WEBSTER, NE (AP)--In the 1950s television show, "Lassie," Timmy's mother, Ruth Martin, always wore a dress and apron and rarely left the kitchen.
The farm wife of today is a little different, usually in jeans and occasionally out in the field.
Jean Foy has lived on a farm all her life. Her parents, Robert and Betty Marxsen, lived on a farm. Her father taught her how to drive a tractor, an Allis Chalmers C.
"It was a small tractor," Mrs. Foy said. "The tractors I drive now are a lot different."
After high school, she worked in Columbus before marrying her high school sweetheart, Marvin Foy, and moving with him to a farm. In 1985 they moved to the Foy family farm near Webster, where they still live.
When her three daughters were young, Jean Foy stayed home while her husband operated the farm.
"I did field cultivate once," she recalled. "I did a terrible job though, I missed spots. The tractor did not have air conditioning, I hated it and told Marvin I would never do it again."
In the late '80s, her husband started to lose his sight as a complication of diabetes. He taught his wife how to drive the bigger tractors and operate the equipment. Today she is a farmer in her own right.
"Now I enjoy it, usually," Mrs. Foy said. "It is like any other job."
In the spring, she prepares the fields by disking and field cultivating before planting. They hire a neighbor to plant the corn and some bean acres. Mrs. Foy drills the rest of the soybeans acres. In the summer, she windrows the alfalfa fields and round bales the hay. She also does some custom windrowing and baling.
Her husband keeps busy managing the farm. He does the marketing, planning for the coming year, as well as many repairs and the upkeep of the tractors.
The Foys' daughters also contribute. Pam, Jackie and Sandra started walking through the soybean fields with their mother when they were 9, cutting out weeds.
Their 8-year-old daughter, Allison, has not had to help because the family now uses pesticides that really help control the weeds, Mrs. Foy said.
In the fall, another neighbor is hired to harvest their crops and Mrs. Foy does the fall work, disking and chiseling.
When she is busy in the field, the older girls do their part at home, taking turns with meals, yard work, and caring for Allison.
"In 1989, the first year I did the field work on my own, Pam was just 8, and she would cook hot dogs for dinner," Mrs. Foy said. "I try to plan meals ahead, but we do eat a lot of sandwiches in the summer."
Of course, Mrs Foy's life is not all work and no play. She supports her daughters' activities--hardly missing an elementary school field trip in the 15 years, and helping organize North Bend Highs School's post-prom parties. She also is active in her church and plays volleyball on a women's league in the fall.
"Farming usually gives me the freedom to take off for any activities that I need to," she said. "We just take care of the scheduling of our work."