All the hours spent on a tractor seat has me pondering all the comments that have been made to me the past couple decades regarding my position as a Farmers wife. Here is my list:
- “You’re so lucky you only have to work a couple months a year during the summer.” Stop by in January and see for yourself. Its a 7-day a week job, year round . It’s a huge process to get a product to the harvesting stage. It doesn’t magically happen by itself . It’s a year long process people.
- “You’re so lucky to be a stay-at-home Mom.” Absolutely I appreciate the flexibility during the non-harvesting months, but I can guarantee if I’m the parent volunteer at school activities during the day, that I’m staying up late that night and working through the weekend to get my bookkeeping and other farm work caught up. Just ask my kids.
- “Can I come get some cherries?” (For free). Sure! Can I have part of YOUR paycheck ? This is not a hobby for us. This is our entire yearly income, and not only supports our family, but 3 other families and several high school students.
- “You can miss just ONE day of harvest to attend my….”(wedding, party, reunion, graduation, bridal shower, Bar mitzvah, baby gender party reveal). Yes, I could. However, with fruit ripening, spray intervals and weather threats, a single missed day of harvest results in literally tens of THOUSANDS of dollars in missed income. This is not an exaggeration .
- “I would give anything to have your lifestyle.” Would you truly give up your 5-day a week, night and weekends off, climate controlled job with full medical /dental/ life insurance with retirement, paid holidays and vacations with a GUARANTEED paycheck …???? The grass is not greener. If it is, it’s because we spent 96 hours and $18,000 in the past week to fertilize it.
- “Must be nice being given a farm.” This misconception gets the ol blood boiling quicker than just about anything. We pay triple rent to farm the family acres. (Cash rent, taxes and insurance). When my husband and I took over, there was a sheriffs sale, a lien, and unpaid debts on this farm. The orchards were old and wore out, the fields hadn’t seen lime or fertilizer for years and years, there were no shops or adequate storage buildings. We paid the debts, spent the next 20 years building shops, planting new orchards, buying (new to us) equipment, all the while taking only enough money ourselves to live at poverty level (I know this because the school sent home an application for reduced lunches and I realized we more than qualified) , spending 20 years in a double wide trailer as our home. My husband, to this day, drives his “good” pick-up (a 1999 Ford that we bought in 2005) without complaint . Yes, we have recently built a beautiful new home, and I have a nice car. You know what? We’ve totally earned it. I appreciate the articles I read like “10 things your food server would like you to know” and so on, because it puts you in that persons perspective . Perspective. Such a huge, necessary thing I believe we all should possess before passing judgement on others . Put yourself in their shoes, and quit thinking everyone has it better. If you’re miserable, make that change, or discover the beauty in where you’re at. 🍒🍒🍒