Alberta author, Billi J. Miller, asked seventeen women seventeen candid questions about what it is like to be a farm wife. All the women lived around Lloydminster; one on the Saskatchewan side, the rest on the Alberta side. It took her four years to write, but when it was published in 2016, she sold over 1100 copies of Farmwives in Profile and was invited to Edmonton to do Global news interviews and be on City TV. She even sold a couple books in the UK. “I think these are stories people are very interested in hearing; no one has really focused on just the women before and their work and their contributions are unbelievable. And people love seeing the photographs and hand-written recipes.” Some of the questions she asked included, What was the hardest part of life on the farm? What was the best part? And do you have any advice for people marrying farmers today? “I added it up at the end of this book and there is a combined total of over 700 years of marriage advice from these women.” The women also share advice about the pros and cons of working with family.
During the writing of the first book, Miller realized a second book would have to be written. The second book, Farmwives 2, looks at the life of the new Canadian farm wife. For this book, she interviewed more than twenty different women from across the country; all 55 years old and under. They live in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. “It was interesting to hear about cattle farming, harvesting, and combining during our peak seasons here in the first book, but I wondered what is it like for dairy farmers in Ontario; what is it like for farmers in Nova Scotia, so I reached out and women responded to this request and talked about their lives on the farm.” This latest book, due out in 2018, includes some new questions such as, “Are there any home or land ownership complexities that exist on your farm that make you feel uncomfortable or worry about the security of yourself or your family?”
Miller, who married a farmer and lives on a hundred year old farm in the prairies, enjoys speaking in rural communities about her books. “These are all pretty amazing women to me, and I wanted to get their stories out,” explained Miller. And she added, “Dorthoy’s Chocolate Cake (from the first book) is the most to die for recipe on this planet!”