Cam and Katy's Day on the Farm
5:30 Wake up(It's always good when you can wake up) and breakfast
6:30 Head to the barn and feed cattle, horses, pigs, chickens and goats
7:30 This could be a variation of chores which could include, shoveling, egg washing, animals to move, pens to clean
deliveries to make, check the weather etc
12:00 Lunch, check the weather
1:00 Stock the store, pricing, phone calls to abattoirs, phone calls to order chicks, oh yeah and the dog just rolled in pig sh_t and has to have a bath.Yard cleanup, lawn mowing, garden tilling, planting and weeding, walk into field to check pastured animals, put down bedding for stock for evening, clip the pasture for regrowth of grass, call customers for meat orders, book work(blaaaaah), check the weather, cut hay, rake hay, transport hay home and store for winter. check weather.
4:30 Start evening chores, feed and water animals, collect eggs, monitor health of animals, especially when new calves are born, Pull the pine quill from the dogs nose.
5:30 Make dinner, eat dinner, rest for oh I don't know 5 minutes. Check weather for next day.
6:30 Back to the barn to finish up what was started and may or may not get completed until the next day
9:00 Back home , clean up, get into bed and read for 2 minutes or until the book falls in your face. Have a heavenly sleep and do it all again the next day with slight variations.
You may have noticed a few repetitions in our day. The amount of time we feed , clean and generally observe the health of our animals. Their health is the most important part of this job. Watching for very subtle signs that perhaps the average Joe may not see can be quite obvious to us. The level of noise the animals are making in the pen could indicate various issues(are they getting enough feed, are they playing , are they figuring out pecking orders), , an animal who is laying down alot or is very quiet could mean it is not eating or drinking properly , an animal who has become aggressive may be protecting a young one, , the shape of a calf's stomach can determine whether or not it is getting enough milk from it's mother. Even scrutinizing animal feces is important. Calves and cows that first start out with that nutrient rich grass of May, will gorge themselves after a long winter of hay. This would be akin to us sitting in a strawberry patch and eating until we looked like one. The digestive tract don't take too kindly to that kind of abuse and the the signs are waiting for you at the other end. Manure can take many forms of texture and color. Knowing what texture and color is acceptable for certain times of the year is necessary.
The other constant repeat is the checking of weather. Our life evolves around it. While we can and do work in most forms of it, there are some jobs that require a certain forecast. If you speak with a "Holiday-er" about weather you more than likely will have opposing opinions on sunshine versus rain.While someone on vacation wants sunshine 24/7 we need certain weather at certain times. Farmers don't talk just sunshine or rain. You'll hear long winded descriptions that usually include "if we don't get some rain/sunshine soon we're going to have problems"along with a healthy shaking of the head or exaggerated sigh.. Weather is our forte. We can't control it but we can sure describe in fluency what we want it to do. We have categories of sunshine, rain, wind and humidity. All of which, in different combinations can produce glorious or disastrous results. A cold wet spring can bring forth a strong, rich pasture. A hot, dry and windy June/July can make the job of cutting, raking and baling hay a relatively quick one, I can't say that we have experienced the perfect weather system( according to us farmers, and you know who you are) but we learn to work with what we're given.
Which brings me to my final repetition. Flexibility!!!!. While we try to have a schedule, nature, animals and plants don't work that way. Our job is to nurture what we have with the surroundings we have. We are stewards of the land and it's up to us to maintain and or at the least leave it in better shape than it was. Perfection we are not ", but recognizing, learning, and trying to do our best and do what's right helps us sleep with a better conscience.
Each and every farmer will have a schedule of their own. How the job gets done is entirely up to them. This lifestyle is not an easy one, but it's what works for us. There are many, many jobs that require hard work, long hours and dedication and with a few job description changes, our jobs can be similar. Hard work, dedication and a passion for what you do will make for a happy life! .