Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Farmer's Wife

A few? Some? Several? years ago there was a series on Frontline/PBS called The Farmer's Wife. Okay, so it was 1998. Time's slipping up on me. Wanna make something of it? It was a documentary of the life of a farm family. In Nebraska I believe. It showed how hard they worked and how little they had even after all that work.

I was fascinated. Captivated. I would rush home from work on those days to see each week's episode. I'd watch it again on the second or third public tv channel available on cable. Their life was so different from anything I encountered. I had no idea that you could work so hard and still have so much left to get to. And these were family farmers. The heart of America.

There were the farmer, the farmer's wife and their daughters. They were the sweetest family. Not perfect but all trying, every day, to overcome the market, the bank, their shortcomings and the weather.

The farmer's wife needed some orthdontia and one of the viewers wrote to offer, she never asked, to treat her for free. She was able to complete her night courses to get a college degree and got a better job to help bring in money. The marriage went through a period of stress, and on the show at least, survived and seemed to thrive.

This was before "reality" tv. It was real reality tv. It was raw, and unscripted. It was their life.
What struck me was that this family was willing to share their lives with constant filming so that Americans could understand what many family farmers were going through.
That family had so much grace.

Of course the series came to an end. But I still think about them from time to time, and wonder what things life had in store for them. What their girls are doing now. How the famer and his wife got through, if they got through.

So I wrote this blog on what I remembered, and then I went google-ing. And now I know what happened.
I highly recommend it if you are interested in family farms and the folks who feed America. Netflix has the dvds if you are a Netflixer.

One of the things that drew Juanita to Darrel was his extraordinary passion for farming, and she is driven to help him achieve his dream so he can once again be the man she fell in love with. "Darrel lives and breathes ... farming," says Juanita. "There's a connection to the land that I know that most people don't understand. If somebody like that has to quit farming and do something else ... there's a love that's no longer there. And, to me ... a part of the identity of America is to have somebody so much in love with what they do ... that they're willing to doso much for it." From The Farmer's Wife


  1. Have you ever read "we didn't have much, but we sure had plenty" That series, which I netflixed, not having Tv, reminded me so much of that book. Figured if you liked the tv show, you might enjoy the book.

  2. Thanks Sorrow, I don't recognize the series. I will look it up.

  3. I can not wait to go home tonight now!!! I loved that show and was also very addicted to it. Thanks for reminding me of this great show. I suffered through the debate last night until I fell asleep from boredom...I could have been watching this!!

  4. Ooooh, I'll definitely check those out! I think farmers are going to get their dignity back. I'm hoping the country is realizing how much they have to offer and how much we NEED them. And um yesterday's post about the tree? SPOKE to me (and my cat!) : )



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