Yesterday John had the day off so he finished and brought home my Winter present. He does not do Christmas and Birthday presents he makes winter presents. Last year it was a chicken tractor. This year it is a free standing home made hay feeder. I took a photo of a NZ one when I was travelling and he set to and made me one of my own.  Isn’t that wonderful. snow-day-024

The idea is that the cow puts her head through the uprights to get the hay and remains in there to chew it so all the falling and trailing hay goes back in the pile.  There is limited sideways jostling so the cows get to eat in peace. It works remarkably well.  Now when Aunty Del comes back she will not be bullied out of her dinner. Elsie is king of the castle at meal times!

The car feeder is now for minerals and grain. chick

It is getting a wee bit colder so the chicks got their heating mother table back. They say it does not work in low temperatures but it is ambient heat so if a chicks back is against it the warmth will be there. It does not heat a space it heats the chick.  I actually don’t think they need it  but you know how I am. And as I will be away Friday and Saturday nights when it is getting even colder I am setting everyone back up for cold. It feels like a step backwards. but I need everything to be in order while I am away.  Once the cogs are all balanced the farm runs along in a gentle productive state.

This was the thought I had lost the other day. Balance.  Thank you to MeadowMice for using this word in her comment yesterday and jogging my memory. When I put on my clown suit otherwise known as bib overalls in some places- (I am still wearing the insulated ones – it snowed yesterday and the temperatures are plummeting but we will not DWELL) – anyway when I put on my clownsuit over my inside clothes I stand and push my feet into the overalls one leg at a time. I place one foot through settle that foot onto the floor, sliding the trouser slightly up my leg, shake out the other trouser and then lift the remaining foot, pause, steady my balance, pause, then slide the second foot into the other trouser leg, stand with two feet on the floor and pull the overalls all the way up my body.

Now you may think that this is such a simple thing. I mean we all put our trousers on one leg at a time: you do this too right? We all stand, step into the one leg, stretch that leg, place the foot down  then put the other leg in, all the while balancing on the first foot then through the second foot goes, foot down, two feet down and there we are  – safely dressed.

But it is that PAUSE I keep looking at. When one leg is partially clothed and one foot is on the ground and as we lift the second leg, our foot leaving the floor we pause for a tiny second, collecting and stilling our balance so that the next step goes smoothly. It is a moment of pause when we re-balance ourselves in preparation for the next movement. That is what I am looking thinking about.

This pause I call the Pants Pause. This is one of the most important pauses. This is when we make sure we are balanced, in order and ready for the next step. Our mind checking for this balance before proceeding. If we do not do the Pants Pause we fall over. Simple really.

I think we need to instill the Pants Pause in our daily lives. As a conscious thing.  Moments of clear thought before we take on the next task. Checking. Nodding. Proceeding.

I have a bad habit of rushing through my day (and my planning) without pausing to think, balanced on one leg.  I am hopping here and there. not finishing things, doing three things at the same time, thinking of the next three things as I go. Not watching. Not collating. No Pants Pause. No balance.

That was my thought. Balance. I am going to change the habit of rushing and instill moments of perfect balance.

If we achieve balance in our lives we have to be stronger. The balance between stress and down time. Working and resting. Communicating and Thinking. Building our team and feeding the team. Planning and Planting.

Balance. That was my thought.

The milking machine is ready to go. The pump has been cleaned and oiled and  primed  or whatever it is you do with pumps (without John on my team I could not do this stuff at all – I am deeply mechanically challenged) – the parts arrived and the entire Works has been assembled.  We are ready. No births are imminent thankfully so my weekend away should be ok. snow-day-019

I am dying to begin milking. I love that time. And I love cream! Oh how I miss cream!

Below is an odd little picture I took for Jake with my cell phone. (Good Lord I have gone from Low tech to Mid tech – I can take a photo and send it.. the mind boggles)

One of the pullets has begun to lay. We both started our Rhode Island Red flocks at the same time and his have been laying for weeks. Mine are only just catching up. He has lights though.   But once all my Rhode Islands, and the pretty baby flock I brought in from the barn, start to lay (combined with my old girls who never stopped), we will be racing ahead!

I hope you all have a lovely day.

Is it time to get nervous about Portland?

Your friend on the farm






64 Comments on “Balance

  1. Balance – that is something I think we are not so good at in our lives. Although I think as we get older (and a little slower) we do, from necessity, have to pause, even if it is to ask “what did I come up here for?” LOL Also having routines help us glide through things. Animals help us with this, at least mine do, With their own internal clocks, they let me know when it is time to stop what I am doing to feed them. Also what time is bed time. Especially Sam, at 9pm on the dot he trundles off to his comfy bed in the bedroom. If I don’t follow within minutes he comes looking for me! So balance and routine are what keeps me sane – without them I would get nothing completed!
    Not time to get nervous yet, put that on the back burner for a couple more days my friend. And anyway you have nothing to be nervous about – you just have to be ‘you’ and it will all turn out great!

