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An Ordinary Day

Oct
22

A reader asked recently if I would share what an ordinary day is like for me. Of course, as she noted, no two days are ever alike for most of us (especially if you have kids!), but here’s a day:

Tuesday

It starts at 6 a.m. I feed the cats because CATS DON’T WAIT. I have to make sure Weston and Morgan are up and ready to roll at 6:30. Weston has something for me to sign at the last minute (progress report). We get in the car and head down the driveway and through three creeks and over the hill on the rough gravel road. Two and a quarter miles. In the dark.
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There are no streetlights out here. On the way, we go over schedules for the football practice and volleyball game later in the day so we all know what we’re doing. (Meaning, so I know what I’m doing.) We hit the hard (paved) road and go about another half mile. I drop them off at the old farmhouse where they will catch the bus to school. I head home again. It’s about three miles to the old farmhouse and three miles back, but the trip takes 45 minutes. It’s just beginning to get light.
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My staff is waiting for me in my office.
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I feed the dogs and get the chickens and ducks up as the day breaks.
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I visit everybody. Hello, Poky.
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Hello, Clover.
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Hello, Nutmeg.
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Hello, Fanta.
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Hello, Sprite.
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Hello, YOU.
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There are still pumpkins and pears to be processed.
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But I have other work to do first. I pick up and clean up and do dishes then I think about dinner. I’ll be away from home at dinnertime, as I often am because of sports, so I usually try to plan something ahead of time. I get out the crock pot and stick a pork butt in there with some barbeque sauce, honey, minced onions, and brown sugar.
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I start bread for homemade buns. Dinner will be pulled pork sandwiches.
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I chase a chicken off the porch.
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Oh, see these two light fixtures?
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Ross will be in the Navy soon, but right now he’s still working construction. He salvaged these light fixtures that were going into the trash at the job site. Now I don’t have to have a bare bulb by my front and back doors. He can even wire them up for me. That’s my boy. (He was so proud when he brought them home to me! I’ll clean them up and they’ll be great. And FREE.)

My staff is still waiting for me in my office. Buttercup climbs on top of me to lay claim.
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Little waits for his chance to sit on my lap and create computer emergencies by stepping on my mousepad with his paw.
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He’s too scared of Buttercup to come any closer…..until Buttercup gets in a snit and prowls away. Then Little gets on my lap.
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I write and work on photos and check email. When the weather’s warm, I often take my laptop outside and work on the porch where I can be with the hills and the trees and the animals.
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By the way, the secret to the most wonderfully soft homemade sandwich buns? Lard. I use egg and oil in my Grandmother Bread when I make sandwich buns. One-third cup oil and one egg per one-loaf batch. I’m making a two-loaf batch of dough for a lot of buns. Instead of using two-thirds cup oil, I use two-thirds cup melted lard. Hadn’t tried that before. It’s perfect.
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Just have to share that. (Go make some buns!)

The Navy recruiter comes to visit.
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Really. All the way out here to our farm. He goes over various expectations and responsibilities, with Ross and with me, for the delayed enlistment period while Ross is awaiting his boot camp ship date. He pets Little, who has climbed onto his lap, while he talks to us. I ask him if I can take his picture, and Ross explains patiently, “She has a blog.”
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Ross signs a piece of paper agreeing that the recruiter has made this “indoctrination” visit.
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Then the Navy recruiter heads back to civilization and I go back to work.

My assistant returns. He can hardly keep his eyes open. I’m not sure how much good he’ll be.
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How much time I spend each day writing my posts and preparing the photos ranges from a couple of hours to several hours, depending on the type of post and what else I’m doing outside the writing/photo editing that is associated with the post (crafting, baking, and other various adventuring). I sometimes take hundreds of photos (especially if it’s a post about the animals) for one post, so sifting through and selecting just the right photos is time-consuming. This is a long post with a lot of pictures, so it took more time to prepare than most. I’m keeping a journal of Tuesday, preparing the post on Wednesday, which means it will be ready to appear on Thursday.

I also write other things (such as my newspaper column) and work on all sorts of projects. I do a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff on my website, and also read emails and answer questions. Between the time I drop the kids off at the bus and the time I start heading out for pick-ups, I squeeze in as much work as I can. I love what I do.

It’s the most ordinary of days, this Tuesday. No big adventures. No goat-chasing or outhouse-snooping or duck-rescuing. Just quiet writing time and working in the kitchen and chasing chickens off the porch.

There’s enough time after I’ve finished most of my work to play with one of the pumpkins.
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I cut it up and bake it and puree it then go back to my laptop to work a little bit more and I watch Judge Judy. I LOVE HER.

