Max here... True to our resolutions, we set out for a hard day's work on the farm this morning. It was a little neglected over Christmas time. We only went out to water in the greenhouse, and do the minimum chores to keep things going. Now, it's time to buckle down and get back to work...
I'll be honest. It's hard work. You have to put in the hours to make a farm go. But it all seems easy when you compare trying to do the same work while watching your kids at the same time. I'm not gonna paint a purely romantic picture of this farm life we are living -- here's part of the inside scoop on one of our biggest challenges.
For the last several months, we have been bringing both kids out to the farm almost every day, and trying to work the morning out there with them. Some days it actually works great. Declan falls asleep, and we put him down for a nap, and Siobhan finds something to play with, and keeps herself busy while we both put our heads down and work. But that is probably 10% of the time! Usually, one of us ends up watching / playing with the kids, and the other ends up working, but is still distracted by the presence and needs of the family. Kids demand and deserve a lot of attention, and focused work does too.
The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that we lease our farmland 2.5 miles away from home, requiring a short commute. A single adult could jump in their car, and be out there in 5 minutes, but getting kids (and ourselves!) dressed, feeding them breakfast, packing water bottles, snacks and diaper bags, and buckling them into car-seats can take an hour or more. And a lot of energy!
We dearly want our kids to grow up being part of farm life, so for 2017 we are scheduling time on the farm both with and without kids. For the time without them, we will hire help to take care of them, to be able to devote several uninterupted hours to working hard together. For times with them, we will see it as partial family time, and partial work, so we will have lower expectations for what we get done in those times.
That's what we did today. It felt really good to put a hard day of work in, and we got a lot done, including some real progress on clearing and tilling the 2nd half of our leased proprety in preparation for beds going in.
About the Authors
Max and Deirdre Becher farm together on First Steps Farm in Southern California. They love farming, raising their kids, playing music, contradancing, cooking, and working together to create a vibrant culture of celebrating life. See it all unfold right here!