Some folks envy us. Some folks think we are crazy. Some of our relatives wonder if we work. Some people come from all over to learn what we do. If you ever wondered what life on a farmstead looks like, particularly for an entrepreneur, here is a small peek into a typical week. If you are interested in farmsteading, we will teach you everything you need to know to make small steps towards basic self sufficiency and regaining your freedom by making your own schedule. Just check out the Homesteading School link on the menu. We also have a Certified Herbalist and Master’s Herbalist program to help you learn everything you need to know to care for yourself, your family, and the animals that will share your farmstead.
Monday: Farm day
Up just before 7:00. Doug goes outside to tend to the animals. It could be a heavenly sixty five degrees or a miserable twenty below, it makes no difference. Isabelle must be milked! I make coffee and when Doug comes in after milking the goat I strain the warm milk from the bucket and prepare him a cup of coffee with fresh goat’s milk and a bit of sugar while he feeds and lets out the chickens and ducks. We then spend some time writing, reading, paying bills, relaxing, and planning the day.
After breakfast we begin our work. Farm day is also canning day. Any harvesting that needs to be done is completed in the morning before the plants go limp from the heat. If I needed a boost in produce I would have bought a box of tomatoes or something from my friends at Miller Farms Sunday at the market. We have to be diligent with canning. Our winter food source is our root cellar/basement and freezer. Yesterday a flat of tomatoes became six quarts of ruby colored pasta sauce. We have been out of sauce since March to my utmost dismay and I will be canning a lot more this year. We will double the eighteen jars we put up last year.
A large pot of chicken broth was also in the works. I saved in a freezer bag all chicken bones and odds and ends of carrots, onions, and celery over the past month and threw them all in the pot covered with water. I added large handfuls of herbs and a bit of salt and pepper and let it simmer for an hour and a half. This was pressure canned to make easy quarts of ready made broth. This is a chore we do all year.
Large bowls of green beans have been coming out of our garden and as quickly as we can process them, there are a bunch more ready. It has been such a gift to be able to eat and preserve produce from my own gardens.
Farm day includes any and all planting, weeding, mulching, harvesting, bee hive checking, fence fixing, coop and goat pen cleaning, lawn mowing, and transplanting.
We fall in bed exhausted.
Tuesday: Class and Cooking Day
Anyone who wanted to learn to can would come on Monday to help. Folks that want to learn specific skills like soap making out of fresh goat’s milk, candle making in containers with handles so that you can use it as guiding light at night, cheese making with delicious goat’s milk and fresh herbs, etc. come on Tuesday. Each week I teach something new and also stock up for our own family.
Tuesday is when I bake bread for the week and make a batch of hard cheese to start aging to enjoy in the winter. I also plan the menus for the week and start preparing what I am packing (breakfast and lunch) to take to the markets.
Doug works on miscellaneous things pertaining to business. Paperwork, filling orders, errands, and anything else I give him in the form of a to-do list is on Doug’s agenda. Every other Tuesday evening he shoots pool and I quilt in the evening or we might opt to take a walk or watch a funny show.
We fall in bed exhausted.
Wednesday: Apothecary Day
This is the day we get all of our product filled for the farmer’s markets that week. We make lotion, fill bottles, combine teas, and get the car packed for Thursday’s market. People seek me out all week for help and call at all hours of the day. We work with them immediately but the farmer’s markets not only help us bring in more income, but also helps us meet infinitely more folks than we would from our farm. We are able to help many more people and interest people in classes.
I also teach a Master’s class in herbalism on Wednesdays.
Wednesday is also the day that I make extracts. I harvest herbs that are ready to be cut and place them in jars. All of my new recipes are made with fresh herbs straight from the gardens and prepared on the spot where they will brew until this fall.
Thursday: Market Day
Doug milks early and we head off to Colorado Springs (a 45 minute drive) at 6:30. We set up our tent, our tables, our wares, and talk, help, and promote until 3:00. We then break down and reload the car and sleepily drive home, arriving back at the farm at 4:30. A quick dinner is all I can come up and the rest of the day is slower.
We watch our granddaughter, Maryjane, the light of our life, four days a week while her mother is at work. We are the only grandparents that do not have a nine to five job and dad is still in school so we get the great opportunity of playing with our baby most days. Even though she wears us out, she adds a light and an energy to this place that I never take for granted. She is a great gift to us.
In the evenings, every single day, at around 7:00, Doug heads back in to milk Isabelle. Twice a day, no matter the weather or our plans, Isabelle must be milked. It is nice to have a set schedule. It also saves us money. Every time we make plans to gallivant about, we remember that we need to be home at seven!
Friday: House Day and Prepare for Markets
Friday we deep clean our house. All laundry should be done by this day. We fill product that we sold the day before in preparation for the markets and get the meals packed for the next few days. We even may have the opportunity to go out to eat with friends or just sit under the elm tree with a book.
Saturday: Market Day and Class
We head to the local farmer’s market on Saturdays. It is close to home and ends early so it is obviously my favorite one! We see lots of folks that used to visit our store and friends from around town come by to say hello.
Our herbalist classes are on Saturdays. People drive from all over to take my course and learn how to turn weeds into medicine that can heal up broken ankles or get rid of a nasty infection. The classes are always eclectic, filled with interesting and fascinating students. The coming semester promises to be full and two of the students came all the way from New York. Ethan and Stephanie drove an RV here to Colorado to stay and work with me on everything from homesteading, to farming, to being my apprentices in herbalism. They are a tremendous help and lovely company.
In the winter and spring we trade off dinner at our house, Kat and Rod’s, or Rodney and Pat’s. We call it family dinner even though Doug and I are not related but rather adopted into their family. We miss them in the summer! We do not see much of our families either and try to find times to call. Summers here on a farmstead are very busy! In the winter we are less busy. We just keep up with all the housework and cooking, the filling orders and classes. But we stay fairly close to home in order to take care of our animals.
Sunday: Big Market Day
This is our biggest market day and we pack more medicines and products in the car to cover what we sold Saturday. We get up at 4:45 to milk and head out by 5:30 to secure our spot at the market. The markets are non-stop talking on hot pavement and really wear us out but they are imperative to our survival as herbalists and homesteaders.
We run our errands in town after the market on our way home. The library or health food store might be visits we need to make. We then go home and relax before dinner needs to be made and the animals cared for.
We again fall in bed exhausted. There is no need for sleep medicine in this house.
Making Our Own Schedule
We make our own schedule. It is freeing and satisfying. We work very, very hard but we also have the option to say, “You know what? The floors aren’t getting swept today. Let’s go hiking.” Yesterday was one such day. While Doug and Ethan ran errands in Denver, Stephanie, Emily, Maryjane and I took a beautiful hike. I still got the canning done (finishing early this morning). Last night Ethan and Stephanie came in from their RV and we all enjoyed dinner in front of a recorded “Last Comic Standing”. Wine and laughter poured freely and we ended the night later than usual under the stars admiring the Milky Way and shooting stars.
This is why we farmstead.