More than once I have gotten the comment from friends and followers asking "when do you sleep" or something akin to that. This got me to thinking that you all might enjoy following me thru a day just to verify that I do indeed sleep. Ha! So join me for a day in the life of....
For the sake of this "day in the life" and since harvest is just beginning I am going to let you in on a long day. Summer days are long around here! When Mitch is in full swing farming he often works until dark which during Oregon summer is around 10pm. All of this to say, I try to sleep as late as I can while still getting everything done in my day. I pull myself out of bed no later than 8am although truth be told 7am is always the goal. The first part of my day revolves around helping to get Mitch out the door. While he is exercising, I am making his breakfast, lunch, coffees and plenty of snacks to keep him going until that late evening hour. All of which he runs out the door with. After Mitch leaves comes the house animals. We have 4 dogs and they all patiently wait for breakfast, whenever that time may be.
Once the dogs are fed, I feed myself a little something and then we head out to the farm animals. Along the way I am most likely doing laundry, pulling weeds and watering outside. The dogs accompany me and usually run ahead in an effort to eat any possible poop or eggs they can find before I catch them. Gross but the truth!
As I wander down the hill on our property to the barn and sheds there is generally a cacophony of animal sounds coming at me. June the Shetland Pony starts the moment she hears the backyard gate open up at the house. Before she can even see us she is neighing. As I walk down the hill, the sheep to the east start talking and running down their pasture which quickly notifies the alpaca and Cuddlebug, the goat, that the food lady is coming. Nothing like the sight of 4 alpaca and their goat buddy tearing down the pasture for food. Before I reach the bottom of the hill I can hear our rams start up their morning song and the chickens in the barn stirring and clucking wondering why I sleep so late. It is quite a sight and sound!
Our chickens are free range so I open their coop door and off they all run to explore the outside. The sheep, alpaca and Cuddlebug get pellets in the morning. This is the highlight of their day! In addition waters need to be checked, horse poop needs to be scooped and June needs a good brushing in addition to picking her hooves which I do every other day. (This is basically just what it sounds. Using a pik sort of tool to clear out the crevices in her hooves of dirt, debris and poop). Once everyone is fed, watered and accounted for we head back up to the house.
Snack and shower time for me and then I try to get out the door to the Mill. My morning alone gives you some idea of why having shop hours was not great for our schedule. Only in the past couple months have I let go of trying to rush out in the morning. Instead I just stay calm, enjoy the morning routine and get out when I get out. That is a luxury of being self-employed.
Lucky for me its only about a 20 minute drive to the Mill and it is all lovely fields and backcountry. No traffic so plenty of time to relax, see what all the other farmers are doing and plan my day at work. I generally spend about 6 hours or so at the Mill. Since it is such a short day I really focus on a solid plan of what I can get done. An example of an average day was today! I washed wool and plyed yarn while running roving thru the drawframe. Once both of those were done (ideally around the same time), I started spinning the last batch of yarn for a client while steaming all the yarn that was already completed. I occasionally sit down to eat and generally I'm getting together orders to ship before I leave for the day. And the cleaning! I always underestimate the clean-up time. Nothing worse than coming into a messy mill the next day.
Once I return home I generally make an afternoon/evening tea and exercise before its time to start evening chores and dinner. I also write blog posts, work on the business and dye up yarns and fibers in the studio on those nights I'm not exercising. I'll admit a lot of my "days off" involve many of these small but important jobs I can do from home.
During harvest I do all the evening chores as well. Off season I am lucky enough to have Mitch who puts the animals to bed. But this time of year its part of my responsibilities. Evenings are much more quick. The dogs get fed and settle in for the night. June gets a little love time and her evening pellets. The chickens get closed into their coop for the night (In case you were unaware, chickens naturally return to their coops at dusk for the night) to keep predators at bay and depending on the time of year may hay the animals. Not a bad way to spend the evening and I almost always get rewarded with a lovely sunset.
Finally its dinner for us! As I mentioned, Mitch can get home as late as 10pm so we eat dinner pretty late. I try to have it ready for him so we can talk, eat and spend a few minutes together. This farming thing would be a lot easier if I didn't like my husband so much. But I really do enjoy his company so the first couple weeks of harvest are always a bit of a hard transition for me. The routine of course settles in and any random days he ends up not working we try to wander away from the property to somewhere we can sit, eat, drink a beer and just relax together.
So there you go! Needlesss to say I sleep well! On my days off from the mill you can fill in those hours with cleaning pastures, coops, the house and running the errands. And maybe a little extra knitting time. Farming is no easy life. There is a lot of work involved, a lot of long days and for us, working as a team is the way we get thru it. I hope that gives you a little peek into what a day in the life looks like! And don't worry, I do sneak in some knitting and spinning too!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe, stay healthy and please, listen to all the voices.
I am Kim Biegler, the owner and operator of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill. I create hand spinning fibers from locally sourced wool and teach others online how to hand spin their own yarn.