Thursday, May 22, 2008

Farming 101


Alternate title for this post = City Girl's Guide to Life on the Farm!

Sometimes I feel so stupid. After nearly two years of being married to a farmer, I am only now learning some of the lingo used around here. Remember the time I thought that "a cow dropped" meant that she had cardiac arrest and just collapsed in the field and died? Hubby had to tell me that it meant that the cow gave birth to a calf. Sheeesh! There are some expressions that just aren't natural or don't make sense to city folk like me.

I'm pleased to say that I have learned what "seeding" means. It does not mean when a man goes around and "spreads his seed". I've learned that "first cut" and "second cut" aren't expressions used only in the movie/film business. I've learned that "baling" is an agricultural term used when a farmer "bales" hay (or whatever else is in his crop). I've also learned that "wrapping" refers to wrapping bales with plastic and not wrapping presents for your wife! ;)

I know what baler twine is. I know the difference between round and square bales...which is rather obvious since one is round and the other is square! Duh!

"Calving" is when the cows have their babies. Not all bovines are "cows". Funny, growing up in the city, we were never taught the difference! Show me a photo of a "cattle beast" and I'd tell you it was a cow! That is not so. A cow is what they call a female, therefore a bull cannot be a cow. There's a huge difference, people! Teachers never taught us that in kindergarten! Hubby had to explain to me that there are cows, bulls, heifers, steers, etc. Now, when I drive along the highway and see cattle grazing in the lush green pastures, I never yell out "Oh! Look at those cows!!" anymore. That is, unless I know that they are in fact cows and not bulls, heifers, and...well, you get the point!

I've also learned that making bread is an art and a science. You absolutely must sterilize your jars and lids when canning! Oh, and "canning" does not refer to the act of firing someone from their job. It's the process of making preserves!

Ah! Another thing I learned shortly after moving here is that small rural communities have what is called a "reeve". A reeve is sort of like a mayor...and not reeve as in "Christopher Reeve". The community is a really tightly-knit one. Members of the community generally help each other out when someone is in need. People actually greet their neighbours here. Oh, and a neighbour does not mean just your immediate neighbours. People down the highway about 4 miles away call us their neighbours. If you ever ditch your vehicle like I did, know that people will always be there to help.

Many of the wives get involved in the community too. There are functions where they socialize, such as the teas and bazaars. Some join a quilting guild, the hospital auxilliary or other groups and organizations. I've learned a lot from some of the other ladies in town. The pie crust for a pie is the most important part. If you can't make a good pie crust, your apple pie is doomed. Also, homemade is much better than store-bought! There's a huge difference! I will never eat another store-bought pie again. Ever. Actually, I'm not really a pie fan so it doesn't really matter to me (but don't tell Hubby, he loves his cherry pie...and blueberry pie...and apple pie)!

*sigh* It really, really shocked me to see how little I knew. Coming from a lifestyle of world travels, big charity fundraisers and soirees, art gallery/theater/museum excursions, university education, and life in the big city, I thought that I knew a lot. I knew about world issues, current events, social issues, environmental issues, human rights, politics, history, art, literature...yet on the farm, I am just learning the ropes. It's a rather humbling experience. I'm not a know-it-all after all. Who would have thought that I'd ever need to know that the word for bear poop was called "scat" and that fiddle heads were just the curled up tips of ferns!?!

Though I may sometimes feel like a fish out of water and get frustrated because I'm used to being a know-it-all when I'm in my element, at least I'm trying...and loving every bit of my new life! Yes, even those difficult, challenging, and not so clean moments! ;)

24 comments:

Autumn's Mom said...

I am marrying into a completely different kind of life that I am used to as well, marrying a pastor. I know the feeling! But I'm excited about the journey and will go in letting everyone know that I'm excited, but I'm a newbie. I'm going to learn and make mistakes and hopefully grow a lot!

hotmommy said...

hah hah hah hah! i love how you photoshopped yourself into the photo chrissy; that is so cute!

i think you are doing an amazing job getting accustomed to your new life as a wife and on the farm. none of ever thought you'd be living in the countryside and that you'd last so long over there-no shopping malls, art galleries theaters, restaurants, etc! we're all proud of you and know that your so happy where you are now. plus we'll always visit the countryside and you can always visit the city!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

All I could think of with this post was an old Far Side cartoon, where the cows are in the field building a rocket ship, and the farmers are heckling them, "Hey, Bovine! What are you building, a space ship? Where you gonna fly it? The MOOOOOON???"

