Are you the farmer?

We started very early yesterday morning. Hugo, our friend Bryce towing the trailer with his truck, me and Daisy’s Bobby on his final trip. I always say thank you to an animal when I raise it for food, even the chickens get a thank you as they are carefully packed for their journey.  We said Goodbye and Thank You to the Bobby in the pouring rain.


Here is a funny story – well not so funny but you will laugh with me a little I think.

I had called the little local abbatoir a few days ago to confirm The Bobbys arrival – we are trying a new facility that is quite close by so they did not know me.

“What’s the name of the farmer?,  said the girl on the phone to confirm my booking.

I told her my name.

“Good morning, Cecilia”  she said, I could hear her smile into the phone.

She hesitated then she said “So, what is the name of the farmer?”

I told her my name again and added.  “I am the farmer.”

“You are the farmer?” she said, her voice lifting. “But you are a –  I mean. You do the farming? You raise the cows.” Emphasis on the You each time.

“Yes.” I said wearily “and the pigs and the chickens.”

“Well,” she said ” I didn’t know that .. I mean .. We don’t see many women farmers ’round here. And your husband -does he farm as well?.”

I was a little aghast at this question. Was this a trick question? An  assumption that no lady farmer would be without a husband farmer. Did there have to be a big strong man farmer behind every woman farmer?

“No. He does not farm. He works off the property.” I said. “When he is home and I need something heavy lifted, I ask him to lift it then I send him back to the kitchen.”

There was a pause.

“Will YOU be bringing the steer in?” she said. Her mouth open I could hear the spaces.


“Oh” she laughed nerously. “Well.. ” she said “I would love to meet you.”  I think she thinks I have a hood and a cape and some kind of gold whip.

Poor thing was trying to be nice but was genuinely confused about a Woman raising animals for food. Wild Women, like you and me, are a curious mixture of gentle and cooly pragmatic.  I think we are all wild. Just that some are more obviously wild than others. It just never occurs to me that a woman canNOT do whatever she decides to do. (Within reason of course – especially when one is feeling reasonable). storms

I work on my little farm with my helpers, oblivious to the world, completely forgetting that there are many people in this area who simply do not believe that women can be farmers, real farmers who grow food. And worse I am a foreigner and even worse than that I grew up ON A BEACH. Anyone who has a wee bit of land can do what I do. I am not playing. This is my business. This is not a zoo. It is my job. I make little to no money but a lot of food, I Save a huge amount of money and even more importantly we eat clean proteins. It is old fashioned.  I can trace my food straight to my fields and gardens.

Any woman can do this. Any man can do this. Any family can. All you need is a little land or a large back yard – but goodness -This was another Woman  who was shocked at a Woman being the boss of a farm.

I was very tempted to take this steer to the slaughter house in high heels and a short skirt, but one needs to climb up into the trailer to move the animal off and into the chute. And cows have very big feet. And it was a sloppy muddy chilly rain yesterday, so it was ripped farm trousers and gumboots (with a little mascara just for fun!) .

I have to say: the men who were there to receive the cow into a very clean and well run, tiny facility were very respectful and allowed me to call the shots. And when a pin needed to be pulled and a gate opened they shouted to me to do it (because I was right beside it) just like they would shout to a man. (The Bobby was a little too anxious to get into the building once he had navigated the chute and so I was literally stalling his forward motion with my hip as I opened an unfamiliar pen gate. Probably best not to try that in heels! )


Anyway I laughed – a little bit.

Thank you so much for all your fantastic cookie recipes yesterday. I am going to rename yesterdays post A Collection of Fellowship Chocolate Chip Cookies!  I will go back and do that right now. Often the best half of the farmy blog posts in the Lounge of Comments! Magnifique!

So I looked at all your recipes, put my thinking cap on and created one new recipe from all the ideas. They were pronounced delicious and are, of course, all GONE!chocolate chip cookies

Here is the Fellowship Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound or  200g) soft (in our case Home-made) butter
  • 1 level cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 small eggs (we have some lovely pullets eggs at the moment)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of very strong coffee
  • Roughly chopped up 8 oz bar of bitter chocolate (chocolate chunks – not chocolate chips – they add an entirely new dimension to the taste).

Mix in the usual sequence, add a little more flour if you need to, spoon in balls onto a cookie sheet, flatten a little with fingers, cook at 375 for about 12 minutes (maybe less maybe more I did not really time them!).

