how we live life by the weather at PumpjackPiddlewick

Living with animals, especially ducks and/or chickens, means you learn to live your life by the weather. Add in a vegetable garden and you truly start to cycle your days and set your routines by what the weather is going to do.

Yesterday we woke up to snow. It’s not a common thing where we are in France, though not unusual. This happens maybe two or three times during December and January and the snow melts away by mid day.

I’m taking the snow as a good sign. That spring is coming soon. That snow means we are moving beyond the freezing temperatures. I know that sounds like an anomaly, but hear me out. When it is truly freezing, as in the ice has to be broken through on the duck ponds, we know we are in true winter. It’s a short period for us, thank goodness.

Snow means cloud cover. Clouds actually mean temperatures increase a little as they trap warmth in. So hence it is not as cold out. Sure we will see some freezing nights still, but overall the temperatures are beginning to rise.

We have been dealing with freezing temperatures on and off for the last 2 weeks. Because we live life by the weather, this has really affected how and when we do things. What do I mean by that? I mean that the weather dictates what we do each day.

Luck and choice would have it that we are self employed and have offices at home. We are both very strict about putting in our 8, sometimes more, hours a day of employment. But the hours and how we arrange them varies with the weather.

This time of year, or rather during the freezing temperature period, as you can imagine much of our time is spent indoors. No one, including our animals, is very physically active during this short period. It’s s time for me, beyond work, to get personal projects done.

Yet living life by the weather means that fairly soon, more and more time will be spent outdoors. It’s a gradual thing, and before I know it I will be more outside than in. Even taking my laptop out to work outside in Cafe du Canard.

As the days get longer and warmer, hours will be spent varyingly between work and garden. The garden takes the most time in March through May, with maintenance, preparation and planting. Luckily the days are beautifully long so we can fit everything in.

And of course there will be the odd rainy day. As long as it is not a downpour, work will continue in the garden. Or if doing office work, I may work from the cover of the barn, whilst keeping an eye on foraging ducks from the open door.

Cool nights and warm days of spring are the perfect blend. Inspiring one to sleep well, work hard in the garden in the early morning and then work in the office or take my laptop in to the afternoon shade on the patio.

When summer heat hits, its sort of a repeat of the freezing times. The indoors beckons once again, with its cooler spaces. Except this time, as the mornings can sometimes be quite nice, we become super early birds (along with our ducks) and any garden or house work will be done then.

Autumn brings a repeat of spring, except we are harvesting rather than planting. Wet days are a perfect excuse for preserving and canning. Or again, working from the barn, laptop open, but with an eye to watching the ducks frolic in puddles.

Living life by the weather doesn’t mean we can’t plan ahead. We tend to figure out what we wish to accomplish that week, that month, and the tasks that will achieve that. Then as each day dawns we can fluctuate the tasks either by day or hour, varying them to what the day’s weather brings. These tasks will include our employment, animals, garden and restoration home. Depending on the weather, some areas of our life garner more attention than another on a given day.

The animals of course get regular attention year round, but it does vary with the weather too. We spend more time with the ducks in spring and autumn, since we are outside more. The cats all but disappear during these times. We will see them only at feeding times. Come the cold temperatures and it’s a reverse, as we and they spend more time indoors. The cats and Chewie, our standard sized dachshund, all snoozing around us.

Freezing temperatures, or the very hot, are not conducive to home restoration work. For one paint doesn’t like to dry or glue set if it is too cold. Frozen fingers make for hard and not very careful work. Too hot, and rendering dries out before you can get in place. Ditto on the weather for the garden. Luckily our extremes in temperature are short lived where we live.

As for office work, for Pumpjack whose office opens in to the courtyard, it’s a matter of whether the door will be open or closed. For me, my office is upstairs, with French balcony doors facing the street. It captures the afternoon sun. A blessing in the winter, whereas shutters will be closed against it in the heat of the summer. But have laptop, will travel. So weather permitting, I work outside as often as possible over the course of the year.


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