In January 2016, I launched my labour of love and debut book celebrating the lives and the remarkable contributions of traditional farmwives between the ages of 55-90 on Canadian family farms. Their tireless devotion to their families, farms and communities needed to be honoured. You can find that book here, and see press on the warmly received project here.
Now it’s the “next generations” turn. I’ve turned my attention now to my second #farmwivesbook that is slated for release in early 2018. For this book, I’ve interviewed farm women from across Canada about how things are changing, what their challenges are and hilarious stories too. You will be nothing short of inspired reading the stories of how these amazing women are making their lives their own – and sometimes even shattering the traditional meaning of the term “farmwife” while they do it! These women are as varied as the beautiful parts of the country they come from.
In case you missed the first SNEAK PEEK of Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel of Mossbank, SK? Click here and read about her!
Now, in honour of Mother’s Day… I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to include for this second SNEAK PEEK into the women of Farmwives 2.
I was introduced to this woman by Lynn Prevost of the Association of Canadian Custom Harvesters Inc. at a conference. Kathryn Doyle and her husband are Custom Harvesters who live south of Fort Macleod, Alberta. They’ve been married nearly 19 years. The introduction started with “Kathryn has SIX kids!” Knowing custom harvesting requires months of travel, I knew I had to find out how she did it!
Kathryn and her husband Ryan are Custom Harvesters who start combining in Oklahoma and finish in Alberta all with their children and about 10 employees in tow. What convinced me that Kathryn had to be in my book wasn’t just that she looked far too “put together” and calm to be the mother of six children, but it was the look in her eyes when she answered my first question of “how do you do it?”
She looked at me with a warm smile and said: “I just love being a Mom”.
Kathryn is warm, humble, extremely dedicated to her family business and is the absolute perfect person to honour this Mother’s Day, by showing you a sneak peek into her interview with me for my second book due out in Spring 2018. Not to mention, she is the perfect example for those that say: “there are no traditional farm women left”.
Name: Kathryn Doyle
Age at this writing: 40
- What do you think is a key lesson we can learn from the older generations of farmwives – and also, what is a great piece of advice you’ve been given from the older generation that you’ve valued?
Answer: “My Mom was an amazing farmwife and mother. Her and Dad had separate roles but still always helped each other. I still carry this on today, I am quite traditional: I cook, bake, can, sew, clean but I can and do run out to help Ryan anytime he needs me.”
2. What is the most important thing you hope your children learn from farm life?
Answer: “Work ethic is so awesome, and responsibility. My kids know where their food comes from and we all work together as a team.”
3. Do you have an “app” or “hack” to keep yourself organized that you cannot live without?
Answer: “I am very organized with a big family and large crew to feed so that is my “hack”. I’m not technical, at all. I start my day the same every day and follow routine – ie. windows every Tuesday, mending Wednesday, laundry done by 10am every day, lunches made and packed by 7am, supper going well before men come in for lunch. I have two lives, one at home and four months on the road.”
Kathryn and her husband provide “custom harvesting” of wheat, oats, barley, canola and pulse crops from Oklahoma to Alberta in the summer & fall. The outline of a typical day for her while she looks after her children, and a staff of about 10 hired men while on the road is amazing (you’ll see all the details in book). The next time I have a hard day frustrated at the laundry my two girls produce, I am going to re-read Kathryn Doyle’s interview and remember her love for her life! She inspired me, and will inspire you too.
Watch for this book to be launched in Spring of 2018, and be sure to sign up for more SNEAK PEEKS to be delivered straight to your inbox! Still don’t have your copy of my 1st Farmwives book! Head over here and pick up your copy: www.farmwivesbook.com
Author Billi J Miller lives with her husband and 2 children on a more than 100-year old mixed cattle & grain farm on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Canadian Prairies. She is an award-winning farm photographer, freelance writer & author who has no plans to stop telling the stories of inspiring Canadians.