Attention ladies who might ever have contemplated hooking up with a farmer!
A word from the wise. I married a farmer seven years ago. That was after accepting a teaching post in a remote area of Australia, vowing and declaring I would NEVER EVER EVER marry a farmer. Especially one who wore a cowboy hat, RM Williams boots and clothes, drove a ute, had ever attended a B and S, and who chewed grass. Incidentally, my husband is all of the above.
Prior to getting married, I used to tag along on the back of hubby's motorbike (the wind whistling through my hair, arms tucked snugly around his waist) and dream about how we would be like this forever. Acreage for as far as the eye could see. Sheep and cattle and kangaroos and emus, dotted intermittently across the countryside. It was, of course, very romantic. What I didn't realise at the time, however, was that my hormones were playing tricks on me. Those pesky little pheromones spinning throughout my body and clouding rational thought.
After being married for seven years, I find myself practically begging hubby to take at least one of the kids out on the bike with him, and to take his time coming home! Our lives have become (at times) a mish-mash of overlapping schedules, that directly relate to the amount of precipitation in the air and the availability of man power at any given time. With three children we find ourselves "high fiving" each other on crossover between dropping kids at the bus (20km away) and heading out to fix fences or pull stock who have become stranded in a dried up dam.
When I watch "Farmer Wants a Wife" and hear such gems as "of course I can see myself living on a farm..." and "I just adore horses!" all spurted from the mouth of a wildly attractive woman wearing completely impractical heels and a strapless mini-dress, and a months worth of makeup in one sitting. What these women don't realise is that there is every possibility that the men they are chasing on this fantastical program really only want a shag. There is a good chance it has been a while between drinks, so to speak, given the far-flung areas of Australia these blokes seem to spring from. (And PS: An hour out of Melbourne is NOT remote.)
In the first few episodes we watch the awkward moments where potential romance is blossoming. Where people say and do the most absurd things in the name of bagging a beauty.
The cynic in me thinks that while the farmers are soaking up the physical aspects of a potential mate, they are also hoping to get some 'vibe' from the lovely lady as to whether or not she will also be able to cook and clean for him, iron his shirt the same way his mother does, get up at the crack of dawn to prepare a cooked breakfast, and organise smoko, as well as head out and put in a good 10 hours of work with him.
The female is presumably hoping to find a "Marlborough type man" who will care for her and protect her (and maybe let her ride horses on a whim). When in fact she should be asking to read a copy of the succession plan his family has firmly in place, so that they can discuss their future on equal footing. Because when she actually gets to the part where they might actually get married, the woman should be fully prepared for the fact that when you marry the farmer, you actually marry his whole family.
And this is no joke. There is every chance, ladies, your in-laws will live within walking distance of your house, and certainly close enough to hear you argue, and watch how many days you leave your clothes on the line for. If you are lucky, you will strike in-laws who respect your privacy and leave you be in your new relationship. If you are not so lucky, you can expect 3 or even 4 people in you marriage, as opposed to the 2 you thought you were getting. If it's rolling green hills,and acres of pasture you are after, then think again. My husband asked me to marry him as we sat overlooking the empty house dam. If it's being "the master /mistress of your own domain" you are after, then think again. "Family property" means exactly that. If it's a small, tight knit community lifestyle that you are striving for, then remember you will never be a local. You will be called an acre-chaser and hectare hunter by wary local girls. And then after you have served your time, you will eventually be married and have kids, at which point the whole community will welcome you with open (albeit cautious) arms.
It's not all bad though. I mean I have a great life. A hard life, but a good life. We both work hard doing our own things. We really do depend on the weather to guide us in how we plan our days,week and months. Our children grow up in the most amazing circumstances. You see things you never thought you would ever see. You open your eyes.
I think the point I am trying to make, is that being married to a farmer is not all beer and skittles. Sure, I am (mostly) very happily married. One day I will write more blogs on the nuts and bolts of all of that. But if it's McLeods Daughters you think you are signing up for, then think again, in reality it's probably closer to The Beverley Hillbillies. (But hopefully without the Hillbillies).
But if a farmer is really what you want; what you know you need; then don't let a cynical old farmers wife like me try to steer you away. Because god knows we need new blood. And if a crusty old city slicker like myself can make herself at home in the country, than why can't anyone else?
Oh, and "never say never" if you think that life on a farm is definitely not for you. Look where it got me?