Friday, 14 August 2015

What is it about farmers?

What is it about farmers and retirement?

Almost all the farmers we know are still working, albeit as they get older their work load diminishes.   I believe the average age of a farmer is late fifties or something like that.

My farmer is over seventy (just) and any mention of retirement fills him (and me actually) with horror.   Because farming is not just a job, it is a way of life.   It is a twenty-four hour way of life.   If you have livestock - for example cows - they are just as likely to calve in the middle of the night in an awkward place as they are to calve in  the straw in the barn.  Many is the time when we had a dairy herd  I have gone down the field with him at about two o'clock in the morning to see how a particular cow was faring.  It was a job I enjoyed as much as he did.

Now we have no livestock of our own.   So has he cut down?   Well yes, maybe a little.   But he has just bought himself a little mechanical digger so that he can do little jobs for neighbouring farmers; he still enjoys a spot of haymaking for various folk around who own single fields; he still enjoys being 'on the go' throughout the day.

Well yesterday it was brought home to him that he is not as young as he thought he was.   Four solid days of sitting on a tractor looking over his right shoulder while haymaking, making sure the cutter, then the turner, then the rower and finally the baler were in the correct place, and this morning his right hip was very painful.   Getting out of the car after going into town to collect the morning papers at 7am, he somehow twisted his hip further.

The upshot is that he was in agony, very white-faced, sweating heavily and totally unable to function.   Now in the middle of the afternoon the pain has eased (good painkillers have kicked in) and he is sitting in his chair reading the newspaper.   But walking is quite out of the question at present.

Will he learn from the experience?  I doubt it.   But at least he is going for a hip X ray next week.   A slight break through methinks.
 

19 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

My in laws sold up their cattle before he got too old to look after them and three years ago sold the farm house and land and moved somewhere smaller. It doesn't stop either of them being as active as they've ever been and fit as fleas, despite cancer ops, bad backs and more recently open heart surgery. They just bounce back and keep going as if nothing has happened. Farmers are a tough breed. Hope he feels better soon x

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Golly gee hope the discomfort eases soon, I know well the pain of sciatica and herniated discs. Ugh.

donna baker said...

My husband is 67 and used to work so hard, but no longer can because of health problems. He's out there now, trying to get the old tractor to start, but can hardly stand (and can't get it started to blade the new gravel for the driveway). It has been sitting in the drive for 2 weeks and I got out there and shoveled the top of the pile off so a truck could pass over it. My replaced knee is bothering me today. I never would have done it but I knew he could not and they are to deliver a new storm shelter this morning. There does come the time...

Gwil W said...

Sounds like a bit of physiotherapy might be in order. I had to have ten sessions for my frozen shoulder. It took 5 weeks.

Midmarsh John said...

Farmer and I are similar ages. Since a major op some years ago there are some things I should not do. I remember most of the time but on some occasions when things need doing I forget or just get the job done regardless.

Joanne Noragon said...

I am so sorry for your farmer. An x-ray will not go amiss, but pain killers will go farther. The hip is in principle a replica of my shoulder. When I spend hours alltogether throwing the shuttle my left shoulder screams in pain and I need a good night's rest and a couple days off loom to recover. Slow and easy does the job. I suppose though, making hay does not equate directly to making cloth.

A Heron's View said...

I can empathise with the farmer my joints flare up now and again. Then I remember to return to my Omega 3-6-9 at 6 per day and everything settles down again until I forget to take them - hey ho!
Farmer's injury sounds like repetitive strain plus wear and tear over the years.

Doc said...

If he rests up and minds Weaver I am quite sure he will right back at it. I have been told to slow down and hire the work done but stubbornness and joy of doing the work keeps me out there.

Tom Stephenson said...

I know how he feels - about retirement. I could not physically carry on doing the work I did when I was young, so now I try to get the young to do it for me. I could only loll around by writing, or something similar. Holidays are only holidays when compared to work.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I am so sorry to hear this and hope your Farmer will be better soon! I'm 70 this year and have lots of arthritis which can flare up with overuse.

angryparsnip said...

I try to do what I use to and can barley finish one.
This lack of mobility was not what my life was to be.
I hope the Farmer feels better soon.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

Poor farmer, I do hope he will soon be much more comfortable. Keeping busy and active is how he enjoys his life, but gently does it. Maybe this will be a timely lesson. I still get caught out over gardening even when I'm sure I have paced myself and not done too much.

Acornmoon said...

Get well soon Farmer xxx

lil red hen said...

My farmer and I are both 74 years old, and there's nary a hint of retirement from raising chickens in four houses, beef cattle, and hay work.

zoeoutside said...

Has Farmer tried an osteopath? It may involve the muscles having gone into a kind of overtight stasis from being pulled in one direction for so long? I had a similar sort of thing once when I spent a whole day at the computer, but not sitting straight on - and the next day and until I got to an osteopath I was in agony. Post-osteopath I was also crying - but tears of joy at the relief, not pain.

thelma said...

Well I hope the farmer gets better fairly quickly, and not stop work but at least know how to use his body in the future without causing undue stress and strain.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone. He is very much better this morning.

Jenny said...

My brother, aged 64, retired from farming this year, the farm had been in our family for four generations. We were all worried about him giving up, selling everything, moving into a smaller home. Wrong, he loves it, so laid back it's unbelievable. But I do agree most farmers can't give up their way of life.

Frances said...

I'd like to add my get well wishes for the Farmer. I'm also familiar with certain pains as aftermath of longish periods of twisty-turny motion. Sometimes my own job involves a fair amount of this sort of physical work, with much bending, climbing, lifting of fairly heavy boxes and so forth. I have had to get a bit smarter about how to approach such projects. Sometimes sharing these tasks, so that one person does not have too long a repetitive stint can be helpful to both getting the task done and preventing achy bodies for anyone.

I think that many of us like to take care of things and can get swept up in the enthusiasm of getting the job done.

Consideration of opting for full retirement is rolling round my head, but so far I've not reached a firm decision. Of course, even after any retirement from my current paid employment, I know I would still be a very busy person. Let's toast Life!

xo