the farmer's wife


share your own story

Dear FRONTLINE

It was so heartwarming to see a couple younger than I am dealing with so much, at one time. It makes my life seem simple.

The fact that The Buschkoetters held on and learned how to lean on each other and keep the love going was amazing. I found myself crying with them, and laughing with them also. My mother was the daughter of a coalminer and farmer, I wish she could be with us to see this, amazing film!

You have brought hope not to just farmers, but to everyone else who needs to remember how important family and love is, as well as reaching for your dreams,not to mention a hard days work! Thank You.

Cheryl Clark
Los Angeles, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

Sometimes I sit alone at night and think how hard life is. And I do not have it quite as hard as you do. I am a mother of three and I work two jobs. We just moved out into the country last year.

I first saw your program last year when it aired for the first time. And ever since then I think of all of you quite often. Your story has moved me so much that I think I will never forget it. If at all impossible I would like to keep in touch.

You know kind of like a pen pail. I'm sure you are overwhelmed with letters.

God Bless each and every one of you.

Cabot, Pennsylvania

Dear FRONTLINE

I could relate to so much of your experience because I was a college graduate who married a hard working public works employee. I stayed home with the children and taught GED part time because day care was too expensive and I believed in being home with my children.

My husband plowed snow all night when needed and worked outdoors all year. We kept a 1/2 acre garden and I, a city girl from New Jersey, put up all of our vegetables, jelly, and pickles for the year. I went to WIC to get high protein foods with government coupons and went longer distances to stores that would cash them because my husband wouldn't use them. I mixed milk with powdered milk to stretch our money and took our 3 children for shots at the free clinic.

When my daughter got to first grade, I got a Stafford college loan to get certified in special ed so I could teach full time. I still taught part time, kept the house and raced through school. Now I work full time and money is easier. I make sure that we enjoy our financial freedom. We have a long way to go in our relationship but the love is there from supporting each other for 23 years. Your lives resemble ours in many ways. Thank you for sharing our common experience and giving it shape. Bless you and your girls.

W. Suffield, CT

Dear FRONTLINE

Last night I was able to watch part 3 as my granddaughter was in an accident last yr. on the final night. I waited 1 yr to see it. My daughter moved to Indiana 4 yrs ago with her husband and children and they started their own business. They are now having the same issues that I saw in your film. They are not farmers but they are going through the same turmoil. My son in law works a full time job and also works at the store as does my daughter. He is getting 4 hrs. sleep and than back to work 7 days a week. the children are small and she my daughterhas health problems. My heart goes out to them and did to you. I think watching this film will help me to help them. I keep telling them that this will make them stronger. but I know it is easy to say and hard to do. We help out any way we can and I must say that while my extended family does not like my son in law I have the utmost faith and admiration for how hard he is working. I felt that way about Darrel as I watched him struggle. I try to preach understanding and selflessness to my daughter. we spoiled her thank you for sharing with us and I do wish my daughter had the chance to see your film.

Sue Oberfield
Queen valley, Arizona

Dear FRONTLINE

I can relate to the struggle Juanita and her family had to face. My family operates a grain farm in southern Ohio. Slowly we had to sell our hogs, cattle, and tobbaco base. My parents both work on the farm, with my brother, sister, and I to help. Now they both work off the farm along with my brother.

This is not how things were surpose to go. My paarents are talking about leasing our ground out and not raising any crops this year. This will be the first time in my life we will not be farming; it makes me feel like we are losing apart of ourselves.

I enjoyed the series of the farmers wife, I think it let the city folks, and non-farmers a chance to see the daily struggle farm families have to face. Thank You!!!!!

Beth Souder
Winchester, Ohio

Dear FRONTLINE

My entire family have enjoyed the story about Juanita and Darrel so much. We have family discusions about their farm and their marriage.

Our family has a lot in common with Juanita and Darrel. I was the country girl who married a city boy. Fortunately my husband grew to love the family farm and to cherish its family history as much as I always have. We farmed with my widowed mother for nearly 20 years.

When my mother died after a year long bout of cancer, we were financially devestated. We had no personal resources with which to continue on, and my sister who had lived in the city for the past 20 years inherited half of everything along with me. Four years later my husband and I have worked out a deal with my sister. She lives in the family home rent and practically utility free while we continue with the farming. We are now financially sound enough to be buying more land and cattle of our own.

We have both always had to work off the farm in order to make ends meet. How I envy those handful of who live around us that actually get to farm full time without having to leave during the day for their town job.

But I wouldn't trade my life with anyone else's. My children had a rich childhood filled with 4-H and strong family ties. My husband and I, though we fight like cats and dogs from time to time, share a strength which I believe can only come from farming.

soania wilson
stuart, ok

Dear FRONTLINE

I have never been so thankful for sleeplessness as I was last night, when I woke up at 3 AM and watched what must have been an uninterrupted run of "The Farmer's Wife." I'll just get in line and send my best wishes to you and your marvelous family. I am warmed by your diligence and the way you honor "right living," and discover in yourselves what is needed to live your dream on a daily basis. Another aspect of your lives I appreciate is your determination to "put foundations under your dreams," as Henry Thoreau wrote. Dreams without foundations are a dime a dozen.

I hope all this publicity only deepens your convictions to your chosen way of life and strengthens your love for one another.

Jack Troy
Huntingdon, PA

Dear FRONTLINE

Thank you so much for your story. The past five years for our family have been a rollercoaster financially. I could relate to every emotion in The farmers wife.

My husband got laid off of his job just after our second child was born. He had to take a job that paid $6.00 an hour less than he was previously making. To a one income family that is devestating. We both wanted to have one parent always home with the kids and sending them to a babysitter was out of the question, so I worked nights and week-ends while my husband worked week days. I had to stop going to college at night because money was more important. I was very resentful that these circumstances were happening to us. I felt that life was controlling me rather than me being in control of my life.

