We all have our little routines. Mine vary a bit depending on the time of the year. They also vary according to which hat I’m wearing. When I have a major consulting project going, there’s a lot less weeding getting done (and of course, the housework can always wait!). I tend to do more writing in the winter, because there’s less daylight for outside work – not to mention lots more rain, hail and occasionally, snow. Here’s a bit about my usual round.
I nearly always wake up before the sun does, no matter what time of year it is. That could mean as early as 3:30 or as late as 6:30, but generally I’m up between 4 and 5 AM. In the winter, I sip coffee and hit the keyboard to get my writing done. It might be a blog post or some freelance articles, or I could be working on a book. In the summer, I gulp the coffee and head outside to do as much as I can before Old Sol makes things too bloody hot.
Morning chores always include letting the chickens out of their coops and feeding them; I check and refill waterers as needed. I gather eggs and take them to the house, then head down to take care of the larger livestock. Turn the sheep out of their night-time pen, take a run down to the farthest pasture — which is about a mile from the house — to check on any livestock there. I also refill salt, kelp and minerals. Morning rounds are also the time to just stand and watch the animals for a few minutes to make sure no one is hurt or sick. As the various females get closer to birthing, I check udders and rear ends for signs that the delivery date is nearing. When the cow is in milk, I usually do the milking in the morning (I typically milk once a day). When I get back to the house, I strain the milk into gallon glass jars and then wash the milker.
Depending on the time of the year and what else is going on, we might take a protein supplement tub down with the backhoe (can’t muscle those things on the 4-wheeler, they weigh about 250 pounds). In the late spring I hang the heavy winter blanket we use on the old stallion over a gate; once it’s dry, I fold it and put it away. Other miscellaneous tasks might include hauling a bale of fresh straw up to the sheep pen or cleaning out the chicken coop to put litter on the garden. Some days, we might build or fix fence, plow the garden or prune the fruit trees.
Activities for the rest of the day vary by the season. Like everyone else, I cook and do dishes and laundry; on dry winter days and in the summer, washing goes on the clothesline. If it’s hot, I bake or cook a roast first thing in the morning. In the summer, I water and weed and harvest, freeze and can and dry produce, irrigate the pastures and haul water to animals in the farthest pasture. When we butcher, I render lard and tallow and make chicken balls from the meat scraps. Milk and cream become butter, cheese and yogurt. I make bread and fermented vegetables, apple juice, grape juice and vinegar. As the various herbs (wild and cultivated) flower or set seed, I harvest those, too.
Evening is feeding time. Hay (in winter) and grain for horses and cows, grain screenings and food scraps for the pigs. I repeat the checks for illness and pregnancy. The sheep are shut into their pens and the chickens into their coops. I check to make sure things are covered (hay, screenings, supplements) if there’s any risk of rain, get dry clothes off the line, lock up the shop, wash house and pickup, and take the four-wheeler keys in the house. I may do some more writing once it’s too dark to work outside.
I never watch TV, so once the day’s work is done, I may settle with a book for an hour or so. Sometimes I do needlework, but whatever I’m doing in the evening, I’m yawning hard enough to crack my jaw by 8:30, and so – to bed.
That’s my daily round – what’s yours?