Yesterday, Friday, someone said to me “Thank goodness it’s Friday”. And then he did a doubletake and said “Whoops, that really doesn’t apply to you does it?”
And he was right. In the farming world, Friday isn’t really the end of a work week. There isn’t actually an end to the work week. It’s all one big cycle.
Around Fat Toad Farm, a Friday is a work day like in the “real world”. Here’s what happens here.
• Two people get up around 5 to go down to the cheese room to hang the cheese so it can drain most of the day.
• Fences and water get set up around 6 for the goats’ pasture for the day.
• Milking starts around 6:30.
• Morning chores start at the same time. These take quite awhile these days because we have goats that are at so many different stages of life – milking goats, goats that have just given birth, goats about to give birth, March babies that are around 50 pounds now but some are still nursing, June babies that are around 10 pounds and are definitely still nursing and can’t really be put out into the pasture with the rest of the goats, goats we are treating for something or other whose milk needs to be separated.
• Other chores like taking care of laying flock, meat chicks and pigs.
• We take Corrie, our border collie who is looking for a home where he can work with sheep, for a walk in the woods.
• Then on to various jobs around the farm or at the other jobs we all have.
• Turning the cheese at midday.
• Packaging the cheese in the afternoon and cleaning the cheese room.
• Packing up for Farmers Market on Saturday.
• At the end of the day we have afternoon chores and milking.
Then we move on to Saturday and that’s when we start diverging from the “work week/weekend” model. Here’s what Saturday means at Fat Toad Farm.
• 6:00 a.m. – fences and water for the goats.
• 6:30 a.m. – start packing up for Farmers Market and Waterbury/Morrisville/Montpelier deliveries. Leave at 7.
• Regular chores, milking, jobs around the farm.
• Farmers Market person returns around 2. Unpack, clean up, try to stay organized so that when we pack up next time, we know where everything is.
• Maybe a little nap? A little gardening?
• Evening milking and chores.
• Some people then rush through a shower, hop in the car and try to get to their social life before it’s too late. Some people hope there are great leftovers and something fun to watch from Netflix.
And finally Sunday, the day of rest. Well, you can probably guess the routine except just add pasteurizing the milk and starting cheese in the afternoon.
Clearly weekends keep us moving and engaged in all aspects of the business. Sometimes it’s exhausting and frustrating but most of the time there is great satisfaction from working at home, working with family, trying to make a living from the land, and taking care of animals in all stages of life.