Five Things an Honest Farmwife Admits

My Generation

Beware the comparison of background footage vs. the highlight reel. Need to feel better? Here's my background footage.

Published on: November 4, 2013

In an age of social media and well-conceived status updates and our ability to feel bad about ourselves based on that enemy of comparison, my favorite new phrase is that you should never compare your background footage to someone else's highlight reel. With that in mind, here's my background footage. And you can bet there's more where that came from.

1.  My greatest fear is doing something completely ridiculous and plugging the grain leg and every fall my prayer is this: please don't let me be the one to plug the grain leg. Because even though I've written countless stories about grain systems, I don't really have a working knowledge of how it operates. Basics? Yes. Ability to still screw it up? Definitely.

Image design by Erin Ehnle, Keeping It Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl.
Image design by Erin Ehnle, Keeping It Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl.

2.  I've never learned to disk. Or cultivate. Or whatever you want to call it. My mother told me not to learn, unless I wanted to wind up doing it for the rest of my life. I listened.

3.  I constantly vacillate between letting my children do things on the farm and worrying we're letting them do too much and they will get hurt. Like riding four-wheelers. Or operating lawn mowers. And then what will the farm safety people say?

4.  I don't know where some of our back pastures are. This bothers me because at one point, I understood the intricacies of my father's entire electric fence system, which is really saying something. Also, back then I could have told you the entire blood line of any cow in my dad's herd, back a couple generations on both sides. Now, I can barely remember which bull my kids' steers are out of. My only defense is that three kids, a husband, a job and information like the Louisiana Purchase was made in 1803 now take up valuable real estate in my mind. There's just not much left for bulls.

5.  It takes a lot of effort to make a dinner in the field happen. I have to psyche myself up for it. And plan ahead. And hope for the best. And not let my anal retentive nature get the best of me because before it's over, my kids will probably end up eating some dirt and they'll all need a bath when we get home. Which means, after the crazy of the food delivery, I still have to get through the bath and bedtime routine because SCHOOL tomorrow. And clean everything up. It's not all glowing, sunlit Instagram photos, people.


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  1. Emily Zweber @ Zweber Farms of http://www.zweberfarms.com says:

    This could have been posted on my blog!!! LOL, I do know the difference between discing and culitvating, but I certainly don't know how to do either. I don't know how to drive some tractors on our farm, and I often worry that in an emergency I will need to. I will put that on my to-do list between field dinners, baths and spell homework. ;)

    • Emily Zweber says:

      opps, Spelling homework. ;)

      • Holly Spangler says:

        Exactly, Emily. Oh, time.

  2. Miranda says:

    Love it! Every time somebody says, "How do you do it all?" I think....hmm...maybe I should post a day's worth of "out-takes." The tantrums, my messy house, the burnt pumpkin seeds I forgot in the oven, etc. But, alas, if I post my "footage" they might see what I already know: I don't have it any more together than the next work-at-home, support-my-ag-hubby mom does :).

    • Holly Spangler says:

      Ducks in a row, right, Miranda?! "Ducks? I don't even have any ducks!" It is the daily grace of God that gets us through. He knows all about our background footage!

  3. N. Keltner says:

    Thank you for that little piece of reality and the words of wisdom, Holly. I am feeling totally overwhelmed today (as often happens at harvest time) and it is nice to know that I am not alone. I look forward to the rest of your 30 day posts.

    • Holly Spangler says:

      I'm sorry it's been that kind of a day. But you are right: know you are not alone! It's November 4 and we're all a little ragged around the edges. Hang in there!

      • Renfield8 says:

        If God uses our weaknesses to show His strenghts (and what Farmer does not depend on God?), then we should all be so lucky. In reality, this makes you strong, special, a treasure, a hero, and so much more. If you are looking at the bottom of the quilt, all you see are tangled knots, but the quilts of our life are beautiful when viewed from the *proper* perspective. Forget the naysayers: You're the greatest.