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Do you have a weekend?

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Last Monday, a farmer friend wrote me an e-mail about how frazzled he was from the weekend, trying to get soybeans planted ahead of the forecasted rains. He had two tires that needed fixing, his computer had broke down, and there was no one around in town to help over the weekend.


"Weekends really mess me up because the rest of the world shuts down and I don't," he wrote.


Back in the day, didn't farmers have weekends? My grandparents went to town on Saturday, attended church on Sunday.


My friend's comment made me wonder about the current status of the farmer's work week. Having an office job means that the work week is something of a countdown to the weekend.  I used to get the Sunday night blues. Some people call Wednesday "hump day." In a lot of offices, people can dress casually on Friday. Each day has a different shade of meaning, mainly in relation to the weekend.


Recently, I decided to name the days:


Muddle-through Monday. LIke for my farmer friend, Monday is a kind of recovery day. Show up and try to get something, anything, done.


Turn-around Tuesday. Borrowing from the markets, you want to feel like your efforts are gaining some momentum.


Wunderkind Wednesday. The German word means "child prodigy." Wonder kid. On Wednesday, the townsfolk should be in high gear, and maybe even doing something entirely useful.


Thelonius Thursday. Sorry, this one's a bit obscure, named for the jazz musician Thelonius Monk, the founder of bebop. Thursday is Friday eve, it's got rhythm, is the start of the party.


Friday. Haven't named this one. Maybe Friday speaks for itself. Or how about Freedom Friday, Fabulous Friday, Fortuitous Friday, Funky Friday.... ? Help me out.


Then there is the weekend--the reward we've earned from our five days of labor, performed in an arc of varying intensity and significance.


I don't think farmers live this way, do you? Has the farm life been transformed into seven days of the same? Something for me to ponder--this weekend.


Milligan Hay - Iowa d:^)
Veteran Advisor

Agriculture has, for the most part, turned into a intensely ran factory of production, operated by an incredible few number of people, .... that is limited by the few hours of sleep that the operators need to re-charge.  Most are worked every day that the weather permits.  Holidays are the days that you can't run into town to fix tires or buy parts.


Weather is the main factor in when farmers can take a is unfortunate, that farm operators work themselves to the hubs, but that is how it is, nowadays.


I used to be like that, worked every day but Sunday and some times even then when needed.  Only break was when it rained and then you were on a part run so you could fix whatever was broken,and trust me something was always broken.  After doing this for over thirty years I came to the conclusion that there are allot more important things than work.  For me farming has beacome a means to an end and you would be amazed at how liberating that can be.  Don't get me wrong here, I still do a job to the best of my ability and in a timely manner but if something comes up that takes me away from the place it's not a big deal, if I've learned anything in the last three decades is what ever is worring you today will be replaced with a new worry tomorrow and it almost always turns out just fine.

When beans got to ten dollars in '04 I sold enough to buy a new Harley, that has turned out to be the best investment I have ever made.  There is a reason you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiarist office.


Honored Advisor

When you elect animal ag, you choose to work, or work someone in your place, 365 days a year.  For us, it is a matter of some family members working weekdays, and others covering weekends, with the animals. Vacations are agreed-upon, too. 

 In general, it is a planning issue that I leave to my husband and daughter to work out between themselves, since they are the ones who switch off managing the hog farm production daily.  She arranges her own backup on the horses, and the grassfed sheep are sort of self-managed to a major extent. 

I do my bookwork in a very flexible timeframe, often printing up paychecks for salaried personnel for weeks in advance.  Mike catches up on his bookkeeping on the waste system on rainy days.  When hay is ready to bale, everyone has to pull together. 

We plan some social events very far in advance, and other fun has  to wait for the spur of the moment.  As long as you are prepared to protect the animals' welfare in your absence,  then time away gives you a fresher attitude towards your work.  Certain seasons do not afford  farmers with crops much leisure, but retailers do not take vacations between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and accountants aren't much able to enjoy social events in tax season, either. 


I guess the bottom line is: Do you live to work or work to live? 


It seems that many part-time farmers have a work week and then a "workend."


When you work off the farm,  the only opportunity you have to get things done is weekends & @ night after work.

Senior Contributor

We try to just work on the farm Mon. - Sat. and take Sundays off (April -- Harvest).  Harvest time usually finds us in the field after church on Sundays.


I once wrote to the local news station we watch and complained about their attitude of a rain "ruining" their weekend.  It is a constant montra.  We'll take a rain any time we can get it, especially mid summer.  Now, I notice that the "weekend" starts on Friday!!!!  I feel sorry for those who hate their job and the only thing they live for is "after work" and weekends.  Glad I found a job I like.  Mondays are often a time to look forward to what we get to do for the week, kind of like rebooting the computer.  Sunday is time to relax, but if it happens to be a Tuesday when it rains, that is the day.


By the way, we are just row crop and no longer have that cow herd.  So I do have my limit to working 365, every day.  But if livestock is your thing you make it work.


Have a nice weekend!!!