When a Farmer Goes on Vacation

If I have learned anything about farmers, it’s this: they have a terrible time taking vacation.

There are two reasons for this phenomenon. First, they’re just busy. In the crazed daily life of a farmer, there is little time for relaxation and even less time to actually leave the farm for longer than a day or two. Second, a farmer’s brain is never able to switch off. For proof, I only need to look at our honeymoon in Mexico. While I was lounging in the sun, sipping a daiquiri, with my mind deliciously blank…

…Dairy Man was sketching a blueprint of a new barn and plotting the dairy’s next cow purchase.

He got itchy just sitting there. He couldn’t stop thinking about the farm.

For these reasons, many farmers don’t take vacations. They may occasionally go to a dairy conference in Ohio or visit family in a neighboring town, but they rarely travel far from home. What if the tractor breaks? What if an employee doesn’t show up for work? What if a cow gets sick? These are the thoughts that a farmer cannot turn off. The farm is his passion, his hobby, and his livelihood. And heaven help the farm wife who suggests he let the dairy fend for itself while we go on vacation. How dare she.

Thankfully, my Dairy Man is a little different. His workaholism does take breaks. Though he has trouble shutting of the cow side of his brain, he enjoys traveling. He’s actually been to Europe. I mean, c’mon now, this is not a farmer of old. In a future full of long hours and incessant mooing, I am looking forward to traveling with my Dairy Man. Preferably to warm places where the drinks come with little paper umbrellas. Or Italy.

But for now—as the Dairy Man works to get the new dairy off the ground—we will vacate to the cottage. For all of our little town’s deficiencies (and I’m mostly just referring to the lack of a Starbucks), it does boast a beautiful lake. It’s blue, it’s deep, and it makes us feel like we’re on vacation. My in-laws own two little cottages on the lake and we go there whenever possible.

This lake is the perfect compromise for the Dairy Man and I. We’re away. We can swim, tan, and go boating … all within spitting distance of the farm. Cow emergency? Never fear. Superfarmer can be there in 10.

While it wasn’t easy to quash my wanderlust when the Dairy Man and I first got married, I am learning to appreciate things like stability, open fields, and staycations at the cottage. Plus, I am promised that winter is a slow(er) time on the farm. Which, coincidentally is a great time to visit the Caribbean.

So. Maybe summer nights at the cottage are the perfect thing to satisfy us between now and the tropics? I hope you’re listening, honey.

17 thoughts on “When a Farmer Goes on Vacation

  1. I just found your blog via the Farm Women Symposium site. It is very enjoyable! I havent read the whole thing yet, but must ask–how did such a “citygirl” & a “farmboy” meet? I look forward to catching up on your blog & your right–vacations ARE an issue with farmers. I am a farmers daughter & farmers wife!!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Marlene! I didn’t even know I was featured on the Symposium page – how cool!

    I met the farm boy in college. He was finishing up a business degree and thinking about working in commodities in Chicago. But he went home after graduation to work on the dairy for the summer and re-fell in love. That was that. He’s a dairyman, through and through.

    And this poor gal had already fallen for him, so I had to tag along. 🙂

  3. PS – you need to take a new picture of the cottages – the yellow one looks much better re-painted in cute yellow with white trim!

  4. I found your blog from the Farm Women’s Symposium, too! What a treat it has been to read just a little bit of it (can’t wait to read more!) Congratulations on your “new” life ;D

  5. Oh, how I love Fremont Lake! What a beautiful place. I grew up vacationing there.

    Love your blog, too, Jess 🙂

  6. I too found your blog through Farm Women’s Symposium. And I must say that your comments hit the nail right on the head. I too had never been exposed to farming despite the fact that I lived in a small community surrounded by farmers. I met My Farmer after my marriage of 15 years ended. I had a 14 yo daughter and an 11 yo son. My Farmer had never been married, had no kids and still lived at home with his mom and sister. But I just couldn’t resist his charms and after 6 years, we decided it was time to get married. But I do have to brag a bit because we did not plan to take a honeymoon. Somehow he managed to get time off for me from my work, get my sister to buy & pack for us and only told a few people his plans. After a story that is too long to tell here, I am standing at the airport (thinking I was there to see some nephews off to Rome), when I was handed a ticket and my passport and told I was going to Rome for our honeymoon. Despite the farm (he runs the cash crop operation and his brother the dairy), I have had many adventures with this wonderful man. And I have to mention that he also does all of this from a wheelchair after becoming a paraplegic in an auto accident in 1985 before we met. Anyway, your blog rekindled memories I had suppressed and made me laugh. Thank you.

  7. I like your blog 🙂 When you go on vacation, do you get a farm sitter to take care of the farm? I’m a freelancer doing some research on farm life. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Karen! Thankfully we have enough management depth on the farm (and enough employees) that it’s not a huge problem for my husband to be away. Plus he and his dad usually aren’t away at the same time so the other one can manage things. Dairy Man is also accessible to his employees via text or phone if they get desperate (except that one time we were in Europe). 🙂

  8. Hi, Jessica! I have no idea how old your blog is…but I am so glad that I found it! I married a farmer two and a half years ago. It is the second marriage for both of us, so our life started a bit differently from that of you and your Dairyman. I had been warned from the very beginning that life would be different, but I was head over heels in love with this man who worked so hard to grow our food and sustain the land. The realities of farm ‘wife-hood’ are much harsher than I had anticipated, however. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I feel less alone now…

  9. I have been kicking around an idea of a business that help small farmers go on vacations. A small farm could be handled by one man (myself) for a week. I have worked horse farms and the like. I have been a surveyor for 20 years and l am looking for new challenge. What do you think?

    1. It’s a very interesting idea! Unfortunately something like that wouldn’t work on our farm (we’ve got about 30 employees between two facilities), but you might be able to talk someone on a small farm into it. The only problem is that farmers tend to like things done a very specific way (THEIR way). 😉 That’s probably why a lot of them don’t go on vacation.

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