harvest-meal-cassandra-dull

Just a city girl in a farming world

by Cassandra Dull, Montgomery County

I have always had a strong love for animals. I had a bed full of stuffed animals that needed to be all around me when I slept, I begged for any pet I saw that was for sale, and get incredibly excited when local farm baby events happen. I think that’s what attracted me to farmers. If I married a farmer, we could live on a few acres, have a million animals, and my dreams would all come true. Being from the city though, I didn’t date many farmers growing up. In fact, I didn’t really have any friends with farms. So my reality of farm life came mainly from what I saw in movies, read in books, or dreamt up myself.

When I met my husband, I fell in love with him quickly, for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the similar values we had (and that he’s incredibly good looking). When we met, he was getting his doctorate in Kansas and although he came from a farming family, farm life wasn’t really in our future. He would teach college, I would teach elementary, and we’d live in the suburbs of Kansas City. But we learned quickly God had other plans. A few months before we were to be married, a year into my husband’s teaching career, he was let go due to budget constraints. Talk about a game changer. My immediate family at this point was scattered around all corners of the United States (parents in Florida, one brother in New York, another still in Kansas, and my sister in Washington). So we decided after some long talks with many people it would be best to move back to Ohio where Luke could work on the family farm. There were mixed emotions since I was leaving everything I had ever known—friends, family, my church, and life as I knew it. But overall, I was excited for this next adventure with my husband.

And then reality punched me in the face.

I learned quickly what it really meant to be a farmer’s wife. We moved in July and what felt like the very next day to me, harvest was here. And this city girl had NO idea what harvest meant. It meant long hours and not knowing what time your husband would be home. I remember nights of cooking meals only to sit at the table and cry when he wouldn’t be home to eat it with me. I grew frustrated that there was no set schedule because with my type A personality, that was a HUGE problem. There were days he would come home reeking of pigs and pig poop and I hated it. I didn’t want any of it in my clean little home. A few months into him working on the farm and his brand new truck that we spent so much money quickly paying off was beginning to get dirty. Every time I got in (which was frequently since my husband always drives) I grew angrier at the idea of him working on the farm. I wanted clean, I like clean, and this farming life was ruining that. And then then there was the pay. Nobody ever told me how little farmers make for how HARD and long they work. Being the one in charge of the budget for our family, that was another source of contempt.

Needless to say, the first year we lived here there were tears. Lots and lots of tears. I wanted to pack up and move back to my Johnson County life with my friends and family and church that I loved so much. I didn’t sign up for the farm life. I didn’t want the farm life. And I was bitter. But over time I started to see the beauty in it all. The fields that stretched on forever when the sun sets brings a peace in my heart that I can’t explain. Driving with the windows down through streets with open fields and a blue sky make me unexplainably happy. And my husband. My sweet husband. It was through farming and the lifestyle that brings that made him the man that he is. The one who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and to work hard. The one who can fix just about anything and isn’t afraid to try. The one who knows the value of a dollar but that money can’t truly buy you happiness. The man that can get up at 5 a.m. and work until 10 p.m. day in and day out and not grow weary.

luke-and-cassie-tractorAnd what a testament their farm is. To be passed down from generation to generation and only grow stronger. We learned together some tricks of keeping the smelly things downstairs and I started speaking with other farmers wife’s about good meals to make during harvest time that were easy to transport and eat in the combine. And I wouldn’t trade those harvest nights riding in the combine with my husband for anything. When I see my husband in his dirty jeans, cut off shirt, and boots now, my heart skips a beat. Farm life is not for the weak. It’s for the hard working, one of a kind men and women.

And I am so proud to be a farmer’s wife.

Cassandra Dull and her husband, Luke, farm with Luke’s family in Montgomery County.

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Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.