Sometimes I become FURIOUS when I see the portrayal of what a farm girl is to society. Either we are a sexy cowgirl with shortie shorts and boots or we’re a hillbilly with missing teeth. I’m not sure how we go from one extreme to the other, but we do. I wonder what society would portray us as if they really knew what we did.
We’re healers. If there is a sick animal on our farm, we are the first one to be there to comfort and support that animal. That means we give them medicine, attention, or care. We do whatever it takes to make that animal feel better. My dad always said the best way to make an animal feel better to give them love, to make them feel safe and comfortable, to make them feel a little piece of happiness while they feel sick. There have been many times that I lay with sick calves to pet their fur and tell them everything is going to be okay. I teach them how to re-walk if they have become lame from sickness. I teach them how to use their legs again after they have been weak. I teach them how to drink a bottle when they were born without the ability to know how. I give them shots to help with the pain. I dry them off when their mothers don’t want to. I check on them daily to make sure they have had food and water. I check their butts and noses to make sure that they aren’t becoming sick. I watch to make sure they run and show me that they are full of energy and healthy. This is just what I do with one kind of animal. Imagine other women who have more than just one species on their farm.
We’re providers. Everyday the animals on our farms are fed and watered. They are given the proper minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to grow healthy and happy. We grow the food we feed them. We spend months during the spring and fall working long hours to grow the food to make these animals grow healthy and strong. We help our husbands plant, harvest, grind, make silage, bale, and feed our animals. If we don’t feed any animals we’re growing food for the country/world. We aren’t just sitting on our butts making cookies.
We’re caretakers. Not only do we take care of our kids. We take care of our husbands, animals, and equipment. We are responsible for keeping our husbands sane throughout the hard times of farming. We are there to hold their hand and go through all the struggles together. We help them keep records of the finances of our business. We help them outside and accomplish goals together as a team. We make sure that our animals have the correct amount of food, care, and have a soft place to sleep every night. This includes hauling manure, giving them a corn stock bail for comfort, and making sure they have a windbreak to keep the wind from chilling them. We also make sure that our cows (or whatever animal) is capable of having her baby. This includes watching her for signs of birth, getting her in to watch her, and helping her with the birth of her baby if necessary. We take care of the equipment by making sure that everything is working correctly, listening for signs of something breaking, keeping records of the oil changes and maintenance.
These are just THREE things that we do on our farm. I don’t believe any of this says ‘hillbilly’ or ‘sexy pin-up girl’. This screams to me as one of God’s caretakers. This screams a woman who is strong, beautiful (even in her carhartts and rubber boots), hard working, determined, and full of common sense. This is a woman who isn’t beautiful by society’s standards. She is beautiful by nature’s standards. She is a woman of the wind, land, and animals. She is a woman who can see the beauty in life. She has seen death, birth, and growth. She has seen things that many can not appreciate or understand. She realizes that death happens, but there is always new life. She sees things that make her cry, laugh, smile, beam, and frown. She uses all of her senses to be successful. She has to be strong for all things in life. She is a woman of agriculture.