Sneak Peek 6: Irmgard “Irmi” Critcher
Age at this writing: 56
Irmi comes to us from the British Columbia Peace Region between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, BC. She was recommended to me by several women when I made the “callout” on social media for BC-representation for this book.
Irmi has been married since 1982 and has lived in the Peace Region area ever since. Her and her husband Barry have three grown children.
Irmi and Barry began a grain and custom-work business originally, but have since dropped the custom work and expanded into a full grain farm. They now farm about 4000 acres, growing wheat, barley, oats, canola, peas and grass-seeds. They incorporated their farm 15 years ago and Barry and Irmi are the decision-makers. They have a son employed on the farm.
I asked Irmi what the term ‘farmwife’ meant to her and she said this:
A: “I guess I am a “farmwife” but not in the traditional sense, I consider myself more like a business partner. I did all the typical farmwife things, where you raise your kids and grow your own vegetables, but I was never the person which would go to quilting groups or exchange recipes. I ended up getting more into farm politics and sitting on male-dominated boards, with local and Provincial Producer Associations.”
Q: What was your background prior to marrying your husband?
A: “I grew up in a village in Bavaria, Germany on a small farm. I went to a college in Munich, where I had just finished my diploma in business Administration specializing in Commerce & foreign trade. I had landed a job, but prior to that I wanted to travel, so I decided to take a leave of absence and backpack through Canada. I ended up on a farm in Northern BC and ended up meeting my future husband there, as he had just started his stint on the same farm as an Agriculture Exchange student from the UK!”
Q: What are ways you try to keep your marriage strong?
A: “By showing interest on what he is doing and going through, and getting him talking about it (guys tend to be tightlipped). One of our favourites is crop checking, where we can spent time alone, look at the crop and talk about the big picture (or anything else that is on our mind at the time)! We also like going away on holidays together often, we share a lot of the same interests hiking, paddling, snorkeling camping and we re-charge ourselves and our marriage. ”
Q: As you know, the demands of farming on your spouse’s time is often such that they cannot contribute as much to “home” or “childcare” needs as much as spouses who work ’40-hour weeks’ can. Describe how the never-ending task of housework is managed in your home?
A: “During the years when my kids were small I usually did most of it, as the kids grew older they had to help a lot, schedules were made up who had to do what and it got done! They still talk about it how hard they had to work (not really). Now that the kids have moved out (but are usually here on a daily basis) my husband shares the cooking, helps with a thorough clean and maybe even throws the odd load of laundry in. I really like it when he cleans because he is way fussier than I am.”
Read the REST of Irmi’s interview along with those of 20+ other women this winter when Farmwives 2 launches! These women dug deep answering more than 20 questions from me about their lives on Canadian family farms about what they love most, what worries them and their views on the term “farmwife”.
The new book is due out EARLY 2018. You can buy Billi’s first book here.
The author Billi J Miller lives with her husband and 2 daughters on a 106-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. She’s on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and you can find more of her work here.