Sunday, March 13, 2016

February 26, 2016 ~ A day in the Life

I've been thinking I should do a day in the life as our life is hectic and interesting (right?!?) and has changed a lot since the last day-in-the-life post I did, two years ago (how has two years already passed?!?!). I wanted to stick with Tuesdays as that has been when I've done these posts in the past - but Friday is the first day of my work-off-farm week and would give a good indication of the majority of my week. Tuesday is my first stay-at-home day of the week (so first day of the weekend), so there tends to be a lot of hanging out (which is very much needed by Tuesday!).

Here's a fairly average Friday these days:

Some things to keep in mind: I had spent the few days before finishing painting the store, the week before that an overnight in Boston to go to an appointment with my mom, the week before that painting the first half of the store painting-project ... you get the idea. Store days take up a lot of our days, and we squeeze a lot in on our off days - and while we try to prioritize having at least one day to just be ... it doesn't always happen.

So given my painting agenda of the week, Rye had been woken earlier than usual in the mornings. I expected her to sleep to her typical 8:30-9am time on this Friday morning ... but that didn't happen - she was awake before me. So no sneaking out to do chores while she was still sleeping. But waking up to this face is pretty awesome ....


I smiled at her, and she grinned big back. I could hear Noah downstairs stacking wood. He likes to get his chores/school list done as soon as possible in the morning. It's only recently that we went back to a system where the kids have a list of things they need to get done every day. Del still negotiates regularly (what if I do extra pages in this book and none in this one today? Can I do extra pages tomorrow and none today? What if I pick up 3 things in my room instead of my whole bedroom? etc). Overall though, it's such a relief not to be micromanaging their day and stuff to actually be getting done!


Contacts put in, teeth brushed, barn clothes put on ...

Ren Man is already at the store. Friday is the big baking day and my dad goes down early with Ren Man to man the counter ... until my dad starts his telecommute-regular-workday. While Ren Man can handle the store by himself, I'm doing my best to get down to the store as soon as possible.

With Rye awake, I dress her. The kids always wake up before Rye and are ready (if not always super willing) to take care of Rye while I go outside.

But first I should stoke the fire....

... and move a load of laundry ...

... and I really need to get outside - but Del needs her hair braided....

...We talk about how fast (or slow) the kool-aid dye is leaving her hair and how she wishes it was so crazy wavy all the time - and not just a result of braiding wet hair.

Finally outside. It's so icy and I'm thankful for a decent layer of snow this morning that will provide something for my boots to bite as I walk more and skate less than usual.

First thing is going to the 3-ton feed silo and getting two buckets worth of grain - one for the pigs, one for the growing egg-layers (who will start laying in April).
The pigs are growing fast and their antics show me that they are healthy and happy.

Next throwing hay to the dry (cows not currently being milked because they are relatively close to calving) and young cows (those who have never calved). From the hayloft, I noticed these two standing next to each other - and realized they are mother and daughter. Shadow is one of our two original cows (and the other cow from the first two has been beefed, so this girl is the one we've had the longest) and her only calf (one she calved too early stillborn and another late and also stillborn), Spring. I love Spring's markings so much.

Milking time. This includes milking four cows, feeding the two calves that are young and still in the barn for the convenience of being able to bring them milk, bedding cows, re-stocking water for them and hay, feeding the livestock guard dogs, feeding and watering the growing egg-layers.

Time to go get the milker - I leave it in the heated wash room as long as possible to minimize chance of freezing before I start milking. Passing the van on the way, I dip into my secret cookie stash.

Chores done. Just about when Rye is starting to fall apart. That's usually the way. It's like she knows how long chores take!

Ren Man and I recently talked about how when I come in from chores, Rye is usually ready for nursing but I try to get down to the store as soon as possible - so hold her off until we get to the store. But it's not super helpful to come to the store and immediately need to nurse. So I decide to slow down, get back in bed, and nurse. This works well because Rye has been so distractible lately that she's nursing less during the day and more at night. The store is not super conducive to focused nursing - there's too much socializing to do!

Diaper change .... we're in the process of reorganizing rooms (ideally before Rye starts crawling!) so our clothes are in a different room ... Rye is sad to see me walk away.

Time to go! And Noah usually carries Rye out to the car (calling her "a sack of potatoes").

Just stoke the fire one more time ...

