Tuesday, March 8, 2016

All Hail the "Hefty Wife"

---this is somewhat dated. It's been languishing in my draft folder for a while---

One cold, dark January morning, I found myself standing in the chicken yard, in the dark, in the bitter cold, bracing against the diggin’ bar while holding a flashlight, before breakfast… I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.
this is a photo of a diggin' bar, in the dark, in the chicken yard
(you will have to imagine the cold)

And, then the Boss laughed out loud when I said...

It sure is a good thing I am a hefty wife!  

…and while I know I need to lose more than a few pounds (at least that’s what that silly little BMI chart says) I’m not making any sort of self-deprecating statements or feeling bad about myself. I take more than a little pride in being "a hefty wife"!

I guess I should explain.

Years and years ago, a friend told the story of an older farmer who insisted that every farmer needed a hefty wife.  And, he was happy to note that the younger farmer’s wife fit the bill. Confused and fully aware that his own wife was looking daggers at both of them, the younger farmer listened intently for clues. Obviously, the old farmer didn’t mean a big or fat woman, his own wife was fairly trim and the younger farmer’s wife was a teeny-tiny little thing.  No, he simply meant that unlike some of their more dainty counterparts, a good farm wife needed to be thoroughly involved with the operation, ready to pitch in at a moment’s notice and possess enough strength and stamina to work as a full partner to the farmer.  Whether it’s catching/vetting livestock, driving truck/tractor or planting/harvesting crops, it helps to be substantial enough to get the job done.

Gardening, preserving food for winter, milking, cooking, cleaning, veterinarian duties…the jobs that fall to the farm wife are multitudinous. Strength (both physical and that of character) is an absolute necessity.

Then there are the millions (no exaggeration here at all!) of times that the farmer says (in one way or another) “Dear…can you lend a hand?” 

Even though the original source of the phrase has been lost through the passage of time (or maybe the wrong woman heard it without explanation and “offed” the poor old guy, I don't know), it brightens up even the most mundane of tasks.

And, while it’s probably more than a little self-serving…I just want to say…

                         All hail the hefty wife! 

She’s a necessity on any farm.

Proudly serving since 1984.

**as for the reason I was in the chicken yard with a diggin’ bar, in the dark, before breakfast...

I was helping the Boss re-position the mobile henhouse in preparation for some frigid weather heading this direction. Any chicken moves are done before the chickens go outside for the day. (that way we don’t add chicken-chasing to the “to-do” list) With our very un-level land, one side needed to be up on a jack.  The wheel of the house kept pushing the jack along the frozen ground. The Boss couldn’t drive the tractor and keep the jack in place. “here…lend a hand!”  and he handed me the digging bar. By putting my weight against the bar, and leaning against the jack while he pushed with the tractor…the house rolled neatly into place…just in time for breakfast.  



  1. Hi Barb! I love the story! I consider myself "hefty" at the moment - but I totally agree that you have to be able to jump in and help whenever possible - man or woman! :) We are getting wonderful warm weather now - I am very happy about that! Maybe we can put the critters out on pasture early this year! God Bless!!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Tracy!
      It is SO beautiful today that it's easy to forget how very early in the season it still is. Are you far enough south to hope that Spring is really early this year?
      Hope you do get to put the critters out soon. I'm sure they will appreciate it.
      Best to you.

  2. Love this post. Us farming women are "hefty" indeed, dropping everything at a moments notice to lend a hand at whatever task we are needed for. I proudly call myself a farmer, not a farmer's wife. Side by side we work... all hours of the day and night.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Most of the time I refer to myself as a farmer, too. Husband has his areas of expertise and I have mine. We are a team. But, I just have to laugh every time I think of the "hefty" wife story. :)