Poem printed in The Land Girl magazine, April 1943. The Land Girl magazine helped to prevent land girls from feeling isolated and first went on sale on 1st April 1940 for the cost of 4d. [2 pence]. It started as an unofficial Women’s Land Army publication. It became very popular, selling around 21,000 a week. The Ministry of Agriculture realised its popularity and paid for its production. The extracts shown here provide some insight into the role of the Women’s Land Army and how some land girls engaged with the magazine. Catalogue ref: MAF 59/22
Women joined the Land Army from all backgrounds, a third coming from London and other large cities. Farm work was hard, and the women did all sorts of jobs including hoeing, ploughing, hedging, turning hay, lifting potatoes, threshing, lambing and looking after poultry. A thousand women were employed as rat catchers. Six thousand women worked in the Timber Corps, felling trees and running sawmills. About a quarter were employed in milking and general farm work.
(With apologies to Mrs. Roosevelt and the Orderly).
At seven o’clock on an inky morn, I flounder up the lane,
To call the cows – my beautiful cows! – in out of the pouring rain;
I count them, one by deliberate one, as they slowly pass the gate,
And know I shall get depressingly wet by the time I reach thirty-eight!
Oh, oh, the farmer’s girl! Oh, the farming day!
Poor tired farmer’s girl! Tra la la la la la la –
Seven o’clock on a winter’s morn I start my little day,
And all day long I am tending cows in a conscientious way,
And it’s Buttercup hey! Violet hoy! Julia, step this way!
It’s fun to be a farmer’s girl and work in the yard all day.
I gaily laugh as I pack the chaff in bags of five foot three
To make the pulp which they greedily gulp for breakfast and for tea,
Then to and fro I steadily go, and the breeze is blowing free –
Though most of it goes in the tank I suppose, a lot of it stocks to me!
I sit in the sun and consume a bun when the morning’s half-way through,
Then go with a rush and madly brush – I’ve got so much to do!
I clear the mud, and mop up the blood when the turnip knife misses its way,
And walk for miles over hedges and stiles for cows that have gone astray.
Ola Trist, 37577 (Cornwall)
FOR SALE. – Brown riding boots, 5; worn only twice. WANTED pair size 6 or would exchange. Write, Holder, Goleigh Farm, Newton Valence, Alton, Hants.