Farmwife #10: Laura Waterfield
Age at this writing: 43
Laura Waterfield is a self-proclaimed “farm girl” who farms with her husband on a grain farm near Kitscoty, Alberta, approximately two hours east of Edmonton. It is the farm her husband grew up on. Since 2013, they’ve diversified by starting F’Laura n’ Company Greenhouse. She and her husband Dean have been married 20 years and have three sons.
When I asked her: “What does the term ‘farmwife’ mean to you, and do you consider yourself to be one?”, this was her answer:
A: “I think being a farmwife involves more than simply being married to a farmer. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman has to be hands-on in every aspect of the operation, but she has to be “committed” to the farm. For me, farming is not just a way to make a living. It is a way of life, and thus in many ways, it defines who I am, and how I view the world. Do I consider myself to be a “farmwife”? The answer is yes.”
Q: On some Canadian farms where multiple families are involved, there are a variety of land and home-ownership complexities that still exist today. In terms of the ownership setup of your farm – is there anything that worries you about your own or your children’s security?
A: “If you had asked me that question 2 years ago my answer would have been different than it is today. My husband and I knew there were some changes that needed to be made to ensure that myself and our boys would have a future on the farm should something happen to him, but we weren’t in a panic to get the ball rolling. Then, in June of 2015, a very close friend (and a fellow farmer) was killed in a tragic vehicle accident. Suddenly it became blatantly obvious to both of us that we needed to get loose ends taken care of immediately. Now, I can say that I feel confident my children and I are secure.”
Q: What is a hilarious story you can share about life on your farm?
A: “In the early spring of 2002, my husband and I bought 50 bred heifers. In our area, 2002 was a drought year. We fed hay and grain all summer. The only bits of green grass were in the ditches, and most of the crops didn’t even emerge out of the ground. My husband decided to take on a job long-haul trucking to help make ends meet. That meant that I was left behind to care for 200 cow-calf pairs, a four-year-old, and a one-year-old. It goes without saying that when one’s husband is away anything that can go wrong will go wrong. To make matters worse every one of those heifers was a fence jumper! They got so accustomed to me putting them back in that eventually all I had to do was roll down the truck window and yell. Sometimes, they would jump back over the fence when they saw me coming. About mid-July, the stress caught up with me, and I got really sick. One day when I was at my worst a neighbour stopped by to let me know we had cows out. Normally I would have invited him in for coffee, but I was running a fever and my head was pounding. When I heard the news I told him “tell them to get the $*#* back where they are supposed to be” and I shut the door. Sometime later I found out that he said exactly what I told him to, and they did!”