Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Men In My Life

The time of year is approaching during which I begin to have frequent, meaningful conversations with the two most important men in my life: my husband and my accountant.

During that fleeting period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, farm wives become reacquainted with their spouses, who have finally given up fixing fence with frozen fingers. The wheat is dormant, and so are the weeds. The calves are shipped to market, the cows are gathered at home, and the hay is stacked neatly in rows that await the snow that will cover the fall pastures.

Hunting season is over, and after a long summer of working overtime, the sun is finally setting before suppertime.

The farmer retreats to the house to familiarize himself with his family.

The farm wife makes up for lost time, barraging the farmer with all the conversations that were left unsaid during the exhausting seasons of summer and fall. She hears the farmer speak more during this month than she has heard in the previous 10 months combined.

I find myself rambling on about topics ranging from politics to the condition of the living room carpet. We have the luxury of having meaningless conversations for the first time in weeks.

We also have time to have meaningful conversations, such as the reality of finances and the future of the operation. These are the weeks in which we slow down, evaluate our priorities, and reconnect with our goals and our reasons for being engaged in agriculture.

I relish two aspects of this time of year. The first is that we sit down as a family to at least one meal a day, and it is eaten at a reasonable hour. I feel like we are almost a normal family.

The second is that a sense of completion descends upon us, and it is a satisfying feeling. The calf check is in the bank, the grain either binned or delivered, and we are paying the last few bills of the year.

This may sound strange, but I actually enjoy compiling the year’s financial data for the accountant to review. Discussing the expenditures, predicting next year’s income, and analyzing the operation provide a sense of closure on another year that we stayed afloat in agriculture.

More significant than the closure, however, is the promise of the next year. Like most people in agriculture, I live in that cloud of optimism for next year, and there’s nothing like signing a tax return to propel you into next year.

Although it means the beginning of calving and a return to the one-syllable grunts that will meet my attempts at conversation in a couple of months, I am looking forward to the new year. But until it arrives, I am happy to have a “normal” marriage, just for a little while.


Frazzled Farm Wife said...

Eating supper at a NORMAL time and at the table instead of on the go....I love that part about winter too!

Kris said...

Your writing resonates with me so often. You have a gift. I try and try but can never make words say what I feel. Another excellent blog!

Jenny said...

Not so much here. Right now we are saying, "oh, crap. Farming really sucked this year". We are wondering if the farm bank is going to say "ok, we will let you try again next year" or "sell out". Hopefully since he went out and got a "real job" (fire department in town), they will allow us to farm again. High fuel, high fertilizer, low prices for calves, and 1/4 of our usual hay yield due to drought really did one on us this year. Aren't I just a little ball of sunshine! If the accountant says we owe, I'm going to say look again. LOL!

As for conversations, I have a husband that LOVES to talk on the phone. Thanks to air conditioned tractors and unlimited mobile to mobile minutes, he is ALWAYS calling me to talk about nothing. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose anyone has the whole "normal?" I wonder if everybody dysfunctional or if it's just that nobody really lives up to the hype of "normal" LOL!! I'm happy for you that you have dinner back, and time for small talk. They are precious things.

Blessings, Whitney

Dawn said...

I love the early dark evenings, too. Even without the agriculture life, it seems that our family stays home and indoors more once this season arrives, too. I love it!!!


Farm Fresh Jessica said...

I got all teary eyed--and it will come soon for us!! I know it will.

Harvest isn't over yet here...

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

Amen. I know exactly what you mean. We(the kids and I) were glad to see it all come to an end this summer. We were glad for school to start so our lives as we faintly remembered them would resume. No more icky motel living. The tailgate was no longer our table. But ,of course, we MISS our very tiny piece of Wyoming. We have tried to go there a couple times and either our schedule didnt allow it or the weather.

Michelle said...

Lurker coming out to say, I totally "get" you here. Though harvest isn't quite done here yet, once it is, I really enjoy the winter and the early darkness because I get my husband back. I have so many non-farm friends who say they hate winter and I'm over here saying, I love it b/c I have a husband in the winter! :)

And yes, I like the feeling of having the debts paid (even if its only for a short time) and the anticipation of how great next year will be. Maybe someday a year will live up to our "new year optimism"! LOL!

Ann from Montana said...

Beautiful post!

My family has been out of agriculture (mid-west) for two generations, but I was fortunate to have been told some of the stories. Now, living here, I like hearing.

Anonymous said...

You have a great attitude Erin. Thanks for being so real.

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