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“WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ALL DAY?”


I always found the style of some Richard Scarry’s books’ fascinating, sharing them with my daughter as she grew up. Detailed illustrations of "how things work" are part of his books. “What Do People Do All Day?” is one of those books where you dive into the lives of the residents of “Busytown”.


So, what do people at Unity Farm Sanctuary "do all day?"


On a typical day, around 7am, one of the co-founders turns off all the electric fences, turns on the music for Circles the Goose, opens electronic door locks and turns on electronically controlled lights with a handy Google Routine. Then at 8am, a staff member feeds hay to the goats, sheep, horses, and cows. Many of the horses and cows get additional grains, mashes, supplements and medications then as well. Staff members do this no matter the weather.


Also at 8am (until about 6pm), volunteers arrive hourly and begin helping to clean paddocks, socialize and do enrichment of rescues, including brushing some of the rescues.


The alpaca are fed hay and their water is refilled. Then the food for the pigs is portioned out - prepared for a volunteer to feed to the pigs around 9am. Volunteers also will help feed and get water for the Feathered Friends. A volunteer might also get water for the minipigs, or staff will cover that task.


If there is no volunteer signed up for cleaning and refilling the cow, horse, goat and sheep water troughs, a staff member will begin that task. In the winter we have heated water buckets and troughs, but in the springtime we can remove those for the plain buckets.


Staff will feed some hay again at noon, then break for lunch.


In the afternoon, many buckets of manure will be transported to composting by a staff member in one of our John Deere Gators. Sometimes a staff member will also need to clean out stalls where animals are kept while healing. On good weather days, maybe the John Deere tractor or gators need a good washing.


Then at 3pm, hay and grain for the appropriate animals as it was at 8am. If we need food for the pigs, a staff member might drive to the wholesaler to buy bulk fruits and veggies. (We do have three places we go throughout the week to pick up food discards)


The alpaca get their grain when the dogs in their paddock are fed dinner. The last hay serving of the day is at 6pm, and volunteers and staff head home.


Throughout the day, the farm manager is doing many tasks, such as working with veterinarians, or other contractors. If 50lb bags or even pallets of grains need to be picked up, that is part of the manager’s day as well, unless it is assigned to a staff member. If time permits, the manager might handle store sales and shipping, or a co-founder will assist.The farm manager manages the staff members and also hires when needed. If special medical care for a rescue is needed, the manager, often with the help of a staff member, will perform medical care. The manager also keeps the work board up to date, where food portions, medication doses, and other vital details are necessary. Sometimes the manager takes calls about surrenders, we get a lot of those.


The humane educator will be onsite or offsite offering classes to different ages. THis is an important part of the mission here.


Throughout any day, the co-founders might be found doing repairs, paperwork, fundraising, social media (blogging!), phone calls, emails, website updates, correspondence such as thanking donors and supporters, Running recycling and trash to the local transfer station, volunteer orientation and training, lead public and private tours and also perform some of the outside tasks as needed. They also check gates, lights and doors and do “night-time bed checks”. By 9pm, another Google Routine is run, turning on the electric fence, turning off Circles the Goose’s music, turning off some lights and turning on others, and of course locking the doors.


Whew! Time for bed, at Unity Farm Sanctuary!


(Full disclosure: Some of the Scarry illustrations make me personally sad and puzzled now, years later, experiencing cognitive dissonance where a pig is illustrated running the butcher shop… Recently, the wonderful author Rebecca Solnit posted a thoughtful examination of some children’s books and how small and simple things in books can change how a child views the world. Food for thought)