Life on a dairy farm is a unique lifestyle for a new couple, and like all couples, we’ve encountered challenges along the way . Dairy farming has been in Scott’s family for four generations, and I didn’t really have any real experience with farming until we met each other.
Scott and I were even engaged on the farm. In 2009, he asked the question by painting, “Will you marry me?” on the new barn that we and our family built. This was the beginning of adjusting to a lot of changes for me. I grew up in the country in northern Wisconsin, so I was used to many aspects of farm life, but I had to get used to a new life with so many new things, not just as a wife, but as a farmer’s wife, not to mention the animals (and the smells).
And now, this February, we will be adding a new helper to our farm—baby Otte! We know that the farm will not always be the easiest, but it’s a great place to grow and raise a family.
One challenge that we face is the hard work of life on a farm. It isn’t the quaint, rustic life that many people imagine. Scott starts his workday at 3:30 a.m., seven days a week. Those times get stressful and require a lot more effort to communicate with each other. It means we don’t get to wake up next to each other very often. We don’t get to take a day off when we feel tired. There’s no such thing as paid vacation during harvest time. During the spring and fall, we have to do most of our communicating over the phone. Date nights require some creativity too. Most of the time, it’s fast food on the tractor. Hours get long, and there are long stretches that we have to go through without seeing each other very often at all.
Many couples encounter times when life gets crazy and communication is hard. It’s never easy, but the key is understanding. We make time for each other in unique ways. For example, we try to always call each other in the morning before things get too hectic. And I always try to stay up to say goodnight and have a snack ready for him when he gets home. It’s important to remember that it’s the little things that count.
The little ways in which we show appreciation for each other make a huge difference in our relationship. Some days are more difficult, like when he misses out on family and friend events. But remembering that those times are only for a little while is huge. We work through it the best that we can, and I try to appreciate everything that he does for us. Just like all couples during the crazy times in their lives, we have to be patient and understanding and remember that this time will end, and then we’ll have more time to reconnect and enjoy each other.
I often remind myself of the joys of farm life: Evening four-wheeler rides and walks around the farm with our dog, Oliver. The privacy of living out in the country. The joy of feeding the calves and watching them grow. It’s worth it, and I’m so grateful for my hard working farmer.