When we bought this house and land...we had no idea about how our life would change. We have been living here now, for almost 4 years and this year I gave up work to be at home full time. It now makes me wonder how I ever managed to fit a job into this life or this life into a job!
We start our Sunday at 8am...the alarm goes off and it always feels like we have just got into bed, not been there for 8 hours!
We get up, the kettle goes on and our day starts with sorting out the food for all the animals. We feed them a mash at the moment and so the food sits for half an hour to absorb the water it is mixed with. This is our time to have coffee and get ready for the day ahead.
At 8.30am we brave the cold (as the sun is still behind the mountains) and go to feed. It now takes both of us for this job as the turkeys are so big. Kev feeds them, while I feed the chickens and the ducks.
After this chore is complete and while the animals are still busy eating, we set about cleaning them all out. I do the rabbits and the palettes where the turkeys roost. Kev cleans out the chickens as we now have 2 chicken coops. All the manure is put onto the compost heap to break down. This job takes at least an hour but it has to be done every week without fail to ensure the health of our poultry.
The next job for me is to clean out and relay both of the fires in the house. We have a large wood burner in the front room and a range in the kitchen to cook with. Obviously with us being true English people, we have what is called a Sunday roast. This is a big meal that takes about 2 to 3 hours to cook but we can only do this in the winter as it is way too warm here to cook it in the summer.
Once both fires are cleaned and relayed the floors have to be swept as this job is a bit messy!
While I am sorting out the fires, Kev spends about an hour chopping wood. This goes onto the wood pile ready for us to use in the week for the fires.
We had a whole pig delivered, from a local farmer, last week. From this we make everything, sausages, black pudding, meat loaves, brawn, chorizo and bacon. Everyday we have to salt the bacon to ensure that it changes from pork into the bacon we want. We use a dry salt cure, mixed with sugar and herbs and this process takes about 2 weeks. We got a bit carried away this year, we have 4 hocks, 2 slabs of back and 1 belly salting. So every day we spend at least 30 minutes sorting this out.
The next job is normally something in the garden. This week it is to build the rock walls for the terracing. Our soil at the top of our vegetable beds is only about 2cm deep, so the idea is to build the walls to fill with top soil to enable us to produce more vegetables over the year. These terraces will almost double the available space for food production.
I will take the corn out to the turkey feeders around 11.30am, to boost the food available for them. We did not foresee having to do this but as the rains have not come, if we want them big enough for Christmas then it is a must. Had the rains arrived there would have been enough plant life to fatten them up. We ummed and arghed about doing this but gave in mid November when we knew the rains would not come.
Around 12 noon we have to stop what we are doing and come inside. This is the day for talking to our families. We have a good chat, eat our lunch and have a drink at the same time. Around 2pm we can start again.
At 2pm we normally finish off the gardening job, the wall building. We spend about another hour and a half outside. At 3.30pm its time to light the fires in the house and make the animal food again. We try to feed them about 4 - 4.30pm so that the animals go to bed with full crops. We also feed the rabbits too. They have pellets and a vegetable treat that needs to be pulled from the garden.
Once the animals are fed, I start to cook the dinner and make the bread for the next couple of days.
Kev is still outside watering the plants and collecting the logs for the night. This will take Kev about an hour, maybe a little bit more depending on what is still growing in the garden.
We will sit down to eat our dinner at about 8pm all being well. This is when the bread will go into the oven. After dinner we clean up and finally sit down at about 9pm. We sit and chat about how the day has gone and what has to be done the next day.
In the beginning I said we didn't realise how our lives would change. It has been a gradual process, developing the garden and adding different types of poultry along the way. As you can see from our Sunday (that is a relatively easy day for us) we don't stop. We are always tired at bed time and sleep well. We make sure we get at least 8 hours sleep as our bodies could not function as well on anything less.
As for the future, we want geese, goats and pigs too so I guess it will only get busier! The best thing about this way of life is it is for us. We are not working for anyone else, have no real time constraints, only the available day light hours and we love every minute of it!