Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Don't Go at It Alone

Harvest is a very busy time for our family.


That is the understatement of the week. I woke up this morning, well before dawn, making a mental list of all the places I had to take people, food to prepare, appointments to make and keep, and I was tired.

And it was only 5:15 in the morning.

Anyway, it's now the precious afternoon time, when my big girls are still at school, my little ones are resting (although Jack is yelling from upstairs...I still call it "resting"), and I have had a really interesting morning so far.

You see, a while ago, I used to be a radio personality. Really? A radio personality? Well, maybe not so much a regular radio personality, but I was on the radio, and I do have quite a bit of personality. So my friend DeAnna, who was my meal ticket into the radio world, decided to switch her job to one with regular hours, unfortunately, off the air.

My career as a radio personality came to a screeching halt, and my two listeners wept.

Well, maybe not wept, but they did ask me what happened.

However, the farmwives still wanted to talk. DeAnna not only used me as a token farm wife, but the sparkly, smart Holly Spangler, of Farm Progress and Fulton County.

So we got to thinking...shouldn't we still talk? Wouldn't people want to hear (actually hear) what was going on in our operations?

I knew I had two listeners already, so why the heck not.

And here's the situation: we don't want to go through this alone. Holly has three busy kids, I have four, DeAnna doesn't have any yet, but we're all flying solo from our spouses during this busy time, and being women, we all need to process what it's like to be alone and work through what this harvest time does to our lives.

So that's what we're doing. We're processing through podcasts.

Yup. Podcasts.

What's a podcast?

Well, I am not for sure in technical terms, but I truly enjoyed the chatting aspect of it, and kind of forgot that we were recording our musings. DeAnna and Holly are two women who get where I am. They understand dinners that are late. Husbands that can't commit to anything until the last tractor has been pulled into the shed. They understand my shopping woes, and don't mind that my little guy was farming our carpet while we talked.

It was great, and we're lucky. You see, farming lends itself to bonds. That's why there's trucks lined up at the coffee shops in every small town, nearly every morning. That's why there's 4H Clubs, Farm Bureau Boards, FFA Alumni Chapters, etc. Farming is lonely, but that loneliness lends itself well to ties that bind us together in agriculture.

That's why there's stories like this, and this, and that's why the AgChat Foundation, among other groups, is banding together to help those in need during the aftermath of Winter Storm Atlas (read about that here). Entire herds of cattle were wiped out. People need help, whether it's financial, or just an ear to lend to work through losing most of their livelihoods. Imagine having to tend to a herd day in and day out, 365 days a year, in wind, wet, snow, and heat. Imagine pulling calves to save their lives and their mothers', and keeping them year after year, healthy, well fed, and grazing happily. Then imagine, in the span of hours, losing that entire stock. Not just the financial ramifications come to my mind, but the change in lifestyle would be enough to make someone who is "on call" 24 hours a day need to talk to someone.

Don't go at it alone.

Whether you're a young mom seeking comfort of other moms navigating toddler years, find a mom's group (believe me...been there, done that, needed it desperately). If you're a guy, it's harder to not be so touchy feely about needing to talk some things out, but try. Please, please try. Find a church group, a basketball league, a group of dudes to watch a baseball game (did you know the Cardinals are NEARLY TO THE WORLD SERIES??).

Don't go at it alone.

That's what today was about. In my dark, early morning thoughts, I was dreading my day. Now, I'm halfway through, and looking forward to hearing how we sound. I needed my talk today. I needed to hear that it's okay that I stink at gardening, am not the only one who online shops because where in the HECK ELSE DO WE GO (??), and struggles to find good meals that stay warm hours after the dinner hour has past.

We're lucky out here. Even though our address does not show up on GPS (Believe me, I just got off the phone with UPS), even though we are miles from neighbors, streetlights and stop signs, we're tighter than you would think with those in our same situation.

No one wants to go at it alone, and I'm so thankful to have found a place where I can unpack the vast lifestyle and information overload that is agriculture.


  1. Good advice Emily. I love your stories. They remind me of better times in my own life. My grandparents were tenant farmers all of their lives. When I was growing up there was nothing that made me happier than being at their house, riding on the tractors or helping with the horses and chickens. Thank you for sharing it makes my day.

  2. I'm really glad you shared this today.
    I've been struggling with the whole isolation thing and have found that reading farm blogs (like yours) seems to make me feel less alone. ...and Facebook...sometimes there IS some good to Facebook. LOL
    As a small-scale farmer, there is no local “network” to belong to (particularly as a woman)…most other farms our size see us as “the competition” and/or they are of the persuasion that everything other than organic, sustainable, yada yada yada is evil. Since we don’t feel that way, it makes for some tense conversations. So, you can’t imagine how happy I was to find all these cool farm ladies writing away out in the blog-o-sphere. I’m pretty sure my husband was glad too, since it’s just the two of us working here on our hill.
    There is a sense of community with the surrounding folks here that comforts me immensely. They reached out to us when we faced the unimaginable and are kind and warm and generous folks. I am glad to call this place home and I cannot imagine any other kind of life, in any other kind of place. But, it really is nice to read about other women associated with farms and farming and realize that I’m really not alone.
    Thank you.

  3. For some reason, this post made me cry! I love it. I started an Ag Wives group in my area for just this need... having a group of women who are all in the same boat with husbands and each other in the ag world. So much better when you don't feel alone!

  4. Just listened to your podcast...will it be on iTunes soon, and do you have a blog with links to the things you mentioned?