Irish author, farmer, and blogger, Lorna Sixsmith, has written a series of short pieces giving us an idea of a day in her life, and also some hints and tips to make life on the farm run that little bit smoother. 

This week, she gives advice to salesmen coming onto the farm with preconceptions – oh dear!
I’m often amused by the contrast in how men visiting the farm talk to me. Here’s an example of the characters I met last week – I’m sure you have all met these responses too. 
Over the years, I’ve weeded out the sales guys who greet me with: “Is the boss around?” 
Once they’ve heard me snarl: “You’re looking at her,” they know they aren’t going to get a sale and they seem to resolve to not darken our doors again. 
However, one of these characters visited the other day while I was out feeding calves and he was trying to sell something to Brian that we really didn’t want. 
“You may ask the boss,” I could hear Brian tell him as he pointed to me coming out of the calf shed. 
“Ah, but you wear the trousers,” came the (defeated, but still hopeful) response as he didn’t even look in my direction and drove off to the sound of Brian laughing at him. 
Yes, there are still men who just aren’t happy doing business with women and prefer to lose the sale.
Then we had the salesman who parked his van in the middle of the yard, nodded at me as I walked past him on my way to the dairy and asked: “Is he on the tractor?” as the sound of the loader came closer and closer. 
He didn’t even consider that he might engage in a conversation with me about whatever he was selling. 
Next up was the truck driver collecting cattle to bring to the factory. He, Brian and the dog loaded them into the trailer while I was feeding calves. 
Seeing me cross the yard carrying two large buckets of milk, I heard him call out: “Fair play to you”. It might sound rather patronising out of context but the tone showed it was a compliment. Having heard me talk about farming on the radio recently, he seemed pleased to see that I walk the talk!
And last, but not least, was a visit from our local vet to see to a cow. While he was there, I asked him to check on a calf that had showed signs of bloat that morning. 
A sprightly man in his 70s, I was amused when he offered me his arm when I was climbing over the gate of the calf pen in case I might slip and fall. Chivalry is still alive and well – even on farmyards. 
A few tips to salespeople when dealing with the farmer’s wife:
1. Remember she’s often the one who writes the cheques so always treat her with respect.
2. Wear clothing and footwear suitable for the farmyard – you’ll look silly in polished shoes or trainers. 
3. Give a free sample of whatever you’re selling if it is a new product.
4. Never ever ask to speak to the ‘bossman’.
5. If you’re invited into the house for a cup of tea, always take off your boots.