Farm Days from Dawn to Dusk

Did you ever see that movie Dusk ’til Dawn. Well, a day on the sustainable, self sufficient, old fashioned farm is Nothing LIKE that!!!

It starts at dawn. John leaves for work in the dark at 5am.  I talk to you guys and catch up with my messages until the sun comes up. I make bread and drink coffee. I watch the sunrise from my front porch.

After I  put the sour dough by the fire to rise for the day, I rug up and go outside.  I open the barn up, then the dogs and I go for a walk and check out the perimeter. Walking the fences.

I feed the cats, the dogs and the chickens. Then the dogs and cats and the chickens and I  feed the sheep and the cows.  I puddle about and do the mornings chores. Houdini is already out with her babies. Somebody is just not paying attention to her lessons.

Have you met  White Cat yet? He is a long haired Himalayan who thinks he is a barn cat, so he has to be  shaved two or three times a year! The mess this cat gets into is pathetic. Today he is looking quite respectable. A ridiculous cat to have in the country. Not my fault – he was here before me. White cat and The Big Dog are the original animals.

Just when you thought it was safe. Daisy is watching.

The chooks are thrilled that the corn  has been harvested. Good pickin’s for a chook out there. I never lock them up now. Not until next spring when we plant again. They take themselves in to roost at night.

This morning I am mowing and weeding the asparagus. Later in the afternoon I feed out again – hay and beet shreds with eggs and garlic. Baby Bobby and Queenie have their own wheelbarrow but Bobby likes to eat with Mama. Hairy McLairy has a thing or two to say about that but always loses.  The Bobby is growing.

Mary’s cat is wondering.. is it wine o’clock yet? He whines. No, Not yet.

I shoveled manure for the compost piles on and off today but have spared you the images. There is a lot of winterising to do.  Preparing the barn for the animals and preparing everything else for the freeze that will come. Bringing in all the big pots.   Daisy watches. And my hose has finally given up the ghost so I have started carrying buckets of water to the troughs today. It is not shopping week so we make do.

The sun goes down as I am out there finishing up. John will not be home for an hour or so yet.  So c’mon Kitty, must be time for a wee drinkie before making a lamb curry for dinner.  The bread is on its second rise. We can sit on the verandah and watch the sun go down.

After dinner I will put the sourdough loaf in the oven to cook. TonTon and I will go out with the torch and check that everyone is where they are meant to be. Then we tuck the Big Dog up in his blankets for the night. He sleeps in the barn and likes to be covered up completely, even his head, he will tuck his head under as I arrange the blankets and stays like that until I open the barn up again in the morning.

Many years ago, John found Big Dog beaten and wired by the neck to a fence, at a construction site, almost strangled. Just a pup. This must have been over ten years ago. Now he sleeps on a fleece of sheeps wool no less.  The Big Dog loathes having his photo taken. He hates the camera, and gives me the most baleful look before he turns his tail  and lopes off. He thinks dogs that sleep inside are sissys and refuses to come in except when a really nasty storm is coming, then he will condescend to go into the basement, that is how we know it is going to be bad.

And so another day .. yesterday..  gently passes.


This page is dedicated to our Mum on All Souls day.  Her name was Mary.


99 Comments on “Farm Days from Dawn to Dusk

  1. I admire this routine of yours. I have some but they are quite different and not nearly so connected to the land and the light of the sun. The photos here are great. I love Illinois farmland. The chickens pecking in the cornfield are pretty wonderful. I also like the one of Daisy backlit, though all of the shots are great. Finally, the care you show for the Big Dog is also touching.

    • Hi Neil. I love it when you come by. Daisy backlit sure shows up her ears don’t you think? She is such a nosy cow. c

      • Cecilia, I am sorry I do not come round more often, though you surely have a lot of company to keep you busy, in any case. I certainly am wowed every time I do, with beauty and humor and good thoughts.