  2. Right at the beginning of my working days I was feeling a bit intimidated (doesn’t happen often) and a kind elderly colleague advised me to take a deep breath and remember the other person concerned could only put their pants on one leg at a time, like me. I have always remembered this and now I will add the pants pause. 🙂 Why be nervous, you are going to rock Portland. Laura

  3. That is an awesome present! So personal and made exactly how you would like it. Such thoughtfulness is what makes the best presents, showing people listen and care. 🙂

  4. Don’t get nervous about Portland: you have a genius for communication, and all will go splendidly.

    Balance: I recently completed a course called Falls: Ageing Well. It was all about balance and preparation – common sense really, but worth studying. If you think your clown-suit-donning-routine is a little weird, you should see me putting on my compression socks! And yes, the PAUSE is essential.

    Your John is a treasure to be cherished: that hay feeder will be worth its weight in gold.

    ViV xox

  5. unless the nights are above 50, i always leave heat on my chicks untill they have real feathers on their heads, or they start to sleep on perches away from heat sourse

  6. You have a good, good man Celi 🙂 Don’t be nervous about your trip – you’ll rock it!!
    My #onelittleword for the year is Balance! It’s a favourite and totally neccessary in every aspect of life, I think 🙂

  7. I saw that it had snowed down by Chgo John yesterday and I was floored; it was -18C (-0.4F) with the windchill here yesterday, too cold for snow, brutal enough. I’ve had it with the cold so I can’t imagine how restless you must feel.
    I must have missed the bit about Portland, I’m so excited for you, you’ll do great, I’m sure of it.

  8. The new feeder is wonderful!! Though, I must admit, the car boot hay feeder was hilarious. And it had a lid!

  9. Celi, you are stressing altogether too much about Portland. Those people are going to be there because they want to hear what you have to say, you have nothing to prove. You are an extremely talented communicator, photographer and farming visionary. You’ll blow their socks off, woman! If anyone gives you a hard time, visualise Tima chasing them around the paddock with no clothes on – in the cold. I have a Pause every day at 6am, when the Husband puts a freshly brewed cup of coffee and my pain killers on my bedside table… It makes for excellent planning time!

    • oo.. stressing is a strong word, Kate. When I worked on the stage I welcomed the nerves, they are very quickly channeled into adrenaline. And adrenaline is very useful. I am very focused – not to worry.. c

  10. Oh dear Celi. You fill my heart up and make me laugh with your phrases and exceptional way of seeing life and things. The Pants Pause. That is a good one. I have noticed that, with a bit of age on me, I use pauses instinctively more than I used to. To change pace. Before shifting up or down. To breath. Take stock. Think carefully about the next course of action how little or small it may be. And it helps me a lot! I feel like I can confront complicated days that before would have just made me feel stressed. I keep a plan running in my head, but don’t rehash it constantly…if I do that, I forget to do well what I’m doing “right now”…but I revisit it occasionally, see where I am and how things are going, and give myself Pants Pauses to think about the next move. It’s working pretty well. Excuse me for blabbering…but I love this post of yours. Inspires me to give it all further thought.

  11. Reading this blog and the others in my list is my pause before the pause and I couldn’t begin my day any other way. If somehow I miss this time that entire notion of balance is out of whack. Balance can also simply be routine I believe…finding a pattern that works without too much alteration can bring that ‘okay life is fine’ pause and moment of realization…although sometimes that routine needs a bit of stirring up just to break any monotony that has crept in…
    I chuckled at the picture of the milking machine in the house-visions of Elsie and Lady walking slowly through the screened doors for their milking, standing quietly while they glanced around taking in the sights, possibly musing over afternoon tea and scones and sandwiches at the table nearby…a ladies afternoon if you will 🙂

  12. Balance, what a wonderful word of the day. Pause is also a good word today. I am taking a balanced pause to review my surroundings and my inner being. I wish I could have a day of meditation to go with it. Maybe this Saturday I will take a hour for this. Thank you all for your love and support in yesterday’s comments. What a lovely group and fellowship we have.

    • Im so sorry for your loss of Grace. Sometimes I don’t go back in the late afternoon to read the comments after me. You did your best to care for her, and that is all anyone can do. I’m sure your heart is awfully heavy, all the same. This truly is a vale of tears.

  13. Oh this couldn’t have come at a better time! I need an emotional pause, an emotional rebalance. I take my pup, my 17 yo pup, for cataract surgery tomorrow. Of course, as things go, he whacked his head (he can’t see!) over the weekend and broke a tooth that also needs attention now. The tooth can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for 3 months for this cataract surgery. Will she do both at the same time? Will she send us home to have the tooth done first and I’ll have to wait even longer for the cataract surgery? Anxiety (and excitement!) has hit a point of overwhelmed. What I need is a pause, just a brief moment of emotional quiet to help me rebalance. Whatever happens, I can manage it. So I will join you in a Pants Pause.

    • Hugs and prayers! I’ll be thinking about you and your pup today.

  14. I have done a few public speaking “gigs.” Nervous feels a lot like excitement. It is only a time for excitement, Miss C. as you will do great!!
    I love that feeder. Love it. We are going to have to buy a large hay feeder. We have stalled for $$, but we are wasting $$ with hay loss.
    Pause and balance – right on!

  15. Remember Balance..Portland will be a breeze….if you feel at all nervous just visualize your audience naked! I have heard it works wonders

  16. Love this! 🙂 Pants Pause. I work at balancing my days and myself constantly; to have a word, phrase to remind me is grand. Thank you . . . and what a very good winter gift.

  17. It’s good for you to think of balance but we are what we are and you, Cecilia, have your way of doing things. You might do a pants pause for a while but I reckon that you’ll revert to default mode. It’s in the genes!

  18. Pants Pause—brilliant! I have such trouble focusing on one task unless it is an outdoor task. Indoors, I scramble from one task to the next without finishing the first.

  19. Oh yes … THE pause. My analogy for this is remembering the tai chi classes I took. The slow and deliberate movement from one ‘dance’ move to the next. For a while I was able to remember the whole sequence and used to do it in the back paddock while our jeep warmed up. Then I was also doing it in my head … But now, alas, I don’t remember the moves but I DO remember the deliberate pauses. Thanks for the mention today! Stay warm! And don’t worry about Portland. You are a natural. Those people are going to SO enjoy meeting you. AND you’ll add even more great people to the Fellowship!

  20. I’m starting to embrace uni-tasking to help establish more balance. Really being present for one thing at a time–even if it’s an interruption of something else. Makes for less splintered days and minds. I love the pants pause reminder. So important. Have a wonderful time in Portland sharing your wisdom and humor!

  21. A new book on habits has just come out called BETTER THAN BEFORE by Gretchen Rubin. Very insightful. She says good habits save so much time wasted making decisions. To change or instill habits we first have to know what our true nature is.
    The cow feeder is so clever and creative. And the Portland people will be enthralled.

  22. Okay, that milk machine looks like it should be in a cock it of a plane or something lol. I mean wow. I always learn something new when I come here Cecilia :). And I get to see what’s going on with the farm.

  23. I may pass along the photo of your feeder to my Husband, to be put in the covered bridge feed cover. It will be perfect, they do make such a mess. I too am waiting for spring… Enjoy your day C.

  24. Have fun in Portland! If you have time in your itinerary to go to Powell’s, you won’t regret it.
    And yes, balance. I find that rushing from thing to thing and next to next removes all opportunity for celebration and satisfaction. I’ve taken it upon myself to start recognizing and acknowledging the “little wins” each day, and to have my team at work share theirs with me as well. What is the point of the next-next-next if we never pause to appreciate the done-done-done?

  25. You pause more than you realize in order to take your photos. I keep the best, non fulfilled, intentions to pop my little camera in my pocket whenever I go out to feed equines, chickens, walk dogs,tend to gardening, etc., but it often gets either left behind or forgotten in my pocket while I rush about to get all things done in time. I think the camera is a great way to add pause, and I’ll keep working on it!

  26. I read this earlier but was called away before I had the chance to comment. What was it I had to say… Yes. I had a picture of you in the Barn, trying to balance on one leg and keeping the other out of the way of all the tenents. I was picturing all the animals looking quizically and chorusing: “Mama Celi has lost it!” 😆

    Portland will be a blast, bloggers are fun people to be with. A demonstration of donning the Clown suit would have them rolling in the aisles!

    I have another way to try donning those trousers.

    Sit down,
    Put one hand through the leg from the bottom up to the waist ( one leg scrunched up on your arm) slip your foot in and use your hand to hold the end of the house trouser leg and pull with the other hand the trouser up to above the knee and let the foot wiggle out at the other end while still keeping hold of the trouser leg! Repeat for other leg. That sounds clumsy, but it isn’t and I do it all the time in winter.

  27. No need to be nervous about Portland because a) Portland will love you and b) you will be fabulous because you ARE fabulous.

  28. I must remember to do the pause thing… I’m ok when I’m in motion and everything is running smoothly but if there’s a glitch, I’m thrown off kilter… that’s when I need to breathe – pause – reassess – re-gather. Handy hubbies are worth their weight in gold! Be excited about Portland 🙂

  29. Love the hay feeder. I’m glad Auntie Del won’t have anyone pushing her around. Enjoy your trip to Portland!

  30. ‘Pants Pause’: brilliant – now I know how to call my own regular lack of balance 🙂 ! And ain’t it true!!!! I absolutely love the feeder Big John made for you – I remember the ultra feminist sayings way back that women only seemed to get vacuum cleaners, irons and mixmasters for their birthdays: supposedly terribly ‘chauvinist’ – well, what if a woman was dying to have one . . . like a feeder: how would it work!! Terrific present methinks!! Portland . . . am following the WordPress emails daily . . . OMG, wish there was streaming . . . I ‘d put all else aside to see you on Saturday afternoon and evening!!!

  31. As you get older, that balance is harder to keep. Used to be able to jump into pants in a flash & now my other half laughs as I jump around on 1 foot trying to keep upright! However, the shoe (or pant leg) was on the other foot when I caught her doing the same thing.

  32. Hi Cecilia – Looks like the Kiwi ingenuity is passing onto John. And I like the idea of a winter present. We have decided that it is crazy to give each other, or our grown up children, Christmas presents and so we make a donation on their behalf to a charity helping the less fortunate. My son got a Goat in Afghanistan this year. And Pants Pause – we have been having hilarity here recently. The Architect had a hip replacement a couple of weeks ago and so now I have to help him into his undies and his pants. Should take some photos to share with his small and my very big grandchildren?

  33. I’m afraid I have that questionable habit of rushing hither and yon and always thinking ‘what’s next, what’s next’ and never allowing myself the satisfaction of ‘there, that’s done.’ I am trying to make my plan, do one thing at a time and pay attention to what I’m doing but it’s hard. I think it comes from having to be the ‘weekend warrior’ for so many years, working full time and trying to take care of the “home stuff” at night and on weekends. I need to remind myself that I actually have the luxury of time now.
    Your John is a treasure, what greater gift can someone give you than their time spent doing or making something you want. Anybody can pick up a bouqet at the florist or prettys at the jeweler but to actually take the time and make the effort is wonderful. My John will do the same and I am so very grateful for him, even though he can aggravate me to no end sometimes!

  34. This was a good post for me to think about… just how to put “balance” in my day? This time of year gets crazy busy for me… and now I add baby squirrels to the mix. Can you believe I mowed today? Yes, we are mowing already in the South!

    Your hay feeder is grand. I love gadgets that make life easier! 🙂

  35. We definitely have the pants pause in common….at this critical moment I study the hard, wood, pointed corner of my chest of draws thinking of the result of my head hitting it hare….this seems to ensure I stay balanced. The day this goes wrong will be a bad one! Can’t believe that weather…young Molly, our cat, is still having a “hottie” in his bed in the outhouse even though the weather is comparatively mild..I don’t think he’d do well if his little house was on the prairies:)

  36. Pingback: Easterly | thekitchensgarden

  37. Interesting, I always sat down, shook out the pants and slid both legs in at the same time. No reason to hop about, try to stay on one foot (pretty much impossible here with the dogs around my feet), getting the boots on too is done seated, then when I stand up we all three are out the door and down the stairs. Balance is important though and pausing. I never was very good at the so much touted “multitasking” always did one thing at a time, tried to do it well then moved on to the next. Got told that I should do many things at once and it took so long nothing at all got done. I always finished everything that was necessary each day and usually had time to either start the work for the next day or leave early. Have a wonderful time in Portland. Maybe someone should start producing those hay feeders and selling them – I’d think they’d be very popular on small farms and homesteads.

  38. What a lovely post – really made me pasue and think about getting some much needed balance back into my life. Love your winter gift – what a great idea!

  39. OK, now I see. I’m reading your posts backwards today. Ha Pants Pause…I like that. I need that in my life too. My husband met a doctor at work this week that had such a presence about her. Completely peaceful, calm, and she’s brilliant. MIT, medical school, yada yada. She said she doesn’t think about anything that doesn’t concern her. If she absolutely has to, she thinks about it, acts on it, and then as soon as possible, purges it all from her mind…leaving her mind open and calm for the things she has to deal with on a daily basis. Oh to be like her! I told Tony to ask her if she’d come to our house to give us personal lessons on how exactly to accomplish that kind of peace. HA!

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