Waking before the crack of dawn to a rooster crowing, sipping a fresh cup of steaming black coffee, eating scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits SLATHERD with butter and DROWND in maple syrup...... WWWWWAIT a minute! OK, the morning just described may be the classic “farm” morning depicted in movies and TV commercials, so some of you may think of this when you hear that we have a farm. However, living on a farm is so much more than this idyllic scene. Let me clarify a few things before I tell you about our “usual” mornings. Most of us do wake up before daylight, but there is no rooster crowing since we don't actually have one. Instead, we use alarm clocks which seem to work great for us. :) As to coffee, some here do drink it, completely black with no cream or sugar, but some do not. I prefer to use a cup of fresh-from-our-farm Goat Milk to make hot chocolate. Most of the time we need something quick for breakfast, so biscuits and bacon are a rarity. Since we raise our own laying hens, breakfast usually includes an egg. With that we might eat locally grown grits, a piece of toast, some fruit and a glass of milk.
A common day for us might look like the following: Waking up at 3:00am I see the moon shining through my blinds. After looking at my room in the darkness and admiring the pearly light, I close my eyes to sleep quite well until 6:00am when my alarm clock sounds. At this point some are already up eating or getting ready to go to work. After eating a quick breakfast, it's outside we go, regardless of weather. (When it's really cold outside, we bundle up and get to work as fast as possible!). We three younger girls do most of the outside chores now. First we mix the feed for all 17 goats that are eating feed (all of the goats that are old enough to eat feed).While we mix feed for the goats, we fix feed for our chickens, the same chickens that lay the great eggs that some of you buy from us. Then we girls split up. Two of us go down to the front to bring up the milking does and feed the other goats down there, while one of us goes up to the back to feed the bucks and chickens. This probably takes about 20 to 30 minutes. When the goats are up at the milk barn, I start milking. We currently have three goats in milk, so while I milk, the girls do any other odd jobs we need done. Currently we are bottle feeding EIGHT kids (kids are baby goats), so while I milk, one of the girls can go in and prepare bottles for the kids. As soon as I get done milking, we take the does back to their home. Meanwhile, Momma is pouring the milk into jars, and one of the girls is bringing the kid's bottles. After feeding kids, we have quite a bit of cleaning up to do, but it goes quickly since we all pitch in to get it done.
We three youngest girls are still in school, so after the morning chores are completed we start working on that. After a morning of good, hard, invigorating work, lunch is a welcomed time. At our house lunch is a time when everyone can reconvene, enjoy the society of one another, and relax while eating something delicious. For these reasons lunch is always something to look forward to and is a nice change of pace from the morning. Soon lunch is over. We all pick up a few things left out after lunch and then go finish school or practice our instruments.
We usually have a bit of free time to do whatever we like. For instance, I recently was able to make a skirt during my free times. Before long, it's time to go outside and do the evening chores which are practically the same routine as the morning. With this regular schedule (doing the chores that usually take an hour and a half, twice a day, seven days a week) you may think that we have this worked out like clock work. I must say this, animals are NOT clock mechanisms. They do not have a watch to plan their day around and never “work like clock work.” No, they are too spontaneous for that. Often, we are not surprised in the least to have a goat break free from our hand. Soon we see it happily munching in a large, thick bed of Poison Ivy! The doe is enjoying herself! Some times it can be quite disconcerting to see the goat enjoying her naughtiness when she's supposed to be on the stanchion letting us milk her, especially when she's just out of arm's length. With help from a sister, we can catch the runaway.:)
My sisters and I are fifth-generation farmers. When we decided to buy some goats four years ago, we knew it would be a lot of work and would take dedication. Four year later, we still have our goats. Over the course of four years we have added chickens, bees, soap making, gardening, and plenty of baby goats.
Even though things aren't always perfect, and most days have their glitches, at the end of the day when I get into bed, it dawns on me just how much the Lord has blessed me. I have a wonderful, loving family. We're all strong and healthy. And we live on a farm where sweet, small dreams can grow into beautiful talents.