Brenda Codney says she practically grew up on her aunt’s farm in Pennsylvania and when she married her husband Walter, he enjoyed rural life too. A year after they were married, Brenda and Walter joined the US Air Force. Brenda served for 22 years as a medic and then paralegal. She retired in 2005 as the Law Office Manager at Offutt Air Force Base, in Nebraska.
As Brenda was preparing to retire, she and Walter moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Walter talked her into embracing the rural life they both grew up enjoying. Brenda said, “We can do it, as long as I don’t have to milk anything!” Walter and Brenda decided to sell organic, free range eggs by starting a poultry farm. They raise a variety of chickens, guinea hens, quails, pheasants, and turkeys.
Brenda and Walter both enjoy the opportunity to give back by donating eggs to local food pantries, homeless shelters, and airmen Walter works with. Brenda also enjoys the time spent with her grandchildren on the farm.
“They love going out to feed the chickens and help me gather eggs. They also love to eat eggs! ” Brenda says.
During her years of service as an Air Force medic and paralegal, Brenda acquired disabilities that made it difficult to easily move about her home. Easter Seals Iowa worked with the Veterans Administration Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services to make accommodations to Brenda’s home, making it easier for her to live in. A lift at the front door and modifications to the steps make entering and exiting the home possible.
Brenda’s washer and dryer were located on the lower level of the home and the steep stairs to the basement were difficult for Brenda to manage. Now an added utility room provides a washer and dryer on the main level of the home and the main level is accessible by a new circle driveway.
“Before these accommodations to my home it was difficult for me to perform the most basic of life’s functions because of my disabilities. These modifications allowed me to function as a wife, a mother, grandmother again, and made it possible for me to get out of the house and take part in the community again.” Brenda says.
Photography: Marji Guyler-Alaniz created FarmHer to document women in agriculture through photography. Marji says, “This project is about documenting women. It never has been and never will be about posing people to create the perfect scene. There is a place and time for those types of photos and this is not it. Documenting for FarmHer means to follow and not dictate the photographs. My goal is to capture the beauty in the every day and my style is to show who these women are through subtleties. Subtleties that show these are women and portray that they are agriculture. If you read the whole story, written through my images, I hope you end with a great understanding and appreciation of that woman, that farm and the beauty within.”