Morning Chores On The Modern Homestead

I’m not what you’d call a morning person. Years of culinary training hardened my own bio-rhythms into a preference for about a 1 am bedtime and a 10 am wake-up.

Life, school, work, chickens and kids laugh at my own sleep preferences. And so, every morning, I get up, brush my teeth, pull my hair into a “Why, yes, I do have a 1 year old who still isn’t sleeping through the night and therefore I have quite given up on my appearance” ponytail, and I run through a little chore routine.

If, when I awaken, my 1 year old is stuck to me like a barnacle, having been transported sometime in the wee hours to our bed from his crib to prevent a 45 or 60 minute long crib-banging, screaming, jumping fit from keeping us all awake, then I just do what I can, bleary eyed and one-handed. Mostly I use my free hand to grab coffee.

If, however, I have managed to return the 1 year old back to his crib sometime in the night, I’ll make the bed, wipe down the bathroom counters and sinks, take the laundry to the laundry room, move the wash to the dryer and some random assortment of dirties into the wash. Beep, beep, beep and my machines are working for me.

Downstairs, Nick has taken care of his morning chore of making coffee, and I can enjoy a swig while I grab the compost and take it out. The chicken feed scraps go to the chickens, and while I’m there I check feed level and water level. At this hour¬†there probably aren’t eggs, but it’s worth a look.

This morning, I was up and feeding the chickens before they were up from their roosts and so I heard their early morning coos. Chickens, when not obnoxiously bagawking, make very peaceful noises.

I had the freedom to scan the November garden as I flung compost. It is tented everywhere in plastic tunnel cloches. If it were summer, my morning chores would include harvesting green beans and zucchini and tomatoes and cucumbers at a minimum. Now, my fogged breath spells relaxation. I am not beholden to 8 linear feet of pole beans that will claim another 40 minutes of my mornings. Not now.

It’s not quite freezing yet. When it freezes I’ll need to worry about the chicken water. But for now I really can’t dally – there are still school lunches to be made, kids to get up and moving, breakfast eggs to fry, spelling tests to quiz for in the car on the way to the bus.

There is a dishwasher to unload and load and there are always meals to be cooked and an endless pile of stuff to be cleaned. There are two enormous cabbages to pound into kraut and there is deep-mulching still to be done outside on the perennial bed.

But this morning, perhaps another cup of coffee first.

What do your morning chores look like?


  1. says

    I'm right with you on the late-morning wake-ups (hey, chickens don't wear watches) and pony-tail morning hair (although my daughter is almost three now, so I really have no excuse). A girl's gotta do…..

  2. says

    Now that I've added mini goats to the farm it's a little more hectic. Alarm goes off, check on meat rabbits, refill water and feed, open up chicken coop door and duck house, hope raccoons are done since it's just dawn, check on turkeys, change meat chick water and food, clean goat stalls, refill water and hay, milk, then rush in to make school lunches and breakfast and get everyone on the bus in time, then make a latte and start working. It's a little more complicated this year…

    • says

      I realized I couldn’t do goats while breastfeeding my boy. I was finding that commitment exhausting enough and realized *I* was the only dairy animal I wanted to attend to on a regular basis.

  3. says

    Most mornings are the same here (unless I am up past my bedtime haha). Up at 4:30 a.m., obviously having coffee or I could not function at all that has cold brewed overnight, work on the laptop until getting kids up at 5:30 for school, make lunches and get kids off to bus by 6:40. Then back to work on the laptop til 8 or so. Out to feed and check waters on the layer chickens, meat chickens, chicks we are raising for both layers and meat (got Light Brahmas and Buff Orpingtons this time), Midget White turkeys, Narragansett turkeys, Boer goats, potbelly pig, and the 4 pigs we are raising for meat. Then the chicken/turkey tractors get moved to fresh grazing sites for them and on alternating days they get let out to roam the farm for more foraging. Then back inside to feed the dogs and decide what is for dinner so I can get it out of the freezer and into the crockpot or thawing out. Gotta love the farming life!!

  4. says

    usually they involve catching up with my blogs, designing posts, and (during the Spring/Summer) watering and pruning my 3 veggie beds in my front yard.

    ….I want your chores. Sans the little kiddies, but still your chores nonetheless.

  5. says

    Thanks for this glimpse of what your mornings are like. Left to my own devices, my timetable for waking and sleeping would look a lot like yours. When my son was young (he's almost 30 now), a quick brush and ponytail was my hairdo of choice as well. I wish I could sleep late now that he's grown, but I have to be up every morning at 6:40 to drive my husband to the Sounder station. We have only one car (a Prius), and besides my husband doesn't drive because of his failing eyesight.

    I love reading about your chickens and your suburban homestead. I'm hoping chickens are in my future, I'm working on it.

  6. says

    Morning chores here:
    Take the dogs out to do their thing anywhere between 3:30 and 5:30 am. Swear at them if it's the former.
    Check to make sure there is a container of leftovers for hubby's work lunch. If not, start some rce in the rice cooker.
    Go to the bathroom. Weigh myself. If it's gone up, vow to do better today. Record the weight on my daily chart.
    Make my breakfast – usually steel-cut oats or hashbrowns. Hubby makes his own oats. Regret that coffee isn't good for me and I've had to give it up…again.
    Feed the dogs. Well, one of them. The other is currently boycotting breakfast so we gave up and are only feeding him in the evening.
    Get dressed in workout clothes.
    Ride bike or go for a hike.
    Shower or take a spit bath and dress for the day.
    Look at my weekly chore chart, plan the day's meals, and get to work. Well, after surfing the web for a little bit first.

    Not having livestock keeps our life simpler! And hubby takes care of the gardening as that's his passion. Dealing with the compost is mine. :)

  7. says

    i hate it when you make me look like a slacker.
    when i manage to make it up before my barnacleboy, my mornings involve sitting on my ass for as long as i can get away with, peacefully drinking coffee and reading. one would think that being a morning person would make me more productive than you, but maybe it's exactly because i adore mornings that i refuse to let them be commandeered by chores. i have been known to get up at 5 am to catch half an hour of housequiet.

  8. says

    I also have a barnacle in the morning, but luckily she sleeps through the night…wakes up anywhere between 6:15-7:30. I have a rule that before 9:00am, I am dressed and presentable, breakfast is finished and the kitchen is picked up, and the bed is made. If all these things are done, I feel much better about going into the day.

  9. says

    I usually sleep in a bit since my children homeschool. We have a later schedule around here. I get up, take my meds, get on the computer (check email and such), feed my kids and myself (and get my coffee!!!) and then we get on school unless we have to get ready to go somewhere. I love reading about your morning. I hope to have chickens one day.



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