Making the Farmstead Work Like A Well Oiled Machine

I am an organized person, but I wasn’t always. There was a time in my life when I felt so out of control that I didn’t have any idea where to even start to find peace. I prayed about it. What’s funny about prayer is that you think you are praying for one thing, then you get another. This was one of those situations.

Making the Farmstead Work - Stone Family Farmstead

After praying for more patience in my life, I was “gifted” with the answer of organization. My response was something like, “Really, Lord?” But then I started looking into ways to get more organized and found a treasure trove of ideas that helped me to pull myself and my home together, and lo and behold, more patience and peace entered my life and home.

Now, don’t let me fool you into thinking that I started making lists, chore cards and menus, then I magically quit being stressed and depressed. It took daily discipline and much tweaking of my organizational plan to get where I am today. Having said that, though, I want to say that knowing that I was going in the right direction brought more peace than just sitting and wondering how I was going to get a hold of my home and my life.

That prayer was prayed 15 years ago, and since then, I have tried many different systems, printable chore files, and menu planners. I tend to switch them up now and again when I get tired of them, but the basic idea has always been the same: do a set of daily chores; and plan a menu and shopping list. It doesn’t matter how I accomplished those things, but when I did, my home ran much more smoothly than when I didn’t.

The Control Center

You may have heard of a “control journal” from the Flylady bandwagon that everyone seemed to be on a few years back (me too!), and my idea is very similar. Matter of fact, I got the idea for the chore cards from a book by Pam and Peggy, two ladies known as the Sidetracked Home Executives, whose shared knowledge Flylady basically built her ideas on.

My Control Center is different from Flylady’s, however: it only takes up something like 15 square inches on my desk, and is much easier to work with than a control journal, which I always seemed to need to keep open somewhere to stay on track. The ease of use of the Control Center is a huge plus for me because the reality is, I want to take the path of least resistance when it comes to getting my chores done every day.

Control Center - Stone Family Farmstead

The Plans

Now that we are living on our one-acre hobby farm, the chores seem to have multiplied. What with adding 2 goats, 3 chickens, and a new dog to train and tend to the ten animals we already owned, we have a lot more to do every day. Add to that the desire to grow our own produce and it can all feel really overwhelming.

I have a basic weekly plan to follow, which helps me to know where to focus each day. It works out really well for me, and I pretty much just work on each day’s focus until there’s nothing left to do, I drop, or it’s time to go to bed, whichever comes first.

Basic Weekly Plan

Sunday – indoor crafting projects (sewing, crochet, handiwork, mending)
Monday – heavy cleaning
Tuesday – bills, errands, shopping
Wednesday – doctor’s appointments, anything else that couldn’t get done on Tuesday
Thursday – sewing class
Friday – cooking, canning, making mixes, baking bread
Saturday – outdoor projects and big chores (cleaning out the coop/pens/hutches, building gardens, building fences, planting, fertilizing, etc., and other stuff that I can’t do during the week)

I wrote in a 3×5 card and taped it to the top of my control center so I can see it easily when I am sitting at my desk.
Making the Farmstead Work - Stone Family Farmstead

I also have a basic menu plan that I follow each week, which makes it much easier to choose what to make for dinner when I don’t have a menu planned for the week. I much prefer to have one planned, but for some reason, I hate to sit down and do it each week or two, so for those weeks that I don’t do it, I have a basic plan in my head.

Basic Menu Plan

Sunday – Fancy dinner (homemade burgers and fries, steak dinner, roast, ribs, etc.–anything time consuming, more expensive than usual, or fancy-to-us, yet comforting and special)
Monday – Italian (usually spaghetti or chicken parmesan with salad and garlic bread)
Tuesday – American, chicken (usually oven-baked chicken with baked and sweet potatoes and a veggie)
Wednesday – Eat out or Mexican (usually wet burritos, carne asada/carnitas, beans and rice; if no meat is available, just bean burritos and rice will do on this day)
Thursday – Asian (usually teriyaki chicken stir fry, or teriyaki chicken over rice with a steamed veggie)
Friday – Pizza night
Saturday – Crock pot chili

I cut down and taped another index card to the front for quick reference.

Basic Menu Plan, Making the Farmstead Work - Stone Family Farmstead

The third thing I do is to follow a basic set of chores that I do every day. These are all 1-10 minute activities that make my home look like it’s always clean, and help me remember to do what is best for myself and for my animals every day. All in all, I can get all of these activities done in one hour per day if I do them daily.

Basic Daily Chores

Wash up (wash face, brush teeth)
Get dressed (put on clothes; put on shoes and makeup if I’m going somewhere that day)
Wipe down master bathroom (mirror, counters, sink; wipe and swish toilet)
Make bed, tidy bedroom, and pick up dirty clothes
Start laundry
Devotions or current Bible study
Do dishes, wipe kitchen counters and stove
Eat and take supplements (vitamins, herbs, and milk kefir)
Tend sprouting system
Check milk kefir
Correct and assign schoolwork
Outdoor chores (feeding, checking waters, scooping poop, and general tending to animals’ daily needs)

My basic daily chores are written on yellow index cards and filed in what’s called a “tickler” file. A tickler file is just a file with a divider for each date in the month. Behind each date divider, I file chore cards for each daily chore, and I also have weekly, monthly, and yearly chores that I want to remember to do filed here as well. This file makes it really easy to just pull out what needs to be done for any given day in the month.

