Smells Like Money

Since marrying the Dairy Man almost three years ago, I routinely find myself privy to conversations that shock, horrify, and traumatize me.

A spirited discussion about artificial insemination at the dinner table? Why not? An impassioned debate about the best kind of teat dip in the church narthex?  Makes sense. A detailed description of manure management relayed to friends at a fancy restaurant? Totally normal.

These farm-induced out-of-body experiences often  cause me to ask, “Is this really my life?” Last night, dear friends, was one of those nights.

DM and I were sitting on the couch, working on our respective laptops. Out of the blue:

DM: (sniffs his hand) You know, I really like the smell of manure.

MFW: What!?

DM: I’m serious. Smell this (thrusts hand under MFW’s nose; MFW recoils and nearly falls off the couch trying to get away).

MFW: Umm, no thank you!

DM: (sniffs hand again) Good stuff. They should make candles that smell like this.

My husband is not normal. But Yankee Candles, I hope you’re listening. This is my life.

manure pit

A Hairy Situation: How My Husband Almost Destroyed my Washer

Three important facts you need to know before I begin this rant:

  1. The Dairy Man has a habit of leaving dirty towels around the house.
  2. The Dairy Man cuts his own hair.
  3. I love my husband.

Let’s begin, shall we?

As the wife of a farmer, most household tasks fall to me. This was one of the first things I had to accept when we got married. It’s not because I’m a guileless victim to my gender, I just happen to have more time. And frankly my standards are higher. If left to his own devices, the DM would live in squalor and eat nothing but Frosted Mini Wheats. At least that’s what I suspect.

One of the Dairy Man’s more irksome habits is leaving a trail of items—socks, flannel shirts, shoes, towels—in his wake as he putters around the house. I always allocate time on laundry day to collect these wayward articles.

I was on such a mission on Monday. After tracking down all of the dirty towels in the house, including an innocuous green towel balled up next to the washing machine, I started a load of wash while I made dinner. I was feeling good. Productive. Like a modern day Marsha Brady with a full-time job and a college degree. When the washing machine timer dinged, I headed to the back room to throw the towels into the dryer.

As soon as I opened the door, I knew something was terribly wrong. The inside of the machine looked like a bunny had exploded, leaving little piles of brown fur everywhere.
Before I go on, let’s back up.

A few days ago, the DM decided to give himself a haircut. He laid a towel on the bathroom floor and went to town on his head with an electric shaver. After he was properly shorn, DM rolled the hair clippings up into the towel and headed to the back room.

MFW: Babe, make sure you shake out that towel outside before you put it in your hamper.

DM: I will!

MFW: Well, it’s just that last time you balled the towel up in the bottom of your hamper and I washed it and hair got everywhe…

DM: (Interrupts) I got it! I’ll take care of it. ______________________

Fast forward to the next day. Me. Standing in front of my washer. Horrified.

The DM listened; he didn’t put the hair-filled towel in his hamper. He rolled it up, placed it next to the washer, and thought “I’ll take care of that later.”

Except he forgot.

I spent the next 10 minutes wiping piles of brown hair from the washer drum, filter, and rubber seal. The hair-covered towels were thrown into the dryer and I stopped their tumbling every few minutes to empty the filter. When all was said and done, it looked like a small furry animal had taken up residence in my trash can.

Kids: marriage is always glamorous, logical, and grown-up. Wait, no. I lied. It can be messy, frustrating, and silly.

But thankfully, even under all of the hair, there is still a lot of love.


MFW, chinchilla wrangler

Hey, I’m going to Indiana

Texts between a Dairy Man and his wife:

Dairy Man (9:31 am): Hey, I’m going to Indiana. Might stay overnight. Ok?
Modern (9:32 am): What?!
DM (9:34 am): Is that ok?
MFW (9:37 am): Uuuuh when are you going?
DM (9:39 am): Now.

MFW picks up phone and dials.

DM: Hello?
MFW: (incredulous) You’re doing what!?
DM: Brant and I were talking about visiting his uncle’s dairy in Indiana and we decided this was the best day to do it. So we’re leaving in like 10 minutes.
MFW: Um, ok. And you’re staying overnight?
DM: Yeah. We want to stop in Shipshewana tomorrow to look at some heifers and machinery. Is that ok?
MFW: I guess. It must be nice to be a farmer, eh? It’s all loosey goosey over there. “Sure, I’ll leave the state today.”
DM: Yup! Living the dream. Are we good? I’m already late.

So, um, apparently the Dairy Man is gone for two days. Only in farm life do you wake up in the morning with a husband who isn’t going to Indiana and, by 9:30 a.m., it can all change. To be fair, I should mention that my particular farmer is always a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. It drives me mad. I’m organized, deliberate, and decisive. The Dairy Man is spontaneous, impulsive, and flexible. Our marriage works because we are able to meet somewhere in the middle. I would spend days on a trip to Indiana: packing a suitcase, Mapquesting the best possible route, grocery shopping so that the Dairy Man wouldn’t starve, doing laundry, making lists. The Dairy Man spent 10 minutes: he threw some things into a bag and hit the road.

Farm life is all of the things I am not. It can change in an instant. One minute you’re making a milk production spreadsheet, the next, you’re in a truck on the way to visit a dairy in Indiana.

Baffling, really. I just hope he brings me back a souvenir. And not the mooing kind.

Apparently Two is Better Than One

A phone call between a farmer and his wife: 

DM: Hello?

MFW: Hi! I’m driving home for lunch. Did you just pass me in the orange tractor?

DM: No, I’m in the office. My dad and Jacob are both driving the tractors right now.

MFW: What do you mean? We only have one orange tractor.

DM: Um, no. We have two orange tractors.

MFW: (looooooooong pause) …We have two orange tractors!?

DM: Yes.

MFW: Huh. I thought we had one. Though this would explain why I see the orange tractor go up our driveway so often. I always wondered how you hauled manure that quickly…

DM: Woman, do you pay any attention to what goes on around here?





On parade.

Texts between a Dairy Man and his wife:

MFW (6:42 am): I just passed five tractors in a row driving down Main Street. What’s going on?

DM (6:44 am): Oh yeah. It’s “drive your tractor to school day.” Totally normal.

*no response*

DM (6:55 am): Carhartt sponsors it at the local high school. They do it every year.

MFW (6:57 am): What kind of a crazy place do I live in?!?