When I called my wife and daughter in the hours after my father's death last week, we had to figure out how to manage Unity Farm during a situation that required the absence of the entire family.
We created a workplan and contacted a nearby farm to ask for their help.
Here's what we had to document
Alpaca/Llama care Hay management in two indoor and two outdoor feeders Twice daily grain feedings Heated water bucket filling Snow clearing in the alpaca paddocks Manure management in the barn, paddocks, and composting area
Chickens/Guinea fowl Feeder filling (with multi-flock crumbles) Providing greens (romaine lettuce) Heated waterer filling Coop cleaning Opening and closing the coop during daylight hours Counting all the birds to ensure they return from their free range adventures Turning on the inside lights during the day and off at night (guineas will not roost in a dark coop)
Dogs Feeding the dogs in the evening Heated water bucket filling Providing them snacks and toys
Rabbits Lettuce feeding Hutch cleaning
General Ensuring fences are not damaged by falling tree limbs or snow drifts Managing the electric fences Ensuring protective lighting is working to keep predators away Keep barn doors closed Keep property safe
We never expected to all be away from the farm at the same time, so creating detailed instructions required significant short term work.
A farm hand from our adjacent farm did a wonderful job and I returned on Sunday night to find Unity Farm in perfect shape, other than one barn light that was knocked down by a falling tree limb. Kathy stayed with my mother an extra week and returns to the farm on Saturday. Just as IT professionals plan for redundancy and disaster recovery, Kathy and I have learned the importance of contingency planning for the farm. We have been an inseparable team for 33 years. Keeping all our professional and personal activities in balance is easy when we're together, but nearly impossible when we're apart.