At the shop I have been learning the ropes. I can now bake pasties, pies, scotch eggs, make our pastry and even tackle our sweet pies and cakes. The butchery side I haven't even looked at yet - just learning the terms and watching from a far is enough for me at the moment. I have stepped in to help with the paperwork side making sure our allergens are sorted, and HACCP and supplier accounts are all in order. And I have begun to create a website to help our online presence.
On the farming side it has been pretty quiet over the last few weeks. With the weather being so poor lately we are among many farmers across the country on weather watch, hoping for sunshine. It has put harvest on hold. I have helped out with a few maintenance jobs around the farm and have been repairing my chicken pen ahead of winter, but with so much to get my head around in the shop, that has been the focus for me.
Whilst we have settled into the new routine, we have also now started our first ever summer holidays. It is just the beginning for us and so far, we seem to have settled in well, with a really good support network to help us out.
We have had our eldest at the farm helping where he can, in the office colouring and playing with Lego whilst I do the paperwork - he has even been on the butcher shop delivery round with me. He has taken it all in his stride, happy to help and learn about everything around him but, I must admit the mom guilt is very real at the moment.
- Click here to read This month on the family farm: 'We have never had members of the public come to the farm before'
I see all his friends jetting off on holiday, having family days out and talking about these lovely summer plans. When you have to respond to other parents and say, ‘he will be at work with us every day' you can't help but feel like a bad parent.
I know this isn't the case, he is getting so much life experience, learning new things, meeting new people and enjoys it, but it doesn't matter how I frame it, I will still feel the guilt.
I am hoping to squeeze in a weekend away before school starts back up again in September, but unless this sunshine appears so we can get harvest underway, it is looking more and more unlikely every week.
At home I have taken advantage of the bad weather and have been having a massive declutter. I am not a massive cleaner, but I like everything in my home to be organised and lately I have felt that (since having children) we have accumulated more and more stuff.
Over the past few weeks I have been going from room to room de-cluttering and re-evaluating all of the ‘stuff' we have to try and create a less chaotic and more purposeful home.
Why now? Well now I am at the farm and shop, it's true, working for yourselves means that you don't really ever switch off. We just pop on the laptop to do this, or just pop to the yard to do that, or even find myself painting signs for the shop in my evenings. Having a clearer house, I am hoping, will allow me to switch off, and having less stuff to tidy means less pressure and less to clean.
And finally, some of you will hate this but my attention turns to Christmas. It seems ages away, but it is slowly creeping in. Places have started to release their tickets to see Santa (mine are booked) and Christmas bookings are being taken - for example, I have mine and the boys Christmas haircuts booked in.
Now the real reason I start Christmas so early is I find it overwhelming if I don't. It's the busiest time of year for the family shop, so I already know that this year is going to feel like there is more going on than ever. Having my calendar events booked in and organised stops that feeling of missing out, plus it means I get the slots that fit us best as a family - win win.
I have also started my shopping. With the cost of everything rising it gives me the opportunity to attend the local boot sale, go to charity shops, look for sale items and scour Vinted. By having the gift of time, I pick up things very cheaply for the boys and it saves me a fortune in the long run. I often get asked, ‘don't you forget what you have bought?'. So, for those wondering, I have a clear storage box for each of my three boys, and one for family that is stored in our loft. Everything gets put into those boxes and it means it is easy to see and keep a track of what I have bought.
For some this may be too much, but for others I hope it helps you take that little bit of stress out of December so you can focus of the merriment and enjoy an extra glass of mulled wine this year.
Well, with all that talk of Christmas, we can at least hope we get a fair bit of sunshine before then so we can get 2023 harvest underway and get ourselves away to a nice cottage for a weekend.
Wishing everyone a successful harvest and happy summer holidays.