Around 4 AM The Great Him is brought to our bed from a restless sleep. I have abandoned the genius idea of cloth diapers for overnight due to the wetting through. I had found no logic on an off-grid farm to have 2 babies wetting through double cloth diapers, PJS, aka waking up cold, wet and crying, and wet sheets and blankets that must be washed in a wringer washer with water heated up by a wood fired kettle and then lined dried each an every day with the hope that they would be dry in the winter months by nap time :). Trust me, I already tried it WAY to long! GG reloads wood stoves to get a hotter fire for later and makes coffee to be ready later.
Around 5 AM the GG (Gentle Giant) lights the oil lamps, gets up to check coffee (we can tell how far along the coffee is by the "sound" of the wood cook stove) and He gets ready for the day. He awakes our eldest to get ready for a road trip to pick up the cottage workers 2 communities over.
At 6:30 AM I awake with 2 babies in my bed that are stirring and feel like I have been run over by a large farm implement, horse drawn of course! The GG and eldest are leaving to pickup the workers for the cottage and say a quick goodbye. Our 12 yo son gets up to start the daily morning choring. I have 4 helpers inside with me. (ok only 2 are really helpers that are left inside)
Winter chores that our 12 yo son pretty much manages on his own with some help at times are feeding the beef herd, rolling round hay bales to the hay ring (this takes about 3 kinner or 1 kinner and a father as they are HEAVY)... must be careful not to have real hungry cows in a herd or they try to eat the hay as you roll it! Drinking the horses. We bring the horses to water and drink them about 4 times a day manually to a spot in the barn. We are very excited that this year (so far :)) we have mastered the art of keeping all water in barns and to the house (our holding water tank for the house is in the upstairs of the barn to gravity feed to the house) UNFROZEN! Last year, we had frozen water most of the winter aka NO WATER TO THE HOUSE :). He then feeds the chickens, pigs, the best organic grass hay to our horses right from this farm, feed goats, cats, dogs our best alfalfa bales to our beef herd. Checks all waterers for fresh water. LOTS of shoveling of the mish! 1 full size Belgian horse poops about 1 barrel of poop a day at least!(yuhp, those big barrels) We have 2 Belgains and then a small beef herd. Lets just say POOP is a big part of our lives. Great for fertilizer and great for compost and we need to find other great things for poop. Any ideas would be appreciated. We already sell it :) Which brings me to our son coming in to change into his 2nd pair of clean pants for the day due to poop...
The GG and eldest end up eating breakfast with our friends. They leave to go to a few farms over to see if they can barter rubber wheels for steel wheels. It ended up not being a good fit so they went to another farm and it ended up not working so they head home for the cottage work.
In the meantime I am getting ready, feeding breakfast to others and log into computer to do some farm checks and make calls around the area for extra round bales for the farm. We feed some of our hay to the herd but the team always gets first dibs of our hay so we will have to buy some more round bales SOON!
Eldest and GG come back and deliver workers to cottage. I am ready to leave with eldest to go up the road to get more cocoa for hot choc for 11 guests coming inside the farmhouse for lunch (a sliding, ice skating party for the kinner) and a game plan for lunch for the cottage workers, all 5 of them (ended up being only 4 of them)
We stop up the road for cocoa and have a request to pick up a few things in town. We go into town (7 miles) and get the stuff and come back to the community to trade it for homemade bread and smoked meats instead of cash (aka I did not have to make the bread and butcher the hog and smoke it :) much better use of $1.80!)
I remember I did not read the Psalm I planned on today :( yet...
We return home, make a quick lunch for the cottage workers. 2 eldest girls run lunch to cottage workers, son is drinking horses again and checking for eggs. I am making lunch for the 11 guests. elder girls return and start a recipe (**NOTE again to self, try NO new recipes before company is coming) The Lazy Day Wife Cake (weird name, we thought it must mean easy) was very complicated and not real tasty but later when the guests arrived the children did seem to enjoy it. Guest start arriving at 1230 PM and we all ate at 130 PM, for lunch we have homemade chicken bologna from our chickens, rye bread, zucchini jam, lettuce, cheese and water. I am dodging farm phone calls. Some I take, some I don't. One call is for an appointment this evening at 730 PM to finish up 2009 farm business. We will attend this appointment later in the evening.
Meanwhile (this is actually right before our 11 guests come) (we still are on bookwork school vacation till this Monday) 12 yo son is building in cottage with 2 other young men (what a treasure at 12 to learn to build with some older boys that are like minded! and with your Dad!) He is having a lot of fun, I run out to check on them and GG has a gun in hand and I ask him what he is doing thinking an animal is in the cottage or something and he says he is getting water. Getting water? The well pitcher pump has been out of use for about 4 years so he shoots a 22 down the pipe 3 times and HOUSTON! We have a geyser of water in the cottage kitchen! YEE HAW! BTW, did you ever imagine any and ALL remodeling here goes on off-grid! It is VERY challenging and I always think about when we had electricity and did our addition on the old place how much easier it seemed. But, we seem to have mastered it now through an OLD generator that shuts on and off constantly :) and the kind gesture of our friend letting us use a newer generator! THANKS KEITH!
Children are sledding. I am still praying always in my mind for courage for the life we live. There is a lot that goes on here I choose not to write about...
Our guests have a great time talking about remodeling, NOURISHING TRADITIONS eating, homeschooling and more.
The kinner come in from the cold (see photo above) all 14 of them :) and enjoy getting warmed up. The Great Him has not taken a nap nor played outside and is being a healthy 2 year-old by trying to stand on the treadle sewing machine with matches and more.
NOTE dishes have been washed 3 times now!
Woodstove has been reloaded at least 12 times...
GG comes into tell me he is taking cottage guests home and that they got a lot done. This is at about 5:15ish and 12 yo son starts night choring with another sibling. I should note it is nice that the goats and cow are dry and are waiting to freshen. It is very cold and even thought the teats warm your hands, it is easier not to worry about milking twice a day!
The kinner and I eat leftovers for supper and clean up. GG gets home from farm errands and drop offs. He eats dinner and we both leave together for that 7:30 PM appointment.
We have the farm appointment to finish up 2009 farm business and it went REALLY good, PRAISE the LORD! We arrive home about 9:45 pm. All kinner are up and energetic. We decide to wake baby girl to feed and change her so she sleeps ALL NIGHT HOPEFULLY! Of course all kinner are hungry again so we make 2 frozen yucky pizzas that we get from our fridge on the front porch. We sing a hymn, "Power in the Blood" and then talk and then get into bed. This all wraps up at 11:15 pm! All of us stay by the kitchen table where the brightest light is.
This was a long but good day... I fell asleep FAST!