The truth about farming

by Farmer Liz
Recently my blog-friend Ohio Farmgirl reposted an excellent post entitled "the truth about farming", dedicated to her friend who had once said "evenings on your farm must be so relaxing". That post really made me smile because I could relate to everything OFG was saying and its just nice to know that I'm not the only one who has chook poo on my jeans and dirt under my fingernails!
evenings on your farm must be so relaxing
Pete and I both work full time, so our farm doesn't have to make us a living.  But at the same time, we are trying to take care of our animals and prepare our food AND go to work.  I'm not sure which one is harder!  But I do know I'd rather be doing what I do than living in the city and relying on someone else to grow everything for me.  I like to know where my food comes from, and its particularly gratifying when we have a situation like the floods of the past few years, when we were cut off from town, with not a worry in the world.

I thought you might find it useful, if you're thinking about how lovely it would be to have a small-farm yourself and grow your own food, just to let you know how much work is involved on a daily basis.  It all depends on the time of year and the number of animals living here at the time, but this is a typical day's farm work:

Before work (work starts at 7am, we leave at 6:30am)
If we are milking a cow twice daily: get up at 5am, milk cow, put milk in fridge, let chickens out to free-range.

Otherwise, get up at 5:30am and let chickens out.

Cook eggs on toast for breakfast, prepare leftover dinner to take for lunch.  Give dogs bones so they don't bark as we drive away.

After work (work finishes at 3:30pm, we get home just before 4pm)
Check on all chickens, top up food and water as required, this can be up to 6 tractors to check.  Collect eggs.

Feed cattle one scoop of grain each, check cattle water (depending which paddock they're in).

If we are milking daily, milk cow.  If we are milking once a week, separate cow from calf (and milk the next morning, usually weekend only).

Check garden for anything that needs harvesting, weeding or mulching.  Water garden.  Somehow find time to plant more seeds, check on seedlings, put worm tea on garden etc.

Throw ball for dogs.

In winter, light the woodstove.

Come inside when it gets dark.  Cook dinner from garden veges and meat out of the freezer + a few bulk pantry staples.

We had a free medical check-up at work and I was told that I don't get enough "organised exercise" (I put 2 hours/day of "farm work" on the form).  I told the doctor that I don't have time to exercise because I'm so busy walking around the farm (which by the way is rather steep) with buckets of water, grain and hay, digging in my garden and unloading firewood from the ute!  Funny that I passed the fitness test!

There are also a few things that make our life easier compared to other part-time farmers.  We both work at the same place, only 10 minutes drive from home, so we have virtually no commuting time (with previous jobs we have had up to 90 minutes of driving each way, so we appreciate the difference this makes).  We also don't have kids, and I'm sure I don't have to explain how this makes a difference to our time management!  We also don't spend much time socialising or volunteering, we have to make an effort to do that more often I think.

I'm not complaining about how much we do, for the most part it is enjoyable, kind of a hobby that keeps us occupied, and fed, at the same time.  I don't know what we would do with our time otherwise!  If you're thinking that you'd like to do something similar, I hope this will help you get an idea of the work involved.

As for relaxing..... the other day I tried to have an afternoon lie-down and between the guinea fowl squawking and Donald the bull roaring, I didn't get a minute's rest!

What's your farming truth?

If you want to know more about house cows, my eBook is available for purchase on Scribd.  Its only $4.99, and it includes lots of information about keeping a house cow in Australia.  There's more details about the eBook on my house cow eBook blog.  If you don't want to go through all the Scribd/paypal effort, just send me an email on eight.acres.liz at and I can arrange to email it to you instead.

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