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Farming While Sick


The normal homesteading routine around here is that I get up with my husband between 4-4:30 in the morning, pack his lunch, tend to dishes and household stuff and by 7a I'm "at work" on farm chores, answering emails, bookkeeping, farm projects and any writing deadlines I have coming up. I try to keep p a relaxed but steady pace until The Husband gets home around five, we have dinner, do evening chores and spend a little quality time together.


Then comes the day I wake up with a low-grade fever, chills, a cough and a headache that would have made Medusa grateful for her meeting with Perseus. And yes, if you get the reference I'm really impressed.


So, is the point of this to fuss because I don't feel good today? Maybe a little but not completely. Days like today make me think about all the new homesteaders that don't think about days like today. I posted recently that we all-too-often present homesteading on social media as lovely pictures of sunny winter days and green summers. We don't post the days where the wind is blowing the hay back into your face, the rain is making sludge out of the chicken run or - like today - the days when you feel absolutely awful and have to do chores anyway.


For those of you have - or have had - infants, remember what it's like being sick with a child who need you anyway? You can't spend the day in bed. They have to be fed, changed and dealt with while they are fussy. Even if you can stay home from your job, chances are your partner can't so it still is up to you. Farming is like that, only we have 58 (ish?) infants.

Even doing the bare minimum, chicken have to be let out, fed and watered. Goats have to be grained, hayed and let out. Awesome Husband watered them before he left for work. Sheep will need their bowls dug out of the snow and filled with grain, which I have to tote down to the field. Did I mention we are also in the middle of a snowstorm? The geese need to be let out, grained and will then immediately ignore their nice, clean water to go chase the ducks out of a mud puddle they've found. Rabbits need hay, gain and water. In fact, they will probably need to be watered twice because the water keeps freezing over.


None of this is to discourage new homesteaders from getting started. Again though, far too often if people are new to homesteading, their only introduction is those beautiful pictures on social media. It is important that the worst days also get shown. All too often I see people who get into homesteading and burn out quickly when they realize how many rough day their can be. Animals end up at auction,re-homed or abandoned because people go into their new homestead with tons of optimism and without a plan.

So... be realistic about it. If you are new to homesteading, know their will be days when you don't want to get out of bed. Where you want a vacation or a long weekend away. Where you feel like garbage and find yourself cursing out your animals because your just want to sit on the couch and be sick. And know what isn't going to happen. Farming isn't an 8 hour job with three weeks vacation, Monday through Friday. It is like being a parent - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You need supports and you need a plan.


And despite the bad days - like parenting - it's worth it.

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