I check on the animals throughout the day. Sprite and Fanta take a nap.
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Spice-the-door-opening-cat gazes longingly at the bird feeders.
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Hey, Annabelle.
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Hey, Jack.
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Hey, Mr. Cotswold.
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Hey, JESTER. (She’s the Mean Rooster of the meadow bottom.)
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It’s time to head out again. During most of the school year, weeknights are about sports. Most evenings, I spend a couple of hours running from one school to the next between two different towns making practice pick-ups or sitting at a game or working a concession stand. (Probably one of the biggest misconceptions about me is that I’m home all the time. I have two athletes. I’m not home all the time. When you include the morning bus run, I spend an average of three hours a day driving around. I may not live in suburbia, but I am a typical mom.) This day, Weston needs picked up from football practice. But my cousin’s wife, Sheryl, saves the day and offers to pick him up for me so I can head straight for our little town to be on time for Morgan’s volleyball game. (Weston and Morgan almost always need me to be in two different places at the same time, so I’m almost always late for someone.) They’re having a presentation for the 8th grade girls on the team. I’m very excited. I don’t get help very often for pick-ups. Today is a banner day!

The road is beautiful with the afternoon sun lighting the color in the woods.
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I am so blessed to live in this place.

Sheryl and Weston meet me at the game. Weston, not so patient as his older brother, tells me if I take his picture, he’s going to join the Army.
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He’s trying to give me a heart attack.

Number 14 plays her last volleyball game of the regular season. But basketball is right around the corner….
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We go home over the hill and through three creeks on the rough gravel road. It’s night on the farm.
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It’s time for all good little chickens and ducks to go to bed.
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Dinner’s in the crock pot. Children are hungry. I double-check that my blog is set and ready to post automatically in the wee hours of the morning, while I am still asleep, so that those of you who get up earlier than me will find it waiting for you.

I take Kitten and Little and go to bed. I have to be up at six….

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 22, 2009  

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  1. 10-22
    2:51
    am

    I am one of those who is up early (4 a.m.) a read a couple of blogs while having my coffed to start my day. I Love your blog. I am so happy for you and your blessed life. A beautiful Family with a Beautiful Home in the Country and Wonderful Farm Animals. I voted again and wish you the best. I have always had a problem with how to keep up with post on my blog. Always feel rushed to update with a post. Never thought of preparing a day ahead. Thanks for inspiration and starting my day off with a Good Mood Vibe….smile…..

  2. 10-22
    3:35
    am

    Loved the photo of the road in the late afternoon, the view towards the hill, and the cats, and the rolls, and, well, you get the idea. Thank you for all you do.

  3. 10-22
    3:55
    am

    :heart: You must be so proud of Ross!! He is a very handsome young man. I know I to would be a proud but nervous mama, but your heart just must be swelling with pride. I love your sweet farm life and family.

  4. 10-22
    4:49
    am

    I also start my day with this blog and coffee. Thanks for all the hard wk and dedication you put into it. I know you love what you do but some days I’m sure you’d probably like to knit and pearl or something! :) Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. 10-22
    4:53
    am

    WHEW!!!!!

    What a day !

    Anne

  6. 10-22
    4:54
    am

    :woof: Love the post! :happypuppy: Want that life – but with more dogs. :snoopy: Lots more dogs!! :pawprint:
    And less sports! :reindeer:

  7. 10-22
    4:59
    am

    Thank you for all you do! You bless my heart everyday! You son will be covered in prayer by so many on here…

  8. 10-22
    5:04
    am

    Thanks for shareing a day with us. I am up early. 6:30 and read your blog then while having my tea and waiting for my dd’s bus to come. Then I start my day. Its not quite as quite as yours for the afternoon. lol.

  9. 10-22
    5:24
    am

    That sounds like a lovely day, all your furbabies are so adorable:)

  10. 10-22
    5:26
    am

    For an ordinary day, it was extraorinary. You are balancing so many things and when we come to Chickens In the Road, we think of your life as peaceful and laid back! Amazing that you can do it all in one day. I’m voting, and voting and voting…
    joy c. at grannymountain

  11. 10-22
    5:28
    am

    So many of us seem to start our day with you (hello everyone!). That’s a nice thought. I always get a sense of peace when I read your blog, especially with the nature pictures.

    When do you get time to write your books? I’ve always loved them.

    Nancy

  12. 10-22
    6:24
    am

    What a lovely day! It sounds wonderful, but just as exhausting as my life!

  13. 10-22
    6:25
    am

    Thank you, Nancy! Actually, I’m not writing romance novels anymore. I have too many other things to write!

  14. 10-22
    7:08
    am

    I was worried about the number of votes yesterday when I went to vote, but after going there today, I think you just might catch up.

  15. 10-22
    7:52
    am

    Not at all like my typical day! Yours is much more interesting.
    I went to do my voting…when I clicked the button, it came up with three votes added…looks like some of us are at the polls together! I’m going to go to work and vote there too if I can get to the computer. There are a lot of people using it!

