Have I mentioned that around here, January to February is beach season?!
Of course you are wondering what on earth I am talking about…January to February in Alberta, Canada is ridiculously cold and snowy; why would I be breaking out the bikini?! Well, these two months are what I like to call the “Farmer’s Summer”. While everyone else vacations and relaxes during the real summer season, farmers are out working through the long days growing their pay cheque. There is no time for long, lazy days at the lake or weekends spent fishing or camping. And so when Jan/Feb rolls around, and there are only cattle chores to do, we get to do our vacationing!
And this is when I get to spend long stretches of time with my husband and kids….generally we try to head somewhere hot like Mexico, Dominican, or Cuba. Rarely, if at all, do farmers take more than 2 days off in a row from March to November; But in January or February, if there is someone lined up to do chores, we are scot-free!
Ok, not scot-free….It would be fantastic if that was the truth, but in reality, in order for my husband to be able to leave for a day or two, or (if I’m lucky!!) a week….he puts in about 100 hours the week before our trip, in order to make sure that the farm will run smoothly while we are gone.
Step 1- pick a vacation…this is usually my job and it takes me about 30 seconds!
Step 2- find someone to do chores/take care of the farm while we are gone
– This is tricky, because not only does my husband have to trust this person with our home and livelihood, they have to be willing to take on this responsibility. And usually, they have their own chores/farm; so basically, we are asking them to double their workload for a week. My father-in-law is the one whom we usually ask and without fail, every time, he says yes. He’s fabulous!!
Step 3- Organize the farm.
– This is where the extra work for my husband comes in. He spends the week before we go repairing anything and everything, so that while we are gone, NOTHING will (hopefully) break-down. This includes water troughs, fence, tractors, bale shredders, vehicles, etc. He stocks up on any medications that the cattle or horses or dogs or cats might need (in case of emergency)and has all the feed for the cattle, horses, dogs, (you get the picture..) laid out and ready, so whomever is doing chores doesn’t have to waste time moving bales or hunting for bags of dog food. He makes sure all the vehicles are full of fuel and oil changed, and moves as much snow as he can so that the cattle can get to and from water and feed easily.
– Of course, rarely does Mother Nature play fair, especially when you want her to! So we are always on pins and needles the days before we leave. Not so much worried about whether or not our plane will be able to take off, but more about is it going to be -30….this means possible frozen waterers…which means thirsty cattle and A LOT of work to thaw out…more work for whomever is doing us a favour. AND if it’s this cold, extra straw bedding needs to be put out for the cattle, horses, and dogs (etc.) so they can hunker down and stay warm. My husband (again) usually does this before we leave…but over the course of a week, they sometimes need more. So, this falls on our help. (This “favour” is sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it!!)
This year I hoping (begging) for a hot vacation and I think I am wearing my husband down….wish me luck! But for those of you who DO get to go away…this week I’ll be posting my personal packing and airplane lists….(have I mentioned I’m a list person?!) And please feel free to add to the list in the comment section, I need all the advice I can get when packing…I ALWAYS forget something!