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Finding a Rhythm to the Days

Posted Jun 29 2009 6:07pm
It is almost July (hope you join us for Firsts on the First over at MIFS on Wednesday) and I am finally finding a summer rhythm. There so many projects going on in the summer. There are activities with family and friends, and this year there is also work away from home. It can all quickly becoming overwhelming to me.

I've long given up on trying to do it all perfectly, and have settled for doing it all tolerably. Perhaps that sounds like a poor work ethic, but I simply can not have a spotless house, a weed free garden, daily blog posts, and attend every social activity in the midst of raising four children, tending animals, and working part time. But more importantly, I refuse to even attempt to attain perfection in those areas if it is going to keep me from enjoying life.

I enjoy my home, my gardens, my family, and writing. They all require my time, and quite a bit of work, but there are only so many hours in the day. There simply are not enough hours to get it all done. I find it helps if I establish a schedule for my days. The schedule gives a flow to the days. It keeps me moving, and gets enough done to keep all areas tolerable. My days look something like this:

Waking Up
I generally wake up around 7:00. I'm a little slow to wake up, and usually have the house to myself for a bit. If Tim hasn't left for work yet, he is usually outside working on the project of the week. I enjoy the quiet to eat my breakfast, check email, read blogs, and what not. Most mornings laundry is also started and the clothesline filled.

Soon the kids are up. The oldest two can get their own breakfast and get dressed. The younger two sometimes need a little help.

Getting Moving
We all go outside in the morning while it still cool. There are animals to feed in the morning. Then it is time to work in the garden. In a few weeks, there will also be berries to pick. I usually have the kids help with some task, but they all end up playing long before I'm done in the garden.

I don't mind. I enjoy the peace and solitude in the garden. I enjoy the process of gardening. I'm not the best gardener in the world. I am still learning, especially about organic methods, and I have a hard time keeping up with the weeds.

We mulched this spring with bedding material from the barns. Mulch is supposed to help control the weeds right? Usually, but with it being so wet this spring, everything in the mulch germinated. We ended up just tilling in some of the mulch, but now that it is hotter and drier the weeds have been a bit easier to control.

We have three garden spots. Two small ones close to the house, and a large one quite a way from the house. I try to hit each one everyday. I'm not doing a whole lot in each garden everyday. Sometimes I just look in to see what is growing and what needs done.

This morning I picked beets and checked carrots in one garden. In another garden I picked cucumbers and zucchini while keeping an eye out for squash bug eggs on the plants. I think I saw a vine borer moth this morning there too. I pulled a few weeds, and put strawberry runners in their rows. In the large garden I trained bean vines up the fence, pulled a few weeds, checked the yellow squash plants there, and made a mental list of what needs done in that garden tomorrow. That garden will have to be the first stop tomorrow morning.

I Need A Break
By the time we've done all that it is time for lunch. We all get a quick lunch, and then the three year old goes down for the nap. The other kids usually use their TV time for the day after lunch too. You'll find me right where I am now, in front of the computer.

This is the time I check email, Facebook, or write. Often times I will do a little behind the scenes garden work like making notes in my garden journal, or researching or making lists about what I observed in the garden in the morning. Today I found what Vine Borer Moth eggs look like so I can start keeping an eye out for them. I also found an interesting article that suggests putting foil down around the plants. I may be out in the garden with foil tomorrow morning.

Eventually I look at the clock, and look at the kitchen and realize I better get moving again.

In the House
By mid afternoon it is hot outside, and I find things to do in the house. Most often I am cleaning up the kitchen and working on laundry. It won't be long until the afternoons are spent processing the harvest. Housework is not an enjoyable task to me. I often am distracted from it by my garden books, cook books, or the computer.

Evenings
When Tim gets home there are still a few hours of daylight left. He and my dad always have a long list of farm projects that need done. Those precious hours of daylight, when they are both home, are spent outside working on projects. I am usually occupied wrapping up my other projects from the day, and getting dinner ready. Dinner is usually late in the summer, sometimes not until after eight. Then it is time to put kids in bed. Tim and I might watch a movie or just sit and talk, but we usually are in bed relatively early. We both need a good night's rest.


I wish everyday flowed to the rhythm described above. It is a rhythm that I can follow easily, but life isn't that simple. Tuesday evenings the rhythm changes because I work. Saturdays and Sundays I am working all day following a completely different beat. There are busy weeks where I barely see the gardens or touch the laundry because we are playing with friends or have errands to run.

It is after those weeks that I feel so overwhelmed by the weeds and laundry piles that have exploded. But instead of it overwhelming me, I can just slip back into the rhythm that I prefer, the one that I know so well. I work in the gardens in the morning, getting done what I can get done. I work in the house in the afternoon, getting done what I can get done.

No my gardens aren't weed free. My house is far from spotless. I don't get everything done that I'd like too. I keep things at a tolerable level. Finding a rhythm to my days helps me get enough done, and keeps me from getting overwhelmed by my to do list. I like this rhythm that I have found.

The picture of my middle children really doesn't have anything to do with this post. I just like it!
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