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Pheasant Farming From a Spouse’s Perspective

On October 29, 2010 in General by spope

Bill has been slightly laid up, due to outpatient knee surgery, (he’s getting better everyday,) so I asked him if I could write his blog.  I was truly surprised when he told me, not only could I write it, but he didn’t need to approve it before I posted.  I am proud to say that I am married to a pheasant farmer!  Being married to Bill, is almost like being married to the farm, it is sometimes hard to tell where the farm leaves off and he begins.  This is not a negative statement, as he loves what he does, and he loves the people with whom he works.  He worries about:  the baby chicks when they are first put into the pens, whether there will be enough ground cover, the water, the food, how many feeders per pheasant, how many feet each bird has in the pen, what threats are posed to the birds, how to handle those threats, how cold or hot the crates are when moving pheasants, what to do when equipment fails, trucks break down, accidents occur etc.  Bill also has tremendous concern for his employees, he attends weddings, rejoices when babies are born, advises when break-ups occur, consoles when friends and family members die, worries when his employees develop life-threatening illnesses, or when spouses of employees get into life altering crashes.  We pray together for his employees, because they are also family and friends.  There’s no such thing as a holiday, (right Claudia, Deb, Deb, Kathy, and all of you other spouses?)  Bill tells me that the pheasants don’t take days off, so people have to show up to take care of them.  Being a farmer is similar to working at a hospital, just because its Christmas, you just can’t close up shop and call it a day.  One also has to adjust one’s way of thinking when being the spouse or significant other of a pheasant farmer.  I used to pray for snow days, being a teacher it has always been a double gift, I get the day off AND get to spend the day with my children, (right Kathy?)  I will never forget December 9, 2009, (Bill is not the only person who has this date permenantly etched into his memory).  The snow was flying, the wind was blowing, to me, it was the perfect storm–had I not known what my darling husband and all of  the people at the farm were going through.  I already knew that I could sleep in, no school–hurray!  The phone call came in the wee hours of the morning–devestation.  Bill already blogged about it, so I don’t have to go into detail.  Needless-to-say, my relaxing day at home came to a quick end!  Kudos to everyone at the farm who showed up!  Not one person gave the excuse that they couldn’t get in to work!  Everyone teamed together, for weeks and weeks, and conquered the storm.  Ryan told Bill that that event was better than a rope’s course, as far as building community and developing a fantastic team.    I am always amazed at the dedication of the people that work at the farm.  I thought of Claudia when I read how Brian and Brian spent the night in the pens, not once, but multiple times, waiting to catch the predator that was coming in and attacking the pheasants.  I don’t know a lot of people who would give up their warm, cozy beds, to sit together amongst a bunch of birds, waiting to nab the killer.  I don’t know a lot of spouses who would be okay with that.  I loved the photos of the two guys with their fox(es), I also like the fact that they went out and celebrated afterward.  They take caring for those pheasants very seriously.  I am amazed at the hours that Ben comes into the hatchery to get things up and moving and ready for the day.  Even during adverse times, he was there with a smile on.  When I walk onto the farm, if I see people, (usually everyone is so busy, you don’t see them,) they are hustling about, making sure the work gets done.  I feel a lot of the dedication that I see coming from the farm is because of the integrity that Bill’s employees have; I also feel that some of it comes from the way Bill treats people.  Bill is a man of second chances.  He has offered quite a few people a job, when they were unable to find a job elsewhere, because of poor past choices.  Bill realizes that a person is not defined by the poor choices that they make, but by who they become after growing through those poor choices.  My husband is also a man of integrity.  He tries to be fair in all of his dealings.  He is friends with his competitors, and even invites them to come learn how he does things.  However, I wouldn’t want to get on Bill’s bad side.  He had one guy steal some wheels from him, and Bill used all of his resources to find the guy and get his wheels back.  (By the way, they rolled in, while Bill was out on his medical leave!)  I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but a change has come over Bill since we’ve been together.  Bill has two key guys that work with him, (not that everybody else isn’t key–but these are his two right hands,) Brad and Chris.  Bill has gotten to the point where he turns his phone off when we go out to dinner; doesn’t call in or take his lap-top when we go on vacations; doesn’t check for messages when he takes a weekend off.  The reason this is occurring is that he trusts that the farm is in good hands.  When he had his surgery, he felt confident that everything would run smoothly, because he has good people there!  I feel so fortunate for all of the people with whom Bill works, and for all of their families!  I could go on and on about what it’s like to be married to a pheasant farmer, but I think you get the idea.  I am thrilled to be married to my pheasant farmer, I don’t think it gets any better than this!


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