A while ago I read a hilarious post by a fellow farmer's wife over at The Farmer Has A Wife. She posted some advice on her blog to potential farmer's wives. She entitled it The Farmer Probably Just Wants A Shag. It is well worth popping over and checking out.
It got me thinking - what advice would I give someone considering marrying a farmer?
(A bit of a disclaimer before I start. The examples I use have not all happened to me, but they have happened to close friends or extended family. Also - I have to admit to completely lucking in with my in-laws. They have only ever been generous, welcoming and supportive. I am not just saying this because my mother-in-law might read it! The whole in-law issue also cuts both ways. Whilst there are scary mother-in-laws there are also some less than ideal daughter-in-laws.)
Ok. So ladies you have got yourself a farmer. A real, live, romantic man of the land. What to do? Should you pop that sparkler on your finger with a resounding yes when he proposes? Which, let's face it is probably what you are going to do anyway. Well, make sure that rock is a big one girls, because your life is about to change. Here are some things I have discovered over the past ten years.
1. You are going to live on a farm for the next 20 or so years. If not longer. Just something to keep in mind in case you are addicted to shopping, takeaway skinny lattes and good sushi. Also - a lot of this time the farmer will be working. And you will be the one doing everything else.
2. The romantic weatherboard cottage with the outside loo and laundry is not so romantic at 3am when you are 7 months pregnant, busting for a wee and the rain is coming in sideways. Likewise when there is a snake on the laundry floor and you are perched on top of the washing machine shouting for your farmer.
3. You will have to live with your in-laws as your nearest neighbours for years to come. And they will know what you earn. And spend. Mmmm. Something to think about. A lot.
4. You need a plan to deal with slithering reptiles in close vicinity to your house. Chances are there is no official reptile removal type person to ring. If you did happen to get such a person on the phone, it is very possible he would tell you to just deal with it yourself and hit the said reptile over the head with a shovel. If you get this advice, use a long handled shovel. Or a gun.
5. Power and water are not reliable on a farm. Learning how to operate the water pump and generator during the day is always preferable to having to teach yourself at 8pm while your two year old son holds a torch.
6. Think carefully before learning to drive a tractor. Or getting a truck license. Because once you can do these things, you will have to for years to come.... Even a C class license comes with duties. A certain farmer's wife went on maternity leave with her second child. Then for the first week she was on general dogsbody seeding duties complete with a dual cab ute with toddler seat. (NB - I am not saying don't do the truck, tractor thing - just give it due consideration first.)
7. Make some really good friends. The sort you can ring every day. And whose house you can turn up at with a bottle of SSB after a bad day. Friends are worth their weight in gold.
8. Keep in mind that you will live and socialise in the same small district for many years. Try and rise above the day-to-day gossip. Do your own thing and be your own person. In the long term people will respect you for this.
9. Consider an off farm job. The money and the break might be worth it. (I would do my job even if I didn't get paid.)
10. Remember that you love that farmer. And being able to raise a family together in the country is a wonderful thing.