'47 Ranch Dressing (is this Yolanda?) asked me:
Where do you get your beef from?
And since you both work outside the home, how do you manage food preparation time? Do you prepare meals just before eating, or do you do a lot of it in advance? How do you manage your time between farming, maintenance of the property, and enjoying life? Please share your strategies.
We get our beef from some friends that live near Yosemite and own a historical farmstead. We actually buy part of the live steer and then get some of the meat from it. However, there are other ranchers closer to home that do the same. You can go to Eat Wild's website to find local ranchers.There's one ranch in Martinez called Silver Springs Ranch that also sells grass-fed beef. They have comparable prices to what we paid. Of course the more you buy the cheaper it is, with buying a whole steer the cheapest option. If you can get enough people together to go into a whole steer you can take advantage of this discounted price. In a few months we may be interested in getting a group together to get another steer.
As for time management, it does take time, but if you do it right, you can save time and still have plenty of time to go out and enjoy life. The trick is having both of us sharing all the responsibilities. We cooked dinner almost every evening before this so, that hasn't changed. I don't work Fri-Sun. On Fridays I do a lot of baking for the coming week. But if I didn't have Fridays off I just spread out the baking throughout the week. We have a bread machine which is a a life saver. We just add the ingredients before bed and set the timer. We wake up to the smell of fresh bread.
As for farming and home maintenance, we spread it out. I think that's the key. Don't do it all at once or you'll burn yourself out. We've also got everything set up so that we don't have to spend too much time. Our crops are on automatic irrigation so we don't have to water. We use wide rows which helps reduce our weeds. I don't plant everything at once so I only need to spend about half an hour a couple of times a week dealing with that. Cleaning is easy because we have a ridiculously small house. Floors just need to get swept and occasionally mopped. We don't have any rugs or carpet to deal with, which really helps when you have dogs and cats in the house all the time. We split the cleaning between us, which makes it go a lot faster.
Caring for the livestock is made easier by automating as much as possible. We use a large feeder for our chickens. Each of our rabbits have their own feeders and waterers that we only need to fill every few days. Our goats have a hay feeder, again, only needing to be filled every couple of days. Our goats and chickens share an automatic waterer that we don't have to fill.
I suppose our main key is sharing the cooking, cleaning, farming and maintenance chores. And automate everything you can. Not having to go the grocery store saves a lot of time too.