Life as a Jonas means one thing: there is no such thing as a typical day. However, so many people have asked what a day looks like for our family that we decided we’d try to show you. This is what yesterday looked like for me (PJ).
Alarm goes off. Normally it is set for 6 am, but we had the last track meet of the season last night and I didn’t get to bed til after 11 pm.
Sit at my writing desk* to journal and ready my Bible.
Wake up the children. When I say “the children” this does not include Colter. He’s been up for hours (he’s the earliest riser in the family) milking the goats. I also don’t wake up Brett. The youngest six are all sound asleep because they also were up super late last night. Emery and Fletcher didn’t get to bed til after midnight because they were working on their final college papers which are due next week.
Waking up the children takes time because most of them are teenagers and are very slow to wake up. It’s also one of the few guaranteed times I have to see each of them, so I spend a few minutes with them. I’ve found that this is a good time to talk if anybody is having any issues. Fortunately, nobody is, because it is only getting hotter outside and I need to work in the garden.
Answer customer emails.
Go to the Candy Kitchen. Mason was at work early and put the bread in the proofer to rise. It looks like it’s ready to bake, so I turn the oven on. I then grab a bowl and head out to the blackberry patch.
Pick blackberries. While I’m picking blackberries I think about what I’m going to blog about today and decide to blog about what I spend my day doing.
Go back to the Candy Kitchen and put the bread in the oven. While I was picking blackberries, I got a text that we had 2 dozen bagels ordered online. So I set water to boil. I also check on the Sweet Shop to see how many bagels I need to make for the Sweet Shop. On the way back, I snag Jim for a quick hug and kiss (he’s working on new signs for a new item I put in the Sweet Shop yesterday – hot fudge sauce).
Take the bread out of the oven and get it cooling. Turn the oven up hotter in preparation for the bagels.
Start boiling bagels. While I’m boiling the bagels, Colter comes into the kitchen. I say good morning to him and ask him to get out the goat milk yogurt. The children and Jim are having yogurt with the fresh blackberries I just picked for breakfast. They can also each have one of the zucchini sourdough muffins that I’ve been making to sell in the Sweet Shop (yes, I make extra for them!)
Start baking the bagels. Clean up the kitchen while I wait for the bagels to bake.
Emery walks into the kitchen. I put him in charge of taking the bagels out of the oven and I head back to the blackberry patch to pick a second bowl of blackberries. While I am picking, I am joined by someone and we have a meaningful discussion of his future while picking blackberries side by side.
Finish picking the blackberries and head back to the Candy Kitchen. At this point, all of my children have shown up, so I touch base with them. I also touch base with the employees to make sure that I know what everybody is planning to do for the day. I steal another hug and kiss from Jim.
Everybody is on task for the day so I head back to the house to shower. I don’t normally shower now, but I knew I was going to get sweaty picking blackberries (it’s a humid day, so I hadn’t showered on purpose earlier).
Decide what we’re having for lunch. Emery was baptized on Sunday and he and Mason made a bunch of pasta with chevre and garlic bread for the guests we had. We have some leftovers, so I decide to use that as a base. I make a tomato salad to go with the garlic bread, and chop up a whole bunch of green beans I had picked several days ago. I sautee the green beans and onions in butter until they’re cooked the way I like (firm, not mushy).
Start this blog post. Call Jim and ask him to take some photos for it.
Stop blogging for now and run to the garden to get 1 big onion, basil, swiss chard, and celery. I also eat some cherry tomatoes while I’m out there. (They’re just so good straight off the plant!) I also decide that I’d better get more cheese and run back to the Candy Kitchen. Jim is there taking the picture of the blackberries I asked him to take. This time he steals a kiss.
Back at the house. Continue lunch prep – chop basil and add it to the tomato salad along with extra virgin olive oil, basalmic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder. Then chop up the swiss chard and add it to the onions and green beans. Add more cheese, then add the leftover pasta.
Greyden and Hewitt show up and I put them to work stirring the ingredients into the pasta while I finish seasoning the tomato salad and marinating the vegetables (golden zucchini, green peppers, and red onion) I’m prepping for dinner.
Lunch is on the table. Nobody else is here so I decide to answer some customer emails while I wait for Jim. The boys are cleaning off the table and setting the food out on it.
Jim shows up for lunch and the four of us sit down to eat. During lunch, I am contacted by Colter who tells me he is still making soap and will be down in 40 minutes. Jade says that it is really busy in the Farm Store and she and Fletcher will take turns coming down once it slows down. Brett is not here (she is at the Midwest Writers’ Conference). Indigo is covering the Sweet Shop and Emery shows up.
I finish lunch, kiss Jim good-bye since he is headed back to the Sweet Shop, update this blog post, and then answer more customer emails.
Everyone who has shown up is done eating and I set them to cleaning up the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, and taking out the trash (of which there is quite a lot). I ask Emery to get frozen chicken out of the freezer for me. Greyden takes a storage bin we are no longer using down to the basement and brings up the last of our reclaimed cast iron that needs to be scoured and re-seasoned. Emery puts some chicken to thaw for dinner and puts the other chicken in a pot, covers it with water, and sets it out to boil.
