It's always kind of amusing to have conversations with customers right before we close- incredibly, many think that I just have loads of free time, or plan on a southern vacation once the stand closes. The truth is, when you run a farm, there is never really a day off, and when your farm has 14 separate species of livestock and poultry, it's pretty hard to get away. My days revolve around chore time, making sure the critters have food and water, and with winter weather. We begin putting the horses in the barn in the evenings and turning them out in the mornings, so this means more time spent cleaning stalls. The pasture becomes snow covered, so we feed hay to get through the winter, another chore that appears seasonally that we don't do all summer. It's also a time to get some repairs done and to indulge in indoor projects.
Besides weather-permitting construction projects, there is still plenty to do. One of the ways we make up for the lack of farm stand income is via internet sales, so I put more time into the Etsy store, and I also sell other things, especially name-brand clothes I find at secondhand stores, on eBay. So listing & shipping take up a good bit of winter time. Dan is able to devote more time to his blacksmithing. Right now he's got a pretty full plate working on Christmas gifts ordered through our Etsy store. My favorite part is when he has time to try new things, it's always incredible to me to see what he creates out of a piece of raw metal. I have more time too, and I have two rooms in the house basically devoted to crafting. This time last year I painted the smallest room upstairs, turning it into a sewing room, which was its purpose many years ago as well. So I can sew there, and another room has my stained glass supplies, my paints & easel, and basically anything crafty. I've also gotten into making organic body care products like the chapstick I had for sale at the farm this year, so over the winter I plan on playing around with some new things for myself, possibly to gift to special ladies in my life, and hopefully come up with some winners to have at the farm stand as well! So I spend wintry days creating a multitude of things. Or reading- I have always loved books, and we have an entire room devoted to them as we turned a bedroom into a library, and have more bookshelves around the house. I love books and some days it is nice to snuggle up on the couch with one or more! I enjoy cooking and baking more now, too. Since I'm not spending hours each day canning I find myself more energized to try new recipes and more complex dishes. The seed catalogs have already started arriving in the mail, and soon I'll be inventorying the seeds I have on hand from last year and from what I saved this year, but I usually wait until January for that. It's nice to have some down time from the garden. As much as I love it, it is a nearly year-round process, from ordering seeds in winter, starting the early tomatoes and peppers in February, and planting, transplanting, weeding and harvesting well into the fall. So it's nice to just let the snow blanket the garden and take a holiday breather before jumping back into that. So today as the snow falls gently over the farm, I'm bringing in wood, stoking our woodstove, doing a little housework, and making time for crafts and maybe putting up a few Christmas decorations. Although a farm is always busy, the routines are a little less frantic now, and it's a treat to do just...whatever I like!