Work Wednesday—The Reality


Everyone knows that living on a homestead or farm is constant work, right? Okay, a whole lot of people do NOT know that, and many expect to live some idyllic existence of, perhaps, rising with the sun, having coffee on the porch, chatting idly about the coming day, and then going about bread baking or cheese making or heading down to the pond to fish.

Slow, leisurely days . . .

Well, there will probably be that. Probably. At some point. Maybe for half a day now and again.

My dad would so be laughing at that!

I grew up on a grain farm. My dad woke up and went to the fields. He’d probably come in for a quick sandwich, or Spaghetti-Os straight out of the can (eww!), but then he’d be back out on the tractor or combine until dark, or sometimes later. He did take a week off in the late summer for our family vacation, because that’s what everyone we knew did, back in the 70s.

And you know what we did for that vacation? Usually we went to Colorado, and we drove, and we stopped at every single farm along the way. Particularly if Dad saw a tractor in the field. We’d pull over and wait until the farmer reached the fence, then he and Dad would chat for a while.

In Kansas. Need I say more?

Well, for starters, you DO wake up with up the sun. But if you think that moving to the country magically replaces all your morning habits, think again.

Sure, the sunrise is beautiful, but if you’re like me, you’re looking at it through squinty eyes as you pour that first cup of coffee . . . onto the counter, missing the cup entirely. And then you still have work to do at your desk while you struggle to wake up your brain.

Finally, you get dressed and start on the next remodel project.

Oh, wait. Maybe that’s just us.

We are STILL working on the house. Yes, we knew it would be like this, but of course, now we plan on doubling the time it will take. And we’re all moved in, so there’s that. Of course, at this time of year, on a farm, you don’t get to just enjoy it all, or only work on projects. There’s all the day-to-day chores too.

Mostly my husband worked on the new shower. Oh, I hung a few tiles and did maybe half of the grouting. Maybe. And I helped hang the shower doors.

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But in the meantime, we’d cut branches along the future pasture fence line and those needed to be trimmed before cutting into firewood or simply hauled to the burn site. Two trees were being inundated by scrub bushes and had to be cleaned out. It was time to till the garden again. I finally had enough empty pallets to build the compost container. The driveway gravel needed to be finished—I hate leaving things partway finished!

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Plus, I still had to cook dinners and there was our weekly trip to town for a few groceries and other errands, and a couple trips to the “city” for parts or whatnot. Neighbors stopping by occasionally. And the pets to be cared for and exercised and sometimes entertained.

And you might also think that housework and laundry stop when you move out to the boonies, but I can assure you, they don’t. And your husband, ahem, will not miraculously change his habit of NOT PUTTING STUFF AWAY when he’s finished. I’ve been tripping over bags of mortar and extra tiles and spacers for quite some time now. And that’s not including tools. ALL the tools!

Another “challenge,” yes, let’s call it a challenge, it keeping your equipment running and doing what it’s supposed to do. Take, for example, the Tiller from Hell. We bought it at an auction, and yes, it was in running condition.

The gas tank, however, leaked like a sieve.

A day or so later, my husband had replaced it; it even had an easy start. But I swear, the darn thing weighs 100 pounds . . . I’d forgotten, from last year, how hard it was to wrangle that thing around the garden. Of course, last year, we were breaking ground, and this year we’d had the field plowed up and it had already been hoed and tilled a few times too.

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But mechanical things will always have issues—not to mention maintenance. Sometimes, yes, you do have to stop what you’re doing or work later in the evening or start the minute your feet hit the floor.

And everything usually depends on the weather: planting, weeding, laundry, mowing; you have to take advantage of clear skies when you can, and fit the rest in when you’re stuck inside.

I have to tell you, I’m really looking forward to finishing the “projects,” inside or out, and being able to concentrate on simply the daily chores.

You know, the ones where you work all day, take some time to play now and then—or take a nap—and just keep things going. For us, the work IS the fun!

 

 

 

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