Not enough hours in the day

At this time of year I always think I should feel to have extra time.  Yesterday was the longest day and, after a day in Manchester, we still managed to spend an hour or two in the garden, watering, tying things up, putting things back in the cold frames after resiting them in order to extend the hen run.  The moon gleamed like a small pale sun.   The sky was still light at 10 o' clock.

Across the valley the clouds held the last of the sun.

I love summer and last night I had a profound attack of how lucky I am to live here.

When I woke this morning to another green and gold day I thought I might manage to do some work, go to the hairdressers, and  paint in the kitchen, now beautifully plastered and revealing its smooth curves.

Not yet what you could call a working kitchen though is it?

  Am I the only one who always hopelessly misjudges what I can do in a certain amount of time?  I look at the bits of my day that are committed and assume that the rest of the time will be available to get going on a big project, like painting the walls.  I forget that ordinary life eats up the hours, even in June,  and that, by the time I have done my domestic round, answered my emails, done some work phone calls, had a skype call from elder daughter in Japan, made some bread and finished weeding the cottage garden border it will time to make some supper.  Whoosh, the whole day gone, busy and productive maybe but not necessarily with the things I thought I would do!

Today I also separated the mother hen from her teenage chicks.  I went out this morning and found her pacing the run, ignoring her chicks or pecking halfheartedly but irritatedly at them if they followed her too closely.  When I came home from a work visit and the hairdresser this afternoon she was still doing it so I decided that she had reached the stage when she could rejoin the rest of the hens in the main hen house.  It was a bit of a palaver getting her out of the chicks' run without having them running all over the place too but eventually she was out and they were in and all was well.  She didn't rejoin the other hens scratching under the yew tree but stayed close by the pen but she seemed happy enough in the long grass, ignoring the peeps from the chicks altogether.  When I put corn out for them all at the end of the day as they went into the hen house she tagged along at the back but the little white Wyandotte, half the size of the Welsummer, had a go at her.  Here is the Wyandotte, looking characteristically sweet and as though butter wouldn't melt.  Don't be fooled.

All the hens were together up on the perch when we went to lower the pop hole but there was still some jockeying and chuntering and every now and then one of the others would have a bit of a peck at the Welsummer, presumably needing to reestablish the pecking order after a couple of months without her while she was sitting on her eggs and being mother hen.  

The chicks hung around outside in their run for longer than usual, like children waiting for someone to tell them to go to bed, before eventually crowding into the house together.  They will have to stay in their own pen until they get big enough to fend for themselves in the main house.

So that's it really: progress with kitchen, zero; progress with garden, minimal; busyness level, high; achievement level, not terribly visible, it's not even a very visible haircut.  There is bread in the kitchen I suppose!


  1. I always get fustrated when I dont manage to achieve something I have planned to do but then like you I often have unrealistic aspirations!

  2. No, you are certainly not alone to believe that the day is extendable to the utmost or is it that we overestimate our capabilities and speed in work? I always thought that this paid work ate up all the precious time and there was nothing left after hours. But now, I find myself in exactly the same situation than you - everything takes much more time than I estimated. Once a friend said to me: then shorten your list. phhhhhhhhhhhh Were do you want to shorten from the 3874 jobs which remain to do?
    I love your posts, Elizabeth.

  3. "I had a profound attack of how lucky I am"... oh Elizabeth you do make me smile! What a wonderful attack. I'm glad you shared it with us.

    By the way, I've got a post in mind in response to your recent one about what are blogs for. If I can bear to come inside anyday soon to sit at the computer I'll let you know!

  4. Pg - you are so right, unrealistic expectations are the problem!
    Bayou - I was just the same and thought that the time problem would be solved when I gave up my previous job. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
    Sue - hope you get to your blog about blogging. It is sure to be interesting.

  5. So many things to do and even at this time of year, too few hours in the working day.

    Most things will keep until tomorrow.

  6. Invisible haircuts are the best kind, unless you wanted a crew cut! As a life-long long-haired chick, I have always had a fear of chop happy hairstylists whose goal is to make you look "different" when you leave. (ie: chop several inches off when you only asked for a trim)

    Yes, I have days like that too - get things done, but not what I thought. Then there are days when I try to get a lot done and realize I should have slept in instead. Ha!