The relationship between my husband and I was strained to say the least. It got to the point where just looking at him made me so mad that I just completely became like a machine with no emotions. It was a very hard time.

That was 4 years ago and now we are finally getting back on our feet. My husband and I worked through all those problems by opening up the lines of communication again. Our relationship is now stronger because of that experience. I didn't know why God had put us through that experience at that time, but I can look back and say we are a better family because of it.

I was able to get my AA degree this past May. I will start working towards by BA now. I am hoping to get financial aid to complete my dream of becoming a teacher. I like you will encourage my children to get their education before starting a family. It is so much easier.

I thank God every day for giving me the stregth to get through these past few difficult years.

The Farmers Wife program was like a message from God saying there are other people in the world struggling just like you are, and they come out on the other side better people for it. Thank you for your inspiring and well told story.

Kim Boggs
Apple Valley , California

Dear FRONTLINE

When you broadcasted The "Farmer's Wife" last year, I happened upon it while "channel surfing". I became so facinated that I looked forward for the next part the folowing week. Two weeks ago, I came across the re-broadcast of this program and again, I found myself watching and looking forward for the next part.

I do not recall ever being so captivated by a television program as I have with "The Farmer's Wife". This program was a dose of Americana that I needed. Thank you

Christopher Holder
Oxnard, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

Thank you for the

farmers wife.

It helped me see what is im-

portant in life and your job or

how much money you have isn't

one of them.

Jeffrey Shantz
Puyallup, Washington

Dear FRONTLINE

This was the second time I watched your show. I cried and laughed through it.

My husband and I are going through some rough times, but I hope that watching you can give me some hope for our future. Good luck in yours.

Rene Wilson
mesa, az

Dear FRONTLINE

The amazing peek into your most private moments moved me greatly. I too am feeling a need to provide for my family by educating myself. The prospect is daunting - there are so many factors involved in this decision.

I live in a city and your family rural yet the parallels are amazing. The majority of the people fight to keep afloat. I too am Catholic and my children attend Catholic school like yours - keeping faith is integral if we are to find the strength to make it through the toughest times. I applaud you and Darrell for fighting to hold onto your dream, with or without the support of those around you. You are the backbone of family life, rural or urban and I plan to hold you in my thoughts when the going gets tough. I cried when you received your degree! Hurray for you!

Tracy Lewington
Calgary, Alberta

Dear FRONTLINE

God bless you for sharing your life with everyone.I have watched your show religiously for the past three weeks and cannot begin to tell you how you helped my family.

I am a mother of three kids and have a

fantastic partner and although we do not farm, your emotional and financial troubles were parallel to mine.Our debt is not of your magnitude,but none the less any debt is stressful.I just read your update and cried at the happiness that your family has

accomplished.M

My family are now just into our second month of healing and our life is becoming richer for it every day.My kids are 10 9 and 4 and at this moment

Thank you, juanita, for showing me that families are worth fighting for,your story has touched my heart and I will think of you often.

Lynne Hodgson
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Dear FRONTLINE

Dear Friends--I start with my friends because for the past three Sundays you have been in our home and we shared your hardships and your triumphs.

We are not farmers, my husband is an auto mechanic. We have struggled for 7 years to be where we are today. Still in debt, not sure of each paycheck and now raising two little ones. I stay at home with them. We have had many struggles with my husband's family and I have several times wanted to walk away from the best person ever!! I am now so inspired, that I know life is great, just because we are together as a family. I struggle with my faith, and now you have reinforced mine in me.

Thank you to you both. I now see the value of my life and the role I play in helping my husband be happy. Three Sunday nights watching t.v and we are on a new road to true happiness!

Thank you for giving me a true gift.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE

In this era of television programming that seems to lose touch with core of humanity, you're showing of the "Farmer's Wife" was a much needed breath of fresh air. It was brilliant, facinating, and heartwarming. Thank you very much.

Richland, WA.

Dear FRONTLINE

My dad just left from visiting when I sat down and turned on the TV. I surfed through the channels disregarding the usual when I stopped on 'The Farmer's Wife'. I couldn't believe what I was watching..It was my family and childhood right there!! All the problems and fears and issues that just don't get discussed. Everything that has haunted me about our family for some time.

Growing up I thought 'man my family is screwed up'. Nobody could have the problems we have... The issues between Darrel and his father, not being able to work together, Not feeling respected, Not being able to express real feelings to each other, basicly no relationship except work.. It was my grandfather, my dad, my brother and me!! To a 'T'!

And the issues between Darrel and Juanita, were so near my parents it scared me. My parents divorced after 20 years because of similar problems. I'm now 25 and work as a crop consultant. I have a brother in college who has less of a relationship with Dad than I do. The divorce and almost losing the farm left him a shell of who he once was. I still struggle with this.. With what has happened. I am very proud of my parents and who we are. Your story has helped me realize that, again.

I now have to take the steps to tie our family back together. I know my dad would like to, but doesn't know how to bridge the gap. It's just not something that is discussed openly.

I want to say thank you Darrel and Jaunita for being so open and candid.

If you read this please accept some advice from the next generation: Don't stop doing things your girls are interested in. Constantly work on your relationships with them. Don't be afraid to say "great job"!! or "Were proud of you". I think Darrel knows that the strain on being a farmer's child today can be difficult. Please don't forget what it was like when you were in their shoes.

I personally gained experiences from the farm that I never did in college. I also rebeled because I missed out on some things that other kids got to do. If you can relate, try and remember this when it comes to the girls.

Middle, Tennessee

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