Did you ever wonder what a day in the life of a Homesteader is like? Grab a cup of coffee & see how RancherMan & I spent our day.
Starting The Morning
Our cute mini-Schnauzer Bailey wakes me each morning around 6:15 a.m. I swear she must have an internal alarm clock!
She stands on her hind legs and reaches as far as she can to peek over the side of the mattress. Most mornings her cute little furry face is the first thing I see in the morning!
So I get up and plug in the percolator coffee pot. I’m gonna need some coffee! Then I take Bailey out with me while I tend to our chickens.
Morning Backyard Chicken Routine
Our chickens have a sizeable chicken yard that’s surrounded by a 7-ft tall field fence. This keeps them safe from most predators.
Keeping Chickens Safe From Nighttime Predators
But some dangerous predators like raccoons can easily scale that fence at night. So within that fence is a fortified *Chicken Coop into which the hens are locked securely every night.
Each morning I open their coop and let them out into their large chicken yard.
I also open up their chicken feeder since I close it each night to keep night-time snackers like mice from being attracted to it.
Chickens Poop A LOT!
While the hens are busy eating I clean out their coop. I swear nothing, NOTHING poops more than a chicken! And they have no trouble pooping right in their nesting boxes.
So each morning I do a quick cleanup and that will keep their eggs cleaner when they lay them later this morning.
The accumulated chicken litter/hay is placed in the *Tumbling Composter I have just for chicken litter and I give it a quick turn.
Finally a quick check of their water level to make sure they have plenty and I’m done.
I check out the vegetable garden on my way through. Not much ready to harvest yet except garlic.
Morning Coffee & Computer Work
Back inside I wash my hands and pour myself and RancherMan a cup of steaming hot coffee. Aaaahhhh…
Our early morning hours are spent enjoying coffee and doing computer work.
I’m usually working on Texas Homesteader’s website, responding to messages, writing and scheduling posts, etc.
RancherMan’s typically researching needed purchases, reading the news, checking weather forecasts and such.
Making Easier Homemade Bread
Around 10 a.m. it’s time for us to schedule our day. The first thing I need to do is make RancherMan some homemade bread.
This goes fast since I’ve got several Homemade Bread Shortcuts that I employ. The dry ingredients for his bread including the all-purpose flour, the homemade Oat Flour and salt are already pre-measured in jars.
So I bring out the kitchen scale and quickly weigh out the wet ingredients:
- Bacon Grease,
I top the measured wet ingredients with a jar of dry ingredients. Then I add 2 teaspoons dry yeast and turn on the bread maker.
That bread machine makes Homemade Bread while we’ll be busy outside doing our other chores.
Chores When Rain’s Coming
Our chores are almost always based around the weather. It’s been dry & we’re suffering through yet another drought. But the weathermen are calling for rain starting tonight and possibly lasting over 24 hours.
Now we live beneath a barometric umbrella – rain most of the time is much less than promised and often passes us by completely. Still we need to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ as they say.
We decide today we’ll tend to the bees, get some cows pregnancy checked, wean some calves and get the garlic harvested from the garden.
We’d added the honey super boxes to the beehives a few weeks ago. On our last hive check we found that comb was drawn on all frames and mostly filled with that sweet honey we love. But much of it was not yet capped.
Uncapped honey would contain too much moisture to store properly without fermenting. So we waited.
But now we’re finally ready to harvest honey. So today we prepare the hive for the honey harvest by adding a bee escape to allow the bees to safely vacate the honey box.
Then we come inside and grab a glass of cold water & cool off. I take this opportunity to make my notes in our bee journal.
I use this journal to record individual hive productivity as well as any observational notes about the queen, the bees, or the health of each hive.
Moving Cows To Greener Pastures
We will rotate our cows through individual divided pastures instead of just allowing them to graze the entire homestead at one time. It keeps our pastures healthy.
But rotation is done for different reasons. Right now the cows are in a pasture further away from the working facilities. But we’ll be working cows today.
Instead of trying to walk them across several pastures and through several gates, we simply rotate them to the next pasture which is closer to the barn. Then sorting out the few we need will be easier.
So RancherMan goes to the south pasture and does a quick count. Everyone’s here, including the new baby born just a few days ago.
RancherMan calls the cows up to the gate and opens it up to the fresh pasture. They are always excited for the move.
He stands at the gate, inspects each cow as they go through and does a final count to make sure everyone is present.
Then as the cows are settling in, RancherMan comes inside to discuss the next move.
Sorting A Pasture Of Cows
There are a few cows we need to check for positive pregnancy. We’ll also be weaning a couple of calves that are now old enough to be on their own.
So RancherMan notes the tag numbers of the cows to pregnancy check as well as the weaning calves and back out to the pasture we go.
Armed with those tag numbers I take a sorting stick and walk among the cows. I’ll find one I’m looking for and slowly push her toward the gate.
As she nears the gate RancherMan will open it up and allow her into a small paddock between the pasture and the barnyard.
One by one we sort them out including the calves we want to wean. Now that the select few are separated we walk them to the barn pens and lock them up.
We head back inside for a quick sip of cold water to cool off and to grab the supplies we’ll need to pregnancy check the cows.
Then back to the barn to bring the cows one-by-one through the chute and draw a small amount of blood for the pregnancy test. We keep the weaning calves separated in another pen.
After the blood is drawn we lead the mama cows back to the pasture with their babies and we come inside to do the paperwork and send the samples to the lab.
Now all that’s left in the barnyard are the calves we’ll be weaning. We like to fence line wean our calves to ease stress for both mama and baby.
So we release the calves from the pens and into the barnyard so they can be close to their dams.
Instinct dictates that calf and dam will call to each other from across the fence for a period of time before the calves are comfortable with their ability to be on their own.
In that time RancherMan will make sure they have plenty to eat and drink.
Harvesting Garlic From The Garden
Now that the animals are all taken care of I need to get into the garden and get that garlic harvested.
I planted it back in October and now the bottom leaves have yellowed, indicating it’s time to harvest.
With a garden fork I carefully work each bulb from the soft ground. I lightly brush as much dirt as I can from it too.
You can read all about Growing, Harvesting & Preserving Garlic.
Harvested garlic needs to cure for about 6 weeks in a shaded area with plenty of airflow around the bulbs.
I don’t have a formal garlic curing shelf so I incorporate the slats in our porch bench to do the job. #UseWhatchaGot!
After the garlic is cured I’ll choose the best heads of garlic and place them in a labeled paper sack.
That sack is stored in the vegetable crisper of our refrigerator until October when they’ll be planted in the garden to become our garlic harvest for next year.
Leftovers for Supper
It’s been a hot, sticky, hard-working day for sure. Supper tonight will be whatever we have in the refrigerator needing to be eaten.
Since we just had our RanchFest Family Reunion and the food for the reunion was taco-bar themed, there’s plenty of beans & rice left as well as tortillas and bacon-wrapped jalapenos.
We quickly fixed our plates and enjoyed supper together. Then quick showers are taken and we get schnoodled on the couch as we stream a movie to wind down.
(yaaaawwwwn) It’s time for bed. Tomorrow will be another busy day!
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