I've always wanted to join the sorority of Dairy Star "Women in Jeans". When the paper comes, right away, I'm flipping through to find that particular feature.

Maybe its because reading other farm women's responses to questions about life-work balance makes me feel a little more normal. Or maybe its because I always find myself wondering how I'd answer those questions.

Either way, I love reading their responses. In fact, I have one of Lu Reeck's answers posted on the bulletin board in our kitchen. One of my friends came over just after I put it up, read it, and asked, "Were you in the paper?"

No, I told her. But Lu's response to the question about farmwork versus housework could have been mine.

For those who missed it, Lu's perfectly-said answer was this:

"I spend 70 percent of the time doing farmwork. I don't like housework and I never saw dishes or floors suffer from not being nurtured in the careful, timely manner that families, animals and fields need."

Since I write for the Dairy Star now, my chances of being asked to be a "Woman in Jeans" are pretty slim. Furthermore, the WIJ selection committee would probably return my application due to lack of experience. So, I'm taking this opportunity to pretend I'm a member of the WIJ sorority.

I've taken the liberty of modifying the questions a bit to include my favorite questions from "Dairy Profile". I've always thought they should swap questionnaires for the "Dairy Profile" and "Women in Jeans" every once in awhile.

I'd like to know what some of the men interviewed for the "Dairy Profile" would like to be remembered for and how much time they spend on housework versus farmwork.

And I'd like to know what tools other women name as their favorites, how they'd spend a vacation, and how they got into farming.

Family members: Glen, my husband, and our son, Dan, who will be two in December.

What's your busiest time of the day? Evening. I always feel like the sunset hours go way too fast. There never seems to be enough time to finish evening chores, put supper on the table, finish the day's last to-do items, and get everybody ready for bed.

How much time do you spend doing farmwork compared to housework? Housework? Who does housework? See Lu's answer above. Actually, I manage to squeeze an hour or so of domestic activity into most days. Otherwise I split my time between outside farmwork, inside farmwork (record keeping in Scout, bookkeeping, government relations, etc.), and parenting.

What's the best thing about farming? I enjoy the lifestyle farming provides for our family: Working together with Glen. Being around animals all the time. Watching Dan's love for the farm and animals develop. Letting Dan sleep in.

When you look back on your life, what do you want to be remembered for? I would like to be remembered as a loving mother, thoughtful wife, and responsible farmer who wasn't afraid to speak her mind.

Do you have any ideas that could make farming easier for you and all farming women? The Handbook of Everything You Need to Know about Farming and Raising a Family at the Same Time, completely indexed for quick referencing.

How did you get into farming? I grew up on a dairy farm and married the son of a dairy farmer. When my father decided to retire from dairy, he offered us an opportunity to try dairy farming for ourselves. We milked cows on his farm for a year and a half, bought his cows, then moved to Stearns County, eventually purchasing the farm we're on now.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced since you started dairying and how did you overcome it? Learning to farm with Glen as a team, blending the styles of dairying we grew up with. We had a lot of parlor "talks" that first year. To this day, he still becomes suspicious when I tell him I'd like to talk to him for a minute.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? The same advice a friend of ours gave us: Sometimes you just have to let your husband or wife do what they want. Your idea isn't going to fly until they see it as their own.

What is the best investment you ever made in your dairy? For me, personally, the automatic waterer we put in this fall for the heifers. The investment means I won't be dragging and draining hoses, thawing out hydrants, and chipping ice out of water tanks all winter long.

If you could add one piece of equipment or technology to your operation and price wasn't an issue, what would it be? I would choose to put in a milking parlor.

What is your favorite thing to do on the farm? Letting the cows out of the barn.

What is your favorite dairy product? Farm fresh milk.

What is your favorite tool? My Fisher-Price* baby monitor, my pocket knife, and my handsfree head lamp. (Sorry, I couldn't choose just one.)

What are your plans for the dairy in the next five years? We plan to renovate our youngstock housing; after that, we'll look at putting in a parlor.

Tell us about a skill you possess that has made dairy farming easier for you. I worked for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Farm Service Agency before we started farming, so I have a good understanding of how those agencies operate. I never thought those experiences would help us as much as they have.

If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go? I would go on another cruise...somewhere warm...one with a daily massage package included.

*Please note: As much as I'd like them to, the brand names and companies I mention in my columns are not paying me to mention their names.

Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 50 cows near Melrose, Minnesota with 'help' from their one-year-old son, Dan. When she's not farming, she's writing for the Dairy Star. She can be reached at gsfrericks@meltel.net.