Working, Commuting, Hobby Farming and finding time

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Sweetened, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    My sincere apologies to the admin if I've managed to get this in the wrong forum!

    The frost is hitting tonight in the lovely Saskatchewan prairies, and though I can't say it was unexpected and I didn't know, I didn't manage to pick up any cheap blankets to throw over the tomatoes and squash to protect them. So they got cut. 10lbs of tomatoes, two 5lb zuchinni(sp), 18 spaghetti squash (off one plant!), 8 mini pumpkins and a gallon bucket of gone-to-seed bush beans later, I've left half my tomato crop and all of my carrots to suffer the wrath of tonights freeze without any protection.

    So that brought me to thinking about my plans for a hobby farm and the very undertaking of chickens. It's not that I can't do it as, though I respect plants beyond what many people do, animals are not something I neglect. Come rain, wind, hot weather and bitter cold, my dog is walked and my pets are well loved/cared for. However, 8 hours working, 2 hours of commuting every day, and one day (hopefully) children, I wonder how those in this boat do it, especially when the significant other is very likely to do little if no work (though expect to reap the benefits [​IMG] ).

    What are your arrangements like? How do you as an (commuting?) urban slave/being/worker do it without losing your mind?

    I look forward to this discussion and thank everyone! for sharing.
  2. heritagehabitatfarms

    heritagehabitatfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2009
    clinton ar
    very little sleep lol... i work as a dispatcher for a oilfeild contracter 5 days on 2 off 12 hour days... my drive to work is about an hour if there is no traffic... i have about 100 chickens, 5 sheep, 4 cows, 50 quail, 1 dog, 1 cat, 3 rabbits... my lawn is never mowed on time and my house is a mess lol... i have the chores set up where i can do half one day and half the next about 1 hour a day and 4 or 5 hours on my days off... i check all off them each day just to make sure they are ok and in the winter have to water them all every day... i set things up so that if i have to do anything extra i do it on my days off, worming, moving any birds around, ect...

    some day i want to quite this job and just live on the farm and make my living there 2...

    some day lol...
  3. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    I have 2 acres, 2 miniature zebu, 8 pygmy or pygerian goats (1 wether, 2 buckling twins, 5 does of various ages, 1 that is in milk atm), 20 chickens of various ages, about 30 (+/-) ball pythons, 1 cat, 2 dogs and did I mention a full-time job? I dont commute--it only takes me 20 minutes to get to work. I work 12 hrs on a night shift (6p -6a). This means I sleep during the day while everyone else is either working or doing their farm chores. My children are all grown & out of the house on their own.
    On the nights I work, I get up around 1:30p. Drink my coffee, at least 2 cups, before I throw on some 'farm clothes' & get started on my chores. If things go as planned (yeah, right), I can get the feeding/watering/egg-collecting done in a little more than an hour.
    If things dont go as planned, well, I do what I can manage. I have to start heading into the house by 3:30 to start getting ready for work...and all you females know what I'm talking about when I say that I get sidetracked along the way by picking something up & putting it where it belongs...which leads to seeing something else that needs to be done...and on & on ad nauseum.
    After I get ready for work, I have to leave the house no later than 5p, or I run into all kinds of traffic that could make me late. Even though it only takes 20 minutes to get to work, I give myself 45 minutes because I hate to have to rush. I actually have to be 'clocked in' by 545p. I'm lucky if I actually get off work at 6a and by the time I get to the parking lot, it's between 6:15 & 6:30a.
    I get home around 6:45a, check & turn the animals out. Then I get ready for bed & am tucked in by 7:15a most of the time. Luckily, I am able to fall asleep within 15 minutes, so that when the alarm goes off, I can start all over again.
    Days off are basically the same except I avoid clocks & alarms at all costs, unless I have a doctor appt. I sleep until my body wakes up on its own, which is usually around 2pm. I have slept as late as 5p after a really rough weekend at work. On days/nights off, as long as it's daylight, I'm out with the animals until the sun goes down or the bug repellant quits working & the mosquitoes carry me away. Time off from work is when I do my heavy cleaning, building, repairing, etc.
    And although I don't live alone, I AM the only one dealing with the animals. I do get help if I need something built/repaired that I cant do by myself, but basically, my farm,
    My goal is to have my farm be largely where my food comes from, if not totally. I have about 10 more years before I can retire from this job, so I wanted to be prepared & have thngs well on their way before then. I think I may have started about 5 years too soon!
  4. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 12, 2010
    We've got 23 rabbits, 25 chickens, 2 ducks 2 geese and 4 mastiffs. I think it takes each of us 30-40 minutes each to do the chores.

    We (DH and I) carpool and have a 50 min drive in for me and another 15 for DH. So we get up at 4:00am, DH does a certain set of the morning chores so I can get ready for work. I put in 11 hrs a day because I get to work early and leave late because I have to wait for DH. We get home at 5:30pm. I do evening chores and dinner (if I fix anything). Forgot to mention that DH travels for work as well so there are many weeks where I have to do all of it.

    I generally get to bed by 10:30-11:00 pm. If I'm very lucky I may sleep all night, but generally I wake up so much durning the night I probably only get 3-4 hours of interupted sleep. I'm always tired.

