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What Do Farms Do in the Off Season?

December 2, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a question that can get a different answer on every farm. While some take vacations, or spend time with family, others don’t really *have* an off season. Most dairy folks, for example, milk cattle year round. Here at SlowMoneyFarm our tasks may change, but there is no off season. Maybe some day!

We’re not growing gardens, it’s true, although there’s a few peppers that were protected, and seedling starts that are still growing. There’s still, however, long days!

Typical daily tasks – feeding and watering all poultry and rabbits, caring for pets, cleaning pens as needed, social media promotion, blogging, trying to get more steady income, Christmas promotions. In addition, there’s debating about appearing in Christmas parades, planning for seed, constructing beds, composting, getting rabbits bred, updating, records, identification (tattoo) of rabbits, sometimes processing rabbits going to “freezer camp”, getting supplies…the list is endless! It really is!

Laying out raised beds for next year

Laying out raised beds for next year

I got up Monday morning and while Connor watered and did morning check of animals I started with a quick check for messages on social media, then editing some photos (applying watermarks, making banners and birthday greetings and other ‘unseen’ things) for a little bit. Posting some posts on Craigslist and area farm pages, it’s a matter of trying to be everywhere. Barely stopping for a couple of pop tarts this morning (not normal!) Connor started his school work while I headed out to shoot some photos of young birds, bunnies, do an extra check of animals, feed a couple that are getting some extra TLC and back inside to edit and upload the photos. As I’m updating the Facebook farm page, scheduling a few tweets and putting some Pinterest posts up, Connor makes a quick lunch after checking waters at lunch. He’s back to school work, I’m working on blogs, and haven’t even gotten to email yet. Update the GoFundMe spot, then band and move some young birds to another pen.

Scoutman – he was gone at 430 this morning to insure folks at the Cracker Barrel have food for breakfast and lunch. It helps pay the bills, keeps the lights and such on. He’ll be home sometime mid afternoon. Sometimes late afternoon! Sometimes, lately, not at all. That puts it to two of us, and difficulty in getting funds sometimes to cover essentials.

Belle

Belle

Late afternoon it’s outside chores, any breeding that’s planned, feeding rabbits (usually done in afternoon, as rabbits are more active in evening hours). When feeding I want to see empty feeders – at a ration I’m tinkering with, they should have some left still in the morning and early to mid afternoon should be out. This insures that all rabbits are eating well, with good appetite, and get fresh food daily. If someone has food left over it bears watching – are we conditioning or are they not feeling well? Offering hay regularly keeps feed costs in check, when I can find good hay. This works for time to train dogs – Belle is still learning our routines and small stock.

Evening we’ll have dinner then sometimes schedule some poses, participate in #AgChat on Tuesday evenings, plan rations and breedings and look to next year’s plans and offerings. What do we have that needs to be sold, and what is coming up that I need to plan for. Scoutman is usually asleep by early evening, due to getting up early in the morning. Connor finishes homework, any reports and plays on games or reads until between 9-10 p.m.. I work on marketing, reading, making contacts. In between these things, phone calls, errands and other odds and ends take time. It’s not unusual to be up until 1-2 a.m. but I try to shut down by midnight. It’s quiet time!

No television. No movies. And not boring, although perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. And perpetually behind, with many emails not tended to, and a “to do” list that would make a workaholic spaz out. There’s just 3 of us and all have long days, with different tasks, to make things go.

No, we don’t have a spotless house. We have months where money’s too tight to juggle but many have much less.

Sometimes I think off time would be nice – more time to read, but it’s a challenge as others are eager to take over if we’re not here.

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