This blog post is dedicated to my husband’s cousin’s wife, Kim Baldwin, who I know is going through the same waiting game. You can follow her adventures as a farm wife at http://www.aliveandwellinkansas.wordpress.com.
My husband and I started dating in May 2009. By January of 2010 I was ready for a ring but he insisted I needed to experience a little more of the farm life before he got down on one knee. I wondered what more there was to see: I had experienced wheat harvest, summer irrigation and winter calving. But Derek explained that I needed to live through April to truly get a taste of the life of a farm wife. He was right, April of 2010 was a trying month for us all.
I had no idea what to expect in April. At the start I couldn’t figure out why April required a warning. Now I know. April is by far the busiest month on our farm. And t his year’s warm weather has only expedited an already busy schedule.
So what do we do in April? April is calf-working, cow-hauling and corn-planting month. There’s also field work, fertilizing, insemination and transporting sprinkled throughout the month. The days start at sunrise and often end long after the sun has gone back down.
Derek’s father began running the tractor through the fields to remove weeds Sunday and Derek follow with the planter full of corn seed Monday. The sprinkles Monday night slowed the field work but Derek moved onto the cattle – looking over calves to make sure they were all healthy and well and finding which mother calves had yet to calve.
Next week, Derek and his father will begin transporting mother cows and their calves to green pastures in the Kansas Flint Hills. Someone will likely be manning the planter and if there are any free bodies, they will be assigned to another tractor to continue working the weeds out of the fields. Derek and his veterinarian will also artificially inseminate more than 100 female cows that will become first-time mothers this winter. At the end of the month, the bulls will be turned out into the pastures to do their jobs.
This is my third April on the farm – the second as an official farm wife – and although I know what to expect, it’s still hard to not get frustrated as the busy schedule, lack of time and always-tired husband. I have learned that all appointments and dates are subject to change and rain in the forecast means long nights to beat Mother Nature.
Drive down the road and you should have no trouble spotting a hard working farmer this month. But each time you see a hardworking man, remember there is an equally hardworking – and very patient woman – waiting at home.