We've arrived! And it is really really windy.

Noah takes Rye out of her bear suit and the kids ask Ren Man for breakfast, while the flour covered dad is juggling customer orders and multiple cooking projects.

Del takes Rye to the play kitchen and it's fun to hear them interact - Del's gentle instructions and explanations and Rye's babbling and enthusiasm for the toys she can reach.

Fridays are hit or miss at the store - sometimes it's really busy and sometimes it's slow - and today is one of the slower days - so I take advantage of that and jump on the piano to practice. It's a recent hobby I've gone back to after lessons as a kid that I wasn't very enthusiastic about at the time. Now I'm thankful for that foundation as I tinker around.

Del has given up on the play kitchen, but Rye is still exploring.

Until she's ready for a nap. It's tricky at the store because there's limited options on where to put Rye for a nap. Often the heat from the cooking stoves and wood stove make it too hot to wear her- so on this day, a highback chair works. And another reason I'm thankful for her lack of mobility so far. I'm not nervous about her falling off in her sleep.

Coffee, coffee. I didn't think this picture-taking through and it's hard when it gets busy and/or when I'm working with a customer to be taking pictures!

We have several regulars - and this is one of them. Judy says she comes for "Chai and Rye". She loves Rye and Rye loves her. Rye reaches enthusiastically for Judy and kisses her, grabs her face off, etc.
We're so thankful for Judy's enthusiasm for Farmhouse Pantry - whether it's holding Rye when things are hectic, raving everywhere about our chai, or filling us in on Saranac history - as a lifetime resident, she seems to know just about everybody.

Coffee coffee making. And only some for me :)

Mmmm almond latte .... it's so satisfying to make our own flavor syrups.

Realizing I haven't eaten since my secret cookie snack - I grab some chocolate bread pudding - because it comes with whip cream, of course. And remind myself that there's a reason I'm as heavy as I was when Rye was born :) Embrace it! This body has grown and birthed three babies! And continues to sustain one.

Even when the kids are done with their to-do list, they need to wait until 1pm to get on screens. And then negotiations for who gets what screen can be intense. (note that the kids are still very anti-pictures of them ...)

Rye is cranky, and the store is kind of slow at this point - so I try a new wrap technique ... but it ends up being a case of: just get the baby on! - and turns out nothing like the intended wrap job. But she's on and it's comfortable. And you can't ask for more than that!

Except this. A sleeping baby. And piano playing.

Baking. Baking. Every day. Mostly Friday. This means Ren Man is running around like someone who has an ever revolving to-do list. Bread is usually ready by 2pm, but there's also cookies, eclairs, pies, cheesecakes, bread pudding, pastries, muffins.... and several meal orders among the regular Friday baking to be done. Generally he works the kitchen and I run the front of the store. So while Friday is hectic for him at the store, It's not always that way for me on a Friday.

We close at 7pm and try to get most of the cleaning up and putting away done as quickly as possible. But not always - and this was one of those slower nights. Noah knows that Rye is not to be on screens - it doesn't mean he can't keep her happy while he gets his own youtube watching in ... and knowing we're running behind, it's good to be hands free to bust through a bunch of closing-time-chores.

Even though it makes some grownups nervous, Del loves spinning Rye because she gets such huge giggles from Rye. And again, all helpful toward the goal of getting home. It's a long day on Friday, and night time farm chores still need me.

But it's also nice to kick back for a few minutes....

Home! yay! The week before (during that road trip to Boston) I spent hours and hours of research (an embarrassing amount of hours), choosing winter boots that will meet my warmth+waterproof+cute+comfortable+easy criteria. And now the boots have arrived!

Quick demo and then time to do chores!

I get on barn clothes and then nurse the fussy baby so Ren Man can get her to bed while I do farm chores. I leave the family to their winter habit of PBS and head out.

It's feeding the pigs and cows and only milking one cow. Then slipping and sliding back to the house where there is a wash room off of the mudroom. There I wash the milker before pulling off my mucky boots and hay-covered hat. Inside I peal off insulated coveralls, stiff with muck around the cuff. I hate to bring them in the house, but here they'll dry before their needed for morning chores - and dry overalls are worth the hassle of a drying rack in the house. The house is quiet when I come in. Everyone is in bed.

Turn off all the downstairs lights and head to teeth-brushing, a cozy tshirt, and a warm bed.

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