Saturday, December 27, 2008

Homesteader's work is never done

This is probably why so many of our ancestors viewed farm life as a second-class existence. It's tough to take a vacation of a few days, and you can forget about the idea of taking off a week or two. You're working 365 days a year, although the work can be streamlined on some days. But it never goes away. It is there, waiting for you the next day.

A lot has been piling up the past few weeks as the temperatures have been below freezing, and we've been dealing with storms of all sorts, from thunderstorms, ice storms, wind storms, and snow storms. Yesterday had its own nasty weather, although of a different sort, so I was hopeful about catching up on things outside. The forecast was for temperatures in the low 50s, so I was hoping we could work on cleaning out the barns and starting to work on those new kidding pens in the smaller barn. It didn't happen.

I woke up with muscle spasms in my back, which lasted all day, in spite of my attempts at getting them to subside. I used my TENS unit, then heat, then stretching. After sweeping and mopping the first floor and having lunch, I went back to the heating pads and more stretching. By then, Mike needed to head into town to run errands. And then the sun went down.

Forecast for today is rain and temperatures in the 60s. There are lots of things to complain about -- like the inevitable flooding that will occur, but aside from that and the obvious drawback of getting wet between the house and barn, this is a great day for working on goat stuff. Kids start arriving around January 11, so we need to get moving!

Here's my list of work to be done today:
  • Pen open does (unbred) with bucks, which will require three different pens or stalls. This requires cleaning stalls, catching goats (not hard, just stinky with the bucks), finding water buckets and hay feeders for each stall, etc.
  • Give copper boluses to goats that look like they need it.
  • Create new kidding pens in smaller barn, which means cleaning up a lot of "stuff" and putting together pens using sections of stalls that were taken out of my sister-in-law's barn. (No, she doesn't have animals, which is why she gave us the disassembled stalls.)
The first two things on the list should not take more than an hour, but the final thing could easily take all day. In fact, it's really optimistic to think that we'll finish in one day, but the temperature will be falling back down to freezing again after tomorrow, so it's an opportunity that we can't miss. I'll be putting a pot of soup on the stove to cook for lunch (along with bread in the breadmaker) and a casserole to put in the oven for dinner, so that I won't be interrupted with cooking chores after I get started out there.


MaskedMan said...

Work on a farm is NEVER done. That's axiomatic.

Slow-cookers and bread-machines are a God-send to working farmers.

Well, better get to it... The kids won't wait.

Jody said...

All I can say is You must be in great shape...except for the back ache. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Deborah said...

MM, Slow-cookers and bread machines are a God-send to anyone who works anywhere. If more people learned to use them, they could eat out less, save money, and save calories!

Jody, I wish I were in great shape. I am certainly better than I was six years ago when we moved out here. At that time, I couldn't even lift a 50-pound feed bag. So, I am in decent shape, but I'd like to be stronger and weigh less. I'll be blogging on that soon!

MaskedMan said...

Hmmm. Point.

For most people, there are viable options other than slow cookers and eating out. I can (and do) put together wholesome and balanced meals in about 20 to 40 minutes. But that does require that I get home with 40 minutes to spare, and the energy for doing the cooking. I tend to reserve the slow cooker for dishes that need a 'slow dwell' to get the flavors just right, or for those days when everyone is running all over the place.

But yeah, you're right - for anyone whom doesn't have a lot of free time (farmers, truckers, doctors, vets, and the like all come to mind immediately), well, how would they survive without them?


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