We have three daughters, Aneliese (5), Cecily (3), Kathleen (1) and while it may not look like it on paper or on my blog, Becoming Kindred, where I write about our rural, beginner farm life, I feel like our days are in a constant flow of motion.
This is us and I think that we clean up nice.
Image by Dan Froese Photography & Lola Brown
In the spring and summer months, our days are filled with gardening, chickens, riding, milking, building, visitors, photographing weddings, and the occasional day at the beach snuck in.
Right now though, while Dan is still going hard with family and grad photography, I’m more in maintenance and winterizing mode. I woke up thinking that I would work on getting products ready for the upcoming Christmas market while doing kindergarten with Aneliese. She would help me as part of her learning. As you will notice, that isn’t exactly what happened. Often when I look back on a day, I think, “what exactly did I do?” This day wasn’t an exception. And yet, it was such a good day, filled with beauty and challenges and community.
I hope you enjoy this peek into a day in our life.
5:30- Wake-up! I’m still enjoying the effects of the time change so waking at this hour is easy- for now. I sneak quietly down the stairs where I enjoy my quiet hour before everyone else wakes. But wait.
5:35- I hear little feet pattering across the floor and I’m joined by Aneliese. I’m really working at not resenting it when my early mornings are shared. I’m getting there because this morning, I feel only the slightest twinge. At five years old, she gets that this time sort of belongs to quiet things so she settles in with an unfinished coloring page. I’m excused from making conversation because she knows that for six weeks I’m doing an oil pull first thing in the morning.
5:50- Oil pull finished, I make myself a cup of tea and plan to read for 25-30 minutes. First though, I check one last thing in my email and before I know it my time is gone. This happens way to often in my world and I really dislike it.
6:20- I start the breakfast rice pudding, light the fire in the woodstove (It goes out though.), and tackle the stack of dishes so that we have something to eat from.
6:30- Dan and tousled-curls Kathleen join me in the kitchen for a morning kiss and huggle. Dan & I work on dishes while I keep an eye on the rice pudding (not close enough though because I overcook it.) and we chat about this and that. With the craziness of life at the moment, we agree that the mundane of doing dishes together is brilliant.
7:00- Being a house favorite, the rice pudding has been inhaled, dishes cleared off the table before the girls scatter to various play.
7:15- I slip into my ultra-fashionable milking attire and head out to milk our highland/jersey cow Sugar. It’s a warmish morning which is a nice change from the recent frosty mornings. The two older girls stay inside but Dan and Kathleen come out to water the animals while I milk. I hear Kathleen chattering away to Dan as he puts the finishing touches on our homemade mobile chicken tractor. I feel an impish delight in knowing that my lovely, havoc wreaking flock will now be contained to our pastures. (Would you like to watch how we do morning chores? You can in this video!)
7:45 – I head to the house to strain the milk and get ready for the day. I notice all the chicken poop on the porch and make a mental note to get that cleaned off before our Harvest party this weekend. Then again, the forecast is calling for rain so maybe nature will check that off of my list.
8:30- I’ve taken my shower for the week (just kidding, I always take at least two!) and Cecily has invited me to join her for ballet. I slip on my ballet shoes and pretend that I know what I’m doing as we march, plié, and pretty hands our way through a few songs. I dare say, you can’t get much cuter than a sweet, healthy rounded almost four year in tights, slippers and leotard.
Photo Credit: Dan Froese Photography
9:00-12:00- Dan drops his construction/farmer hat in the boot room and after donning his photographer/studio owner one, heads into his studio for another full day. A friend drops in for tea and we ignore my messy kitchen while we share hearts and kitchen reno ideas. The phone rings and plans are made for the girls bestest friends to come and play for the afternoon.
Kathleen heads to bed for her morning nap. I kiss and kiss her soft cheeks as I snuggle her to bed where she flops with the grin and a “Tank oo, Mama”. The warm morning turns to high winds and rain so as I run kitchen scraps out to the chickens who are now enclosed in their new home, I also run around closing and securing a few things.
Our friends arrive, the three kiddos stay while mom and dad run errands. I heat up a pot of stew that I had meant to send to a neighbor who just had their baby but I make delicious chili too so I’ll make that tomorrow. I also finally relight the fire that didn’t start this morning; it’s a warm morning though so we haven’t been cold.
