“Where is SJ? Have you heard from SJ ?” “I haven’t seen anything from SJ in a long time.” “Has SJ quit social media?” These my friends are just a few of the queries circulating around about the elusive Survivor Jane. The truth of the matter is, if you want success at social media, you have to work at it. And, by working at it, I mean this, if you want to keep your “followers” engaged (sounds so, eh narcissistic doesn’t it?), you must be “visible” to them 24/7. Therein lays the dilemma. For you see, I am truly a homesteader. I live it. It’s a lifestyle. And with this chosen lifestyle comes the responsibilities of “all things homestead”. Just like disasters, the animals and chores, and yeah even the ‘ol goat, aren’t  gonna wait for you to get ready.

My day starts at 6 a.m., (I know, same with a lot of you.) I get up, wash my face, brush my teeth, jump into some work clothes; consisting of a pair of thrift-store jeans and a Prepper Camp t-shirt from past events and high rubber boots (you’ll understand the boots a little later.)) and, oh yeah, “paint the barn” a little (i.e., put on some make-up) - and no the animals don’t care, but the ol’ goat appreciates it! I then trudge to the kitchen and make the dogs their food, and then move on to scrambling some eggs for the ducks and chickens. Then, after breakfast, the ol’ goat and me, along with some of the baby goats and the dogs take a run – it’s just nice know the old ticker and lungs are working going. After the run if over its time for the fun stuff, or as I call it “All things Poop”.

First, I start out in the duck barn. For those not familiar with ducks, they are walking poop projectiles. Anything and everything is fair game as a target. So, you can only imagine the morning stench from a night of who can shoot the farthest or, what has to be their favorite game “Hey Look Where My Shot Landed”, all played under the cover of darkness. 

As the ducks rush past me heading to the pond for a day of leisurely swimming, sunning and scavenging the garden (we keep all of our animals locked us at night), I proceed to wade through the poopy straw to gathering the duck eggs out of the nesting boxes. (Spoiler Alert: this is where the high rubber boots come in.) Next comes the scrapping-off of the tops to the nesting box lids where just a few hours earlier had apparently been home base to some of the night’s activities, followed by the raking out of the heavy yucky wet poopy-straw and laying down a clean bed of straw in anticipation for the night’s events.

Moving on, I tackle the bunny barn (cute how everyone has a barn, huh?). Now thankfully, the bunnies are a little less messy. Sure, there are little poop pelts scattered about, but trust me, it’s nothing like the “frat-boy” ducks mess (no disrespect intended to college frat guys – I’m just sayin’.) I rack-up the straw, change the watering can to fresh water, and give the bunnies a fresh bed of straw. 

After finishing the two barns, I am left with a mound of stinky, wet poopy straw loaded into a wagon, which I then drag down to the garden berms (for those familiar with my hubby Rick Austin, I am referring to his “Secret Garden of Survival”) and disperse the mineral rich poop amongst the fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs. Oh yeah, and this is where the fun part comes in (not!) Wet straw is heavy and not easily manipulated. Meaning, as I am trying to pitch-fork the stuff out of the wagon and on to the berms, most of it ends up on my pants, boots and gloves. Nice.

Next, it’s the goat barns and the chicken coop. Once all the animals are out in their respective paddocks, munching, scratching, digging and whatever else they do out there, I then move on to the greenhouse to do a little plant pruning, transplanting, and watering before I head back into the house. 

Inside, I hand-wash the breakfast dishes and pans, and attempt to find my furniture with a dust cloth (we don’t have central air-conditioning, which means the windows are open during the day, allowing for all nature’s splendor to enter and land on any surface of its choosing.) It’s an ugly task, but someone has to do it, said by the person who is just a tad OCD about the inside of her home.

That is my morning. The afternoon consists of all the number of projects that must be done for the upkeep of the homestead, eating our lunch/dinner combined, and then the evening chores before heading to bed at 10 p.m. 

“That’s doesn’t sound so bad.” you say. “Why does this stop you from being on social media?” And my answer? It became a huge distraction from our original intent of creating a homestead. Don’t get me wrong, social media is fun, really fun. But, it is also a time sponge. It’s amazing how time can slip away just by you “checking in” on your social media accounts. So, I first got my priorities straightened out. I have a routine now, which allows me to better plan my days. Just as preparedness is about planning, so is your daily living. Making a plan of your day’s events and prioritizing allows for time for other things. Like say, writing a blog … and yes … maybe even a little homestead vlogging. I mean, who wouldn’t want to experience that poopy straw up close and personal?! Right?! Just sayin'!

- Survivor Jane


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