Tough Weekend

I’m not sure why this weekend felt so hard and discouraging. I had been so optimistic when it stretched before me, and felt so beaten as it drew to a close.

I had so many hopes for accomplishment. I had my lists and plans. But I got very little done that is visible.

I did repair my barn paddock fence. I removed and replaced two entire lines, along with numerous worn insulators plus the ground wire to the charger. By the end of the day Saturday those lines had a satisfying 6-8000 volts. I know that is crucially important but the paddock looks no different and so many other tasks had to go undone.

The 18-year-old who had promised to work, helping me with some two-man lifting and other projects, canceled at the last minute. I managed the lifting of items into the hayloft on my own but it took three times the amount of time it would have otherwise. The other projects were not touched.

A hay delivery came unexpectedly and I stacked the bales.

The weather turned windy and rainy Sunday and though I was outside all day, laboring in the mud, I seemed to make no progress.

Allen stopped by. We had planned to start siding the barn addition but I was not ready for him. I still have to install knee braces and frame the windows and doors. Maybe this week after work? Instead we re-stacked the siding under the roof of the addition, out of the weather. The wind was so strong it threatened to whirl little Allen, carrying long pieces of siding, around like a propeller.

This morning the wind is even higher. It rained all night and now a cold front is moving back in. Today before work I have to set my snow stakes along the driveway before the ground refreezes. This afternoon after work I have to finish cleaning up my fencing and shelters in Betty’s field.

The list, the list, the list. I am not sleeping.

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5 Responses to Tough Weekend

  1. Michele says:

    “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Chinese proverb

    You are still moving forward even with baby steps! Plus don’t forget to take some time for yourself… a sick worker does no work. 🙂

  2. erikamay85 says:

    YES~! As Michele said, please take time for yourself! God instructed agrarian humans to take a sabbath weekly…I know I don’t, but I’m trying to take 1/2 off every weekend and once a month let myself relax for almost a whole weekend. You are going to burn yourself out…much less exhaust yourself so much you might fall asleep driving! Not good.

    You are your animals caretaker. If their caretaker doesn’t take care of themselves then who will care for them when their caretaker is sick?

  3. Michelle Canfield says:

    Aw. Maybe you need to cut yourself some slack!?! 😀 It *is* disappointing when fixes and other interruptions get in the way of planned progress. But thus is farming, it seems, every day is an unplanned adventure. :-\ I try to be happy as long as I get the basics done that relate to animal welfare, any extras on efficiency or future growth are only bonuses, to be had when luck avails them…

    On days when I feel overwhelmed with work, I’m reminded of what my great grandmother’s homesteading experience must have been like, doing all of this by hand with no electricity or gas-powered engines, and with so much more at stake. How tenuous their lives must have felt, knowing the crazy variability of farming!

    In my day job, one of my specialties is in effort estimation. There are a lot of proven phenomenon about the way people estimate what they can get done, that most of us chronically over-estimate. It’s only through regularly comparing our “actuals” against our “estimates” that we self-correct. I find even knowing this, I still struggle, and rarely finish a list of goals for a day, and am left feeling unsatisfied. But it really does help to force oneself to write down how many hrs per task one estimates, then how many hours they actually take- over time, we do calibrate a bit more, and thus, feel happier with the day’s output, knowing what’s realistic to expect.

    Hang in there! Spring will be here before we know it!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Thank you, Michele, Erikamay85, and Michelle, for the support and words of wisdom. I actually have tried to figure out things I can drop (mulching the lilacs! weeding the gardens! cleaning up the pig pen area! mowing any of the fields!) plus most social/personal events but still the daily list feels like an enormous wheel of stone rolling over me. I am counting on time at Christmas break to catch up with myself a little.

      I love the idea of keeping the Sabbath and taking a day of rest. I have written about that here before. I especially like the idea that work on that day is forbidden! However, without some outside agency (like strong social custom) to impose it, I don’t seem to be able to make that happen.

  4. Sue says:

    I recently came upon your blog while searching many farm blogs for one just like yours. My husband and I are in our late fifties and will be retiring in the spring of 2014. We plan to move to our camp which is probably within a 30 mile radius of your farm. Our cabin is off-grid (think: crudely off-grid). Though it has come a very long way since we purchased it nearly 14 years ago, it still has a long way to go. Despite its deficiencies, this small dwelling and its surrounding acreage, has become a beloved refuge for our family. I cannot wait to get there and I am always sorry to leave. But in the spring, our place will change from a family camp to more of a small family farm–as we have 2 elderly horses and hope to build a barn and plant a garden. Your blog is a source of inspiration–good ideas, warm humor, and a strong dose of courage to bolster a southern gal headed to the north country (I can SO relate to your adventure with the manure spreader). I haven’t yet read all of your blog entries but look forward to grabbing my laptop at the end of the day as eagerly as I would my favorite book. Thank you and best wishes!

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