It's a rare moment on the farm.
The hobbit is tucked into bed after an intense showering session in which the mud (ah, who am I kidding, it was mostly poop) he'd decided to play in while I was milking was washed away, along with the sins of the day.
G-love is pretending she's a mermaid in a bubble bath – also washing away the drudge of another hot summer day.
Sir William has been asleep for hours already, not making it too far past the chicken tacos he enjoyed for dinner.
Stuart went to go enjoy some chicken wings and beers with the men from church.
And I… I'm sitting here, watching the sheep through the window, wishing I had a London Fog, and dreaming of where to plant my echinacea plants that I picked up at the market today.
These moments of rest and reflection are fleeting, but I'm working hard to work them in. Admittedly, I've been in a dreamy stage for a few weeks now. I'll blame it on the first green tomato I ate. That tomato put me into the intense summer days – the days that are horrifically hot, every chore causes abnormal amounts of boob sweat (sorry, it's true) and swollen feet. These days are the days that start early – like 4:45 early. They involve way too much espresso and after all the work, cold beer.
A Day In The Life
I rise after the sun around these parts of Washington, even getting up that early. So I've set apart that hour before the kids get up to my first cup of coffee and the gardens. Stuart and I have been enjoying weeding, talking, and harvesting before the thickness of the summer heat arrives and before the littles make their way out of bed. It gives me a brief moment to be quiet, be still, pray, and make real progress in the potager.
Have you ever gardened with children? While it may be a great time for lesson learning, it certainly isn't a good time for real progress. At least with a 4, 2, and almost 1 year old.
After the garden work, I'll meander back inside for my second cup of coffee. I'll sit down, check my morning email, respond to pressing messages, and mentally prepare for the tasks ahead that day. Girlfriend's gotta get herself worked up sometimes. You can do it, Shaye! You got this! GOOOO TEAM ELLIOTT!
We're one of those weird families that actually sits down to a hot breakfast, 365 days a year. I love this time. The kids are waking up and not at their maximum functioning quite yet and we always can connect with each other before the day begins. Georgia's always curious to know the happenings of that day, informs us which princess dress she'll be wearing for our chores, and offers her assistance in story-telling (just in case). Owen is usually shoving some sort of food where it doesn't belong and causing general mayhem, as Owen does. Little Will just sits… observes… eats.
After breakfast, it's dishes. Always dishes. Alwayssssssss dishes. After which, I attempt to hide the bags under my eyes with a heavy concealer, powder my nose, put on a coat of mascara, brush my teeth, throw on farm clothes, add some lip-gloss so I feel like a real woman, and go about making beds, changing diapers, brushing hair, brushing teeth, putting clothes on three children (realizing that most of the items I've picked out have stains on them), and so forth. Usually by 8:30, we're fed, changed, bathed, clothed, and rip-roarin' ready for the day.
Rip-roarin'. Now there's a farm word for ya.
Because Stuart's out of school for the summer, we've not only been dreaming about progress we'd like to make on the farm… but we're actually getting to make some. The days have been full putting up hog panel, building a milk parlor (more on this to come!), pulling weeds, spreading pea gravel in the potager, planting flowers, revamping hay storage, shoveling poop, designing stairs to go down to the coop, and enjoying the new calf. We've been working as much as we can stand the heat – which, unfortunately, isn't nearly as long as I'd like.
Mid-day is often reserved for my work time, where Stu will hang out and play with the kids, do school with Georgia, read stories, etc., while I make phone calls, work on the new cookbook, work with essential oils, answer emails, write blog posts, take photographs, and on it goes. Having him home more has given me more play room for finishing the cookbook – can I get a holla for progress?
Thank you, self.
After morning chores, work, lunch, lunch clean up, and nap time, it's time for cold beer and dinner prep. Yes, we sit down to a meal for supper too. The whole fam-damly. Even though it's excruciating to run the oven in this heat, I still love summer suppers. The vegetables are out of this world and we get to eat as many as we want! Farmer perk, baby.
Here's a question for you: If you could only have one vegetable stocked in your refrigerator at all times, what would it be?
I have my answer. It dawned on me when I was cooking up those chicken tacos for dinner. My answer is cabbage. Cabbage hot, cabbage cold, cabbage with butter, cabbage with lime juice, cabbage with stuff wrapped inside, cabbage is the vegetable love my life.
See how important it is that I have alone time to reflect on such import questions?
After our summer supper, the kids usually play outside with the chickens and ducks while we get Baby Will bathed, fed, and put to bed, followed by (you guessed it!) more dishes. I like to completely clean my kitchen at night – the dishes, a clean table, a swept floor, a running dishwasher, the whole sha-bang. It makes me feel like a teeny-tiny fractal of my life is in order.
Post dinner “fluffing” (as I like to call it) involves a clean sweep of the house in which Disney music is played and all Elliott family members, sans the littlest, help me clean up the “sin” of the day – that is shoes, clothes, diapers, toys, and general disgusting bits that are spread around the house like a deadly virus. They're not much help yet… but we're getting there.
We've been milking Sally as late as possible since the weather has been so dang hot and it's been incredible. Since Lyle was born just last week, we're only a few days into real milk (the first few days are colostrum). Georgia drank a glass last night, right from the milk bucket – it was still warm and frothy. She gulped it down, licked her lips, and said “I've been waiting so long for this milk!”.
And then I died a thousand, happy farm deaths.
Y'all, these days are so full. And there are many days when tasks go unaccomplished, dishes pile high, laundry piles even higher, and I question my desired to ever do any of this.
Then there are those baskets of eggs, tomatoes, and okra. There are littles faces covered in tomato seeds and fresh mint in our iced water. There is muddy feet, dirt under our fingernails, and “baby Sally”. There are harvests, there are losses. There is life. There is adventure.
There are dreams.
More posts on Farm Life:
- Why We Homestead
- Tips on Starting a Homestead
- Great Benefits of Homesteading
- I Believe in This Farm Life