Thursday, November 20, 2014

Season of darkness and fire, and hutch vices.

The season of the wood stove is in full swing, with all of the benefits and frustrations of the same. Given how much we are relying on it, I am going to be working on getting better at it over this winter, especially as it relates to successfully banking down for the night. At this point I have coals left most mornings, but this morning I didn't which distinctly made my morning tighter in terms of getting everything done and getting out to work on time. Some of that was probably going to bed earlier, but I think that on baby time when the Lady of the House wakes up to feed the Critter I should get up and tend the fire at least once during the night since I'm awake anyhow.

I figured I'd share some of our basic routine with the Critter because we are, as they say, on Baby time.

The constants that remain from general day to day life for daily tasks:
Feed the rabbits and chickens.
Water the rabbits and chickens.
Pull the water in, thaw it, and re water the rabbits and chickens.
Pull the water in for the night.
Bring in wood for the stove.
Light the stove, and clear the ash.
Cook dinner. (Addition for now that there's a child: Remember to eat it since it's easy to forget.)
Wash the dishes.
Clean the house.

New baby tasks:
The Lady of the House has to feed the Critter, this consumes most of her time.
Wash the diapers.
Rinse the diapers to get every last trace of soap out.
Dry the diapers whether it be in the dryer or on the drying rack in front of the fire.
Sooth the Critter.

Optional daily tasks:
I'd really like to get to know and bond with the Critter.

I still work 50 hours a week out of the house, and commute 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.
There's still a lot of weekly or one time tasks that need work including building the not finished hutch, clear the garage, etc.

The reality is that by the time I get home having not slept enough I barely have any energy which makes it tough to get to know Critter the way I want to, or at all really. It's funny, realistically the amount of time I'm spending on homesteading work is probably not more than 1 and a half hours a day when you're not counting the other home tasks that I'm taking care of that would have to be taken care of by a normal father in a normal situation. Somehow that extra hour though is absolutely exhausting. As much as I can't wait to get goats, I am very glad we don't have them right now because I wouldn't have the energy to take care of the extra hour of work that goats would imply on top of the rabbits and chickens. Sometimes not being able to do something can be beneficial.

One of the things that is very striking to me is the energy demanded of us to care for a child as we go into the season of darkness. As we've gotten more adjusted to seasons instead of the normalized schedule of every day the same that I existed in for years doing theater and school we've started using winter as a research and recuperating period. Now with a child when we're tired, and the darkness is tending us towards introspection, we have a small person to keep alive in the cold, and engage with in our time of quiet. It's actually particularly jarring when it's dark when I wake up, and dark when I get home. Aside from during the weekend I don't get to interact with the Critter when it's light out, which means I don't get to during the time that he's happy and cheerful. It just is taking extra effort just due to the demands and realities of the season.

Outside the house our always high maintenance Twilight has developed a new and unfortunate behavior. If she were a horse I'd call it "stable vices," and much like stable vices among horses, she often passes on her bad behaviors. This new one I need to cut quickly before it passes, because it is throwing her feeder out the side of the hutch. The really frustrating part is that she is super food focused, but she throws the feeder when it's still half full or better, wasting a lot of food. She is better off on hay, though she hates it so I'm strongly considering removing her feeder entirely, and shifting her to a fully hay diet. She's healthy on it, and while she hates it, it would keep her from firing her uneaten food out the side where it attracts pests, and the dog who eats it despite being allergic to rabbit food. The other option is wiring the feeder into the side of the hutch semi-permanently, but the problem with that is sometimes you have to take the feeder off the side to clean it. I just wish she wouldn't develop these destructive habits like throwing her feeder, and water.

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