        • You just go on and pop in whenever you feel like it Neil. I love to see you anytime and you were one of the first pages I subscribed to which makes you kind of special. I love your photographs and your inspiring words over on your pages! c

  2. What a lovely post! I enjoyed being with you yesterday! My favorite line ‘It is not a shopping week so we make do.’ We should all be like that! I, personally, hate shopping unless it’s for particular items. I am not the window-shop type! Thank you for a wonderful view of your day to day!

    • You are so welcome Phyllis. Even though my little car runs on cooking oil I still try not to use it unless I have to. c

    • JOhn thinks that Big Dog (who was smaller then) was a fight dog that would not fight. They do some pretty mean things to their discarded dogs. John just popped him in his truck and took him home, this was years before i came and John was living alone out here on the farm so you can imagine what buddies those two are. c

    • You are right about that cat Miss T, he looks like his face got squished up against a window whilst in a rotton mood! and then the wind changed. John bought the cat for his daughter and then she left home and he was left with this incongruous cat!! c

  3. What a fantastic post – something so worth reading.We have friends with a Staffordshire Bull terrier that was a rescue dog, and she has to sleep under a blanket, completely covered, as well.
    I admire you two. As I speak the tractors are going past my window collecting slurry to spread on the fields. It’s uncommonly warm, so they’re working all hours to take advantage of it. Thanks for the post.

    • Thank you Roger. And how interesting that the Bull Terrier likes to be rugged up as well, they must feel safe like that. We are having a warm spell too, but I think this is due to come to an end very soon.. c

  4. What a lovely life you have on the farm. I’ve always wanted to live on one. I totally understand ‘it’s not shopping week’ cos we have shopping month as we have to drive 1 hour to the main supermarket. I also totally get the ‘wine o’clock’!! E

  5. Where do you find the energy for all that AND blogging? I couldn’t have done all that even in my prime. I do love that Daisy, and the chooks. Clever lassies to go in by themselves – when we had chooks they would be in the paddock all day and at dusk would go and hide in the bushes and have to be manhandled in to keep them safe from foxes. Thank you for that illuminating view of your day.

    • Well then I am lucky with my lot, they all head for the rafters at dusk then sit up there all night quietly pooping on all below..Lucky we do not have foxes, they are cheekier that coyotes! c

  6. I am so glad that Your John found Big Dog. I believe there’s a special place in hell for those who abuse children & animals. That beautiful picture of the sunrise could have been taken anywhere in the Prairies, from Saskatchewan down to Texas. It’s incredible just how flat that immense stretch of land is. Thanks, Celi, for shedding some light on farm life. I’m 100% city folk and, except for what I learned on Green Acres, I’ve no idea of what it takes to run a farm.

    • Farm life is just common sense and some hard work. We are learning stuff every day. And the flatness certainly is awesome isn’t it. When the wind howls it HOWLS! c

  7. I really enjoyed this post, Cecilia. It was a great way to start MY day, which is much shorter than yours, I think. That white cat certainly looks like a displaced City Cat.

  8. I do love getting the tours and a window into your life. Almost makes me want to run off and start a farm with Greg. Such wonderful pictures and stories. I’m glad your husband rescued that poor puppy.

  9. Very, very sweet post.
    You are right, it is a good life.

    When the flood hit PA, someone threw a dog into the river with a cinder block tied around its neck. We hope it was an accident, maybe the dog was tethered to a block or something like that.Otherwise, there is a very disturbed person living here.

    • Oh no how awful. Who would do that. You just never know who you are passing and smiling to on the street. Though we will still smile. c

  10. What a lovely day, Cecilia…well, minus scooping up the manure ;). Crazy how you have time for all of that work AND blogging. Very impressive! Your animals are adorable. I particularly love Daisy!