12:30- I remember the pot of beeswax that I’d been slowly melting (for the third time) so I gather everything I need to make tealights for the upcoming Christmas market. Five extra sets of little hands want to help so this set of candles may be for our personal use with their slightly crooked wicks.
1:00- I get the four older girls set up at the table with paints and paint brushes. They paint while oohing and aahing over each others work. I throw in a load of laundry and work on a little tidying between requests for more paint and making sure that two year old Kathleen is busy else where.
2:00 Painting is done, a game of tag begins until I realize that someone is going to fall on the stairs so they play hide and seek instead. I sense the squirrely-ness is escalating so I diffuse it with a call to clean up toys while I make popcorn and hot chocolate. Again I have more hands than usual wanting to help with snack so we establish jobs and everyone is happy.
2:30- I do the unusual in our house, I turn on a show from Youtube for the girls. Horton Hears a Who ends up scaring Cecily so we fast forward a bit. After a bit of Celtic woman Christmas which was a favorite of Aneliese and Cecily’s last year, they all decide that they are going to jump on the trampoline in the rain.
4:00- The friends go home and we get dry clothes on. I realize that I haven’t started supper so I spend some time on facebook and getting ideas for Christmas market (because I don’t already have enough ideas). What? That doesn’t get supper ready, you say?
4:30- I remember our CSA came today and I begin pulling out veggies for a conglomeration supper.
5:00- Supper is going, I’m tackling dishes again. Girls are playing…energetically, but happy for the moment. It’s dark out now and I remember that I haven’t milked the cow yet. We’ve been milk sharing with her calf so only milking once a day but as of this week decided to wean him which brings us back to two milkings a day. Ugh. I also forgot to wash and disinfect the milk bucket and strainer so I do that now. Earlier than planned due to a rain canceled photo shoot, Dan arrives home to hollers of excitement from his three little girls. He says he will take care of feeding the animals and milking tonight, with a headlamp.
6:00- Chickens are closed in, animals fed and watered. Sugar kicked the bucket so I won’t be making crock pot yogurt from tonight’s milk; the chickens will get it instead because nothing goes to waste in a farm kitchen. We eat supper, broccoli, potatoes, & carrots with spices, butter, a bit of sour cream, and local home cured bacon. A large glass of milk rounds out the corners.
7:00- Dan gets the girls ready for bed and reads stories while I take a bath in Epsom salts to help ease my arthritis pain that is going strong these days.
7:45– I look longingly at our unmade bed with a stack of clothes waiting for folding. I’m not hearing sound from downstairs either. I peak into the living room where Daddy and his girls are all sound asleep on the couch. I leave them be and head to the ferocious beast that is my kitchen. I’m determined to at least find my massive bowling ally island under the stacks of dishes and market making supplies. Dan wakes up, carries the girls to bed and then joins me in the kitchen. We chat about the day and make plans for tomorrow.
9:00- I sit down at the computer to do some writing. My brain has enough juice for an hour and I get quite a bit done, such as a tutorial on how to make no sew cloth pads.
9:55- I remember our sheets still in the dryer and head to make the bed. But first I need to fold the laundry that is covering it. Dan and I tackle that together, make our bed and cuddle in for the night. I’m asleep almost as soon as my head hits that pillow but not before reminding Dan to turn his i-phone off, we sleep better with no technology on.
Another day is done and tomorrow will bring more of the same and new. I didn’t tell you about the multiple times of taking a two year old to the potty, the kindness and choices chats that we covered, that time I raised my voice in a grumpy mama sort of way. I also didn’t tell you that I checked facebook, email, and pinterest more than I wanted too. I didn’t tell you about the many trips to the basement for wood for the fire.
I forgot to tell you that there was no stew left at lunch so I ate a big hunk of cheese instead along with two big spoonfuls of stew that I snuck straight from the pot. I didn’t tell you about how many magic kisses I gave that make a ouch better. I didn’t tell you that I missed my old home, family and friends like crazy most of the day.
My life isn’t glamorous and yet it’s beautiful to me for I am living in love within my imperfections. I’m sharing myself with those in my life and being blessed by others. That my friends, is what makes this a good day, a good life.