Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Day in the Life of A Farmer-Innkeeper

Being a farmer is hard enough on its own, but when you add to that attempting to run a bed & breakfast, it becomes down right hectic.  Here's a brief glimpse into the life of a farmer-innkeeper:

The alarm clock goes off promptly at 5 am every morning.  I jump out of bed, rub the sleep from my eyes, and get dressed in my chore clothing.  It's always a game of "surprise the donkeys" in the mornings.  I usually try and sneak out of the house without turning on any lights, and then make a mad dash to the hay pile.  Donkeys are wily creatures, with eagle eyes, and will heehaw at the slightest provocation.  Cappi, nicknamed "Foghorn" on the farm for obvious reasons, is one of the worst offenders during morning and evening mealtimes.  Once at the hay pile, it's another mad dash to throw hay in the feeders before the donkeys sound off the alarm.  Sometimes, I get a few squeaks of protest - as though they feel they should be braying, even though their morning hay has already appeared!  Once the donkeys are fed, I always head back inside to get washed up (it being generally too dark to do the rest of the morning farm chores just then), and work on forming bread rolls from the sourdough we started the evening before.  After the rolls are finished and raising in the warming drawer of the kitchen, it is generally light enough to head back outside to finish up morning farm chores (this being roughly 6 am or so).  I feed the goats and open the doors to their pasture, feed the llamas, and feed and let out the poultry.  I also check all of the animal waters, refill the duck pond, and set the sprinkler on one of the garden plots as needed.  Then, it's back inside the house for a quick shower, after which I start working on the guest breakfasts.  Sourdough rolls go in the oven at 7 am, and coffee is put on to boil at 7:15 am.  Breakfast needs to be finished and ready to be served at 8 am.  Guests usually take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to eat.  After that, sometimes we give free farm tours if guests request them in advance (this takes about an hour).  Otherwise, I work on cleaning up the dining room and kitchen.  After that, while waiting for guests to head out for the day, I usually work in the garden - trying to get things done before the day heats up too badly.  Usually, this involves weeding, or bringing in the harvest (depending on the time of year).  If it's harvest time (which begins in July), that also entails cooking/canning/processing the harvest in a sweltering kitchen all day.  We try to be as self-sufficient as possible when it comes to food, so "bringing in the harvest" doesn't just mean one small basket of tomatoes.  Generally, we are harvesting and processing on average 10-20 lbs PER vegetable daily at the height of harvest season.  If the baking apples are ripe, I'm working on volumes even larger than that!  That is a lot of work.  Once the guests head out for the day, the rooms need to be cleaned (bathrooms wiped down, beds made).  Then, it's back to work!  On especially hot days, the animal waters need to be checked and refilled 2-3 times during the day.  I also have to go out into the garden and pick produce for our dinner, and work on getting that prepared.  Sometimes, in the late afternoons, it's a bit of a siesta (when the outdoors and/or inside of the kitchen gets to be unbearably hot).  Evening farm chores are usually performed around 7 pm in the summertime, and generally take 45 minutes.  After that, it's inside to get cleaned up, perhaps get a few things ready for the guests breakfasts the next morning.  Then, we generally try and relax for a half hour (reading, checking email, etc), before it's off to bed at 8:30 pm.


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