Along the Garden Path: A farmer’s wife


My mother was a hard-working woman doing the chores that all farmers’ wives do. She was a great mother, cook, gardener, community person, and worked hard on our farm. We raised all kinds of animals. My father was a barber working in town so our neighbor planted and harvested our crops.

Mom kept a book of some of her favorite things, which consisted of pictures, notes from her kids or grandkids, and her favorite clippings from newspapers or magazines. It’s comforting to look through the book from time to time. She was born Oct. 24, 1912. One of her favorite clippings was a column called Home on the Farm published by Badger Farm Bureau News magazine, most likely in the 1940s or 1950s. There are several versions of this, some more up-to-date lifestyles, but this was my Mom’s favorite.

“She comes in all assorted sizes-short and tall and medium high. She comes in all assorted colors-blonde, brunette, and in between. She’s America’s greatest career girl – she feeds the men who feed the world. Her busy hands are the hope of the future. She’s American in a gingham dress – she’s democracy in a pair of blue jeans. She’s freedom in a checkered apron. She’s a farmer’s wife.

She can saddle a horse – Tat a doily- can peaches – pitch hay – lift milk cans – feed chickens – drive tractors – and still be the belle of the ball at the Saturday night dance. She is America’s greatest hostess and can feed 6 or 60 at a moment’s notice during the harvest – and still find time to wear a rose in her hair. She’s a farmer’s wife.

Her day begins with the first smile of dawn, and she says goodnight to the moon when it is high in the sky. She is a wife and mid-wife, she is a mother and sweetheart; she is a grandmother and a good neighbor. She is a charming hostess, helpful helpmate … she is housewife, farmhand, chicken raiser, canner, seamstress, spur-of-the-moment-veterinarian. She is a Sunday school teacher, PTA chairman, party giver, gardener, woman of all trades … She is a farmer’s wife.

She’s a wave of a mother’s hand as the school bus disappears down the lane; she’s a hot mince pie cooling on a well-scrubbed window sill. She’s a bowl of hot soup to an ailing neighbor; she has geraniums on a shady porch. She’s a glass of cool lemonade on a hot summer day; she’s a sunbonnet in a tomato patch. She’s a farmer’s wife.

Her gentle hands can ring a dinner bell – sooth the fevered brow of a sick child – cook a stew – pick a flower and hitch a team of horses. She’s as modern as tomorrow and as old-fashioned as yesterday, still whip up a batch of fresh baked bread. She gives the nation tall, strong sons and self reliant daughters … She’s a farmer’s wife.

She is strong when the land is weak – she brings roots to the wilderness and the singing grass. She likes the crackle of a friendly fire on winter evenings; she likes the sound of children laughing on a grassy summer lawn. She likes the aroma of fresh-baked bread and the music of strong men laughing. She likes the curl of smoke coming from the friendly chimney, and family reunions and Fourth of July picnics and neighbors.

She has the courage that brings gentles to the raw plains, and her tender hands and loving eyes settle wild valleys.

She brings warmth to cold prairies and civilization to new frontiers … She’s a farmer’s wife.” We salute the Farmer’s Wife!

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

No posts to display