A few weeks ago, a group of blogger friends were discussing how hard it is to accurately convey the life of homesteader.
How do you describe the crazy blend of muddy boots, messy houses, amazing meals, gorgeous sunsets, homestead births and deaths, poop on everything you own, the struggle to balance making money at “real jobs” with homestead demands, the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and the long list of chores that never ends. We decided to “put it all out there,” and each share a day in the life on our homestead.
To be totally honest, I started documenting my “day in a life” on Thursday, but after a disastrous cow milking (where just about everything that could go wrong went wrong), then totally forgetting about, and having to rush off to my daughter’s Spanish class, I abandoned Thursday, and decided Friday would be a great day to share the ins and outs of our life on Acorn Hill Homestead.
Friday turned out to be one of those magical homestead days where the weather is fair, the kids are cooperating, and the chores go relatively smoothly. And today, as I edit, I’m standing still and dripping with sweat in our non-air conditioned house, all the while scratching chigger, mosquito, and tick bites, with onions rotting on the front porch because I haven’t had time to deal with them. Every day has its own unique joys and challenges.
A day in the life of this family of homesteaders …
7:15am – Morning chores! The cat gets fed first, followed by the chickens and ducks. They always greet me with the utmost enthusiasm!
7:30 – Milking time. Currently, we separate Creme Brulee and May Apple at night, and allow them to graze together all day. That makes for a much more reasonable once a day milking schedule. We are working on Creme’s “parlor manners,” and trying to teach her to stand still, with her legs spread apart while we milk. So far our efforts seem to not be working.
8:15 – What a gift – the kids are still asleep! We are able to finish chores and I complete my morning workout.
8:45 – Breakfast of eggs, avocado, and pesto cheese for me, while the kids are eating yogurt and strawberries. (I’m a big fan of substantial breakfast). Then, on to kid time, getting them dressed and ready for the day.
10:15 – I give a quick garden tour for a friend who dropped by. As we’re talking, I notice Creme Brulee bellowing loudly in the pasture. Brian runs down to find May Apple has escaped the electric fencing.
10:19 – Wrangle May Apple back into her pasture.
10:50-Brian heads off to do a dump run and to purchase some used homesteading supplies. I wander through the garden until I realize that I haven’t checked on the kids in a while. They are building fairy houses in the woods. Since Ella has a friend over for a playdate, all three kids are totally and completely self-occupied. Yes!
10:52 – Seize the opportunity to get some work done. I start making a batch of lactofermented pickles. Since the house is quiet, I turn on a blogging podcast. I typically use my iPhone to listen to podcasts and music, since the phone puts less demand on our solar electric system.
11:20 – Kids are still playing well. I harvest a huge cabbage and begin chopping up a large batch of sauerkraut.
12:15pm – Tide kids’ hunger over with a cherry banana smoothie.
12:45- Lunchtime! The kitchen has officially been declared a disaster zone. Because we don’t have any running water, dishes tend to pile up. It’s just too hot to heat water inside!
1:15- Back to work. I start on a few projects, send a few emails, and manage to draft a blog post.
2:05 – The kids are ready for my focused attention. We head to the pond – them to swim, me with my script so I can study lines (I’m in rehearsal for the musical Titanic – not the same story as the movie, but a gorgeous musical version that opens in two weeks!). Brian returns, so I take a few minutes to finish and publish my blog post.
4:00 – We head down to our neighbor’s house to move the pigs’ pasture. In just a week, they’ve done quite a bit of rooting! Luckily, this space is a future garden, so tilling up the soil is actually what is desired.
5:30 – Garden walk and harvest. The kids help me, and we collect zucchini, cucumbers, a few tomatoes, basil, and cilantro.
7:05- Dinner tends to be served very late in the summer months, so we can get as much done as possible during the day. Tonight we have a really nice potluck-style dinner with our neighbors, featuring the bounty of the garden.
9:30- We start our bedtime routine, and the kids get a second wind! Teeth are brushed, chigger rub downs and tick checks done, chapter books read, and still, two little ones are awake!
11:00pm – Lights out. I feel thankful to fall easily to sleep after a very full day!