, and good ole Mother Nature, how can you find a time to just breathe and be settled? Where's an opportunity to putter and not have a purpose?

I'm not sure. Right now, Joe's hobbies include playing with our kids, watching the Cardinals play, and trying to rest.

I think that's okay for now. But, my hope is that some day, some how, he can find a place to putter without a purpose, to enjoy the day without feeling that he must get something done.

Oh my ... I'm just realizing what an enabler I am!!!! Maybe I should hide my honey-do list for starters!


  1. I hear ya! I feel like the only day we have to enjoy together as a family is Sunday and I hate filling that day with honey-do jobs, but some things need to get done. Sometimes I am envious of people who work 9 to 5 jobs and they have Saturday AND Sunday to spend as a family, but I wouldn't be happy if I wasn't living the farm life. Good luck finishing the planting. We just started on Tuesday and the end is a LONG way away. Have a good weekend!

  2. I couldn't help but laugh when I read this post. Although I am not married yet to a farmer (fingers crossed that engagement is coming soon :), we have begun to experience this "no-putter" phenomenon you speak of. I am currently a grad student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and am only able to visit his place on the weekends; and lately it seems we work from sun-up to sun-down. Now, I have to make it clear I am not complaining at all!! I miss the farm living in Lincoln, but it has made me realize the sacrifices I will have to make as a farm-wife in the future. I absolutely love reading your blog! I am so excited to graduate next May and start a new life on the farm :)