What do I do with my days?





For those of you that care, here it is:
Everyday is different.
Wednesday: Got up at 6am, made Joe’s lunch for school, emptied the dish washer, put in a load of laundry, got him up for school at 7am, made his breakfast, made Craig coffee (he was on a conference call at 6am), drove Joe to school, drove out to Pt Reyes to do a speaking gig, home by 11:00 to teach a class to 11 Berkeley students, prepared some paperwork for the Missouri group (25 prospective farmers on an educational tour from Missouri – discussing farm business strategy, numbers, accounting, etc), responded to e-mail, messages, in box, more paperwork, met with my ops manager to cover the next days items and headed up to the house at 6pm. Took Joey to a class in Marin, did e-mail while waiting, took Joe home, helped with Math, finished laundry and went to bed at 9:30. How exciting was that!

In comparison here is a given Friday. Up at 5:30, run to the post office to pick up baby chicks and put them in the brooder. The postmaster has gotten used to us. Make Joes lunch, get him up at 7 and breakfast – eggs and sausage (he doesn’t get bacon either), sometimes pancakes – if he’s lucky. Off to school. Meet with someone at school for fundraising efforts ,I’m a Board Member).
Home by 9:30 to finish moving chicken tractors, we move them every morning. Check on the pigs, where we are moving them too and get a hit list from Elijah for what we need for the next week, be it grain, bedding for the chicks, seeds.
Respond to e-mails about farm tours and bills, return messages about our producer’s certificate & insurance for the coming year, in box sorting through the massive amount of mail we get each week – farm tractor catalogs mixed with high end apparel – and the occasional letter or thank you note, meet with office staff to check in about the weekend’s farm tours, plan out the next week – checking calendar for speaking engagements, building our subscription list and figuring out how to get the word out about TFF.
Done by 3 to pick up Joe from school, take him to swimming, watch him swim, checking e-mail, home by 6pm. Walk around in the rain with a flashlight checking the animals (this is really fun and that is not a sarcastic comment – the piglets get all snuggled up in a pile at night). Maybe watch a movie, last week it was a documentary about water while knitting a Christmas stocking to be felted. Go to bed around 9:30/10:00.

By the way, Fridays are my day off. Or so I’m told.

So it is really not that exciting and sometimes it is….the details in between are what make it so interesting. The goats walking around with me getting stuck in the mud (that is amusing), hens running around in the rain soaked and skinny looking (they don’t have to be out of the hen house but they choose to play in the rain for some reason), piglets, we have lots running around, love the rain, if it isn’t too cold and they are a crack up to watch.

My point is two fold: the work is more with people than animals. The animals don’t need much. The perception that farmers have this hard life is wrong, well, at least this kind of farming. And I don’t do it alone. While I have always worked hard, I’m in better physical shape with this work than the previous desk work. That’s okay with me. The “why” I do it is different than the “what” I do.

The Why is all about doing something to make a difference. I don’t have small children to care for anymore and a lot of experience/energy and that makes me bored easily. So I work toward what I believe will leave something behind that is useful, good and let’s face it, someone might remember that I was here. Oh, and maybe, in the near future, I’ll actually get paid!
Your Farmer.