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Proud to have “farmer’s hands”

By Patricia Grotenhuis

"Hands" was the theme of the 2015 #facesoffarming calendar

“Hands” was the theme of the 2015 #facesoffarming calendar

“Where do you work?” the nurse asked, looking at my hands.

“I work at home,” I said, “on a farm.”

“I knew it!” she exclaimed. “It’s a dairy farm, isn’t it? I could tell by your hands. I would know a dairy farmer’s hands anywhere – I used to live on a dairy farm.”

The other nurse in the room seemed surprised by the exchange, so my nurse called her over to show her my hands.

“See,” she explained, “they’re soft in some spots, calloused in others, and stained.”

It was the most accurate description of my hands I’ve ever received. Washing the cows’ udders leads to the soft patches, while forking all of the feed and bedding leads to the calluses. It depends on the day what the stains are from. Sometimes they come from the teat dip we use on the cows after milking to maintain udder health. If I’ve been helping my husband fix something, the stains could be from grease or oil. I enjoy canning when I can find time, so in this particular case, they were stained from pitting cherries.

My hands have never had a manicure, and will never be described as “pretty” or “well looked after”. I’m okay with that, though. I’ve had farmer’s hands most of my life, and to me, it means I spend my time caring for our animals and land, no matter what toll it takes on my body or skin.

The 2015 Faces of Farming calendar

The 2015 Faces of Farming calendar

Soon, winter will be here, and with it will come chapped, cracked skin from my hands being exposed to the elements while I work. It means my hands will catch on fabrics, and sometime they will crack deep enough to bleed. I’m still okay with it, though. It will just be yet another way of showing people I am proud of what I do, and proud to take the best possible care of our animals and land.

“Hands” was the theme of Farm & Food Care Ontario’s 10th Anniversary Faces of Farming calendar. Meet the farmer models in our 2015 calendar here: http://farmfoodcare.org/news/2015-faces-of-farming-calendar

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on November 7th, 2014 :: Filed under Faces of Farming,Farm life,Uncategorized
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