A Day in the Life
Taking care of the farm is the best part of my day, but it's not the only thing I do all day. 5R Farm is a hobby farm, and it doesn't pay many of the bills! It's easy to glamorize the fun part of farm life, so I thought I'd give you a little insight into the every day Monday through Friday life here at the farm. My day starts a little before sunrise. I didn't used to be a morning person, but since moving to the farm I've come to love watching the sun rise and hearing the sounds of the farm waking up. The roosters start crowing in succession, and the turkeys start calling, letting me know that everyone is ready for breakfast. I do the morning rounds a little after sunrise. I bring out a couple of big pans of feed, top up the hanging feeders, and check the waterers. I go to the turkey yard first where it's easy for me to get caught up in their daily antics, and I usually find myself snapping a few photos or taking a video. Next I go to the back deck coop where our small bantam chicken flock lives, and lastly I go up to the main chicken coop. We have a few elder ladies in the flock, so I always check on them to make sure they are looking okay and getting their share of breakfast.
Then it's back in the house for breakfast for the humans and most importantly, coffee! As much as I'd love to spend the morning doing all the fun farm things, my day job is as a wetland ecologist. I am self-employed and I have my own consulting company, which allows me to work from home and have a flexible schedule. Life is so much easier than it was before I left my job in the city several years ago, and I'm grateful to have been able to make the transition to working for myself. From the mid-morning through the mid-afternoon I will either do field work, or else I'll write reports or prepare permit applications for clients that have wetlands and their property and need to apply for federal, state or local permits in order to construct their building project. By mid- to late-afternoon I'm itching to go outside and visit the feather family. I'll do the rounds of all the coops to collect eggs and hand out treats. Depending upon how much time I have, I'll try to take a few minutes to sit down in the turkey or chicken yard to watch everyone and get in a few snuggles. It's great way to unwind from the pressures or annoyances of the day, and it's always so good for my mental health to just sit and be with them.
Next up I try to get in a little garden time. Depending on the time of year I'm either planting, weeding, watering, harvesting or saving seeds. Now that it's fall here, all of the harvesting was finished up a few weeks ago, the glass gem popcorn and the pumpkins being the last things I harvested. Fall is the time for planting garlic, and I just planted 100 cloves a couple of weeks ago. It seems like I never have enough, so this year I decided to double the number of cloves that I usually plant. The late afternoon is the best light for taking outdoor photos, so I'll usually try to get some good photos after most of my work is done for the day. As the day is winding down I'll try to balance making soap or packaging up soap orders as I'm getting dinner ready. Often times we'll be eating something fresh or preserved from our garden. We had a really good pumpkin and squash harvest this summer, so there will be lots of roasted squash, soups and pies on the menu this fall. After dinner I make one last trip outside to do the last rounds of the day. I make sure that all the coop doors are closed, electric fences are on, and that everyone is safely tucked in for the evening. It's always a quiet and peaceful time to be outside, and if I happen to catch a beautiful sunset that's the perfect way to end the day.
Not every day is an easy day or a happy day. Some days require lots of hard work and manual labor to keep the coops and yards clean and in good shape for the birds or to tend the garden and do the end of season preserving and garden clean-up. Occasionally we have to say goodbye to a chicken or turkey as part of the cycle of life and death on the farm. A few weeks ago we lost one of our elder girls, an eight and a half year old black Australorp with the most beautiful feathers you've ever seen. But by and large it is a very satisfying life. Sharing our farm life and connecting with friends I've met through social media over our love of chickens and turkeys has brought me a lot of happiness the last few years. I firmly believe that putting out positivity into the world is an important way that we can all make a difference. I'm grateful that this farm life allows me to give joy to others, and I think that now more than ever we need to do all we can to put out positivity, joy and especially humor into the world.