Saturday, April 6, 2013

Farm Work?

When Brad and I were dating, I asked him if he wanted to be a farmer like his dad. “No, not really.” “Ok, great,” I responded. “Then our relationship can proceed.”

I didn’t want to marry a farmer. I didn’t want to be tied to the weather and the busy planting and harvest seasons. My Mom worked at a grain elevator and my dad farmed.  I knew what kind of work was involved and what kind of schedule these people kept. I was not interested.

This makes it all the more bizarre that I last August I took a job as a farm-hand for my dad. I like to call myself ‘Personal Assistant to Hofbauer Farms’. But we joke that really my title is “lackey.” Either way, I’m back on the farm.

This was an unexpected turn of events for all of us. It was out of a conversation Dad and I had about 2 years ago. He was looking ahead at the need he would soon have for more help, and I was looking ahead at the need I would soon have for more income.  Neither of us wanted a full-time solution. It’s seasonal and that works for me. He’s flexible and that’s even better. I need someone who will understand when I can’t get
there until after the kids get on the bus. And he needs someone he can trust.

I think it’s working out pretty good. I’m kind of used to the way he does things and we get along. I’m enjoying the work, actually, and the escape from my job as CEO of my family. I’ve really come to appreciate so many things about manual labor and long underwear and my dad’s tendency to plan obsessively.

The last few weeks I’ve been working more and more as we get closer to planting season. It’s just a busy time of year. It’s been hard to go from working a day or two a week outside of the house, to working some everyday. This last week was really rough. I did not have a good plan in hand before we started. So we had late suppers and meltdowns and piles of laundry.

But we’ll get the hang of it. I’m nervous as planting season quickly approaches. It will be a very different year for our family. I don’t plan on making this a career, though. We joke about me taking over the farm, but there are just too many huge decisions to be made. I’d much rather be support staff.

It’s funny to think of my aversion to farming 20 years ago. Now here I am learning how to back up a wagon and put together planter parts. Almost wishing I’d done more of this in high school. And while my husband and I are making no plans to put fencing up on our property, I can certainly take advantage of the opportunity to find even more reasons to appreciate the farmers in my life. They are strong, hard-working, and fearless.

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