Here it is mid January and I am feeling like I am so far behind I will never catch up. Next month, Mike will break ground for the garden (if it is not too wet) and plant cool weather vegies like kale, peas, onions, etc. by the end of the month. He will begin preparing the new pastures around the same time. The greenhouse will start into production the first of March, but will need to be cleared out, new plastic put on it this year, and the float beds renewed. Those are Mike’s upcoming chores that I will help with in some minor way, in addition to the cattle, and it is only the tip of the iceberg. In March, we also expect the arrival of several Broad Breasted Golden turkeys…a Christmas gift from a very dear friend and facilities need to be prepared for them.
(I am thinking it is a wonderful idea, if you have friends that farm, to “gift” them with livestock, seeds, or even a small ‘credit’ at their local feed and supply store.)
But my list of things to do has not been shortened recently. I seem to suffer from the ‘Blue Funks’ lately and want to play Susie Homemaker rather than farmer’s wife. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little calves and the nature that surrounds us, but there are days (or weeks) where I want to reorganize cabinets, paint a room, pack away summer clothes, bake or generally play the role of a good 1950s housewife. December was that way for me and I installed new cabinets, reorganized cabinets, restocked the cabinets, and generally goofed off. Now, I am behind, not only on this blog, but with daily tasks set to the side in favor of ‘cabineting’: the house now looks like a tornado would actually be an improvement, my thesis is at a standstill, the Christmas decorations that have been taken down are not put away. I have thousands of school books (well, hundreds maybe) to be sold, donated, or trashed. They overflow the bookshelves in the living room. I am seeing cobwebs drape the 18 ft ceilings since I have not brought in a ladder by which to reach them with the broom. The calves have not been trained to the lead, the dogs feel neglected on their outdoor run and play time, and the cats…well, they are cats, they really don’t care about anything so long as they are warm, have a full stomach and a comfortable place to sleep most of the day. I have furniture to rearrange and clean around, pots and pans to give away, laundry stacked on the washer and hanging to air dry in the bathroom and a whole lot of spring cleaning to do.
I do not want to do any of it.
I think I am feeling rebellious right now. I mean, how else can I explain a preference for Sudoku over sweeping, Words with Friends over washing clothes, or Word Welder over working?
Mike just keeps chugging along at his chores like the Little Engine That Could, but I find myself resenting them all the time. I want to go to an art gallery, visit a museum, explore one of Kentucky’s amazing historical sites, go out to dinner…. I love this place, this life, but I miss humanity! I miss lazily sleeping in on a Saturday morning and waking to coffee in bed, the newspaper, and Saturday morning cartoons. There are times, especially recently, when I feel like everything is work and, quite frankly, I do not have the stamina to perform it. It is frustrating to me, knowing that I physically can not do all that needs to be done around here and it is embarrassing to me that (particularly in the house) it has not been done.
This may sound like I am whining, and maybe I am, after all, I wrote about this before. But they are very real feelings I suspect other farm wives feel too. Or maybe not. But like other working women around the country, our job is not finished at the end of a hard-won day. There is still the family and home upkeep to perform. Mike is terrific at helping around the house, as many husbands are, but I am wondering if it is just my generation that still views the home as ‘womens work’ and our unpaid moonlighting job. On the farm, to me anyway, it is worse than when I was a city girl who worked her 8-5 job, ran a couple of chores, cooked dinner and settled in for an evening of television with the family. Back then, it was weekends off for grocery shopping or hanging out at the mall, family time at church, dinner or a card game with friends.Weekends were a special, relaxing, downtime…a reward for hard work.
There does not seem to be any reward for hard work on the farm, unless you have some sadistic appreciation for more hard work as a reward for the hard work you completed. And it is lonely on the farm. I miss the company of other women. That is something I do not think Mike can understand. I mean, if he is working and needs something, he pops over to the store or a neighbor and chit-chats with some male friend while he accomplishes his goal. His friends will pop over now and then with fresh-caught game, to bring him nuts to grow as seedlings, or will call for him to join them as they cut firewood. I have no such association with other women and I think it would really help me to talk with another farm wife (one with a clean house) that can tell me how she organizers her day to get everything done and still manages to have time for herself and her hobbies.
As it is, on days I’m not being stubborn and lazy, my schedule is full and often after a night of sleep, broken up by feeding the fire, running the cats out of the trash, scaring raccoons of the porch or other sundry events, I start my day already exhausted.
If I am lucky, I rise at 7am. As my feet hit the floor, my bladder reminds me of the first order of business…let the big dog out. As he does his thing, I do mine, then it is time to fill the pets water bowls, water the indoor plants, put a log on the fire, and fill the coffee maker. I measure out the coffee and put out dry food for the cats and then the dogs as the coffee brews. That is my first five minutes up! No exerise, stretching or yoga for me. Then it is time to put away last night’s dishes that I left drying in the drainer. I fill my coffee cup, call Mike down with a “Hey Mike, it’s morning!” and settle in with an “Ahhhh” for my first cup, while checking email, Facebook, and Craigslist. It is now about 7:30am.
Now, I am not going to bore you with my daily schedule any further than that, because I think you get the picture. At some point I still need to shower, dress, wash and fill milk bottles, feed the calves (takes an hour and a half), eat breakfast (or is it brunch, or is it really just LUNCH) and start some laundry, work on my thesis and if I am really energic, I might consider picking up the living room, sweeping and mopping, scouring the bathroom, changing the sheets, planning tonights dinner, paying bills,…..oh, but it all has be be done before the next feeding at 3:30-4. Problem is…I am NEVER that energetic.
I keep blaming myself for my failures. Why aren’t I more organized to get this stuff done? How can I get more energy to do it all? How do other people manage? Why can’t we hire a maid?! When can I squeeze in some time to get my hair re-dyed and cover these roots or get a manicure, wash my sports car, or get out an meet people/volunteer?
And here I sit.
I think I’ll have another cup of coffee and a game of Sudoku.