Managing your small farm or homestead while also working full time can be difficult. But only as difficult as you make it. I wouldn’t say it is ever easy, but I have definitely learned there are ways to make it a little easier.
Pick Your Passion
While I am a believer in “having it all,” I’m a little more hesitant to say you can do it all. You can have a career, family, hobby, side business, etc, but you have to really narrow down what having it all means. Then go for that.
For us on our small hobby farm, our passion and focus is chicken-keeping and gardening. Plus I have my two horses for recreational and competitive riding. With my husband also being away a lot to farm, I know what I can and cannot handle. We love our farm fresh eggs, which we sell to help with the feed bill, and we plant a huge garden that allows us to freeze vegetables to last long after summer is over.
There have been many times where my husband and I have discussed trying to add new things as part of our hobby farm, but then we have to take a step back and evaluate how much time we have and what may have to give in order to add something.
Dedicate Nights and Weekends
Let’s be honest, the only way to work your hobby farm is to put in some serious nights and weekends. But we all like to get away or relax. If animals are part of your hobby farm there are definitely things you can’t get out of doing every day–like feeding and watering– but picking a couple nights a week, or a weekend day, to dedicate to farm management can make things a little easier.
Aim for Productivity
Some people are early risers and prefer to get work done before the sun comes up. Or as it comes up–I find that more motivating. And some people are more productive when they get home from work and feel obligated to get more done under pressure, before it gets dark. I’m a combination, but overall get more done after work.
Make Use of That Lunch Break
Sometimes it’s hard to get away from your job–in my case, a desk–during the work day. But that’s the time to run errands, pick up feed, and make calls. If you don’t have to stop by the store on your way home, you can save a little time. Calling the feed store to ask if they can start mixing chicken feed to pick up on your lunch break is not out of the question. It’s worked for me!
Take Advantage of Different Schedules
My husband and I work pretty similar hours, but he gets home before me and has a bit more flexibility. He does everything he can to take care of the animals so when I get home I don’t have to rush around. With him also farming, any big projects have to happen between November and April. And sometimes that doesn’t even work. But we certainly try.
It’s important to always be thinking of how you can make things easier. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?? It can be something as small as having extra buckets or cleaning supplies in every barn or outbuilding, or something more complex like automatic waterers.
Take A Step Back To Appreciate and Enjoy
A couple weekends ago we had really nice weather. So naturally I had a whole list of things to get done around the homestead. But I’ll be honest with you– I felt run down and overworked. I decided to take a seat right on the grass and just watch the animals enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
What do you do to balance your work and farm life? Leave a comment and let me know!