  11. Daisy is a gorgeous creature, thank you for the wonderful pictures Cecilia!

  12. What a lovely story, c, it reminded me of a children’s book… you should write one of those as well while you’re at it.. the kids would adore it. Your dog… broke my heart and I’m so glad he found you to love:)

    • Big Dog has a dogs life out here, nothing but lolling about and lazily chasing a rabbit every now and then! What a great idea a childrens book would be.. about a little farm, will you paint the cover for me?.. c

  13. Once more you astound me with your poetic eye for finding the beauty in every day’s doings, creatures and loves. As much as I know a mere 24 hours of farming would utterly do in a weenie like me, you make me think I’d adore farm life! Dangerous woman, you. And you’re certainly well stocked (pun intended) with fabulous animal companions, from the chooks on up the ladder. With the marvelous Big Dog and TonTon keeping order and Daisy keeping a curious eye on all, it’s no wonder everybody keeps focused on his, her or its role in the day! Love it. You are simply marvelous, my dear.

    • It is the small things that i cannot get enough of, i could fill pages with them.. you would adore farm life! It is actually a pretty cool time.. And thankfully the day i chose for a dawn to dusk was uneventful… c

  14. Lovely that you dedicated it to your mum. And you make me smile – your words give a picture of a happy, idyllic day swanning around with rosy cheeks and smelling of apple blosom (well, you know what I mean!). The reality is long, hard working and exhausting days – and you still find time to write so beautifully and share all these wonderful things with us. PS. One of my dogs is totally camera shy too – she runs when she sees the camera. Very strange!

    • Thank you Tanya, Mum would have loved it that I finally found where I was supposed to BE. It is busy and I am always behind but the peace out here is lovely. I wonder why some dogs hate cameras- very strange indeed.. c

    • Oh Ms Misk, I love writing them and I LOVE the chats afterward. this is agreat way to get to know similiar minded people! mercy I cannot spell now, is it wine o’clock yet? c

    • Would you darlin?. Well i will book you in.. the best time is mid winter then it is frozen solid and we just toss them like bricks out the door!! brilliant c

  15. Hello Mother – Amazing photos as always, loving the 50mm. Hey I’m growing a MOstache for the month of MOvember to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer if you want to donate a couple dollars, here’s the link –

    Looking forward to tomorrows post!

    Senior Son

    • Hello darling, Excellent that you have popped in to visit and with such a worthwhile cause though I have to say: a MOUSTACHE!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!! But if you are game I am and I shall go and investigate the site! Great to get out there and get involved though darling..At least you have not shaved your head.. That would have been too much for your old Ma.. very cool… Thank you darling, hey pop in again and let us know how it is going. c

  16. It sounds like a busy day but a very rewarding one. I think my hubby is turning our small section in Muriwai into a lifestyle block (well small square). We have cats, pond with fish, dovecote and the patch for the cooks is being prepared and beehive is not too far away. God help our neighbours, we will have to keep them sweet with honey and eggs!

    • It does not have to be big to be productive though, Miss Pudding, you must be having a great time. A dovecote sounds marvellous. Peacocks are next on my list to acquire! I desperately want a peacock! And bees are fantastic to have. Get italians if you can- they are SO gentle and they do well in NZ.. c

  17. Thanks for sharing your day. It sounds so much like ours are/have been. We don’t have the variety or quantity of critters you do, but the chores sound real similar. I’m up at 5 and usually the work ends about 9-9:30 at night. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for living in town. 🙂

    PS- Have you ever seen a video series about Wingfield Farm? It’s a Canadian show, and from your lifestyle and humor, I think you would really enjoy them. Google ‘Walt Wingfield’ for more.