PinksandBluesGirls said...

Your posts always make me smile!! And this one is no different... you are such an amazing woman and wife!! I think you've adapted AMAZINGLY!!! Your husband is a lucky man!! :)
xoxo,
Audrey

t said...

Heh! Heh! This post was so funny Chris! Especially since as I read it I could almost HEAR you telling the story! I love your posts, they are so funny. Also, I am glad that you're not turning TOTALLY country! You've gotta save some that that city girl in ya!

Uncivil said...

I think the farm is lucky to have ya C.
Hey, we had a pet cow growing up and her name was "Bill".
Yep, Bill the cow.....not Bill the bull?
She loved those 32 oz. bottles of Miller High Life too.
And then one day my parents turned her onto "Bill Burgers". I'm scared for life!!!!!

C said...

Autumn's Mom:
I think it is really exciting and refreshing to be taken out of one's element and then have to learn and grown with one's partner.

I'm so excited for you and look forward to hearing about your journey. Trust me, I am learning a lit and am making lots of mistakes along the way. You're right about it being a growing experience :)

My biggest mistakes so far being a farmer's wife?? Mistake #1: Running through the bush trying to get the cattle into a different field and not watching where I was running...resulting in tripping and landing face first in a cow pie. Good thing it was dry. *sigh*

Mistake #2: Taking my eye off of the wood splitter for two seconds and almost losing a finger. Scary!

C said...

Hot Mommy:
I'm getting better at the PhotoShop thing, eh? LOL!
Thanks, sweets. I LOVE living in the country. Don't worry! I don't think I'll ever lose the 'city' in me...but at the same time, I don't think I could ever be totally city anymore! LOL! Now, I can take just so much traffic, crowds, etc...

J:
Hahaha! A friend once gave me a Far Side calendar for my birthday. I think that cartoon was on it. Too funny!

C said...

Audrey:
Awwww! Thanks, Audrey!! :) You and your sis always make me smile! Thanks for that!

Yes, my husband is very lucky! LOL! ;) However, I think I'm the luckier one :)

T:
That's funny! I was talking to a friend the other day and she said the same thing! She said that every time she reads one of my posts, she just cracks up because it's like she can HEAR me talking. She said the expressions, the way I tell a story in a post...it's all like the way I talk in person. LOL! Too funny!

C said...

Uncivil:
Oh, boy! THAT'S why Hubby won't let me name any of the calves!!! I got really attached to one of the little guys last year and I'd go visit him in the barn when he was little. Come Fall, I asked Hubby where he was, and he reluctantly said that he'd been shipped down south. I can't tell you how heartbreaking it is when the cattle goes out.

P.S. A cow named Bill!?!?!?! Wow! You and I must be related!! I named our two female kittens Fred and George! LOL! ;)

baby~amore' said...

LOL Chris - you are so funny and honest.
I am learning a thing or two -too !

louann said...

Seriously C, you had me laughing with this one. Very informative!

mrsmogul said...

Farming is hard work! Wow I won't go near a cow, as well as one dropping!

Sandy C. said...

Kudos to you for learning to love and open yourself so freely all things farming. I had no idea about many of these things you listed either! But then again, I am such a city brat as well. I've never even seen a calf in person.

And as someone who's managed to kill active yeast, I can attest to bread making as a art and science ;)

Shannon said...

I often think about how my life is compared to how I expected it to be. Everything happens for a reason, I say. I never thought I would live on a farm in New England and be married, but after ten years I can't imagine anything else- even going back to where I was- no especially going back...
Would you go back?
It seems to me that you are getting pretty good at farm life!

Karen MEG said...

You are the modern day version of "Green Acres" honey LOL!!!

That photoshop pic is great ... you are too funny!

Farmer's wife, one role that you are picking up VERY quickly, I must say. I would be totally clueless, out of my element to say the least!

C said...

Trish:
Thanks! LOL! Yes, every day is a learning experience! The times when I have students here for a few months at a time are even more interesting! LOL!

