In reading a blog I read daily called Sheepy Hollow Farm I was taken to a site called Farmher. This is a website documenting women farmers in the U.S. and the photographs are stunning. It got me to thinking about last weekend.
My sister had a pile of wood in her driveway that needed to be split so last Sunday Bill filled the splitter with gas, hooked it up to the tractor and sent me on my way. I have to admit I love driving the tractor – especially to other people’s houses. I love the open feeling as you are driving down the road, the way the tractor sounds.
On the way I passed the home of a classmate of mine (there were only 4 of us total until high school). He was mowing his lawn and I could see on his face that look of bewilderment – “What is she doing towing a splitter down the road with a tractor?”
When I got to Sue’s we unhooked the splitter leaving it near the pile of wood. We then proceeded across the field to pick up three large pieces of an apple tree trunk. They filled the bucket. After dumping them in the pile of wood we started splitting, each taking a turn at running the splitter or bringing the wood over to be split – both throwing the wood into the pile needing to be stacked. We were about halfway through the pile when my classmate, his wife and daughter walked by with their dog. We gave a wave but continued on our quest to finish before we ran out of gas (both us and the splitter). I said they must be wondering about those crazy sisters doing that kind of work.
That’s what I was thinking as I perused the photography of Farmher. I saw a woman tilling her garden, out with a chainsaw. I saw them milking goats, feeding chickens, tending gardens and thought this has been me for a good part of my life in one way or another. In centuries past the woman did a very large part of the farming along with her husband. They were a team. The men did the heavy work, the women made sure they were fed and warm. They all worked hard. I come from a line of small farmers, it seems to me that this is the way life really should be. Bringing forth your sustenance from the land that is yours, tending your field and flock. Knowing that the work you put in keeps your family happy and whole.