"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vacation Checklist

Our annual vacation to Mexico to visit family (postponed lo these last three years due to straitened circumstances) are fast upon us. We leave in something like three weeks. I have managed, thank the Lord, to hire a seemingly competent babysitter for the farm (Farmsitters (Just Whose Expectations Are Too High Here?)). Other farmwives will understand when I say there is no level of certainty that will allow me to relax and enjoy the vacation as I should: specters of mastitis, wormy anemia, and footrot will haunt me no matter how far I may wander.

That being the case, all I can do is my best to prepare for the worst. Here is my list of "things that must be done" divided into two categories: House and Farm:


1) pay bills. We don't want the electricity shut off (or the water, or the phone) while our house-sitter is here.

2) Clean the shit out of everything. If I were housesitting for someone, I wouldn't want to discover a moldy refrigerator drawer or a smelly secondary toilet. I would want plenty of clean towels and sheets.

3) Make a set of keys. Currently, I don't even own a set of keys for my own house. 'Nough said.

4) write instructions for everything - how to use the washer and the dryer, the TV remote, et cetera. Plus such things as how much to feed the dogs and where to put the food for the elusive cat.

5) work up a set of emergency numbers - which means contacting a bunch of shirttail relatives and begging them to be available in case of emergency. If they were readily willing to be available, I wouldn't be hiring a stranger, now would I?


1) stock up on animal food: full 50 pounds of goat food and chicken food, three or four bales hay, ditto straw for bedding.

2) make stop-gap repairs on barn floor: the floor is totally rotted out but a permanent fix is beyond our means at the moment, so a temporary fix would be something along the lines of:
a) break up and remove rotted plywood flooring
b) scrape and clean out subfloor as much as possible
c) lay cheap-ass treated particle board over studs
d) lay in a supply of straw for bedding

3) set up an account with both the veterinarian and the farm-store, so that any emergencies can be addressed by the farm sitter without a personal outlay.

4) Fix the lawnmower (again - don't ask) and do a final mow of both the lawn and the evil weeds. More to say about the weeds - next post.

5) Trim goat hooves. A long overdue task that haunts me in my dreams.

6) Write a detailed instruction booklet for milking and feeding. I know it sounds easy - "squeeze tits until milk stops flowing" but actually there's just a bit more to it than that. Things like "Goats will most likely jump up on the milking stand alone, but to get them off you must sling your arm around their neck and use the crook of your elbow to haul them down and guide them out the door..." as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure instructions like the preceding are better demonstrated than explained via the written word, so I should

7) schedule a practice run for the farmsitter (compensated, of course) .

That's about all I have time to think about right now. No doubt there's a great deal more, which I will most likely heartily regret failing to address when I am on the beach in Huatulco and my farmsitter is sending me messages marked "urgent."


sunset pines farm said...

so funny. We are headed out on Thursday, too, and I am smack in the middle of writing my instructions for our farm sitters.
We are only gone for 4 days, though. Have a great time in Mexico!

Marianne said...

Hi there. I was wondering how you ended up picking your farmsitter? Was it from your craigslist ad? And possibly a ball park of what the compensation is? We are working on coverage for our 2 week trip to Australia at the end of August and heck or high water, we are going on this trip! So, if I don't find the right sitter, the llama will have to be in charge of feeding the sheep. Thanks in advance. (And have a wonderful trip!)

ChristyACB said...

And just watch...everything will go swimmingly and you'll kick yourself for not relaxing and having fun.

That's how it goes for me every single time. :)

Aimee said...

Hi Marianne - yes, it was from my craigslist ad. I got a lot of response, so I was able to weed it down over the phone very quickly ("you've never milked a goat but you'd like to learn? Sure, but I'm not going to HIRE you to practice on my goats. You can pay ME to teach you, maybe."). There three most promising were invited out to interview, and I picked the one who impressed me the most and had a decent reference.
I'm paying $250. That's cheap, I know, but maybe they can sell all the eggs and make a bit more!

Marianne said...

Thanks Aimee for the info. Hope you have a terrific vacation.

Enjoying your bee info too. We just got 2 hives a few weeks ago and I am in learning-mode.

Marie said...

Looks like you having the time of your life. Some of my greatest memories include hanging out on my Grandfather's ranch.