Louann:
Tee hee! Thanks, Louann! You know, the funny thing is that in the Philippines, my family has some farm land that I only recently knew of! They grow coconuts, mangoes, cacao, and some other things. I'd really like to see it all when I go back for a visit someday.

C said...

Mrs.Mogul:
LOL! That was me at first! I'd look at them from afar and say, "Oh, they're cute!" and that was it! Now that I've been a farmer's wife for almost two years, I have to say that they are kinda cute...especially the calves! The "cow pies" on the other hand...not so cute!

Sandy:
I do love it here. I sometimes have my moments though. I mean, can't expect a gal to totally leave everything she's known behind...like having regular hair salon appointments, the occasional manicure and pedicure, the occasional treat to a nice restaurant, etc.

When I miss the city, I do go for a day trip (shopping!!!) or I go for a week back to Toronto or Montreal to spend time with my family and friends. After a few days, I'm always reminded how much healthier my life is in the country...and how much money I'm saving living there! LOL!

C said...

Shannon:
I agree with you about everything happening for a reason. No, I don't think I could ever go back to my life in the city. I've lived in two major cities in Canada and they are both wonderful and amazing cities. That said, my life in the city was very much commuting, work, commuting, home and weekends were for catching up on sleep, getting household chores and errands done, and perhaps hanging out with friends. I also spent A LOT when I lived in the city. No matter how good my paychecks could be, it would always seem like I wasn't making any headway. In the country, it's different. I don't spend like I did in the city and my life feels healthier, fuller and we're doing things that we both love (Hubby farming and me teaching ESL but my own business and not for another language school).

I guess to answer your question, the answer is no. I don't think I could go back to my former lifestyle. I was always so exhausted and lifeless. I was just drained. Now, I feel a lot more refreshed. The work is harder and working for yourself is harder, but the rewards are tenfold.
Karen:

C said...

Karen:
Ooops! I wrote your name at the bottom of the other comment but I'm too lazy to go back and delete it.

Oh, trust me...I'm still pretty clueless! LOL! Hubby thinks it's funny. I make him laugh all the time (though I don't know if he's laughing out of frustration)! LOL!

I can operate a tractor only if I drive straight. I still have no idea what the clutch is and ask me about gears and I'll probably start crying. Oh, and I drive about 2 km/hour on tractor! I kid you not!

I've got a long way to go yet, but I'm trying! :)

mrinz said...

Love your post Chrissy! And the farming terms are so very interesting.
We call 'canning' - 'bottling'(the fruit goes into bottles or preserving jars)
Baling, wrapping, twine - all the same terms as here. Also in the baling process - the the dry grass is turned with the 'tedder' then its winrowed before being baled.

christine said...

cow drop, yea, sounds like one dropped dead in the field. Funny. Lingo.

C said...

Mrinz:
Wow! It's really interesting that a lot of the terms are the same. I remember when I was working overseas with some teachers from Aus and NZ, quite a few expressions and terms were VERY different!!!

It was so funny how we were all speaking English, but it was like we sometimes needed a dictionary to understand each other! LOL!

Elevator = Lift
Sweater = Jumper
Trunk (of a car) = Boot
Chips = Crisps
French Fries = Chips
Underwear/Panties = Pants/Knickers
Pants = Trousers

I remember getting ready to go out with some friends after work in Japan and my English and Aussie friends were asking what I was going to wear. I said, "Oh, I think I'll just wear a pair of pants and a top. Nothing fancy." LOL! Boy, did they ever have a good laugh! They thought I was "mad" (which I later discovered meant that they thought I was crazy for considering going out in just a top and my underwear)!

I loved it and had a blast with my Aussie and Kiwi friends. They were so much fun!

C said...

Christine:
LOL! That's EXACTLY what I said!! Too funny! Hubby thought it was funny too.

I think he still gets a kick out of my "city" ways sometimes. For example, the other night we were coming home from supper at my parents' when I signalled that I was turning into our garage. Hubby just started LAUGHING and said, "It was very nice of you to signal that you were turning!"

At first I didn't know why he was laughing, because in the city I ALWAYS signal my intentions to other drivers. Then I realized that we were in OUR lane way (which in itself is long enough to be considered a little street/road in the city) and that we don't need to do that because we're the only ones who use our lane way. *sigh* At least I make him laugh!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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