- File Size: 10820 KB
- Print Length: 208 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1508905436
- Publisher: Write on Track Press; 1 edition (December 11, 2013)
- Publication Date: December 11, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00H9DW3JC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,959 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Would You Marry A Farmer? Kindle Edition
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|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
I read a British newspaper feature a few years ago, which showed seven of the handsomest, fittest, strongest young men you could imagine. All were single and unable to meet women willing to come and live on their farms. Rural Norfolk sounds like an idyllic way of life until you have to live it. I've also read Yorkshire and Peak District crime stories which present an even harder, more isolated farm life because of the rugged countryside and basic dwellings. While ranches and farms in America or Canada hire the barest minimum of staff and may expect them to live in a caravan with only radio contact and a food and fuel restock once a month. Stations in Australia expect women to cook for a team of hardy men, half a day's drive from the nearest neighbour, but don't necessarily agree that women can do station work. Mexican avocado farmers are forced to pay protection money to the local gangsters, and may find murdered journalists dumped on their land.
So, asks Lorna Sixsmith, would you marry a farmer, considering that you would be marrying into a farming household and a small community? You might be living with your in-laws, or one of them, and the farmer's siblings until they can get educated and leave. You won't get foreign holidays or even romantic restaurant dinners very often, and your bank balance will be in the red for months like as not, then when the farm payments cheque arrives it needs to go to a tractor purchase rather than a new kitchen; while there will be a permanent load for the washing machine, a team of silage contractors to be fed unexpectedly and you will be judged by other women on the standard of your baking, not your fashion sense.
We get a look back at the history of marriages on Irish farms and why women fled to towns, cities and the New World. I found the research very interesting especially as the Irish country family has been a good steward of the land, treating animals well and making environmentally friendly decisions in order to hand on the farm to the next generation. But what generation, if a farmer can't afford to marry and must find a bride with a dowry? Lorna shows us adverts from past days, stating upfront that a prospective wife must have her own dowry, or that a man trained in farm management would like to meet a woman with a farm. The farmer might need to pay for his parents' pension, or build a cottage for his mother, or educate his siblings, before he could take on the farm or start his own family. He thus often married late and could not afford to carry out improvements.
Isolation, bleak weather and lack of entertainment often led farmers to drinking. A man could go to a pub but this was not acceptable for women, so the farm wife was twice as isolated. Lorna tells us that modern Ireland has 'invisible farmers' - the women who work alongside the men. This includes calving, raising sickly lambs, gardening, milking and counting the cows. And they have to do the housework, which is physical and never ending, and some of the paperwork. Only a small proportion of women are farmers in their own right. Lorna says that women can work outside the farm, at least until they have children, or can make and sell farm produce, or can do other work from the farm like writing. They might as well, because the farmer will be outside for much of the day, especially if he milks twice a day or has an 'out-farm' which is a second piece of land he has to reach by car.
We get helpful lists of farming terms or weather terms, like all the variations of 'a grand soft day' and a look at what to expect and not expect from your affectionate farm husband. Including how to stay married, with divorces threatening to split the family farm. I enjoyed the cheeky and cheerful illustrations by Joanne Condon, and there is a photo on the back of the book showing a reassuringly normal healthy family. I am a horsey person, and there is nothing about horses except that they will be considered expensive. If you want to know about marrying into a farm, though, Lorna appears to have it covered. I would read more by this author, who writes a blog on the topic.
Rural communities feature in Irish literature and Lorna references Peig Sayers, who had a match made for her with a farmer on the Great Blasket island. You may also be interested in:
The Loneliest Boy In The World
All Of Us There
Vet On The Loose
Breakfast The Night Before
The Days of The Servant Boy
Brown Lord of The Mountain.
This is an unbiased review. Disclaimer: as Ireland is small I have occasionally encountered the author on line, but I bought this paperback in the normal way and I have not been asked to review.
To be fair I opened the cover of this book with pre-conceived ideas regarding its contents. I was surprised to discover that it is more than just a humorous review of her life & times as a farmer's wife and pleased to say that it had me chuckling to myself as I identified with so much of what she's written. The factual information regarding the role of women in farming society historically is fascinating. While I was already familiar with much of it, this really is a good read for anyone who might consider catching the eye of a farmer, Perhaps someone should've handed me a copy of this book before I was myself caught by one!
My only criticism of this book is that at times the words don't flow. Knowing Lorna personally it would be easy to put this down to stereotyping. This minor quibble doesn't take from the book or make it particularly difficult to read and is quite probably more to do with the use of the English language in this neck of the woods...
This is a good book. It's worth buying even if it's only to gain an insight into what your average Irish farmer means when referring to "...the black one!"
Lorna gives a great insight as to what is involved when you take on an Irish farmer. They are a breed all of their own and Lorna's book is good at delving into the world of being a farm wife. It is humerous (chuckling away to myself on many occasions) and I can really identify with a lot of her observations.
I would recommend this as an engagement present. I have got a copy ready to give to my future daughter-in-law if and when my son decides to pop the question!