    House, rabbitry and coop cleaning, and bigger chores, projects, lawn mowing etc get done on the weekends. I try to sleep in on the weekend till about 8:00-9:00am.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  5. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    We have 14 acres, 6 horses, 100+ some chickens and other critters here and there and my husband is travelling during the week so it’s only me doing everything. And I can agree- forget about regular sleeping hours. My day begins relatively late at 6AM with feeding, then getting ready to work, slave my 8-5, be back home at 5:30, start feeding, cleaning, watering, collecting eggs, fix things that need fixing, try and get dinner in after I had barely enough time to eat lunch, never breakfast, and then start canning vegetables or do household chores. On a short day my day ends at 9pm, on a long day it ends at midnight. I guess the only time it is difficult is when you need to do things outside of your routine, i.e. farrier appointments, check on bees, have people stop by to look at a horse, etc.. Doing something like that with your time schedule, I will have to admit that there will be many sacrifices you need to make in order to take care of the animals properly. My lunch is completely comprised of driving home and checking on critters rather than worrying about what I eat. When we go out to eat at night we either need to go late (and do all chores before we leave) or go early and do all chores as we get back. Our weekends are spent doing things to organize the farm better or prepare for winter, i.e. buy and stock hay, building lean to’s, building chicken houses, etc. There is barely enough time to sleep in until 7 on weekends. It is a constant compromise.

    I hope this helped. Good luck on your endeavors! [​IMG]
  6. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    As you can see from everyone else's posts, we do it all by cutting into sleep time. My life is very similar to all of theirs, so I will spare you the details. The only difference is I am pregnant on top of it all. If you truly want this life, it comes at a sacrifice for sure. In the end, it is very rewarding. I tell my husband often that I am living my dream life.
  7. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Lovely answers from everyone. I figured loss of sleep was the only cure, but as this evening showed me, 4 cats, one very large dog, a king sized bed, and a spouse means a grubby paw in the mouth, a claw up the nose, being pushed off the bed and one incredibly sleepless night. I used to be a good sleeper, then I turned 25... though I've recently discovered there's a "sleepless high" that kicks in in the mornings for me and can usually take me to 11 o'clock with ease if I don't stop. My menial data entry job nullifies that the moment I walk through the doors mind you.

    I'm surprised that a couple people who answered "go it alone" and the whole... it's your farm so it's yours alone mindset (though admittedly I'm certainly glad I'm not alone). How do you deal with that? Don't help in the garden, no veggies for you? Don't help with the milking, no dairy for you? and so on? I must say, I am head over heels for my man, however the one thing that drives me nuts (all sorts of nuts) is that I cook, clean, clean up after him [​IMG], do the gardening, the yard and work a job in the city like he does, but he doesn't do all these things and expects the rewards from them (ie fresh veggies, meals etc.). [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] If he does, it's because I asked and, at most, it's the 100% bare minimum of what was asked. [​IMG] Didn't mean to go into it all, but it's the long way of asking how you would/do deal with it and make it tollerable? Everything else is loveable about him -- I have never doubted his love, he's romantic, thoughtful in every other way and so on.
  8. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    I have been thinking about this and it is puzzling.
    A hobby is a side interest, something you can put down when time and money are tight.
    A farm is not that. A farm is the opposite of that.
    So, the term 'hobby farm' is an oxymoron.

    So basically you have two jobs. One job supports the other job.

    There is a quote I have pasted to the cabinet above me.
    At first I thought it was a cruel thing for him to say, he was being pessimistic to my efforts... then I realized that he was speaking from exhausted experience:
    "A farm is a good thing,
    when it begins and ends with itself,
    and does not need salary or shop to eek it out."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    Self sufficiency on a large scale is no longer something that is possible, in my opinion. The county does not want to barter for their property taxes, Nor the state for the licenses and fees. Nope, we need a job and cold hard cash to be self sufficient anymore.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  9. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    In regards to the idea that "it is my farm, and mine alone.":

    I live in a great marriage that equals a partnership. My husband isn’t away from the farm during the week by choice- he is because it pays well and it supports the mortgage payments on the property. He provides the land, I make it usable, so even though it is “my farm” and “my projects”, and even though I do 80-90% of the work alone, in the end none of those would be possible without the land. Over the last 3 years I have managed to turn once unusable land (full of garbage, clutter, trees and bushes) into usable land and making gardens. Some of the dirt is unbelievably rich. Would I want all of the benefits I reap just for myself, or would I feel bad if he ate some of the stuff we produce? No. For he works as hard as I do when he is home on the weekends. If we make money with our farm it goes directly back into it for improvements. If I sell a horse, he gets half of the profit after all expenses are taken out. If he helped with the expenses, it gets cut in half right there. When breeding time is here he takes time off to do the chores when wify doesn’t come home till 11pm from the stallions farm. I have no doubt that he would work just as hard as I do if he had the option of staying home but he doesn’t. He is paying a tough price when animals are born or things go wrong while he is away- simply because he wants to be there too, enjoy it, help out and experience it. When it comes to decision making about projects and animals, we rely on each others experience. Whoever is the most capable person to make the decision gets to make it. He never questions the stallions I breed to and I would never question him when it comes to building structures, taking care of pastures, etc. Running a farm alone during the week may be hard, but if you know that hubby is there for you and will help on the weekend makes it much easier.

    I also agree with the other poster. It is not a hobby. It is a serious commitment. It controls your life constantly. It is an anchor when it comes to wanting to go on vacation, going out, enjoying yourself. But so worth it.
  10. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    "My farm" is mine because that has always been the arrangement...he came from a fish camp & farming background--hated it then, hates it now & still wont eat fish to this day. Years ago when I had a meat rabbit breeding business it was the same. I don't mind 99% of the time because I knew going into it that other than muscle, he would not be involved. It's one of those facts of life that you get used to. I am thinking though, when I retire & have a food garden & maybe add some rabbits that he is going to get more involved or it will be 'you don't help, you dont eat.'
    No, that wont work with the veggies...I do have to say that he is willing to learn to do the butchering & processing of the chickens, goats, cattle when it comes time. So I guess it's not a total loss. One way or another, he does earn his keep!

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