Blog: When a city slicker writes a dairy blog

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click image to zoomModern Farm WifeModern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife blogger Jessica Folkema and her husband, "Dairy Man." Sometimes I feel like a terrible blogger. And a terrible dairy blogger. And a terrible dairy wife.

I started this blog as a coping mechanism to grapple with the realities of dairy life—a life I knew nothing about before meeting my handsome Dairy Man.

But somewhere along the line, I became perceived as a dairy “expert.” Inexplicable.

As we all remember, I did not grow up on (or even near) a farm. I spent my formative years in a suburban land of city water, sidewalks, and neighborhood parks.

The closest I ever came to agriculture was Teusink’s Pony Farm. It was basically just a petting zoo with horse rides. Though I was surrounded by ducks, bunnies, and goats, I could hear honking car horns. I was within walking distance of ice cream. I could place one foot on the farm and the other in the asphalt parking lot of a nearby church.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

Teusink’s did not prepare me for farm life.

I didn’t experience true rural isolation until I moved to our old white house on the dairy. I didn’t experience the reality of farming until I was painting our laundry room by myself or trying to keep a barrage of black flies at bay.

I’m getting used to it.

The longer I live this dairy life, the more assimilated I become. It makes sense to use my writing to explain dairy processes and farming practice. In some circles I am the dairy expert. Mom is so proud.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

It’s profound when the fiery pink/orange sun sets in the orchard across the street. It’s profound when my husband—weary, frazzled, and spattered with dirt—attentively looks into my eyes to say “I love you.” It’s profound when I drive a quarter mile into an isolated field to bring the DM some dinner and spend a few minutes reconnecting.

This life is not extraordinary. We wake up and beat the pavement (or the dirt) just like everyone else. But each day is a gift and I am grateful.

Other dairies are bigger. Other people are smarter. Other houses are cleaner. Other cows have higher milk production. But none of this matters when I look at the beauty of the life I’m blessed to live.

There’s nothing mundane about the love I feel for that man; there’s nothing dull about the passion he feels for his demanding profession; there’s nothing ordinary about our dependence on a powerful God.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

This farm life is more absurd than I ever could have known. I’ve lived through planting, harvesting, cow jailbreaks, and barn building. I’ve gone to bed alone. I’ve eaten a delicious steak from a steer who lived up the hill from my kitchen. I’ve driven Subway into fields and waited, waited, waited.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

I worry about running out of things to say, but I’ve recently realized that every life (whether full of cows, taxi cabs, or diapers) is seeped in richness. Ours is no different. It’s my goal to remember this—to delight in new knowledge and turn old experiences on their side.

A good dairy blog written by a prissy city girl should be equal parts cow and contemplation. And that’s what I strive to do. As I share the oddities of dairy life from an “expert” perspective, I will also stay true to the pencil-skirt-wearing immigrant behind the veil.

I will never stop learning. I will never stop growing. And I will never stop being thankful that I get to live this life. (If nothing else, for the material!)

Thanks for coming along.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

For more adventures from an urbanite learning to live the life of a modern farm wife, visit

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Minnesota  |  October, 09, 2013 at 09:30 AM

Please keep writing--it is wonderful that you can appreciate the life so many of us love and I am certain DM has the same passion for his work and you!

Kentucky  |  October, 09, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Thanks for sharing, my wife and I enjoy your blog. I have been a DM for 26 years, so we know the things that you write about very well. And it is refreshing to hear of your new life together on the farm. It is very good for others to get an inside view of Dairy life, and yes it is a wonderful place to live and work. Continue to have those tractor side picnics, and encourage each other every day. We have been married 22 years , and have a son in high school and a daughter in college, and this life with Gods grace, has been and continue's to be a great Blessing.

Johnny Stansell    
Abilene, Texas  |  October, 09, 2013 at 06:00 PM

Thank you, you bring a smile to those of us who have been there and done that! You bring an OH! I didn't know that, surprise to lots of people. What you may not know is that you are teaching ALL of us very valuable lessons by your perspective!!! Keep on writing we love you!

Western Wisconsin  |  October, 09, 2013 at 09:17 PM

I left the dairy farm 47 yrs ago. The farm has never left me. Thank you for your blog and joy for you to be part of farming. I have spent 40 years financing farmers and have the greatest respect for their ability to persevere against all odds. My wife, a city girl, knows I will invest in good registered Holsteins if given a chance, they are my man toys. I have asked her spread my ashes on the cleanest alfalfa field she can find so I can be fertilizer to grow crops for dairy cows. I, also, requested that my tome stone says," He died with the heart of a farmer." Farmers are about to finally get their just reward for all the risk they take so we can have cheap food. God Bless our farmers.

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