Did you know that in New Zealand we call cookies – biscuits. Biscuits in America are something completely different.

I hope you have a lovely day. We had more wonderful storms and cloud formations yesterday.

Don’t you just love it out here!

Lots of love



79 Comments on “Are you the farmer?

  1. I did laugh, a little indignantly, but, yes. 🙂 I’m surprised that in this day and age you would be questioned, even more so that you would be questioned by a woman. At any rate, “you go girl”, as they saying seems to go. I love reading about your farm, learning more about what good farming means, and, well all that you do there. Thanks for your rookie recipe. I have a good chunk of bitter chocolate and just may try making these later today.

  2. I was at a kids party and this lady asked, “so, what do you do here?” I told her about our grass-fed beef farm (in this case, there is a husband farmer 🙂 ) “We farm beef cattle.” She looked at my polka-dot dress, heels and make-up and laughed, “OH? You don’t look like a farmer!” “I like to farm in lipstick,” I smirked. … And I don’t attend children’s parties in gumboots. So what does a farmer look like, I wonder?

  3. I love your story. Of course we women can do anything we want. Many times in life I have had guys say to me: “YOU did that?” for whatever my project was at the time. In times of war while the guys were away doing whatever the Armchair generals sent them to do, it was the women who kept the country going… working on the land, in the factories and sursing the wounded back to health when they came home. Three Cheers for the women of this world!

  4. It’s hard to shift perceptions in what is historically a patriarchal occupation. Women have always been farmers, but in the small animal/fruit/vegetable arena. Perhaps it has been the strength needed to farm large animals the traditional way. Less strength needed the Celi way, of course, because you persuade rather than force.
    I thought this morning when I revisited the Comments Lounge that all those recipes sounded like the start of a Fellowship Food Cookery Book…
    *Wonderful* photos of the sky today…

  5. Love those storm clouds!!
    We live in “tropical” Queensland but are on very tight, strict water restrictions at the moment 😦 Haven’t seen any lovely clouds like that in a loooong time! Praying for a wet, stormy summer. {fearing it’ll be another long, hot, dry summer tho}
    I often find women more restrictive and judgemental of other women than men are. Most of the men I know are respectful and accepting of women in any of life’s ‘roles’ … Women need to band together more I reckon!

    • Did you get some showers yesterday? We had a couple of hours of light rain; enough to make the grass grow like crazy but not much use for anything else, right?

        • We Wild Women (and the male honorary ones amongst us) take care of each other. I have seen the care of the Fellowship reaching out, and it’s powerful stuff…

      • nope, not a drop 😦 We had a 2 minute sprinkle at 3am about 2 weeks ago and that was about it for the last few months …
        Our lawns are all suffering, the 2 minute sprinkle didn’t even give it a lift lol

  6. I get the same comments when people find out I process my own meat chickens. I am also a beekeeper and for some reason, people see these jobs as “a man’s” job. I personally like the shock value of it all and can laugh about it as well, but I am very proud that I know how to do these things. My husband will be the first to tell them I don’t do anything unless I can do it by myself. Not totally true as I do appreciate his mechanical and physical contributions. My great-grandmother and grandmother taught me these jobs so I learned from the best women around!

  7. A laugh, and a sigh from me, she who has a first name that can be designated for a girl or boy, who works in an business sector where men [still] predominate other than in support roles, assumptions abound, gets correspondence addressed as Mr, gets to see the confusion first hand when I’m not the expected gender… You wore mascara for fun, I wear heels to corporate functions to amuse myself and for the view 🙂

  8. GRRR! I’m sure that was frustrating and funny–I’m glad you most saw the funny side of her assumptions. All of us in your farmy family know that you can do (just about) anything!! You are Celi hear you roar! 😉

  9. Hooray for the tougher sex (female of course) I wonder if the US is more gender typecast than Europe? There are shedloads of women farmers here. I like the idea of a fellowship cook book – I’d contribute my seriously sinful chocolate cake to the feast.