  16. 10-22
    7:52
    am

    You have an awesome life! :sun:
    I hope your boy is safe–such a handsome young man!

  17. 10-22
    7:57
    am

    Thank you for all you do Suzanne. I too come here for the sense of peace and the fact that it is always a positive place to be, not only from you, but all the people that read and comment as well. There is never a negative post or comment. IMHO the support and grace and friendship here among all of us is unequaled. It is always the first blog I read.

  18. 10-22
    7:59
    am

    :sheepjump: Oh my goodness….thank you so much!! I love your blog because it takes you on a visual roadtrip and not just an imaginary one. I love that I can actually see who, what and where you are talking about. I start my days at 5:30 (usually six by the time I drag my butt out of bed) and dont stop till about ten every night. Although at times its tough, I do love my life and my family and Thank you once again for sharing your life with us! :sheep: You are the best and I vote for you every day!!

  19. 10-22
    8:43
    am

    What a great idea–“A day in the life of…” It was nice to get a fuller perspective on your day. I, too, of course, love your blog except I always save it for last because it’s my favorite. I hope you win the contest!

  20. 10-22
    8:51
    am

    LOVE the animals!!!!

  21. 10-22
    9:19
    am

    Wow – you wore me out!

  22. 10-22
    9:22
    am

    You’re such a gifted writer! I hope someday we’ll see a book of short stories about all of your wonderful farm animals.

  23. 10-22
    9:45
    am

    Whew! I am plum tuckered out after reading your blog today :) Thanks for the reminder to go out there and vote…make sure you put it there every day so I don’t forget!! Good luck!

  24. 10-22
    9:48
    am

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve often wondered what you do all day. I’ve assumed it WASNT laying around eating bonbons, but you are even busier than I imagined! Also made me realize if I want a great blog I surely need to devote (much) more time to it. Soon…I’m working part time but only for another week and then I’ll be able to do some other things I’ve been putting off, including blogging. By the way, I posted about you at sam-e on my facebook. I want you to get the job because I want to read more of what you write! :D

  25. 10-22
    9:49
    am

    PS. My facebook motives were purely selfish…I cannot lie! I DO seriously hope you get it, though! The world needs more of your sunny disposition!

  26. 10-22
    10:01
    am

    WOO-HOO Suzanne! I voted for you and then clicked view applications (been checking out the competition for you.. lol) and you are on the front page today! I’m trying to get the word out to vote for you. I can’t start my day without reading Chickens in the Road. :chicken:

  27. 10-22
    10:16
    am

    I’m so exhausted reading all you do that I’m going back to bed lol. Actually I’m a night owl and except for an hour or two we’d be passing each other.

  28. 10-22
    11:38
    am

    I start my day with coffee…hop on the school bus (as a driver ;-) ) and when I’m back I do my animals..and than your blog.
    I vote everyday..you are climbing fast.

  29. 10-22
    12:42
    pm

    Wow! Enjoyed your “ordinary day”…Is it me or did that recruiter look too young to be recruiting?…lol.. I love your pictures. Thanks for all your dedication!

  30. 10-22
    1:08
    pm

    I got tired just READING what you do in a day!
    Imagine how surprised I was, on day, watching Judge Judy, to see my college friend on the show. She won her case too!

    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting!

  31. 10-22
    1:08
    pm

    that should read “one” day up there. LOL Typo~

  32. 10-22
    2:58
    pm

    I love that you realize just how blessed you are to live where you live.

  33. 10-22
    3:21
    pm

    Just found your blog today while I was searching for bread recipes. LOVE your site!!! :woof: I made the black bean & chicken stew recipe and to go with it your cornbread recipe, They were both AWESOME!!! I’ll be making them again! :hungry: And I will definitely be a regular visitor to your blog and the rest of your site!

    Pattie

  34. 10-22
    4:08
    pm

    Busy, busy day and you had no landmines go off!

    Thank you for this blog……my day couldn’t be complete without it! :happyflower:

  35. 10-22
    4:13
    pm

    As always, love your blog, especially today. I’m up at 6 every morning too, to get ready for work with our great state of WV. I don’t have time in the morning to read your blog, but it’s the first thing I check when I get home in the evening. I have voted for you every day from home, and tried from work, but the technology people blocked it! I do hope you get this job – you want it so badly, and would be the very best choice. Thanks for all you do. I wish I were you…..or Morgan. That girl is something else!

