Getting married was both a great joy and like preparing for a new job. Marrying a farmer means more than marrying a man whose occupation includes milking cows; it means marrying a lifestyle. Marrying late nights, early mornings, the subtle hint of manure, fluctuating milk markets, erratic schedules . Like I do for anything I am anxious about, I researched. I googled. I found Dairy Carrie when she was months old and A Modern Farm Wife as she got started. I asked friends about their parent’s lives. Anyone who could offer a bit of advice, I asked. The things I heard the most: Don’t learn how to milk and Keep a Job in town.
Then, in typical Sarah fashion, I ignored half of the advice and learned how to milk. Milking wasn’t so bad, I reasoned. Chris and I got to spend time together. Catch up with our days. Decompress before dinner. Grow our life. Milking cows together turned the chore into a pleasure and a way for us to come together twice a day.
Then I learned to drive the tractor and learned exactly why I had been told not to learn to milk. Driving a tractor is my version of learning to milk. I hate driving a tractor. It is big and loud and I expect it to flip over at any moment. And now that I know how to drive a tractor, I am expected to drive the tractor. “can you just drive the wagon to those bales?” “it is just up and down the field twice”. I may love milking cows, but I do not love driving the tractor. To those of you thinking of marrying a farmer, I have two pieces of advice: Don’t learn to drive a tractor and keep a job in town.