Country Women Rock!

Learn multitasking from a pro, a woman who calls rural America her home.

| March/April 2009

  • Doing chores
    Comfortable around machinery, a country woman takes every chore in stride.
  • Picking corn
    From picking corn to shucking and cooking the corn, farm women can do it all.
  • Making butter
    Making butter at the Knot II Brag Farm in Aroostook County, near Wade, Maine.
    Jeffrey Greenberg/Photo Researchers Inc.
  • Cowgirl on horseback
    A country woman can easily outride anyone.
    Patricia Ellingson
  • Gritty in pursuit
    Our buddy, Gritty, appears smitten by a young country lass.
    Brad Anderson

  • Doing chores
  • Picking corn
  • Making butter
  • Cowgirl on horseback
  • Gritty in pursuit

Whoever invented the phrase “multitasking” was surely talking about country women.

These “ladies of the land” can drive a farm truck alongside a silage chopper, run a hay baler, pull a calf, or kill, clean and pluck a chicken. And then, in their spare time, prepare the family meals, do the shopping and laundry, keep the books, mend skinned knees and torn jeans, help the youngsters with their homework, and deworm the dog.

I know of at least four categories of country women. Some are masters of their own destiny, entrepreneurs who own and operate their own farms or livestock operations. Many country women partner with their spouses to manage working farms or ranches. Some farm and ranch wives are left in charge of the crops, children and critters while their husbands hold full-time jobs in town. And then there are rural women, who themselves work in town to supplement the family income or obtain health insurance.

None of them are afraid to get their hands dirty.

Country women know how to use a fence stretcher and a set of jumper cables, can speak knowledgeably about livestock breeds or corn hybrids, and know their way around the three-point hitch on the tractor. They’re equally adept at using a frog knife or a pair of fencing pliers, and they always remember to close gates. They’re part animal lover, part veterinarian and part wildlife expert. Part horticulturist, part entomologist and part economist.

If there are livestock on their place, you can bet that farm or ranch that women have, at one time or another, chased down errant cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses or llamas on the lam. They have bottle-fed orphans and brought newborn lambs, calves or colts into the house to keep them from freezing on an icy-cold winter night. They will put out food for the barnyard cats and aren’t squeamish about retrieving field mice from traps.

BillieJo Bonnell
3/25/2009 5:40:27 AM

I just recently moved from Denver Colorado to Kimball Nebraska (my husbands job moved us) I thank god for the Country Goddesses that have taken me under their wings. This article is a testiment to the saying you can't keep a good woman down. I thought I was tough I recently left the military put these ladies are Jill's of all trades!!!!

Dave Mercier
3/20/2009 9:36:12 PM

Wow! What a great article! Christine and I moved from Florida, after 24 years, to rural Wisconsin. We had no farming experience. She figured it ALL out. "We" :-) raise cows that she has been milking by hand for almost 2 years. She makes butter and cheese almost every weekend. We have Chickens, both egg layers and Meat birds. She studies and finds the "right" organic feed and mixes the feed to ensure healthy animals. Your description is right on about a garden that is 1/3 of an acre. She homeschools 3 of our 4 children. What a gift I have been blessed with. Nice to be reminded in such a direct way. God Bless my Country Woman!

Rebecca Twomley
2/22/2009 10:40:05 AM

Friends, I was interested to see on page 38 of the March/April 2009 Grit, the picture of a young woman from Indiana Academy. My brother in law was the farm manager of the Indiana Academy Farm for many years. He retired several years ago but still lives in that area. Indiana Academy is a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school for high school age young people in Cicero, Indiana. They have a work/study program in which all the students participate. I very much enjoy receiving Grit magazine and after I am done with it I share it with others who love to read it. Very Sincerely, Rebecca Twomley

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