Summer on the Farm
Recently I have found myself answering the question "how do you have time for everything?", along with the statement "you must be so busy". It is true, farm life keeps you running around, and combining that with a full time job and our work rebuilding this homestead means that we are always on the move.
Being busy was part of the plan, though, and having a plan is the key to achieving your goals. Even at our most frantic, we try to keep in mind that everything is towards an end goal of finished farmhouse, sown fields, large gardens, and peaceful animals. I am able to stay sane in large part due to the help of my partner and boyfriend, who does a lot of the clearing and building while I'm away at work during the day.
Apart from our work on the fields and structures of our property, most of the day to day tasks are a matter of routine. Animals love routine, and developing a routine to fit your day can help you keep up with all of the livestock and not feel overwhelmed.
In the mornings, everyone is eager to get out on a nice day. The geese get first dibs on the pasture space, where a large converted tub gives them the opportunity for a morning bath. While the geese are bathing, I set up their outside water and food for the day, and check the chicken's water and feed.
After their morning bath the geese are at the pasture gate ready for their free range time. The geese free range all day, except for this period of time first thing in the morning. "Free range" is probably an exaggeration: they nap around the barn and sometimes wander across the lawn for some grazing time. Once the geese are out of the pasture, the goats can be let out. I don't keep the geese and goats segregated for any reason, it's just how the rhythms of the day work out.
Goats in the morning are ready for playtime. They'll run from one acrobatic endeavor to another until they get tired enough to start grazing. While they're playing, I check their food and water levels and get more food and water for the young chicks who are currently in a grow-out box within the larger chicken's coop.
That's it, folks! It's a pretty smooth morning routine that only takes about fifteen minutes, unless I'm way-laid by goats needing snuggles. Repeat, in reverse, in the evenings. Cleaning up stalls and freshening bedding is generally done on the weekends, and I make sure to water the garden as necessary. As we adapt to our new life with more animals and responsibilities, I'm grateful our daily harvests are usually able to be consumed straight off the vine.
Routine can be the savior of any busy person and it is especially helpful with animals. Critters used to a certain routine will eagerly go in and out at the times they are used to, and not require herding around.
As for the more major projects we've got going on? As I mentioned I owe a lot of thanks to my boyfriend's persistent work ethic. Another strategy to completing those projects without getting overwhelmed is to think of them in sections. You'll never get anywhere if you keep wishing it could all just be done, right now. Instead, we're looking at each section of field year by year, I'm not worrying about my vegetable garden until spring, and we can't complain about the views from the outdoor shower until the temperature dips at least ten or twenty degrees.
So yes, we certainly keep busy! But it's all part of the project, and being busy caring for grateful geese and cuddly goats is the best kind of busy.