Anne Raygil is a small town-girl learning all about life on the farm.
There are few things more daunting than becoming a 'farm girl.' While you might brush off how big of a change it is. It is a big change and you deserve to have some time to adjust and make the best of it. Whether you have been around agriculture your whole life and are taking on a bigger role within that or you haven't been around farming that much and are marrying into it or maybe even you are taking on farming as a completely new adventure, it is totally okay to be scared and in need of some guidance during that time. While I don't have all the answers and insights to questions and concerns because my personal journey has only just begun in the scheme of things. I hope I can provide you with some helpful steps to help you relax and enjoy your new role as a farm girl.
1. Take a deep breath
I know it sounds like a cliché because that is what everyone tells you to do, but it does help sometimes. Take a little moment to just let yourself breathe and take it all in; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is something that I still have to do on occasion because especially at school I am not around the farm so I get kind of lost in what I am and am not.
2. Take a walk
This is starting to sound like stress relief tips, I know, but one of my favorite things to do is to take a walk around my parents property to take it all in. I am so incredibly proud of how hard they have worked for what they have today, and seeing it all makes me so thankful to be a part of it. Enjoying the quiet of the country and the beauty of nature makes the stress and the sweat all worth it. It is also calming, but I mostly do it to reflect on what I have the opportunity to be a part of.
3. Find some support
Do you know other farm wives or women in agriculture? Reach out to them, have coffee, have lunch, the men do it all the time to talk about their problems and observations, but we can too. This will help you feel less alone in the transition if you have people you can go to that understand what its like to be a woman on the farm. Even if you don't know anyone, there are plenty of Facebook groups, blogs, and YouTube channels where you can find some people to message with.
4. Get Dirty
This might not be a problem for everybody, but for me and some people who don't work outside a lot, it can be difficult to let yourself get dirty. I used to not like getting dirty at all, no mud, no manure, nothing, I'd try to keep my work clothes as clean as possible. However, the more I had to do to help the dirtier I had to get and now I am more used to getting mud on my pants and wiping my hands on my jacket. They can all be washed, and they are old clothes anyway. It might take time, but its worth it. It makes life so much easier when you can let yourself go a little.
5. Give Grace
There is always a lot going on on a farm no matter what the season, so give grace. Give yourself some grace if you forget something, or don't make it into town on time, or mess up a task, its okay, everyday is a learning experience. Also give grace to your family, they work just as hard if not harder, and I know how grumpy men get when things don't go their way or equipment breaks down, so give them grace too. You have an awesome opportunity to show God's love to others through your farm so do it.
6. Never Stop Learning
I don't think that I will ever know everything there is to know about raising cattle, but I am going to try and learn everything I can. Is the vet at the farm castrating bull calves, let me go watch, do we need to fix the fence let me come help. I have learned so much by just being willing to help out. Now I can use what I've learned to do things on my own and be a bigger help. It also makes me feel good to be independent. There are also always new studies and articles to read about agriculture innovations. With a constantly changing world try and stay on top of things, it also helps you to look smart when you talk to other farmers.
7. Find your own passion
If you aren't the primary caretaker of the farm or even if you are, once you feel a little bit more settled find an agricultural project that you want to take on. Do you want to raise chickens? Do you really like gardening or flowers? Maybe you want to farrow some hogs. Find something that can be just yours to take care of and learn about. It gives you some ownership on the farm and can be a way to relieve some stress.
8. Fake it until you make it
This is my favorite piece of advice to give to anyone because it works every time. There will be times when you have absolutely no clue what is going on or how something works, and that's okay. Just do your best! Look at other people around you mimic them, or even mimic the internet. Sure you might mess something up, but it probably won't be too bad. As long as you keep trying that is all that anyone cares about.
These are the thing that I did to try and help with my own transition to a bigger farm that was really different than what I grew up with and I found them helpful. Maybe you did or do something different. Let me know in the comments what helped you, or if you are struggling with the transition feel free to reach out into this community for support.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.