The last time I created a “Day In the Life,” post life was considerable different. The boys were younger, requiring needs such as sippy cups, Cub Scout popcorn and preschool. One aspect which remains, is that I’m constantly wearing many different hats. This post will give you a birds eye view of today’s hats.
The mornings in the Schweigert household typically begin around 5:45am, sometimes earlier depending my husband’s work schedule. Once he is up and going he feeds our pigs, the newest addition to our conglomerate, and heads on his way. In comparison, I begin my day by prodding the three boys so that they are ready for school – usually with brushed teeth, full stomachs and their book bags. If it’s a really, good day, Mr. W will even be sporting matching socks.
Once the kids are off to their respective schools, it’s time to walk our four-legged, energetic Labrador beast, Addie. I’m working on training for my first, full 5K and her energy pushes me to walk/run every morning. This may be my favorite time of day, depending on my mood. A recovering multi-tasker, I use this time to listen to podcasts which provide professional insight, guidance and new points of view.
At the duration of our workout, we run errands to the post office, etc… and then return home to do the remaining farm chores. This usually involves feeding hay to our steers and sheep. With the addition of the pigs, I’ve also added applying a baby sunscreen for protection from the sun. Due to their light skin and free-range living quarters, a sun burn can occur quickly. This task certainly gives me appreciation for indoor, climate controlled housing…and, the neighbors appreciate the entertainment.
From outside chores, its time to throw in a load of laundry, grab some water and get to work. On a professional level, I manage a not-for-profit organization which empowers farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals and agriculture enthusiasts with the tools needed to share the story of agriculture with the general public. As the sole employee, I wear many hats which encompass a number of tasks – there’s the fundraiser hat, the volunteer coordination cap, bookkeeping visor, the event planning helmet, a near permanent planning head wrap and many, more. This week I’m working with several team members to prepare prospective programming for a future conference, working on sponsorship programs for existing supporters and planning on a number of fronts. One of the most important pieces of my job is planning. None of these hats would be possible without a strong group of generous volunteers.
The boys typically hit the door around 3pm and are more than ready for a snack, giddiness to share their day and ready for a little TV. Full tummies reduce the fighting we can sometimes see – especially in Willis. It takes the boys a short time to walk up our lane. Its just enough time for fighting to ensue or for the pot to near boiling. Willis is the picky eater of the bunch and requires a full workup of ranch dressing for veggies and only approves of a few fruits. Add his wheat allergy into the mix and his lunches sometimes become limited. This can mean a hungry bear once he is off the bus.
My personal goal is to make it from a step off the bus to outside chores without any punches flying. Once the blood sugar is balanced, out the door they go to do their chicken chores. We feed a high-protein grain diet with a mix of kitchen scraps. The hens also have full access to oyster shells, or ‘free choice,’ which simply means they can consume the shells whenever they like. In order for hens to stay healthy, they need an ample supply of calcium. It is the number one mineral which supports their bone density and keeps the egg shells strong. We have found that if we allow the hens to ‘free range,’ in the pasture, their shells become thin and break easily. Supplementing with oyster shells prevents this from happening.
Our oldest and youngest help attend to the sheep, pigs and steers. All animals receive a grain which is formulated for the specie and ample hay. Its important that the sheep not have access to the feed which the steers and pigs consume due to the copper. If fed in high amounts on a consistent basis, copper is lethal to sheep. Their feed is made at our local feed mill and provides a balanced amount of nutrients.
Depending upon our evening plans, I can be found starting supper around 5pm as I finish up my work day. This week we have baseball games, 4H meetings, dog obedience, and tasks around the farm like walking sheep. Yes, walking sheep. Similar to dog obedience (except that dogs have much higher IQs), we practice with our sheep in preparation for the 4H fair. We also teach the sheep to stand in the correct position which features this body shape. School will soon be out and we will also go to my in-laws to begin walking the heifers who will be exhibited at a handful of fairs. This evening I caught our oldest providing the youngest with some tips for playing baseball.
Summer vacation is bright on the horizon. Even so, we were are attempting to get the kids in bed by 8:30pm. Easier said than done on most nights, but its a goal.
Finally at about 9pm, the last stalling attempt occurs and its time for a bit more work and if we are lucky, a little NCIS or Law in Order. Until the 9:18pm, interruption for a glass of milk.