How (Not) to Take a Farm Vacation

How (NOT) to Take a Farm Vacation :: Faulk Farmstead
This post was originally titled “How to Take a Farm Vacation.”  And then I decided it probably should be titled “How NOT to Take a Farm Vacation” because things didn’t  quite go as planned once we left our home state of Washington.
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Let’s go back a bit…
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In preparation for leaving town, my little sister dutifully learned the ways of the farm.  Although she was already a pro at feeding the animals, putting them up at night, and collecting eggs, the milking of the goats was on our daily lesson plan.  I remembered when I first started milking Totes and her tiny little Nigerian Dwarfs teats.  It definitely took some technique development.  My goal as the farmsteader was to make this 10-day farm-sitting stint as easy for my sister as possible.  She’s the one saving ME here!  My milking solution for her?  This handy-dandy battery-powered milker I ordered from Amazon.com.  Although I prefer hand-milking over machinery any day, I knew that this would make things a tad easier for my sister.  In the weeks leading up to our vacation, she got up with me in the mornings to learn both ways – milking by hand and milking via battery-powered milker. By the time we left home, she professed her comfort in milking and my mind was at ease.
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Thankfully, the milking went off without a hitch while we were on vacation.  That was the ONLY thing, however…
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During our time away, anything else that could go wrong, did.
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There were escaping animals.   Feisty cows acting bossy and getting into places they shouldn’t.   Goats jumping out of stalls.  Yes, jumping.  Please believe me when I say that this has NEVER happened.
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Our well-trained dogs that stay on the property 99.9% of the time?  It appears that while the parents were away they felt the need to escape (not even together) to various neighbor’s yards.  On a daily basis.  Might I mention that we have 100-lb dogs that are near impossible to move once they sit their butts down and decide that they want to be nowhere else than where they are that moment?  While NOT in our yard?
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*sigh* My poor sister had her hands full.  🙁
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I offered to my sister multiple times to Skype with our mama dog, to give her a stern talking to so as to whip her back into shape.  She declined.  Laugh as you may, I truly thought this would make a difference.  I reckon we will never know….
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After all of that, how DO YOU take a farm vacation?  My preparation tips and pointers:
  • Have a reliable sitter that your animals know and are comfortable with.  My sister lives with us currently while she is attending college, so she was a familiar, daily presence in our farmies and pets lives.   All in all, she is the BEST farm-sitter.  My farmies however?  Just plain naughty.
  • Prepare for the what-ifs, as well as you can.  Make sure there is more than enough food on hand for all of the animals.  Think you have enough?  Get more.  Just in case.  If anything, you won’t have to go shopping for food immediately when you get home.
  • If your sitter is collecting anything for you, make sure there is adequate storage available.  If eggs are being collected while you are away, make sure you have enough cartons for them to be stored in.  My sister doesn’t drink milk, however, our goat still needed to be milked daily and I didn’t want ANY of that precious bounty to be wasted.  Our solution?  Ice cube trays.  I purchased dollar-store trays for my sister to freeze the milk in.  Once frozen, she could pop the milk cubes out and into a ziplock freezer bag.  Now I will finally have excess milk to make luxurious goats milk soap.  Win-win!
  • Have resources available for your farm-sitter.  I was able to leave numbers for several resourceful people for my sister to call if she had troubles with anything.  A resource for house troubles and multiple for farmie troubles.  Also the number for our veterinarian.  One thing to note: Always a good idea to talk to these people before offering up their services.  Thankfully, everyone I spoke to was very willing to help out – thankfully no one was needed.
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One final note:  Sometimes no amount of planning will prevent animals from acting out.  Ours clearly knew that the parents where away and tried to get away with just about anything they possibly could.   You can’t always plan for misbehaving – the most frustrating part of all.  I tell you, the naughty words that ran through my head when my sister would update me on the shenanigans while we were away…
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All in all, I missed my farm tremendously.   As angry as I am at those naughty kids and cows and dogs, I miss the routine that was my day-to-day life.  As I am starting to type this post, I am flying over the Pacific, anxious to finish my full day of travel and come back home.  Will things return to normal when I wake up in the morning?  Probably not.  Will I have a frustrating week of adjusting everyone back to my farm routine?  Most definitely.
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But I will be happy.  Happy to return to what is mine.
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6 thoughts on “How (Not) to Take a Farm Vacation

  1. WOW what a bunch of nutters! Our critters totally do the same thing when we’re away. They know they can’t get away with it when I’m around but take full advantage of a sitter. And people say animals aren’t intelligent! HaH!

  2. This was an awesome post! I laughed out loud the entire way… I’m so happy you could find humor in it all and I hope you still managed to have a nice vacation. 🙂

  3. Your Skype comment made me laugh! Whenever I’m away on vacation, I usually have to offer the same thing to my Mom when she watches my dog + cats. They simply DON’T listen to her, but sometimes they’ll pay enough attention if I’m stern over the phone, haha.

    Even though things didn’t go according to plan, I hope you had a fantastic vacation + get comfortable settling back into your farm 🙂

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