Barb from Georgia asked via email, "What's your typical work day like? How can you get everything done? I never have enough time in the day and you seem to be getting so much more done. Do you work from a to do list?"
First of all Barb, please understand that I don't feel obligated to get everything done in my list each day. I left that sense of urgency and duty behind in New Jersey. Once upon a time I would work until 11 pm just in order to get everything accomplished, only to start up again at 5 am with another rat race day ahead of me. If I didn't get things done, then I couldn't sleep. Or worse, I'd have nightmares. You know, stress nightmares, like being back in school and running from classroom to classroom but never being able to find the one you're suppose to be in. Or dreaming of going out somewhere only to look down and discover you're missing your pants! Part of changing to a homestead farming life was slowing down.....slowing down major bigtime! (No more nightmares.) That's not to say that I don't work. I do! But I just work to a different schedule. And while I make a work list, I often don't adhere to it. The list is helpful but not mandatory. And most days I don't it all done, or even close to accomplished. So be it. I don't let it worry me.
I think that I already mentioned that I budget my time. 13 hours a week is dedicated to farming/ gardening, 13 hours to doing something on the house projects, 13 hours for caring for an elderly parent, and 13 hours general stuff (shopping, getting the car fixed, maintenance, house chores, etc). Now that 13 hour thing is just a guideline. Sometimes it's less, sometimes more. But it gives me a base to work from.
Budgeting time during the day means that I don't focus on one particular job until it's completed. This method drives my husband nuts. His prefers to pick a job and just do that one job to its end before moving on to the next. I tell him that if I worked that way, he had better not expect lunch and dinner. I would be working on my one project all day long with no deviation or multi-tasking. I have to agree that if I followed his method the house would have been finished a couple of years ago. But then, the farm would never have gotten created, no food would have been grown, no eggs, no lamb, nothing else. I just tell him, "To each their own."
Monday thru Friday I operate from my own schedule since hubby is off doing his own thing. Saturday and Sunday the two of us are together all day, so we often work on a house project, relax, socialize, or do something touristy (hike, spend time at a beach, visit the volcano, drive around the island, etc).
My typical day starts at 5 am during the summer, 6 am during the winter. One of my dogs is pretty much my alarm clock. Just before dawn, Crusty starts pacing around hoping for an early breakfast.
(Crusty, the alarm clock dog. )So I hobble out of bed, start a fire in the woodstove. First on the agenda is some gentle yoga and stretches. Got to keep this old body limber and in shape. Plus it is peaceful to connect with my body, listen to my breathing, get a sense of myself connecting with the awakening world around me.
(Beautiful and peaceful view for doing yoga.)By now the cats are demanding to be fed. And the dogs. Next - make coffee and breakfast, check the Internet. By then hubby has hobbled out of bed to join me. It's nice each morning watching the dawn, hearing the birds and bees get active. I usually put a pot of soup fixins on the woodstove to cook, or perhaps stew or ingredients for a stock. Whatever it is, its cool enough for the freezer by lunch. Another large pot contains meat scraps, veggies, and rice for mixing in the dogs' next day meal. After hubby leaves to do whatever his day has in store, I'll work around the house until 9 am getting chicken food ready, cleaning up, perhaps juicing some fruits, making meals for the freezer, that sort of thing. Today it was:
Juice a bucket of limes and get the juice into the freezer.
Sort the sweet potatoes I harvested yesterday and get them into storage.
Do the monthly maintenance on the solar system batteries
Do the monthly maintenance on the water catchment system.
Comb out the dogs who are shedding buckets of fur right now.
9 am is the target for starting work on farm stuff.
Weeding, watering, sowing, harvesting, collecting manure, spreading compost, tilling, pruning, etc. First thing on the list is tending to the livestock, checking the fence line, and collecting eggs. That's a must for every day. After that it's whatever I want to get accomplished that day. Today it was:
Plant a bed of taro (20' x4').
Plant a small block each of rice, barley, wheat, flax, oats, and sesame. A"block" is usually a 4'x4' section, or there abouts. (I had tilled the empty beds the day before so that they were ready for planting today.)
Plant a block each of snap beans, snow peas, turnips, and beets. Between the grains and these veggies, that is two complete beds sown.
Harvest one bed of potatoes.
Spread grass mulch onto the garden aisle ways where it had become thin.
Water the sweet potatoes.
Trash the driveway banana bed. That means, remove the dead or old leaves and clean everything up, remove excess keikis (baby sprouting trees).
I still had time before lunch to till compost into the bed where I harvested the potatoes.
Some mornings are spent on the homestead farm, others at the seed farm. Today it was the homestead.
11:30 is my target to clean up then get together lunch fixins, though its often closer to noon. Then I'm heading into town to my mother's house where I'll make lunch, make sure that her dinner is ready in the frig, do laundry, plus whatever else my mother needs done.
2:00 sees me running my own errands in town then heading back to the homestead to work on a house oriented project for 2 hours. Today I :
Collected a good sized pile of small rocks for my new upcoming walkways.
Moved a pile of sand up to the house for making concrete for the walkways.
Finished caulking some windows.
Drew out the design for finishing the kitchen - took measurements, decided where shelves and drawers would be.
Polyurethaned the new drawer dividers.
Before making dinner, I finished reorganizing the pantry. Wednesday David had moved out the boxes of floor tiles which freed up a lot of space. Finally I could get things stored away in an orderly fashion (something I'm not very good at). While dinner was heating I restocked the firewood box, cleaned up the house since I was in the mood (boy, that mood doesn't happen too often, so when it does I take advantage of it).
After dinner - time to check the Internet, check on my sprouting seeds, repair some holes in my work clothes, gather up some items for the local rummage sale. Now here I sit, writing my blog. Before heading for bed I'll most likely read some of the book I'm currently reading.
Every day is different. I'm never bored. My mind is constantly toying with new experiments I'd like to try out in the garden, new ideas for farm projects or house projects.
Some days I seem to accomplish more than others, but I suspect that's just an illusion. I enjoy working on my farm and on my house, so you won't find me playing hooky very often.