Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some things never change

You all know this guy, Hobbes.
We were hanging out on the deck this evening enjoying the cool air and sunset. Spending quality time together. He's getting up there you know. He's 12. He'll be 13 in May. He's starting to change in his old age. He's becoming more loving. 

Ah, who am I kidding? He may be getting old but he hasn't changed a bit. The only reason he was hanging out with me was because he was waiting for me to go inside and feed him. 

Then he noticed I was taking forever because I was taking his picture. So he did this.  Yes, this is the very next picture.

I have to hand it to him. He knows how to get what he wants.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bulls and cows.

Owen is in the field with me helping me or at least hanging out with me while I feed and water the cows and chickens.

He walks over to the cows to offer a pat. Smokey comes looking for a crab apple treat, but getting nothing, turns her attention back to the grass. The bull comes wandering his way so I ask him to step back on the other side of the electric fence. (The bull has never been or shown any signs of being mean, but he's still a bull, and you never trust a bull 100%. Plus I think the heifer was in heat.)

Me: Owen, why don't you come back to this side of the fence. The bull is coming over.

Owen, looking at our cow Royalty: Is that the bull?

Me: No, she's a cow. That's Royalty. (Pointing to the bull) That's the bull.

Owen: I thought they were both cows.

Me: Nope. Royalty is a cow and you can tell because she has an udder. See, where the milk comes from?

Owen: Yeah, but that one has one too. (Pointing to the bull again)

Me: No, that's not an udder, those are his testicles. They're different. Only boys have those. Even you.

I leave Owen to run this information over in his head.  I wonder if he's wondering if his "fellas" will grow as large as the bull's. I wonder if I'm going to have to answer more difficult questions. I wonder where his dad is. But Owen moves on to wonder about something else. What would I do without livestock to explain these things?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Swallowing ego and playing our part. Or not.

When people ask I tell them I grew up on a traditional family farm. There were roles for the women and roles for the men. I knew the roles existed. I knew the traditional expectation too. So did my mom.

My mom taught me two lessons though. The first, how to fulfill the role of the wife and mother. The second, that we don't always have to.

As a little girl I was taught that if the men are out working it is our job to make sure they have food to eat when they come in for lunch or supper. That our job is to make sure they have everything they need to do their job. Some people would likely view this as sexist, but what it truly was, was every member of the family finding a way to contribute to the end result. To getting the job done. If we aren't needed out in the barn/field/woods/workshop, then we can be of help in the house. I felt like it was unfair at times. Times when I wanted to work on the tractor instead of making sandwiches. Tractor work earns a lot more clout than making sandwiches does. I wanted to be the one who everyone pats on the back for a good work day put in. For earning my keep. Instead, I had to eat my ego and do what was needed of me. A lesson I hope my kids learn.

As much as my mother taught me lesson one, she was sure to show me that just because we are good at making sandwiches doesn't mean we can't run the tractor too. We can do both jobs. I liked this lesson best. A lesson that I'm sure my kids have learned. Not only can I keep a house, but I can also get a pat on the back for a good days work. As a kid, this pleased me to no end. I thought of us girls as the most useful can't-do-without tool in our family toolbox. My brothers noticed this too, and so they learned to cook to try to even the score. Growing up I always challenged "girl jobs" and "boy jobs". So often that my mother was called by the school. (I am sure she was most concerned and likely promised the principal that she would speak to me about my bold stand. At home she just smiled at me.)

I've never thought of myself or my mother as a feminist. I just never liked the term. I'm sure we fit the definition though. We just didn't care. I have experienced inequality. I was even flat out told I wouldn't be hired because I was a girl. But I learned to swallow my ego a long time ago.

I work in a male dominated industry. Farmers, men and even some women, still look at me and say that I can't, that I shouldn't and ask where my husband is. I just smile knowing something they don't and make the sandwiches, then go to work on the tractor. Thanks Mom, for two great lessons.