Thanks to Lee and JCPenney for sponsoring this post.
New friends are often fascinated when they find out that we own a small farm. I always feel the need to jump in and clarify, explaining that it really is very small with just a few goats and sheep and chickens. People are still full of questions. “You travel so much, though! And you have four kids! How do you find time to manage it?”
Here's a little glimpse at exactly what a day in our life looks like here on our little farm in the hills of northeastern San Diego.
We wake up early. Really early. I'm usually up around 4:30, and I can't recall the last time I slept past 6am. There's always work to be done, whether we're chopping wood, painting a fence, landscaping or harvesting.
Tending to the animals, quite frankly, is the easiest job of all. The feed shop near our house delivers their grain and hay and other food twice monthly. All of our furry friends have auto-waterers to ensure that they're well-hydrated, even when we travel, and the chickens and dogs have unfettered access to auto-feeder troughs that we top off every other week. Our biggest issue is combatting pesky squirrels and mice, which is why we have cats. The goats usually free-range unless the grass is brown – like right now – and then we supplement with an alfalfa flake or two each day. Our goats are male, so we obviously don't milk them. Milking goats is a hefty chore that I'm not willing to take on right now.
When we're out of town, Opa swings by to check everything on his way home from work. We also have neighbors who are quick to text us if, say, the goats decide to tap dance on our car (true story).
My mentality is that animals survived in the wild just fine for a very long time before humans interfered. If we simply provide food, water and shelter on our property and don't keep them confined for extended periods of time, they do just fine. Our dogs scare off would-be predators like coyotes, and we're always on high-alert during rattlesnake season. The biggest start-up issue we faced was learning how to rotate the herding animals through mobile fence panels and sectioned-off field areas so we could have our acreage tended to and keep them happy. After they escaped several times, got into the kids' toys and pooped on the walkway, we figured it out pretty quick!
Being that our farm sits on a big hill and was a MAJOR fixer-upper when we bought it, the biggest labor we face on a day-to-day basis entails the dirt and dust of renovation. There are troughs to be dug, rocks to be moved, retaining walls to be built.
And have I mentioned that we have a pool? This is Southern California, after all, so there are pools and hot tubs to be cleaned in the midst of all of this!
People ask if I have special “farm clothes” and the answer is no. My fashion sense has always been accessible above anything else. I have certain dresses and skirts that I don't tromp around the fields in, but generally my work clothes and my everyday clothes are the same. Our whole family wears Lee jeans because their sturdy, on-trend styles keep up with us no matter what we throw at them! I pair the Dream Faith style with everything from flip-flops and tanks to chunky sweaters and moccasins, while Nate keeps moving with their Extreme Motion style.
We buy our Lee jeans and a ton of basic pieces and accessories at JCPenney where I scope out on-trend, durable styles at great price points. Nate's a pretty big fan of their tool section, too, so it helps that I can make a mini family date out of a shopping trip. I also have tons of waterproof boots with great traction that I take from field-to-mall-to-plane with a quick brush-off in-between.
One time, I set off a TSA alert because the dung residue on my soles was interpreted as bomb residue.
That was an interesting day.
If I had to pinpoint the most challenging part of owning a small farm (with four mischievous little boys!), the dust would definitely be it. Keeping all that stuff outside while preserving a calm, clean, peaceful space in our house takes a ton of work. I have a phenomenal washing machine that we've moved outdoors into what I now call the “mud room,” and that's where the boys get sent after shenanigans like this. They put those dirty duds in a big pile, rinse off and come on inside for a fresh start.
That's why I need my clothing to pull double-duty. I can't be fussing with delicates and cold rinse and separating colors. My time is limited and valuable, and I need clothing that can get with the program! As I watch all these Pinterest moms put effort into their mix-and-match capsule wardrobes, I'm over here patting myself on the back for my ability to pick out gear that can go from the farm to the street without missing a beat. The setting may look a little different, but the issue is the same at heart: we all need clothing that's versatile, long-lasting and looks appropriate in almost any venue we wind up in.
Do you juggle a lot with your family? What challenges could you solve with clothing that moves with your lifestyle?