    • Thank you ted, i will do that, maybe I can get them on Netflix. I love the dawn don’t you? Best time of the day.. c

    • I am sure we never get intruders because that cat is sat on the mat! And yes celia, I am alone for hours and hours each day but it does not feel alone. Although when I get a visitor or someone calls I talk their ear right OFF! c

    • You love daisy don’t you! Just wait until Queenie Wineti grows out of her grubby stage she will steal you too! c

  18. I loved learning a bit more about life on your farm. I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a farm and live a more sustainable and self-sufficient life, and I bow to you guys for doing it and living it…right down to the fuel in your car! I know it’s hard work and long days, and the payoff must be tenfold. I, too, do not know how you find the time to do all you’re doing, but I’m glad your blogging about it! I raise a toast to you at wine o’clock!

    • Yes WINE O’CLOCK looks to be about NOW, i am a bit behind on my barn chores so i pour a wee drop into a mason jar with a lid and just sit it on a fence post for a sip as i go past!! We are very lucky to be ABLE to live like this. having a wee bit of land is such magic.. c

  19. I started reading this and viewing the photos and thinking, “I love that photo.” And then I got to the next one and I thought, “No, I love that one even more.” They are all beautiful. The lighting. The composition. The moments you captured. The personalities of your animals.

    And your storytelling, dear, is beyond excellent. I felt as if I was right there, helping you with everything except scooping that manure.

    Well done and a super, excellent all-around fantastic post!

  20. “I feed the cats, the dogs and the chickens. Then the dogs and cats and the chickens….” This made me smile dear Cecilia, I can imagine how the view is. You are amazing. How much I love your expressions… your narrator part… You know, I am sure, which one is my best 🙂 …. nobody think that it was cats!!!! NO, this is unbelievable BUT I love your daisy! Yes. In all my life this is the first time! You are so adorable woman dear Cecilia… Day is really so long with all these things… And I loved your farm days from dawn to dusk… Blessing and Happiness this great family in the farm, Thank you, with my love, nia (dear cat Mary, I love you too, don’t be sad but Daisy,she is extraorinary one)

    • Daisy was definitely showing her best side yesterday wasn’t she?!.. and it is like that .. the cats and the dogs and the chickens follow me around all day long.. ! i am never really alone.. c

      • Oh, once again I smile now, but this time to my understanding… You feed them all but then you feed them all again because they eat too much… It was a lovely image in my mind and made me smile… and now, I can see what you mean… and yes, I smile myself now. Thank you dearest, I want to fly there… be sure, I can feed them, 🙂

        • You are so funny darling, i feed the cats and dogs and chickens then they follow me over to feed the cows and sheep, so we are like a parade, all walking over to the barn in a long line.. now you really will be laughing!! I shall go back and check that sentence to see how i confused you!! love c

  21. I’ll bet your mum would have loved to see what you get up to on your days C. Lovely post.
    Love the image of Big Dog all tucked up for the night, even with his head in. Smart dog, who knows what sort of monsters may be lurking if he puts a paw out.

  22. Mum would have thoroughly approved of my new lifestyle Hippy just as surely as she would have thoroughly disapproved of my old gadabout llfestyle that ended five years ago when i moved here. that is such a sweet thought of Big Dog not putting his paw out. I swear that dog thanks me when i tuck him in. c

  23. Love reading about your day. I think it ends and starts with the true essentials, something that really brings you back to the important things in life.

    and oh, I love White Cat!

  24. Love it. LOVE the dog photo – oh my goodness, the look on the face of the one on the right! Your photography is stunning. Your writing is nourishing. Thank you for sharing your everyday life with us, your readers!

  25. Hi Cecilia. Thank you for the tour around your day. Really enjoyed reading your post. Beautiful photos.
    Regards Florence x

  26. A wonderful day in the life of Celi. I loved it…thanks for sharing your day with us and the beautiful photos to go along with it. I don’t think you will hear any of us complaining about not having enough time in a day after what you accomplish each and every day.

  27. I get the sense that your mother was a beautiful woman! And thank you for sharing your day with us readers.

  28. Beautiful day, I can almost smell your bread baking…How was the wedding? I think I may have missed a post or two…Is Miss Daisy camera shy as well?

    Be well,

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