Thursday, 8 December 2022

Farmer's wife.

 Sorry to have missed a day or two but would you believe it when i say I have just been 'too busy' to put a post in?   But now my Christmas list is getting shorter I have decided my post is first on todays list: so here goes - let's talk about coming to farming late in life as I did.

Iwas 59 when after being a widow for just over two years I fell in love again with David - a batchelor farmer   I did know what I was letting myself in for - my mother's brother farmed in the Lincolnshire Wolds - no water laid on - they fetched it from a spring every morning in a barrel pulled by a dear old mare called Maisie - I loved her dearly.    I spent most of my school holidays there and dreamt  of being a farmer's wife - in fact I had a proposal from a farmer in his early twenties when I was 17 - he lived in the wolds too.   I had enough sense to turn him down (gently he was a lovely young man).  But then I met Malcolm, my first husband and father of my son, D.    We fell in love and we had almost 40 years together - we both taught and in our spare time as well as boating, walking and meeting with friends we made early music together. Then sadly he died of kidney cancer.   We already knew D, my farmer and walked his land and chatted most days.  I knew his mum well too.

Once married I was landed immediately with doing "the books".  D used to put everything in a box. hand it to his accountant once a month and go in and sign the cheques.  Then the Cattle Movement Service came into being and I had a computer and was reasonably Computer Literate so I took that over.

Every morning before milking D had three slices of home made currant bread (plum bread as we call it up here. )   His mum taught me how to make it and each week I would make it and put the bowl on the front window sill in the sun to rise.   His mum would come round to the window and let me know when it had risen enough.  Another job learned.  

I read up on calving and disagreed with how our calves were being reared  (in individual pens and reared from day one from a bucket.)   I had long discussions with D and his dad and eventually they let me take the whole operation over (one big pen where they were all together and fed by bottle so that their heads were up as they would be if drinking from the tit).

And so it went on - feeding any orphan lambs was next - in a morning the minute the back door opened there was a cacophony of bleating until I was out there with the bottles.

Comfort and support were needed when we actually caught Foot and Mouth and every animal on the farm - apart from Tip the sheepdog- had to be destroyed.

But we soldiered on and for over twenty years had a wonderful life together.    Those were the days.

46 comments:

hart said...

I love the bit about the currant cake.

Rachel Phillips said...

All sounds very idyllic and you were nearly 60.

angryparsnip said...

I am so happy when I found your blog. I remember several post about your life and how wonderful and sad it was at the same time. This is what I wanted to do was read about people, places, and every day life from places I have visited or wanted to.
cheers

Barbara Anne said...

Hope you were happy busy yesterday!

Thank you for sharing these interesting memories from your wonderful life. We've enjoyed seasons of The Yorkshire Vet, so I am somewhat familiar with your tasks and sheep rearing.

Current cake sounds delicious.

Hugs!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I loved reading this post, Weaver. Thank you so much for taking the time to remember and write it! -Jenn

JayCee said...

You have lived such an interesting life. It makes for some engrossing blog posts for us to enjoy.

Barbara R. said...

Great stories, just a glimmer frrom your past, but so enjoyable to read. Thanks.

the veg artist said...

I love that you now seem to be feeling well enough to give us lengthy posts!

Eleanor said...

Foot and Mouth is a terrible disease. I can still remember the smell of the cattle being burnt after the last lot, truly horrible, and watching our local news at lunch time to see the list of newly infected farms and praying my uncles farm wasn't amongst them.

Anonymous said...

How very interesting! You are clearly a persuasive communicator to institute a new approach to calf and lamb raising! Thank you for sharing these memories.

Ceci

Damselfly said...

Wonderful post, Weaver dear!
Thanks ever so much for sharing with us.
Also glad to hear you're apparently doing much better.
Stay safe, warm & well.

Librarian said...

My Yorkshire family has farmers, too: My sister-in-law is married to one of three brothers who run a dairy farm together, 500 cows. They suffered greatly when Foot & Mouth regulations dictated their animals to be culled.
What did the dough for the plum bread do on days without sun?

Sue in Suffolk said...

Lovely stories.
I enjoy hearing about the farm years

thelma said...

A long life has many memories, some happy and some sad. It is lovely you share your life with us Pat.

bornfreev said...

Thank you for sharing stories from you life. I have always enjoyed your way with words. And, your curiosity about others and what they think about different topics. You inspire me. Hugs from Connecticut.

Heather said...

So pleased to know that it was being too busy which prevented you from posting.
Such a lovely post and so many happy memories. Lots of hard work but very rewarding, apart from coping with Foot and Mouth. That must have been heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting post Pat.
Saw the film Quiet Girl yesterday. As the little girl became used to helping on the farm and more curious, she found a calf, bottlefed by her relative, was on powdered milk, and that humans took the cows milk for themselves. "Why don't WE have the powdered milk?" she asked. Good question I thought.
Thank you for persisting at the time, to improve the outcomes for calves and their welfare. I enjoy your stories, and glad that you are up to tackling a longer post. -Pam

RITA LOEHR said...