    Have a good weekend,

    • I said to my Mother in Law one day that i thought American women were the least emancipated I have ever met, mostly in small rural towns i think. But often some of the women are doing Everything while some of the men sit and wait for dinner. Especially her generation (in their 70’s and 80’s now and they were the big feminists in their time) do all the cooking and cleaning and waiting on their men. All they did was add paid work to a womans current work load. Literally waiting on their men, picking up the glass from beside their chair and taking it into the kitchen to wash it. The result of course is a whole generation of men who do not know how to cook and clean or manage a home m,arried to women who have no intention of doing this either. I am SURE John would rather I was happily in the kitchen in a pinny when he got home ,with his clean clothes and a towel already put out for him in the shower, and his dinner bubbling on the stove. and his work clothes sorted and in their proper places, instead i am bringing the cows in for milking and get to start dinner about 7.30 the washing is still in the washing machine, the bed has not been made and I have not been to the supermarket in weeks. I am just not that kind of woman.
      However I do get these things done on rainy days!!
      But it is a conundrum.

  10. Oh, how I loved this particular post… and the photos are fantastic this morning! I particularly loved that you addressed us as “Wild Women” and I had a robust chuckle at “And worse I am a foreigner and even worse than that I grew up ON A BEACH.” Those are the thing about you that I love… you ARE different… and you own it all! Your stories are real life, and they resonate with all wild women who blaze a path of their own. I often wonder how many generations must pass before we shed these historic perceptions of women’s occupational roles?

  11. I got the same reaction when I started farming 20 years ago as a single woman. They called it my little experiment and decided I wasn’t really a farmer because I didn’t have dairy cows. I only (lol) grow vegetables for 100 families, 2 farmers markets and raise about 300 chickens for meat and eggs each year.

  12. Lol, Oh I would have so suffered thru in heels and miniskirt! Just because I’m evil like that. 😀

  13. I think perhaps it must be tiring to be the one who appears to break convention, especially when it is women who are the most surprised at another woman. But yes, I had a little laugh. It is good education for others, especially girls and young women, to see that anyone can do anything. The Big Guy and I went to hear Col. Chris Hadfield speak at a local event on Thursday, the Canadian astronaut who was the commander of the International Space Centre for a 5-month stint in 2013. He is the kind of person we should celebrate, not the celebrities the general public seems to adore. The point being that, at age 9 he watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon and decided that he wanted to be an astronaut, when at the time Canada did not have a space agency and only Americans were accepted to NASA. So how did he get there? Just like our lady farmer – one step at a time, making good choices, lots of learning, lots of support, lots of hard work. But he makes the point that he had fun along the way too, because he didn’t want to never have fun AND never get to be an astronaut. I’ve just started to read his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth” and he made me laugh on the first page – bodes well for the rest of the book I think.

    I shed a few tears as well, because it felt a little like the end of a chapter. Thank you Daisy’s Bobby.

    Chris S in Canada

  14. The cookies look delicious! The light in the wood whacker picture looks different, half hearted in a way. The season is changing. Goodbye and thank you to Daisy’s Bobby. He lived a good life.

    • I cannot bear that it is changing this year – usually I am ready for it but I have three jars of tomatoes in the pantry! THREE! Surely we have a little more growing time.. c

  15. With every post I read, the urge to come out to your farm grows in intensity. I know I am only about 30-45 minutes away. I just have to arrange the time and find the way. I wish I was stronger/more healthy so that I could really experience it.

      • I am wife to the farm. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about your post today…in this day and age I find it odd that someone would find a woman being the FARMER strange. Women do so many things anymore (and always have) My Great- Aunt in Texas (she died in 1980) ran her ranch (4 sections) BY HERSELF after her husband died. (25 years). She rode, fixed fence, shuffled cows and sheep, gave shots…you name it. She also had her home rebuilt, traveled where ever she wanted to go and wore diamonds to charity events. I wonder, now, if people would call on the phone and ask for the man of the house—like you she was the rancher, the house wife, the glue.

  16. The barn photo is great. I love this post-I have been managing a family property for the last three years. Which involves me doing a lot of construction, demo, patching drywall, caulking, pool repair, scrap metal removal, painting, cement repair etc….it always amazes me when someone asks me if I’m going to go back to work. Really? I also am blonde. I think it’s great that you put on mascara, I do the same thing. Anyway, I can understand why that gal wants to meet you, she’s intrigued, could be a life changing moment for her. Have a nice weekend.

  17. Well! You did your bit in educating this young woman! And you are savvy about clean food- I wish everyone understood about that! Have a fabulous day.