Fletcher walks in for lunch. Fletcher and Emery start eating together and begin
arguing discussing when it comes to their college papers (due next week) whether they should write the conclusion first and then the supporting arguments or the arguments followed by the conclusion. They don’t ask my opinion and I don’t offer it – I just happily listen to them sounding so grown-up.
I start processing the 3 bunches of celery I picked.
Fletcher leaves to go back to the Farm Store and Colter walks in. Emery is sitting at the table alternately eating (which he is supposed to be doing) and sketching (which he would prefer to be doing).
I finish cutting up the celery and take all the celery tops out to the rabbits for them to enjoy. It’s a good trade – I give them food waste they love and they give me manure for my garden!
Indigo walks in for lunch while Jim covers the Sweet Shop. I give her a hug and kiss and tell her I emptied her dishwasher for her (I did the glasses while the others children did the rest). She gives me a huge smile.
I should point out that all this time I’ve been drinking my water with lemon and every time I go to the bathroom, I do 10 squats when I am finished. I don’t normally make time for a standard workout. Instead I fit exercise in wherever I can throughout the day.
Answer a few more emails.
Start cleaning up the kitchen in preparation for moving on to the next thing. Currently in the kitchen, chicken bones are simmering on the oven in preparation for chicken broth, veggies are marinating, chicken is thawing, and celery is cut up. The chicken and celery will be for dinner tomorrow. Tonight’s dinner is leftovers and stuff from the garden – potatoes, green beans, corn (somebody else grew), and tomatoes.
Emery cleans up with me for 30 minutes before he heads back to the Candy Kitchen. We talked about different options for the back of our property. We are wanting to start using more of the back acreage for the goats, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We discussed options for shelters, drainage issues, bridges over the creek, and fencing.
I give myself one hour to get as much cleaning done as possible in the kitchen and dining room area. I’m very pleased with how it looks and even managed to sweep (which Brett usually does).
I’m getting ready to head up to the Soap Room and Sweet Shop to check on everyone when I realize I forgot to have somebody wash potatoes for me. I know that if it doesn’t get done, it will delay dinner. So I do it myself.
I finally reach my office (I may have been side tracked by a few weeds and a cucumber that needed to be picked). I answer voicemails, return phone calls, return more emails, and then begin paper work and bookkeeping. I’m way behind on both paperwork and bookkeeping, so I do the most urgent work. I could work for several more hours, but I stop when I hear the “green light” signal come over the walkie talkies*. That means that all the customers are gone for the day and both stores are being closed up.
I put away my office work for another day and head back toward the house where I’m again distracted by more weeds.
Emery had put the potatoes in the oven for me and peeled all the corn. We’re having a veggie dinner tonight so it is pretty easy to prepare. I also turn off the chicken that’s simmering. I’ll remove the chicken so that it cools down enough for me to pick the chicken off the bones after dinner.
It’s dinner time! Normally we spend a lot more time together around the table, but I have a feeling (and I was correct) that this is going to be a quick meal since I told the children they could go swimming.
Dinner is over, the kitchen and dining area are once again clean (mostly). The children have all disappeared to go swimming. I picked the chicken off the bones, then put the bones back in the pot. I added some vinegar (to leach the calcium out of the bones) and let the broth continue to simmer with the chicken bones. I also started canning green beans. I washed the beans and put them into the jars and added all the seasonings. I also updated this blog post.
I’m all done in the kitchen. Emery and Greyden will be getting out of the pool soon and will can the beans for me. I now have a choice – do I want to be done for the day (yes!) or do I want to go back out to the garden to do some weeding? I ask Jim what he wants to do and we end up sitting on the couches and talking.
I end up going out to the garden to do some weeding. I actually like weeding. Makes me feel like I’m cleaning up some of life’s messes and I get to relax and think. Plus the squatting is more exercise.
Time to tuck the children in and tonight it’s a quick good-night. Emery and Greyden are canning the dilly beans, Brett is at her conference, and Colter is helping Mason repair a fence and feed the cows. Everybody else who is ready for bed is tuckered out after the late night and lots of fun swimming. Sometime’s tucking the children in and can take two hours depending on who wants to talk or if anybody needs help with anything.
I get ready for bed and do some reading. (Right now I’m in the middle of three books – a biography of Warren Buffett called The Snowball*, a book about Cornelius Vanderbilt’s children called Fortune’s Children, The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt*, and I’m re-reading Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference*. Tonight feels like a Warren Buffett kind of night.
So, that was my Thursday! It was a bit garden heavy and business light, but as I put my effort in where it is most needed for the day.
What did you think?
Do you find my life exhausting? I admit it can sometimes be, but everything I do is building the life I love living. I could save hours and hours (and hours) of time if I didn’t garden and just bought all my produce. But I actually really enjoy gardening. I’m outside in nature with my hands in the dirt. I know I’m growing healthy food for my family. I’m saving lots of money (which makes my frugal heart sing). And I feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
Plus, I can’t even tell you how often my children tell me how thankful they are that we garden. It happens multiple times a week, year round. That feedback from them makes all the hours of work worth it!
And just so you know, the fact that they’re thankful doesn’t mean they don’t also complain sometimes about all the gardening work LOL.
How was your day?