I’ve just resumed the writing of my next book. The working title is How To Be A Perfect Farm Wife – with plans for it to be realistic yet funny with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour. ?Similarly to Would You Marry A Farmer?, this book will be written for the new farm wife in mind, the woman who is marrying a farmer and isn’t quite sure what she is letting herself in for, who wants to be informed but I hope that farmers (male and female) will enjoy it too, just as they have done my first book. It will tell her what she needs to know and how to do it well – and how to cheat at doing it well of course!
I’ve created the structure and written about 25,000 words so far but hoping to write another 25,000 over the next month. I’ve notes all over my first draft so far with lots to write up. I know the title sounds a bit 1950s but I promise it will be a bit feminist, it will reflect equality but there will be plenty of humour – I’ll be writing with plenty of pinches of salt!
But I need some help! Which is where you come in!
For this book, I’m planning to interview farm women and if you’d like to be involved, I’d hugely appreciated it. No payment I’m afraid but I will send you a free signed copy of the book when it is published and I’ll buy you coffee and cake if we meet up for the interview too! It can be anonymous or I will be very happy to acknowledge your contribution in the acknowledgements. You don’t have to be Irish by the way, the more diversity the better and it could be interesting to see the difference in expectations and experiences in farm women from different countries. ?My aim is to show a realistic view of farm life but in a similar way to first book, I want male and female farmers to laugh at / with themselves so those things that might have made you wince at the time but now make you laugh are good. Having said that, farming life can be harsh at times so I’m not going to be sugarcoating anything. It’s all about celebrating the ordinary in our lives too as well as the achievements.
Farm women through the decades
I’d like to show how experiences for farm women have changed over the years so with this in mind, I am planning to women who have married farmers and show how their expectations and experiences have altered over the years so if you married a farmer in the last year or two, or between 2000-2010, 1990-2000, 1980-1990, 1970-1980, 1960-1970 and so on. Reflections on your parents farming lives would be great too.
If you’re in Ireland, I’d love to meet. If you’re abroad, we can do it by email or skype (if my broadband improves so I can skype!). I can email you questions so you have time to think about them and can add any extra material too.
Day in the life of an xxxx farmer / farm wife
Another section of the book will explore a day in the life of different types of female farmers / farm wives. We all know we have to multi-task, that a call to go help with a sick animal or collect a tractor part is just part of the life. However, while I’m pretty knowledgeable about beef and dairy, I’m conscious I don’t know all the ins and outs of sheep, goat, poultry etc. Therefore, if you’d be happy to provide a snapshot of a day in your life, perhaps from one of the busiest months, I’d be delighted. ?You don’t have to farm full-time either – if you work off-farm I’d be interested to hear too. So, if you are a dairy, beef, sheep, goat, poultry, alpaca, tillage, mixed, pig, suckler, snail, horticulture, stud or any other type of farming, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Here’s an example of a day in my life:
February (choosing this as it’s my busiest month on the farm). My main farm responsibilities are calf rearing, grass measuring and keeping us all fed and watered with reasonably nutritious meals, I’m also a jack of all trades, emergency stopper in a gap and taxi service. Many wives are in charge of the paperwork but I’m desperate at filing so Brian decided that doing it himself was easier and cheaper than a divorce! I’m perfectly okay with being a failure in that area! I also offer social media training and content creation but try to limit the training in Feb and March to mentoring or very occasional days. I’m providing elearning training now too at We Teach Social which is very flexible.
6:30 ish – Brian is milking. I get started on replying to emails and finding good content to share. I’m not good in the mornings so don’t do anything too taxing.
7:30 Get kids up, breakfasts, make lunches etc
8:50-9:10 Walk kids to school bus
9:10 – 10:30ish I feed the calves, it can take longer if any are sick or if there’s a good few newborns. As we lost some calves with crypto last year, we are treating each calf with halipur this year – each calf has to have 7 doses over 7 days.
10:30ish Brian and I have our breakfast and we always have a mini meeting too, discussing what needs to be done, what bills have to be paid, what Peter can we rob to pay Paul (we have three bank accounts you see) etc.
11:00-3:00 ?If I’m providing mentoring or training, I’ll have had a quick shower and dashed off. Otherwise, I’ll shower in the evening and settle down to do some ghost blogging or write the elearning courses. I should be doing some book writing here too but it never works out like that. I also put on the dinner so it is ready for when the kids come home. Light the fire too. Note no housework has been done bar taking some clothes out of the washing machine and wondering how some fence staple or long screw ended up in there even though I’d emptied pockets.
3:15 – 5:15 Kids are home, it’s dinner, conversation and homework time. I might run the hoover around too!
5:15-6:30 I usually write a blog post while the kids are messing about. Yes, it’s 6:20pm now and I’m blogging! I might be keeping one eye on the calving monitor too.
6:30-7:30ish Feed the calves and do a few other odd jobs around the farm. Inevitably though, things happen to delay and it could be 8 or 8:30 before I’m in.
7:30 Time for supper and veg with the kids for a while. They aren’t doing any evening activities this year which is bliss but other years, I was driving them to Carlow three times a week. I now wonder how I had the time.
9:00 Kids go to bed and I sit on the sofa with the laptop on my knee – I might be writing the book, blogging and writing courses.
I’m a bit of a night owl so rarely go to bed before 11:30. Head to bed and hope that Brian won’t need help calving a cow during the night!
So, what next? If you can leave a comment here, I’ll see your email address and can email you. Alternatively, do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which interview you’d be interested in doing. You don’t have to be from Ireland but I probably will focus on Irish experiences more (ie 50% will be Irish)
Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