  18. This is my favorite blog each day! I love coming here. Thank you so much for sharing your conglomerate recipe. 🙂 Thank you for making a smile on my face so large it might likely never leave. Thank you for having such a wonderful heart as to be aware of the bobbies fear and attending to it. And thank you for enlightening another young woman of her potential. There is a saying I’m sure you know of that you can never tell how strong a woman is till you drop her in hot water. We may not have the physical strength of most men but we have something better. Mental strength. My son always says I am the strongest woman he knows. You make women proud everywhere and we should be standing together more than snipping about each other. I can’t tell you how many women have tried to make me feel small vs men. The storm photos are amazing.

  19. Of course we can be farmers. I am the farmer on this 30 acres. I stand by my eldest son, who comes from out of town as we harvest 25-30 meat chickens twice a year. We don’t have a local abattoir who will do poultry, so we must do it ourselves. I plant the garden, can and freeze the produce, keep it weeded. The hay we hire out in the spring, but I mow it in the fall. Fencing is my venue as well, with whatever helpers I can recruit. Hopefully, soon there will be pastured beef and pigs under my care too. My neighbor is a widowed farmer with 30 head of cattle and three gardens and she does it with occasional help from a farmer friend of ours.

    • YES! There are so many women farmers so why are they still surprised when they meet one. I hate fencing. I know I have some waiting for me but it makes me tired to think of it. c

  20. I am almost tempted to fire up the kitchen and make the Fellowship cookies 🙂 I am in awe of Fellowship Women, living in the city can be so limiting. Laura

  21. those cookies sound divine and unique. must end up in the almanac. (wink wink hint hint, but yes, one thing at a time…) and the photos! Oh my goodness, they are Beautiful!!! That WHO’S THE FARMER? routine is amazing. I feel happy for that girl that she talked to you and met you. She needed that.

  22. I got to add this-I think it’s great that you took a piece of everyone’s recipe to make the cookies. I definitely am going to make them.

  23. I tried these cookies this morning- I was a bit skeptical because the recipe didn’t call for vanilla but no need to worry- ALL 2 DOZEN ARE GONE! The kids have proclaimed them amazing and most edible!

    • I love your kids! The slab chocolate really flavours the whole cookie. With chocolate chips they have a chemical in the chips that keeps them from melting all through the cookie, whereas these ones can melt into the dough and do so and it is great!

  24. Bloody Brilliant! I get that all the time when we go into a builders metchants and I start reeling off a list of things which starts with something “2 drain cocks….” and they look at Big Man and start asking himm questions. Then I say “Don’t ask hi, he doesn’t speak English and I’m the guv omn this job!”. They have sort of got used to us now but we can still catch people out ehich makes me laugh 🙂

    • Love that, and can totally relate. Before we were married 3 years ago, I single handedly renovated and sold at profit 7 houses. I always went to the builder’s merchant in my splattered overalls, steel toecap boots and toolbelt, on day one, so there would be no confusion. They caught on quite quickly… But it came back on me one day when I dropped in there on my way home from work in a suit and heels. Straightfaced, the guy at the counter said: “Sorry Kate, didn’t recognise you without your toolbelt…!”

      • Oh I had the same at a party – they only twigged finally because I was with “the big Spanish bloke”!! Love that we “girls” put on our work clothes and boots and just get on with it 🙂

  25. I love this story, though it does make me laugh with a little resignation. Thanks for the chocolate chip cookie recipe. It sounds fabulous!

  26. You know, I kind of wanted to say something when you did the ‘you are a girl’ post. But it was lovely and funny and I just couldn’t bring my disappointment into it. But this? So sad. Why a woman can’t belive that another woman can do a job – any job – is beyond my understanding. All I can say is I hope that everyone who works with you learns and remembers!

  27. Oh, CELI!!! The second photo (of the barn and a truck) is amazing to me because you captured on a shot that superb light that I love so much. When that light is in the sky, I have asked friends if they could see the different light and many cannot see it. I LOVE that light. Not only is it wonderful for its own sweet self, but colors stand out more in it. Glorious, glorious light. Thanks so much! Much love, Gayle

