April 7, 2009

A Typical Day

I have recently had emails from a couple of charming readers interested in knowing how we manage things on farm. So I thought I would share a bit of our day with all.
We live on a small farm, 15 acres. The better half does work away from the farm (someone has to pay the bills :-). Though he does help out during busy times and when he is home off the road. I am blessed to be able to stay at home and be doing what I want to do at this time in my life. My day is not glamorous by any means; it is more an adventure never knowing what the new day will bring.

For Ann & Terry
I have always been an early riser. Also being a light sleeper, the rooster crowing by the window at the crack of dawn never fails to wake me. No alarm clock needed here. Usually up and around before anyone else in the house, I cherish and need that little extra time in morning to clear my head and collect my thoughts.
The day begins roughly about 5 or 6, depending on the light and cold of the season. First if there are bottle babies, it’s bottle time and cleaning playpens. I start a load of laundry then out to milk the goats after my morning caffeine fix and puttering around the house opening blinds, curtains and doors. Then back in to process and bottle the milk. While the pasteurizer* is humming along I check my email, drop in at various online boards or groups and try to post on the blog.
We are very fortunate to have milk year round. Winter for most is when they dry their does off for breeding and do not have to milk. At times I envy those who have the winter break, especially the days the milk begins to freeze before I get it to the house. Other times I am grateful to not be without milk, so we purposely breed to have a year round supply.
After finishing working with the milk, it is back outside to feed and water the poultry, peafowl and pigs. I then feed the goats and sheep. There are 4 pens/pastures that house our goats and sheep. I weigh and measure feed amounts for each group then it’s back and forth from the feed room till all are fed. I then check to make sure each pen/pasture has a clean full water trough, fill hay feeder and refill baking soda and mineral feeders and let all out to browse.
Then back in the house to make breakfast. Breakfast depends on who might be home and how hungry they are. If I am home alone it is normally something simple and easy such as a breakfast muffin, toast and jam or a bowl of oatmeal on the run. If the better half is home we usually go over the plan of action for the day during breakfast. The better half works from the "To Do List " which gives me the direction my day will take. Depending on the task chosen and if he will or will not need my help is how my day will play out.
Around 11:30 it’s bottle feeding time, I collect eggs, check on any special needs situations (pregnant goats, hatching chicks, babies of any type, etc.), then walk the farm checking for head/horns caught in fencing, making sure all is right in my little world.
It’s then time to fix lunch, again what depends on who is here. After lunch, it’s mid day bottles, then we continue whatever task or craft chosen for the day. Lately it has been shearing, vaccinating and trimming hooves. On cold days we choose inside outdoor projects, like raking out the old loose hay from the hay room, cleaning the milk room and shelters, organizing the shop, fixing things that need repaired and building a new whelping box. Puppies due anytime.
Around 5 it is bottle time again. I also check nest boxes for a late laid egg that might freeze, plus check the levels in the outside self-feeding cat and dog food dispensers. Before evening milking I call everyone back up from the pastures, do a head count and close them in their pens for the night. After milking go back to the house and we call it an end to a good day.
I try to have dinner on the table by 7 at the latest, dishes and kitchen cleaned by 8. The last bottle feeding of the day comes around right before retiring for the night, sometimes 9, sometimes 10. Between 8 and 9 is my quiet down time. I usually can manage a chapter in a book or watch a 30 minute program on TV before falling asleep sitting up.

Now in between the ins and outs during the day I do the other normal household activities, cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking. Some tasks I have assigned to certain days. Cheese making is Monday, I use all remaining milk from the prior week that has not been bottle fed, sold or used for the table to make cheese. Thursday is for baking, Wednesday is for scrubbing floors, cleaning bathrooms and other mundane household chores. Friday is set aside for visitors and customers to pick up milk and eggs.
I also handle all other day to day tasks such as paying bills, purchasing supplies & feed, all records management, sales and supervise (if you want to call it that) our farmhand who helps out when needed.
What needs done around the farm also depends on the season. Spring and Summer comes garden work, new babies born and home canning. Fall and Winter brings butchering and winter prep.
Seems there is always something to do and never a dull moment.