Great post! Touched on many memories and emotions for me, as I too was a farmers wife, long ago now. Love hearing of your life, thanks for sharing. You write beautifully!

Ana Dunk said...

My mother married a young farmer when she was 17. One day he brought her an orphaned lamb to raise by bottle. Being a lonely young woman out in the country she adored her new little "pet" lamb. Soon the little creature was following her around like a puppy,and crawling into her lap when she sat down. To her horror, one day my dad came for the lamb to take to market. She was devastated, and later told me she cried for hours, having lost her little companion, never dreaming he was destined to become someone's lamb chops.

Granny Sue said...

So interesting. To think of such a change of lifestyle at 59! The currant bread story is touching.

gz said...

Ah, you found your love at 59 too!
Yes, farming is hard work, but worth it.
Foot and Mouth devastated many farms, and farmers as well.

Debby said...

I love that at 60 you took on a whole new life...and made a happy success of it.

sparklingmerlot said...

We heard about the devastation of Foot and Mouth, of course, but to read it from one who experienced it makes it all the more poignant. And show hoe important it is that we keep it out of Australia.
-Caro

Red said...

So you proved that there is more than one way of doing things. Since I was raised on a farm, I know that it's hard to tell farmers things. At least it was hard to tell my Dad a few things.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Foot and mouth must have been terrible for anyone who worked the land. I can't imagine. And at the time probably didn't.

The Furry Gnome said...

Foot and Mouth was terrible! We were on holiday in the UK then, and saw the funeral pyres.

marlane said...

What an incredible life you have led. I especially appreciate how you changed the calves quality of life.

Brenda said...

Love this

Sea Lover said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you.

Lynn Marie said...

Sounds like you did more than play at being a farmer. Good thing you got along with your mother-in-law!

Joanne Noragon said...

Your life is a wonderful story. Thank you for telling it.

LouC said...

What a fascinating life. You are so wonderful to share. With everything going on in your life you are a treasure and you are appreciated and yes, even loved for your generous spirit and the woman you are. It’s a rough patch here with DH of 45 years struggling. Carry on.

Gail, northern California said...

I love it when you reminisce and share your stories with us. Thank you.

Cro Magnon said...

A late cousin of mine worked for the Min' of Ag'. His job was to go from farm to farm to try to stop people storing all their receipts, etc, under the bed. He offered simple accounting systems for farmers, which I believe most later followed.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous and fascinating post! I am impressed that you embraced this whole new way of life from the age of 59… I am 57, and wishing I could make a fresh start in life - yet currently feeling I’m “over the hill” and that I have left it all too late… I will now certainly get to work on changing that way of thinking - you are a wonderful and positive inspiration to me, as always.
Julie B

Judy from Maine said...

You are a gem and sharing your life memories with us is always a treat to read. Thank you so much.

Anne Brew said...

I like hearing about your life and hope to hear more. x

jinxxxygirl said...

I enjoy hearing about your life Pat... The good times never last do they.. Thats why you have to hold on to them with both hands and enjoy them while you have them.. But know the bad times don't last forever either.. Good to hear from you! Hugs! debs

Melinda from Ontario said...

Like all of your other readers, I loved your post. Each tidbit you wrote about made great fodder for further conversation, eg., falling in love again at age 59, becoming a farmer's wife at age 59, instilling your own ideas into established farming practices, the joys and heartbreaks of farming. It was all so interesting. Thank you!

John Going Gently said...

Well written pat x xxx

carolyn said...

I love hearing about your wonderful life. What great memories you have.
Love you too.
Carolyn
Montana, USA

Rachel Phillips said...

I can't imagine it all being a bed of roses knowing family farms as I do.

Tom Stephenson said...

I think you are the only person I have met who dreamed of becoming a farmer's wife!

Derek Faulkner said...

An interesting and emotional set of recollections of a kind that all of us of a similar age find us looking back at.Sadness and old age seem to go hand in hand as we look back and re-live the better days.

The Weaver of Grass said...

TahnksLibrarian - sat on top of the aga. Too right Rachel. Thanks everyone for responding.

Pixie said...

I can't imagine it was easy marrying a bachelor. I'm glad that you insisted the calves be raised in a kinder, gentler fashion. When I was a young girl, I wanted to marry a farmer too. I would have been crap at it, so it's a good thing it didn't happen.

It's funny as I get older, how clearly memories seem to come back to me, almost like watching a film, but I can't remember where I put something that was in my hand a moment ago.