In continuation of our “Day in the Life” series, what do you say we just keep moving through the weekdays? That way I can’t simply pick and choose the more interesting days, and you get a more accurate glimpse into this off-grid farming thing. Here is last Wednesday in the life, July 2––exciting or not, Thursday, July 10th will be up next.
Middle of the night:
The wind picked up and lightning started to crash. I jumped out of bed to cover Charlie and her day-old kittens with a rain coat. I then tried to go back to bed but realized the young transplants were about to get pounded with rain and moved them back into the greenhouse, at which point I noticed the tarp had blown completely off the turkeys and fixed that, my headlamp shorting out all the while. With heart racing from trying to outrun the rain, and coming back to a boiling hot house, I got to sleep an hour or so later. All for about what turned out to be one-tenth of an inch of rain.
5:10 – 5:45 a.m.
Slept in (kinda), then did my chores and started a fire in the wood stove with bitter reluctance.
5:30 – 7 a.m.
Writing and breakfast, NPR in the background
Stirred blackberry wine and debated putting it into a carboy. Blackberry wine is by far my favorite country wine, but by far the wine that gets the least attention for how busy we are right now. Blackberries should really come into season in November.
7 – 7:45 a.m.
Moved the goats. This deserves its own post for how much I have struggled with the goats lately. They don’t seem to eat unless we’re around which, as full-time farmers, is utterly impossible. We’ve considered leaving cardboard cutouts of ourselves by their paddocks, but instead I’m just spending a little time with them each day and night and moving them more frequently––once a day. I don’t know what their deal is, but as my mentor Eric says, “In farming, everything is your fault.”
7:45 – 9 a.m.
I piddled about in the garden, cultivating and pulling weeds, planning and plotting the fall garden, cursing my Spring use of space.
9 – 10:30 a.m.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have to harvest any cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes as to not let them over-ripen––I nearly forgot. Luckily, harvest was cloudy and I took the baskets of veggies down to our neighbor’s house to store in their cellar and came back with an armload of Mothering Magazine for Hannah. Being the epic reader she is, Hannah was excited, to say the least. I’ll see her sometime next week.
10:30 – 11 a.m.
It’s amazing how much time can be gobbled up just watering stuff––animals, transplants, self. I did a bunch of that and called the mechanic about our broken down truck which they hadn’t got to yet. No idea how long the truck will be there, never do. On the couch next to me was Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, so I decided to take a minute to read some poems to Hannah’s belly. I hope when the baby grows up that it takes an interest in literature… and car mechanics.
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Went to the big garden to cultivate the late tomatoes and rescue the early. The tomato patch at our house is beautiful. The tomato patch there is a jungle.
12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Lunch and nap. No judging––nap time is essential to summer survival.
2:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Watched the kitties for a few minutes and went to the garden to tackle the tomatoes. Still a lot of work left, but looks more like a savanna now, less of a jungle.
5:15 – 5:45 p.m.
Swimming hole for bathing/cooling. God bless it.
5:45 – 6:30 p.m.
Hannah and I spent some time with the goats. We could tell they’d been eating by the fullness of their rumens, so hopefully they’re getting the hang of this independence thing. We’ll see though. You can lead a goat to fodder but you can’t make them eat.
6:30 – 7:15 p.m.
Evening chores and making dinner.
7:15 – 9:15 p.m.
Dinner and a movie. Sometimes as a treat we charge our computer and watch a movie in the house via Netflix. Our friend Aaron had recommended “Happy People: a year in the Taiga” which we also now recommend. The main subject of the documentary said something I liked, that you can take a man’s house and money, but you can never take his craft. And how. I may not want to ever live in Siberia, but I’m glad someone does.