Routines: The comfort and familiarity of them.

I always considered myself to be a spontaneous kinda gal. Not particularly organised. But the more I look at my life the more I realise that in fact it is full to the brim with routines and organisation.

I get up early every morning to let the dogs out. I am almost always woken by Tag, by whippet, tapping on my door. I then light the fire and put the kettle on. I get dressed, pull on my boots and  head outside to feed and water all the animals.

The goats need their hayracks filling up, fresh water in their buckets and a small handful of feed.They jostle one another in an effort to get the last few grains of goat mix from the bottom of their rubber trough. They always greet me with hungry bleats, as soon as I open by back door. Their bedding usually needs sorting out a bit and some fresh adding and the pathway in front of their shed needs sweeping.

Duck, hens, cockerels and quail all need their water drinkers filling and their feeders topping up. The hens flock around me as I let them out. Our black hen is the boss and she ushers the others away with nasty pecks and low croaky noises, as I scatter some grain for them to all scratch at.

The geese are called up from the river for their breakfast….. “Goose, goose, goose!” I yell down the riverbank……and they appear upstream paddling towards me as fast as their bright orange legs will allow them. They usually come up from their swim honking loudly. Squabbling over positions around their food.

Then once everyone is fed and watered I go and fetch in enough firewood to last the day. Now it is time for my second morning cuppa! …..and to wake my daughter up with one too.

I tend to make bread every other day. Hand kneading the dough and setting it aside to rise is one of the routines I really enjoy. It is therapeutic and relaxing. I knock it back, wait for it to rise once more and then it is ready to bake. If the oven is on for baking bread then I tend to make a stew or casserole or cookies or cakes too, that way I can make use of the hot oven after the bread has come out.

I tend all my cultured foods and beverages. My kefir milk needs tending every 24/48hrs, depending on what I am making.The routine of straining the curds and whey and hanging curds in scalded muslin to make cheese are now a regular part of my life. I make a new batch of Kombucha tea every 5 days. I feed my sourdough starter and my ginger beer plant (if I have one on the go).

ImageKefir milk/ curds/ soft cheese/ whey

ImageKombucha tea being made.. Ready to drink Kombucha in the bottle. The scoby can be seen in the jug.

I also cook for my smallest dog, Chuggie. He has to have special food, so I do it in batches, enough to last three days. He is on a special low purine diet, due to having inoperable porto-systemic liver shunt. I make him his own low purine dog biscuits too.

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The low purine biscuits I make for Chuggie x

I facilitate my daughter’s education. We home educate and although we do not have a set, rigid curriculum, we do find ourselves doing certain things at set times. In the evenings we almost always read. In the mornings my daughter works on the computer or on some art work, whilst I get on with other jobs. I am always on hand if she needs me.

Midday we eat lunch together and discuss anything relevant to my daughter’s project or we discuss current events that we have heard about on the radio. We have no live TV here. We don’t miss it.

We walk to the ponies every single day, usually with the dogs and in all weathers. We head to the next village with pockets full of carrots or treats. We are so lucky to be able to rent the land from a lovely neighbour. I clean the paddock, removing all the droppings.The ponies have three regular latrine areas so it is easy to do. We get a wheelbarrow load of pure manure everyday. We muck out the field shelters weekly as they don’t really get that dirty, but daily we check water troughs and top up hay racks and of course we scratch and fuss each pony in turn. Honeybee likes his bottom scratched and will wiggle it from side to side as your scratch it and if you should happen to be sitting on a fence rail or upturned bucket he will actually sit on your lap as you scratch him! It is lucky he is small 🙂 Bumblebee likes her withers ( the base of her neck, where it joins her back) rubbed hard and she will nudge you for more if you stop……and we always make time to give their soft velvet muzzles soft kisses. It would be rude not to!

I saw up my firewood by hand with a bowsaw and I split kindling for the woodstove with a small hand axe. My daughter gathers pine cones to use as firelighters too. It is hard work lugging and cutting wood and one of my absolute dreams is to have a couple of years firewood in a woodstore, already done.

At certain times of the year there will be routines that need attending to in the garden. Greenhouse plants require watering in Summer. We have rainwater butts next to all the buildings, which means we never use mains water on the plants. Seeds need sowing at varying times throughout the year, veg beds need weeding. The list goes on. It gets busy in the garden in Summer. But even in Winter there is still plenty to do. Today I have had to burn a huge heap of  ivy that was clambering over my cottage roof. There was far too much for me to fit it on my woody compost pile and I have limited space here. I also lopped off a lot of collapsed branches from the conifers that line one boundary here and I emptied out the shed that housed the billy goat that I hired to cover my two females. A stinky job!!

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I squeeze in my online sales, gardening jobs, dog sitting/ walking and occasional horse related work either late in the evening or on set days of the week. In Summer we get longer days and I can get so much more done outside. Luckily being self-employed means I can be flexible and I can arrange my ‘jobs’ around all my other stuff.

In Winter it is a bit quieter in the garden, so I get more time to be creative with crochet, knitting, baking, writing, festive gift making and my favourite:  READING!  We also play board games and watch dvds.

Life is FULL of routines isn’t it and the more I look at it, the more I realise how comfortable it makes me feel. We have a pattern to our day, to our week, to our year….. We work with the seasons. We are connected. After all nature has routines too doesn’t it. Routine makes the animals feel  safe and secure. Routines make my daughter happy and content and I am pretty darn happy too even if I am always busy……so maybe being spontaneous or anti routine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be after all 😉

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6 comments on “Routines: The comfort and familiarity of them.

  1. Eileen Ozanick says:

    I loved reading this 🙂 You are very right, I find a routine and productivity much more satisfying than being given a day with nothing to do, at the end of that, I feel empty. xo

    • Ma Larkin says:

      I much prefer having stuff to do too. Little rituals and routines give structure to my day/week and Hannah finds them comforting. She likes to know what the day holds. x

  2. lovin the blog naomi and the photos are great! Read it last night and thought about the routine thing all day today as i’ve been going about my stuff at home with the animals. having animals and children, well you have to have a routine don’t you – even just the feeding thing… but i started thinking in the bigger scheme of things, everythings a routine of sorts isnt it? The whole yearly cycle with the changing seasons – its just like a big routine – things to do at certain times, certain changes happen at the same time in the season. i suppose the closer you live your life connected to the earth the more of a routine it is – your blog really made me think how comforting routines are thank you xxxxx

  3. pattigail says:

    Hello, I just discovered your blog and am loving it. How wonderful to live so close to nature, surrounded by animals. I can see it is a lot of work…but there is such purpose and rhythm to it all. I look to reading more about it. Patti

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