  7. Lovely pictures, all of them, but I especially like the sunset pics. Bread in the kitchen? Now that is an accomplishment if you ask me!

  8. I'm one of those who makes a plan for the day, i.e. X amounts of jobs. However I have a friend who just works through the day at a relaxed pace, and he gets far more done than I ever do; and never feels shattered! I try to follow his example but I think I'm too programmed.

    Kitchen looks great. I like the rounded edges etc.

  9. Yup, I'd say it was much the same for all of us. One of the things I've learned (though I am still not very good at it) is to live life in clock time rather than goal time. I try to put something aside, and finish it tomorrow if I have said I shall only work until a certain time. Otherwise work would keep you up all night and there would never be time for what you wanted to do. Another beautiful post. Good luck with the young hens

  10. Oh how right you are - my lists are always way to long for my days. Like you, bread is one of the necessities that gets made. Shortest day here so even less time to do everything.

  11. Paint, schmaint. Have a glass of chilled white wine and just stroke the lovely curvaceous walls. Much more fun.

  12. I am frustated also I have so much going on I can't keep up with it. I stared a project and everything is coming on me Dr appointments, plumbers, IRS and banks attorneys,that messed me up. what a whirlwind.
    Good luck with the chickens.

  13. This sounds very familiar! I have been known to write a long list, including the things I do without thinking like cooking meals, just so I can see SOMETHING crossed off at day's end!

    Your summer day sounds much like ours in length. I love it, too!

  14. I'm just the same (you won't be surprised to know); the more time I have, the more I think I can squeeze in!

  15. Honestly, Elizabeth, give yourself a break! What do you want to be able to say about your life when you're a very, very old lady -"I finished my To Do list every day" or 'I lived every day to the full, I noticed what was around me, and I spent time just being alive in my richly-textured and beautiful world"??

    Anyway, new kitchen walls have to mature for a while before anyone paints them.....

  16. Hens can be so cruel - pecking order has to be re-established doesn't it.
    I too find that supper time comes round all too quickly - but still, it is better than having nothing to do.

  17. Mountainear - you are right, most things keep, and then keep again until I have a rush of blood to the head and suddenly do everything!
    Marcheline - I think I am with you on the invisible haircut. I usually have a slightly visible one and then wait for a couple of weeks until I like it again.
    Kim - the bread is straightforward now as we make it every week. Having been doing it for so long, I could do it practically by feel!
    Cro - I agree that a gentle, productive going with the flow is probably the best idea but I too may be too programmed. I can at least manage not to have a written list these days!
    Fennie - good thinking to just stop after a certain amount of time. We have a sort of 9 o' clock deadline here. It you haven't finished the job by 9 you have to stop anyway. This was a good tactic when we used to work all evening but nowadays we have quite often run out of steam well before 9!

  18. Susan - that is a nice phrase "my lists are longer than my days"!
    Dawn - now that sounds a good idea. I think that might be the plan for tonight.
    Yvonne - ah, I see you too are living in a whirlwind. It is supposed to be peaceful up here though.
    Dimple - I have tried to give up list writing on the scale that I used to but if I did, I would put making and eating meals on it too! Great idea.
    Chris - I know, daft isn't it!

  19. Elizabeth - a great blog again and you've got it so right. There's always less week than jobs even in the summer. Mind you we are a bit prone to putting the kettle on often so in our case that might have something to do with it!

  20. ......and when I sit at the computer and read there is even less time!...although I love to read your posts, and always learn something (like what to do with the teen chicks when and if the time comes!)

  21. I haven't even managed the bread today Elizabeth! Feeling as though I am running on the spot as the house falls apart around me. Ah well, there is always something soothing about reading your blog at least x

  22. That's what retirement is all about: being busy all day with little to show for it at the end of it.

    That is, until you look at it properly: your day has been full of a multitude of things, all productive in their own right and hopefully very enjoyable.

    Life after full-time paid employment, nice work if you can get it.

  23. I never do in my day what I think I'm going to do. And no, there are never enough hours.


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