It’s 7:30 and I’ve been up for an hour. Some farmers get up way earlier than this-it really just depends on what you’re farming. When we grow alfalfa, we have to be up at 2am to bale it when there is at least a teeny tiny bit of moisture in the dry desert air.
I hate getting up early.
I don’t mean just a little. I really really really really really REALLY hate getting up early. Back in my pre-farming days, I could easily sleep in until noon and anything earlier than 10am was just a killer. To give me credit, I had an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, hypothyroiditis, which the primary symptom is bone deep exhaustion. Now that I take medicine for it, it’s a bit easier to get up. I haven’t slept in until noon for probably a decade now although sometimes I wish I could lol.
For people who have good health, it’s really just a will power thing. And when you have something important enough to get up early for, you just have to get up. There are bills to be paid. If I can do it, you can do it.
What helped me was a book called I Can make You Sleep by Paul McKenna. It helped me to get to sleep faster and sleep deeper and over the years I’ve been able to progressively get up earlier and earlier. Anytime before 8 still kills me, but I’m usually up by 7 anyhow. A decade or so ago I wouldn’t have thought getting up by 7 was possible. I think that’s pretty good progress.
If you’re like me and the reality is your body can’t handle the 4am wake up time of a dairy farmer…well, don’t become a dairy farmer. There are all sorts of types of farming and each one has a different wake up time. With livestock farming, all you do is get up when you want to (decently early hopefully) feed the animals, do a little mucking now and then, feed them before bedtime and go to sleep. Every now and then, in the spring usually, you have some extra working selling them to people or maybe butchering them and then you have to drag your exhausted butt out of bed for a long day. This is why we’re primarily livestock farmers lol.
This is the key to farming. It’s usually hurry up and wait. Every once in a while you have big intense days of hard work and most days are lighter work (notice I didn’t say easy work). This is especially true if you have a diversified small farm. Each season has a different point of intensity. Turkeys at thanksgiving for instance. Most of the year you’re just feeding them and then on one or a few days, you process them. Between December and May, you may not even have any turkeys on your property or are just feeding your breeders so you get time off.
Basically my point is that there is no limit to what farming is and you can to some degree design a farm around your need for sleep and the lifestyle you want.
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