  28. Today I am glad to have been ‘late’! A fascinating reaction to a great post!! Hope everyone had a chance to click on EllaDee’s super link: what a huge Sunday morning smile for me . . .now I have never worked on the land but neither have I ever had a female-oriented job, so I DO relate! And thank my darling Dad, the greatest feminist I have ever known and, let’s face it, all that was many moons ago when women in many jobs was a huge no-no! He always quietly said: ‘Women can do everything men can, except they damn well usually do it better and do more!’ I remember being a totally impoverished migrant girl in Oz: when I got to the Intermediate [Middle School, I guess?] everyone on the street could not understand why I would go for the Leaving [matriculation]. Then shock horror, I got a scholarship to study medicine at the Sydney Uni [1 gal to 20-25 guys at the time] and dozens of neighbours came to talk to Dad: ‘Mr T, Eha is so pretty, honestly she will get married, she does not have to study and you work so hard’! Not farming but in the same category 🙂 ! Oh I loved my very, very high heels and makeup and hair just so . . . . cookery book – think that a brilliant idea . . .think of all our backgrounds!! Vale Bobby: you will be remembered . . .

  29. Oh my, this really hit home! Before I met and married ‘my John’, I lived on this 38 acres by myself for 10 years and for 10 years before that on a smaller 5 acre place. After I married, one of John’s friends asked in an amazed tone of voice if I ‘took care’ of all this property by myself. I did not take offense because there was an admiring tone to his question. Granted, I had a dear nephew who occasionally helped and my dad was good about coming and lending a hand but the majority of the fence building and horse care (including stitching up gashes and giving shots), all of the mowing, all of the snow plowing, all of the wood splitting (by hand) was done by little ol’ me along with my full time job! I have a step daughter who regularly introduces me as her step mom who built her own deck. I have 8 nieces and nephews I’m very close to, I was always looked at as the ‘way cool’ aunt who was game for anything and now my 18 great nieces and nephews feel the same. Sadly though, I often feel out of place in a gathering of women, I’ve never had children of my own – never had any desire to – in fact if I hadn’t met John I would have happily ridden into the sunset as a spinster! I also spent my whole working life in a construction related field so dealt almost exclusively with men. I often find I have little in common with other women as I find most ‘wifely’ chores (ie cooking and cleaning) desperately boring. Yes, Kate, I ran into a neighbor once who only knew me in my ‘farm persona’, I was coming from a business meeting and in a shocked voice he told me I really looked nice! Made me laugh. My John is 10 years older than I, his deceased wife was his age and a product of the 50’s so he has had a steep learning curve as to what is and is NOT ‘women’s work’. He told me once he never had to put his laundered clothes away, I told him he was a smart guy, he’d figure it out. After 17 years he has. And yes, with the help of modern chemicals I am STILL a blonde and I put on my mascara EVERY DAY. Just because.

  30. The things that others find surprising, surprise me. People ask me for recipes of the leftovers I eat at work. “Sorry, I have no idea. My husband does the cooking and rarely uses a recipe.” Or people ask him about the lawn and the garden. “I’m not sure, you’d have to ask my wife.” We follow what works for us. Sometimes that follows standard gender expectations, but often not. I’m the sports fan in the house. He remembers people’s preferences and is great at gift giving.
    It’s prevalent enough that it’s no longer shocking, but it is still more than a little sad, that it simply does not occur to so many to truly think about what they want, what they like, and what suits them as individuals. Instead, so many seem to do “as a good _______ should.”

  31. I remember the slogan we feminists had in the 70s: Girls can do anything’. 40 years on, the message is still working its way through to forgotten corners of the world.

  32. It makes me a bit sad, reading your story. This kind of disbelief, even if you tell them, what forces you repeat, to prove what you said, to explain yourself, to justify your being. Oh, it’s sad. All just because you are a woman. Oh, it makes me upset. It’s so deep in our people, in our society that a woman is – nothing, just nothing. Other than maybe she has a man behind her.
    Oh my, with what do you have to deal with…. You are tough, you are strong. You did not get annoyed about that, did you? But it moved you a lot, that’s what I feel through your lines. What a crazy world we have to live in…
    Thanks a lot for sharing your self-created recipe (out of the Fellowship’s input) for your heavenly looking cookies!

  33. Well, no, Celi, not every woman can do what you do. Looking after my tomatoes this summer has totally fagged me out and I am looking forward to a winter when I will not have to garden or put up food for the winter. You are an unusually strong, smart and capable woman. They won’t be questioning you anymore at the abattoir — in fact, they are probably telling stories about you right now…

  34. Stunning photos! You sure surprised that young lady, didn’t you? I thought surely she must have heard of you or your blog.

  35. Pingback: after the Madmen | ardysez

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: