A Jigsaw Farm with a Plan

At this time of year all farmers in this hemisphere are shuffling animals into their winter pens, arranging their outside access. Dragging out the heated water bowls, stopping up drafts, creating an extra feed pile in case we get snowed in, checking the generator and finding the heating lamps.

We always prepare for the most extreme weather. Making sure the animals can get out of the ice storms, and snow storms, and freezing winds. Digging doors free that have stood open for the whole summer, oiling hinges, cleaning windows for maximum light, repairing the Poppy holes in the fences. Repairing holes in the loft floors that we might fall through when working fast in the dark. All the things we cannot do when the temperatures drop well below freezing.

I have been running this small farm for almost eight years now and so I have learned to prepare for the WORST. Think about every tiny detail. Spend time imagining what could go wrong so I do not get surprises and am ready. Then visualise my procedures. I pay great attention to the small stuff.  If I Prepare for a disaster of mammoth proportions  (like no electricity for a week which did happen once) and then I can deal with all the little problems as they come.

It is very important to have a plan, a detailed plan for every eventuality.   Plus with this many animals  in two barns I need to have my head screwed on right and my work has to be transparent with good systems so if I twist my ankle, or have to travel, anyone can take over and things continue to run smoothly.  So everything is placed and labelled. We have been lucky with the weather  so far, it is still very mild.

And today we prepare Hugo to travel tomorrow, so it will be a busy day. Parting this boy from his dirty laundry is like pulling teeth!  But last night we wrote a plan for today so we will do just fine.

Manu  was transported yesterday to the winter barn and got on and off the trailer with ease and little fuss. I had planned that move very carefully and it went without a hitch. He is going to be in his bedroom area for a few days to get his bearings before he goes out into the big inside run. He loves his deep bed and after a drink and an apple he found a soft corner and lay down with a sigh Like I do at the end of every day.

I hope you have a good day!

Love celi


61 Comments on “A Jigsaw Farm with a Plan

  1. Down here, we are preparing in a somewhat similar way for summer. The start of the Wet, the beginning of storm season, cyclone season. Checking roofs, gutters, shutters and fences. Replacing rusty roof screws with new galvanised ones. Clearing out a season’s worth of leaves and gunk in the gutters and downpipes, clearing leaves and junk out of the storm drains. Putting together the Cyclone Plan, checking we have water and emergency supplies for 3 days without power or water.
    I am fortunate, though, I am not responsible for a wonderful array of animals and their welfare. I don’t think that howling wind, lashing rain and large hail are quite as deadly as your insidious, penetrating cold, nor do they go on as long. I love hearing about all this preparation, about lists, and battening down the hatches…
    May we see another photo of Manu soon? I want to see if he still has the Eye of Horus I noticed when he first arrived as a youngster.

  2. Yes, a plan for any mishap that may happen is a brilliant idea indeed! And with that knowing there is space for peace and relaxation on the part of you, the farmer. xo

  3. Thank you for the pics. They give me some comfort. – Interesting to follow you and your business plans (it’s a very severe thing). But most of all I love how you are telling us about our friend Manu. He’s such a cutie….
    Love, Irmi

  4. Please tell Hugo I wish him a bon voyage…and my heart goes out to him as he crosses that very emotional bridge back home.
    Especially now.

    • It is emotional – we had a long long talk last night, with our feet up on the windowsill watching the tractors til the fields in the dark. I will worry about his forever now – like another son.. c

  5. I love the planning part. And if you have everything covered, voila! The solution is easy to find. This gives you comfort when things go wrong. I can picture Manu climbing into his lovely prepared nest. Lucky pig. Enjoy your day.

  6. You are an example to everyone with your Girl Guided Preparations. Here’s hoping that the worst won’t happen and winter will be kind to you.

    Bon route, Hugo, et bon retour. Vous allez nous manquer.

    love, ViV

  7. I felt a dark nostalgia reading this. I don’t miss it but it feels strange not to do it anymore. Like an unresolved anxiety. I hope your winter is calm.

  8. Arriving home, Hugo will appreciate a suitcase/backpack filled with clean laundry. Maybe his Mom too.

  9. Safe journeys Hugo. It was a pleasure to have met you and cooked with you. Remember to take your Banana Pudding recipe home with you. Adios!

  10. Bon voyage Hugo. And you do have to be so organised. Something always crops up that you just didn’t see coming, but hopefully with all the experience you have you can just leap in and deal with it (as you do)!

    • Your corn is always harvested so late in the year.. lets hope the snow clears up for you .. do you remember that year I had HAY snowed on! our aurumn has been very mild. I don’t even have a fire going.

  11. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ― Benjamin Franklin

    Wishing Hugo a safe and smooth journey home. Celi you better lock Ton ton up in the barn across the way in case he nips into Hugo’s bag!

  12. I love a plan. Like Kate but to a lesser degree we make preparations for bad weather, floods and power outages; it’s a good idea. And if it comes to it, we can relax and ride it out. But for you planning and preparation are a necessity to look after not just yourself but the Farmy Cast.
    The wise, experienced G.O. often tells his earthworks crew at work they should already know what they’re doing today, what they should be thinking about is what they’re planning to do a few days ahead. Makes sense to me, as I only have so much capacity for spontaneity!

  13. Happy landings to Hugo: methinks somehow we will meet him again. And a peaceful resettling to working by yourself after a long season . . . tho’ methinks saw The Cadet on ‘Feeding duties’ a day or two again . . . Oh, shall open my computer to that beautiful twilight shot for the foreseeable future . . . that is true ‘Eha-time’ by our definition . . .

  14. Please tell Hugo “au revoir” for me. Those 3 months sure did fly by, didn’t they?
    It will be interesting to see just how this El Niño will play out this year. In years past, it has meant a warmer, relatively drier January and February. December, though, could be snowy. Hard to plan for something that is so variable. I guess the key is to plan for the worse and hope for the best.

  15. Safe travels, Hugo.
    It is so much better to plan for the worst, far less stress when things happen and you know they will, to be prepared to deal with them. It’s the stuff that explodes out of nowhere, unforseen, unexpected, that is diffcult to handle. It helps too if those around you are cooperative. When faced with unexpected, crazy things having someone who is obstuctive is miserable.
    Don’t forget that big screen TV for Manu and the rest of the boys over at the other barn, they’ll want to keep up on the sports. Do they get a fridge full of beer?

  16. I was watching the today’s shots again, Celi. Like the colors so much. But now I am a bit confused about the header photo: That is NOT the Westbarn. And it’s NOT the barn that you used to show us regularly. Both look different, they have very different roofs. This one of today – what is it? Is it a third one? Have you got three barns? The barn picutred today has a very own roof and it is painted freshly and newly, it is not comparable to the others. – Sorry for being so curious…. – Just watching, then thinking…. 😉

      • Oh, thank you so much, I knew there was something different. Now I found the right word too, it’s another beak or gable. So the West Barn has got two different gables. Interesting. And it’s so well painted.
        So have a nice sleep tonight so that you’ll be prepared well for that – sniff – departure of Hugo. Good night to all! Hugs.

  17. Godspeed Hugo. I, too, have been prepping for winter. Today the horses’ winter water tank was scrubbed and filled and the timer set up, all I’ll need to do is plug in the heater if the cold weather they’re predicting for later this week actually shows up. I believe I have most everything covered but this mild weather makes me feel like I should be doing something outside! I have gone over and over what needs to be done and can’t think of anything I forgot. It must be just the fact it’s been so warm out. I have lists posted for all the animals as to who gets what and when and who goes where and when right down to saying Sally is the red horse and Ember the dark and Otis is the bigger goat with the beard and which dog is which. I heard on the news that there’s a good chance southern Wi. and northern Il. could get ‘measurable’ snow Friday night, ugh, even though I’m not southern Wi. I don’t want to hear that! Especially since deer season is right around the corner and I’ll be holding down the fort here.

  18. Prior planning prevents piss poor performance. I love your organizing and smart planning. Seems sad to see Hugo go- he has done so much to become part of your farmy! Have a lovely day every day!

  19. Hugo, I wish you safe travels and as happy a homecoming as is possible. Your life was changed in the time you spent on the Farmy and it changed this past weekend. Do your best to learn from those changes and use that knowledge to make the world better if you can. I hope to hear updates now and again about what you are doing, the whole Fellowship will be interested.

    Celi – you really need to read Chris Hadfield’s book “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”. What you are doing to get ready for winter is exactly what astronauts do their whole working life – think of everything that could possibly go wrong and make a plan.

    Chris S in Canada

      • And he is so funny and so smart in person. Heard him speak in September and he`s what you might call a `down-home guy. His other book You Are Here, is a series of photos of the world from the ISS. Just amazing.

        glad you enjoyed the book.

    • Celi, on Friday I went to library (it’s TWO BLOCKS AWAY…can you STAND it?) ahd picked up Plainsong which you had recommended. Much love to you and the Fellowship, Gayle

  20. Celi….how thick of bedding do you lay down for your critters in the barn?? Do you keep turning it over, or rake away the new poop and then add more straw for a dry bed continually building layers through the winter? How long do you leave the bedding before a full clean? How do you keep the ammonia smell at bay??? This is my first winter with our goats, so any help would be great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: