A ring of cumulus clouds at sunset.
5AM-6AM: Jennie is up, quietly sipping coffee, goofing off, saying her morning prayers, and generally orienting herself to the day. It’s too early to call anyhow, don’t you think?
6AM-6:30: The elder family members start waking up, and we get ready for milking.
6:30-7:30: Some of us head to the barn while others stay behind to make breakfast, start on the housework, and tend to the baby. The little children are getting up now, and there is a lot of activity, but it is still too early to call, yes?
7:30-8:15: Breakfast time! Whew! It’s nice to sit down together after our busy morning. Jennie nurses the baby while she eats, and we all talk about the day ahead and any current events that have captured our fancy since we last gathered. We will probably answer the phone at this time, just out of curiosity.
8:15-9AM: We clean up the kitchen, wash up the milk gear (if it isn’t done already), hang the laundry on the line, and take care of the rest of the livestock. We’re also getting ready for our homeschool day. If you catch us indoors right now, we may answer the phone, but we’re in a hurry!
9AM-11:30: We are homeschooling during these hours, and we do that away from the main house, believe it or not! We do not take a phone with us unless we’re waiting for a call back from a doctor or something, so you will most likely not be able to reach us during these hours. We don’t have internet out there, either.
11:30-1PM: We’re back in the house! At least for a few minutes. We have lunch, clean up the kitchen, do any other chores we missed in the morning, then head out to take care of the livestock again. A few people have gotten wise to the fact that we’re actually usually in the house around now, and time their calls accordingly. A few.
Fingers of storm cloud encroaching on our fair weather!
1PM-4PM: The elder children probably have a bit more work to do, so they go back out to school to finish up. The rest of us are usually involved in some other project, sometimes inside, sometimes out, and we may or may not answer the phone based on how much dough is on our hands and whether or not we actually heard it ring over the hum of our activities.
4PM-5PM: Dinner prep and more chores! Somebody has her hands in the meatloaf, and other folks are vacuuming the floor and tending to livestock – again. We’ll answer if we can get there, but we’re not going to worry if miss your call!
5PM-6PM: This is dinner time, and we absolutely, under no conditions, will answer the phone at this time!
6PM-6:45: We’re washing the dishes and tidying up the kitchen, putting together our milking gear and sterilizing the glass jars for later. The little ones also take their showers as they finish their chores.
6:30-7:30: This period overlaps the last one, because we split into two teams. The barn people head out for the evening milking, then feed the calves. The milk goes back to the house for straining and bottling, and the rest of the livestock gets put to bed.
During this hour and a half, there is usually someone inside, and either David will answer the phone, or one of the children will take a message. Jennie, however, is never available during this time.
7:30-8:30: This is the children’s hour. We all gather together in the evenings, and Jennie reads aloud to the children while they fold the day’s laundry and the baby nurses to sleep. After evening family prayers, the folded laundry gets put away and the children are tucked into their beds. (Even the big kids get tucked in!) David may answer the phone during this hour, but nobody else will. We look forward to story hour all day!
8:30-9PM: Jennie readies things for tomorrow and puts the house to bed, while David finishes up his activities at the computer. Again, David might pick up, just to keep the phone from bothering anyone, but Jennie will just leave it for the machine. Whatever you need can wait till tomorrow.
9PM-5AM: Few people try to call us at this hour, and we will seldom answer. We have no local family who might have an emergency, and as we are going to or already in bed, we are not going to deal with minor requests right now anyway. Leave a message if you like. Or just wait till tomorrow.
So how does one actually get in contact with us? Well, leave a message! We are probably listening to it live, and we’ll call you back in a few minutes, when our hands are free, or in a few hours, when we get in. But we will call back!
So how about you: Are there any times that you just won’t answer the phone? Do you set your cell aside now and then, or do you get twitchy if you’re out of the loop?
Fire in the sky.