A farm wife’s 2016 planting pointers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Risë LabigAs I was reflecting on my “planting pointers” (http://ocj.com/2015/05/a-farm-wifes-spring-planting-pointers/) that I wrote last year for spring planting 2015, I wondered if there was anything I might have missed that I could add to my list this year. I know we are all feeling a new stress level we haven’t felt in a while, due to lower commodity prices. We all need a bountiful crop. We need it, because so many other businesses in ag rely on us to be successful.I have been a farmer’s daughter and farmer’s wife my whole life. When I was growing up on the dairy farm, life was magical. I loved bottle-feeding the dairy calves. I loved going out to the milking parlor and watching dad. He always had classical music playing (that is where the idea for my name came from. Risë Stevens was a famous opera singer and they loved her name). Who knew a love of music would come from a dairy parlor? In spite of dad being a busy dairy farmer, he still found time to play his clarinet at concerts on Friday night, or to take us all along when the band got to ride Miller’s Ferry to Put-In-Bay, playing for their fare, and then marching around the island. He never missed a concert my siblings played in. What I wasn’t able to appreciate then, as a young girl, is that sacrifice occurred to be able to have the “time” for dad to get there. And the name of that “sacrifice” was called my mother.What I know is that behind the scenes of everything was a daughter, wife and mother who worked tirelessly as a helpmate to her spouse, children and parents. This is a tribute to not only my mother, but to all my sisters involved in agriculture as we participate in another spring.I know that when the calendar flips over to March, it’s like a light flips on for our farmers, ramping up the anxiety level to “get going.” I know that if the “Pinterest” project didn’t get done over the winter that now is not that time to ask. I know because I remember my mother telling me…”Now is not the time to ask dad to do that.” She knew.I know that when the sun finally starts shining, the ground dries out and it warms up, our farmers are itching to get going. (Heaven help us when they see another farmer out first, and someone always has to be first. We all know who they are in the community. Why is he surprised they are out at it already?)I know that this is my first warning signal to get ready. I know because my mother would be getting stocked up on items so she wouldn’t have to take time to make “unnecessary trips” to town when he was planting. She learned that the minute she thought she could slip away, he would immediately need her. And that isn’t because he called. There were no cell phones then. It meant he would drive the truck home so he could tell her what part to go get, and if she wasn’t there…well, I think we have all been there.I know that when my mother would have much rather been sewing something for me or my sisters (remember those days?) and would loved to have gone to town and looked at new patterns, she didn’t dream of going. It could wait. Dad could “need” her. So if I have a few minutes to spare, even if I want to take a walk down the lane, that IS when he will need me. So I know to have my phone in the back pocket. At. All. Times.I also learned later, when I became a mother, “why” mom didn’t want us tagging along when she went to the grocery. Back then, she didn’t run into town daily. It was weekly at best. Mom wanted “alone time.” Boy, did I learn that quickly as a mother! Who knew the grocery store could be considered a retreat? But I know that those times are saved for “rainy days” during spring planting.I know that I have a mom who taught me that when life hands you lemons, and it will, you can cry for a bit, but then it’s time to “get up and get going.” We lost dad 28 years ago. Because Mom had worked by his side, she knew all about every aspect of the farming operation, the bookwork, everything. She never missed a step.And when a farmer says to a wife of 36 years that she doesn’t understand the “urgency of spring planting” when she can’t get in the truck fast enough to follow him to a field, I smile inwardly and know that, until the first field is planted, he is a grump. I know that because I saw mom shed a tear or two when my soft-spoken dad would get grumpy until he got the sugar beets planted.So it’s great to have a list of pointers to share, somewhat humorously, with my fellow sisters in ag, but, this year it’s heartfelt appreciation that I feel for not just my mother, but all the women who went before us, to show us how to “know” what to do as we approach another spring.From our farm operation to you and yours, may God keep you all safe as we work to produce another bountiful crop for the world.last_img