Just a short recap for those who may be new: I grew up in a neighborhood, not really knowing or caring much about where my food came from. I obviously knew farming was a thing, but I didn’t give much thought to that profession as far as interest nor respect. Brandon and I met in college and we both always thought the other was, how should I say it, nice. There was a spark in our friendship that seemed like a little bit more, and since I get to be the one telling the story, really Brandon was just always dating these short blondes and I just knew I wasn’t his type. Fast forward to after college and I moved to Columbia and he was back in Pomaria (really he’d never left – he might as well have been a commuter student during college). We started hanging out again. That “he’s something special” was definitely still there. We started dating, which kind of scared me. We were such great friends, like just strong friends who could talk about anything and disagree about much of it and still enjoy each other’s company. What was also scary to me was this idea of farming and living in small town USA. That wasn’t what I had ever envisioned for my life. But you all know, the rest is history. I am still reluctant about this life, most often when it’s inconvenient to what I’d rather be doing, but here we are, working hard and making it work for us. Brandon’s passion for what he does, not only caring for the animals we raise, but also caring for creation and the whole aspect of it all is infectious and how can you not love and respect this profession after being immersed in it?
Alright, wow, our story in a paragraph, that wasn’t bad. So, when we were dating, I would always tell Brandon, it’s fine if you want to be a farmer, but don’t ever expect it to be my full time job. And really, him farming full time was flippin’ scary to me too! I wanted to support him, go to farmers markets, help put pigs back in when they got out, but that was really just because it made for a hilarious story to tell my mom, not because I really wanted to be doing it.
I had this thing, after we had been dating a while, and even throughout our first few years of marriage, I would earn “Farmer Wife Points.” If I had to do something for the farm I earned points – help catch chickens to go to the processor, collect eggs (y’all seriously, I know that’s easy stuff but I didn’t do much of anything), make a delivery, God forbid do a market on my own, and more, I earned points. These points were completely arbitrary and theoretical but were essentially a way of telling Brandon, “you owe me.” I would “trade in my points” for a number of things – most often an excuse to go out for dinner or get a fancy overpriced coffee (I’m a fairly predictable person and food is my love language).
But, at some point, this quest to earn Farmer Wife Points faded. I’m not sure how or when. It wasn’t a conscious effort to stop. It was much more gradual and really just went unnoticed. I hadn’t given them much thought in a very long time until this morning.
I’m not sure what made me think of them this morning, but I think it is because of what I’m doing. Brandon had to go to the farm at Thornwell to work today. He usually has Fridays off, but with this beautiful weather and rain coming next week, he couldn’t miss out on the sun shining and getting work done. When Brandon started to realize this week that his team was going to need to work today, he had already scheduled people to start coming to pick up chicks this morning thinking he would be here.
Sidenote: When we raise laying hens for our own flock, we order more than we need and sell them once they’re 6 weeks old. Many people who want to start or add to their own backyard flock aren’t interested or are not able to care for chicks when they’re young through the time they need to be in a brooder.
“Are you at all comfortable with helping people get their chicks Friday morning? I’ve scheduled them out already. They know when to come.”
“I think so, I’ve done that before.” I said hesitantly.
Well, this morning, sitting on the porch, drinking my coffee in between people arriving at their designated times, smelling the stench of chicken poop on my knees, I thought, this sure would be worth a lot of Farmer Wife Points. And it hit me, I don’t think of those anymore, because honestly, I guess I have grown to identify myself as a farmer. Yes, I am married to a farmer, and it may have all started with him, but Brandon is married to a farmer too. Sometimes I’m a farmer in training, hahaha, I’m always learning, but aren’t we all? This life, this business, this calling, is more than just caring for the animals, feeding and watering them – it is also the social media, the pictures, the tours, the website and peoples’ orders. It is processing, and today, it’s selling live 6 week old chicks. This life takes all of us. It wasn’t a light switch type moment for me for sure, much more gradual and more akin to the life and spirit of farming – a slow nurturing and growing – but here we are. I am a farmer’s wife, but I am also a farmer.
If bringing up farmer wife points gets Brandon off my back about how much coffee I drink, then that’s totally fine, and I’ll keep them in my back pocket. But when it comes to the idea behind them, I’m left with a truly happy place in my heart that they slowly disappeared. I wouldn’t say that farming is my full time job quite yet, but it is getting pretty dang close.