Kate Chapman on the delights of country living.
There’s no arguing Lincolnshire is one of the country’s prime agricultural counties.
If they do manage to organise a trip out, chances are it will be to an agricultural show, or twoFarmer’s wife Kate Chapman
Which means it is home to a lot of farmers – and of course a lot of farmers’ wives. As one myself, I rather like to think of us as the unsung heroes of the agricultural community – lots of us work side by side in the fields with our men folk or support them in other ways, keeping the home fires burning.
However you prop up your farming husband – or maybe wife, let’s not be sexist here – there are a few little clues that give away your agricultural status.
Like your barn’s leaky roof taking priority over that of the house, or the fact that there’s never any veg in your pantry, so you have to go down the garden or field to dig your own.
If it’s the former, then it’s bound to be in a mess – well let’s face it, who wants to go gardening when they’ve already been working the land all day?
And then there’s the Christmas turkey which always arrives with its feathers and innards still intact, while the fridge is crammed full of medicine bottles – for the livestock.
A lie-in is anything past 5.30am, and don’t get me started on summer holidays – most farming wives I know look forward to rainy days just so they can spend quality time quality together as a family.
If they do manage to organise a trip out, chances are it will be to an agricultural show, or two.
And as for actual getaways, well they usually entail visiting another rural part of the country so their other half can spy on the methods and techniques of other growers.
Time is just one thing farmers don’t have enough of; the only time you actually get to spend together is if you ride the tractor with them, or the pick-up truck, which doubles as your second home. Even when you start a family you have to make sure the impending birth won’t clash with harvest-time.
Taking your lunch out into the field is the closest you will ever get to a picnic with your significant other, but it’s not like they’ll eat anything other than meat and three veg anyway.
When they tell you they’ll be home in an hour, you never believe them – it’s usually more like four. And there’s no point trying to track them down – even with all the GPS on the kit and machinery you can never locate them – which means it’s dinner for one several nights of the week.
When it comes to laundry, grass stains are the least of your woes, and if your washing machine doesn’t break down during harvest – due to all the corn and dust blocking it – you thank your lucky stars. The rest of the time you resort to sorting your washing according to how dirty it is, rather than the actual colour of the clothes.
As a farming spouse you are forbidden from speaking during the Countryfile weather report – or any other forecast for that matter, while items on your shopping list include filters, spark plugs, belts, lights and cables - which you’re expected to fetch at the drop of a hat.
I’ve noticed farming wives paint their nails too – this is to hide all the dirt under them. But at least we have a legitimate excuse to wear Hunter wellies.