  36. 10-22
    4:59
    pm

    Great post, as usual. I don’t turn on the PC until I’m home from work, after supper is finished and I can relax. CITR is the first thing I turn to, before my email. Love your posts about your animals, because I have donkeys (5) too, besides 2 horses and barn (make that deck) kitties. And I used to have goats, sheep, bunnies and a llama.
    Your recipes are fantastic, and you actually motivated me to try canning. I’m 54, never did this, nor anyone in my family. See, I was from a central NJ city in my previous life, and thought everything came from a grocery store. Now on my little hobby farm in rural Minnesota, I am more appreciative of a simpler, more natural life. So I took a deep breath, bought 24 canning jars, a funnel, a jar lifter and a bunch of sure-gel, and made grape jelly from my own grapes. Thanks Suzanne, for the inspiration! If it wasn’t for you and your frequent posts about canning, I never would have tried it yet.
    And I have to agree with a previous poster…that recruiter sure looks a lot like your son, I did a double-take.
    Good luck with the contest. I vote from my laptop, my dh’s PC, and 2 computers at work.

  37. 10-22
    5:13
    pm

    Voted again and I am going to post a request to my Facebook friends to pop in and vote as well.

    Love your day! Wish it was mine. I don’t think I could keep up with you though!

  38. 10-22
    5:25
    pm

    Congrats Ross and I voted for you Suzanne! Great blog today even if I just now got around to reading it. Leaves to rake, fields to mow and a bird dog to train.

  39. 10-22
    6:44
    pm

    “Cats don’t wait”, hahaha!! Ain’t that the truth.

  40. 10-22
    7:12
    pm

    I voted again too.

    I, also, am an early riser and reader. I liked this one a lot (I like them all!) a peek at a day in your life. It sounds like a wonderful life!

    I would be so anxious if my son were joining the army. You must be so proud and nervous, too. My son wants to join the police force in a big city and that makes me really nervous! Its what he went to college for. I am always telling him: “Be a police Officer, just do it way up north somewhere. Fly-in places need law and order too!” I know Ross will make you so proud of him!

    Do Kitten and Little sleep with you? Don’t they keep you awake purring loudly in your ear or walking across your face? (I have had a kittens in the bed before, can you tell?)

    lol @ Kate S. That is exactly how I feel! I want that life too, but with more dogs and less sports! :-)

  41. 10-22
    7:53
    pm

    No, Kitten and Little are good to sleep with! I love having them there.

  42. 10-22
    9:04
    pm

    How on earth do you do it all???!!! Now we know the real secret on how you keep your girlish figure…my gosh…you must eat one meal a day and then fall into bed at night! And even with all that you still find time for the animals..what a girl. I voted again …good luck!!!

  43. 10-23
    1:54
    am

    Voted for you again – good luck!

  44. 10-23
    10:26
    am

    Is it Ross or Weston who has the girlfriend you featured on your blog? If it’s Ross, what are their plans when he leaves? :snuggle:

  45. 10-23
    10:30
    am

    Unfortunately, I have to report the all too common outcome of high school graduation and high school relationships. She went away to college and they broke up. (Very sad!)

  46. 10-23
    3:33
    pm

    Thank you for a glimpse of your busy and interesting day.

    I am a spinner, and the view of Mr. Cotswold, Annabelle, and the Jacob sheep make my fingers twitch! I’d be happy to come up and give you some guidance for using a drop spindle. It is much easier than a spinning wheel because you can go at your own speed, not the wheel’s speed. Cheaper too because you can make your own.

    It is portable and you can take it along to sports games. I’ve even used mine while waiting in the car.

  47. 10-24
    9:23
    pm

    :butterfly: How do you vote. I’m very new, please help me get informed. I really enjoyed your blog and your pictures. Thanks.

  48. 10-25
    6:21
    am

    Hi, Gweny! Thank you! There is a link every day on my current post. Here it is: http://www.sam-e.com/job/profile/718

  49. 10-28
    7:18
    pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about what you do and post all those great pics. You are one busy lady. I remember when ( having four sons), we seemed to live at the baseball field and the gym for basketball. I worked at home also, transcribing medical records for thirty years, so I could be home with them and do the running around that was necessary. But, I didn’t have farm animals and sure didn’t cook like you do. Tipping my hat (if I had one) to you.

  50. 11-9
    3:39
    pm

    I just want you to know that you inspire me every day! I live in a big city and yearn for a life away from it every day. I grew up in the country, and miss it more the older I get.

    We have a lovely 100 acres in the country just begging us to come. It’s been family land for longer than any of us have been alive, and it will be so special to live there. I daydream of the time that I will call it home, and reading your blog helps to keep me focused on that goal. You’ve already nudged me to can my own food, and bake from scratch. I have a good friend with chickens here in the city and have enjoyed helping tend them too. I’ll have chickens of my own, and dare I dream…some little goats too :)

    You’re doing a great, super, fantastic, bang up job at keeping us informed and interested in life on the farm. Because you are soooo good at it, I voted for you like my life depended on it for the SamE contest. I guess what I’m saying is…Suzanne, you are loved. :chicken:

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