Making the Farmstead Work, Tickler File - Stone Family Farmstead

So that’s my nutshell of how I make the farmstead work from day to day. In order for this plan to actually work, I do protect my time pretty fiercely by scheduling errands on designated errand days, not planning anything on days where the day’s focus will take all day long, etc. Some afternoons are more flexible and I can plan crafty meetings with friends where we teach each other homesteady things like soap making, DIY hygiene products, animal care, or just shoot the breeze over some dish we learned to make.

I admit that there are days (and weeks) that I only do some of the items on my lists. I’m ok with that because I know there will be times that I am not able to “hit” my ideal for each day. At those times I am gentle with myself and try my best and let the rest slide. I know that when I come back around, however, that there will be lots to catch up on, so I am working on not allowing things to go for too long before I get to them.

Stay tuned for more posts on this topic, including printables and complete instructions on putting together your own system for making YOUR farm, farmstead, or rural or urban homestead work! Subscribe to Stone Family Farmstead by email today so you don’t miss them!

What About You?

How do you keep your home or farm working? What the keys to your success?

MYO Control Center - Stone Family FarmsteadCLICK HERE for instructions for making a Control Center for your farmstead. You’re only a few minutes away from making YOUR farmstead work like a well-oiled machine!

Shared at Good Morning Mondays, Homemade Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Tuesday with a Twist, Maple Hill Hop, Homestead Blog Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Weekend Blog Hop, From the Farm, Old Fashioned Friday, Front Porch Friday, Farmgirl Friday, Simple Saturdays

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Kristi Stone

Kristi Stone

Honestly? I'm the author of this blog...sometimes. My family and I live in Sunny Southern California on a one acre hobby farm where we are working diligently to one day produce our dairy, eggs, and produce. That takes A LOT of work, so if you don't hear from me as soon as you'd like, give me a shout out in the comments and I'll chat back as soon as I can between the garden, goat kids, chickens, husband, human kids, and playing with my grandboy, Kieran. And in the mean time, if you'd like to see more frequently what goes on at our farm, please feel free to join my Facebook group (see the right column) where I am more active. I'd love to get to know you! ๐Ÿ™‚
Kristi Stone

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  1. This looks like a terrific plan. I like the idea of the cards.

  2. Love your organization system. I think everything on the home-front (from meals, to animals and homeschooling) always work better when well planned out. Looks like you’ve got a great plan for your family.
    Haven’t heard of Flylady. Sounds like a hip-hop dancer ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Found this on the outdoor link-up on Maple Hill 101 ๐Ÿ™‚ .)

    • Ha ha ha! You are right, her name does make her sound like a hip-hop dancer!

      I agree–it’s much better when we are not flying by the seat of our pants, so to speak (for us anyway). Thanks for visiting, Farmer’s Wife!

  3. Well when did you start this project? How neat! Sounds like you’re having fun! We’re prepping to sell in 10 months – so excited! Moving further out this time and adding big acreage. Excited! Love this organization system but I have to admit after several years on the farm the activity has been kind of drilled in my head so a list is no longer necessary. This is fantastic though for those starting out. Nice to see you back online.

    • Oh, for sure, Carol—I get that. Lots of my routine is drilled in…and some of it just falls off the plate. ๐Ÿ˜€ I think it’s part of learning to switch gears to the responsibilities of rural life versus city life, you know?

      I started this project after I sold my other blog. I didn’t think I would be blogging anymore, but knew we would need a site to sell our dairy goats. The writing bug hit again and I took the plunge back into the blogging world! I’m glad to be back too!

  4. Ah… praying for patience is dangerous. God rarely “gives” it to us, but rather “teaches” us to develop it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your system, though, and inspires me to make a plan of my own.

    Thanks for linking up at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!


  5. This is a great post and a great way to stay focused on all that you have to do. I have just done schedules for the children and in the back of my mind I have what I want to get done after the schooling is completed for the day, but this sounds like a great idea for the whole week. Thank you for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    • Hi Terri! It could work for you however you want it to, really! I don’t have to look at the cards every day, but if I really want to stay focused, I do, because I have a meandering mind! LOL Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Deanna Furrey says:

    I love this! I love to make lists and write down ideas and such in a spiral but then.. I misplace the spiral. This would be much easier to find. I am looking forward to the how-to on this one.:)

    • I completely understand, Deanna! For SO long, I thought I was a notebook person…only I wasn’t. I find that I love the process of putting it together, but then I find it overwhelming to utilize. It’s so weird, I don’t know why I am like that! The card system has by far been the most effective system for me. Stay tuned for the tutorial, I’m working on it. Hopefully I can post it by next week! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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