Monday, November 20, 2017

Mondays on the Farm

Mornings around here start the same...7 days a week.....first thing, start the wood stove if it's chilly out, then breakfast, check the news and weather, move onto to the farm chores. I've got livestock to tend, hubby included. But once the basics are done, I can move onto something more interesting. Whoa wait a minute, this is not work. I actually enjoy watching my animals eat. Well, maybe not hubby (don't tell him that he got included in with the animals), but when I fill the animal feed troughs I normally lean back and watch them chow down. Yes, it's good farm management to make sure that everybody is eating normally, but there's a certain satisfaction in watching them eat. Guess it's that same enjoyment one gets from sitting in the park and feeding the birds. I always feel that if you don't get enjoyment out of watching your animal eat, then perchance keeping livestock isn't for you.  

On Mondays hubby is out the door early and I move onto other things while the chickens' slop & glop cooks in the outdoor stove. But on Mondays I only have an hour before I leave for my tai chi class. Yes, I'm a tai chi person. This may sound corny, but I find that tai chi makes a positive improvement in my wellbeing. Since starting this 3 1/2 years ago, I have much better balance (just ask hubby. I use to fall frequently, but thankfully no longer.) My flexibility is better. My overall physical condition is better. So I'm sticking with it even though it takes up 2 whole hours (just Mondays) away from my homestead schedule.

So this morning I opt to tackle the mundane -- laundry, clean up the kitchen, broom the floors, etc. Not my favorite activities. I'll never have "she kept a beautiful house" engraved on my tombstone! I think I gave up housekeeping for lent a decade or two ago and never took up the habit again. My poor mother was always appalled when she visited. Oh well, I always told her I believed there were more important things in life. She never agreed with me. 

Tai chi basically kills the rest of the Monday morning, but I do get back to the farm in time to set things up for the afternoon before my lunch break. The warmth and perfect sunshine today makes working a joy. There's an energy in the air that makes me eager to start work. Today was scheduled to be a major tilling & planting day. Time to sow the next crop of potatoes, beans, peas, plus start seeds in the mini greenhouses. Now this is pleasant! Getting my hands dirty and planting stuff. Also got several dozen sweet potato cuttings prepared and planted, plus more okinawan spinach started. Found space for six more pipinolas plants and some baby lilikoi vines. Finally got those two fruit trees planted. They've been patiently waiting for ground space for a couple of weeks now. Also tilled a new bed and planted 16 pineapple tops. With Adam's help, everything on the schedule got planted. And we even had time to make herb cuttings and taro starts before I broke away to do some mowing. 

Mowing is my form of exercise. One brisk hour of grass mowing using a self propelled type lawnmower leaves me sweaty and feeling like I've had a good workout. Plus there's that bonus of 7-8 trashcanfuls of clippings. What a great bonus! It's like getting paid to workout. 4 canfuls go to the sheep, one to the chickens, and the rest to the gardens. Ooooo, you noticed the "self propelled" part, eh? Think it's easy, eh? Well believe me, mowing on a slope and on non-smooth ground isn't anything like mowing a lawn. Plus stooping to empty the bag over and over again, dragging full trashcans around and slinging them into the back of the pick-up adds other exercise dynamics to the task. Yes, it's a workout that brings a thumping cardio workout along with muscle use and a sweat. 

By now you'd think my day was over, but not quite. The livestock needs rechecking, and I scan the farm for pending tasks. Any thing needing repair? I run the fence line riding the atv looking for problems. How's the weed control doing around the farm? Do any gardens need watering? Any pests showing up? Which project is due to be tackled next? Oh, I've got lots of projects going and they vie to see which one gets into the top of the list. If time allows, and today it did, I clean up manure in the pastures. I call it "harvesting fertilizer". Every drop gets used to grow food. 

By 5:30 pm I call it a day. Ah, a hot soapy shower is heaven. Donning clean clothes, I'm off the make a dinner snack for us. It's time to catch up on email, blogging, brush the pets, play with the puppy, read my magazines, pick up my lastest book that I'm reading, or maybe take in a movie. Tonight has been no different. I'm reading the latest Ladies Detective story. I find the characters charming. But before long my eyelids droop. I hit the sack between 8-9 pm. That gives me 8 to 9 hours a good sleep, just what I need nowadays to heal my muscles and recycle my brain. Cellphone gets turned off at 8 pm. But I do keep an old cellphone without a sim next to the bed, just in case there's a civil defense warning about floods, fires, tsunamis, or lava flows. One never knows when living on this island. In the past couple years, it's woke me up a few times. 

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