Episode 142 | Avoiding Burnout as a Homemaker, Homesteader, Homeschooling Mom, and Business Owner | Kate of Venison for Dinner

It’s easy to look at someone like Kate and wonder how she does it all.  Between homemaking, homeschooling her five children, maintaining her Canada homestead, and running her successful online business, Kate’s plate is certainly full.  In our conversation, we discuss the realities of what it looks like to manage all of these responsibilities well without burning yourself out.  A little spoiler alert: Kate doesn’t do it all alone and neither do I!  If you have a goal of pursuing a new opportunity—a business or homestead or some other dream—but you wonder how you will manage it all, may you be inspired by this honest look behind the scenes of the lives of two fellow homemakers and business owners.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How Kate started her online business and grew it to where it is today
  • Scheduling work hours when you work from home
  • How to navigate seasons of burnout when your plate is full
  • Letting go of the pressure to do it all yourself
  • Setting boundaries in your business around what opportunities to pursue
  • The power of outsourcing in your business
  • A typical day in the life on Kate’s homestead
  • A hard look at wasting time and accomplishing your goals
  • One helpful tip for seasons of living in survival mode

About Kate

Kate is a mom to five, living a ‘full time family’ life in Northern BC, Canada. Alongside her husband, Marius, they raise all their own meat, dairy and most of the vegetables too, and take you along for the ride on YouTube and Instagram. Kate is a big believer in “keepin’ it real” and strives to show you what life for a homeschooling family of seven really looks like on a farm.

Resources

Venison for Dinner Insiders Club

Connect

Kate Schat of Venison for Dinner | Website | Instagram | YouTube | Facebook 

Lisa Bass of Farmhouse on Boone | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | TikTok | Facebook | Pinterest

Join us in the Simple Farmhouse Life Facebook community!

Thank you to our sponsors!

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Transcript

Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Today I’m going to be chatting with Kate from Venison for Dinner over on Instagram, YouTube. She really brings so much good advice. We’re going to talk about burnout. So you might have the goal of starting a homestead, but right now you’re drowning in homemaking, kids, so many different avenues that you can pursue, so many goals that you can pursue, and it can really feel overwhelming. So we’re going to talk about that, and I really admire her in the way that she has structured her life in order to avoid burnout, avoid overwhelm. I’ve noticed through following her that she seems to be able to really compartmentalize things, outsource things, and that is what I definitely discovered in this interview. I really admire her lifestyle, and I learned a lot, a lot of things that I personally want to apply instantly. So without further ado, let’s dive into the interview with Kate from Venison for Dinner. 

Lisa Bass Well. Hey, Kate, thank you so much for joining me. 

Kate Schat Thanks for having me. 

Lisa Bass I appreciate you jumping on. I was thinking through the list of topics that you would have been a really good fit for. Honestly, I was like, “Gosh, I could have put her on just about any episode.” But this one is something that I’ve seen you talk a little bit about on your Instagram, and so I thought it’d be really good for you to weigh in. We’re going to talk about burnout and keeping a lot of plates spinning as a mom homesteading, homemaking, homeschooling, and then you also have a business on top of everything else that requires a lot of your time as well. So I think we can really dive into a lot of it. So first, tell us a little bit about yourself, your business. When did  you start? Did you intend for it to be a business? 

Kate Schat So I started Venison for Dinner ten years ago. I started it mostly as a procrastination project. I started blogging. And I branched into social media, and I enjoyed it, but I never successfully monetized it. I tried a couple times kind of halfheartedly but didn’t get anywhere. So when our fourth kid was a baby in 2019, I told my husband that his job was too stressful and I was going to find a way for him to quit his job. And he was like, “That’s cute and I support you, but I’m going to keep going to work, right?” And a year later, I launched— so at that point I kind of started YouTube, and it did some, but not a lot. And then I launched a subscription based membership, and he quit his job a couple of months later. It just took off. So he’s been home full-time for two years now, and our business is almost completely digital. Everything we do is online: membership, ebooks, courses, YouTube channel. It’s a completely online, remotely run business. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. And I know that there is a lot of dynamic behind all of that. In some ways it looks hard, but in some ways it actually looks really easy. But there’s a lot of planning and expectation communicating and keeping everybody doing what they’re supposed to be doing. There’s its own set of challenges. I didn’t actually realize that you were such a newcomer on all of this, because— I don’t know. I started my blog in late 2015, early 2016, and then my husband quit his job in 2018. But I felt like— I just thought you had been doing this for a lot longer, but you had a really quick turnaround with all of that. So it sounds to me like you started with the goal of making your Internet presence— well, maybe not at first. But after a certain point, you made your Internet business into a business. That was the goal of you picking up speed, starting the membership, all that kind of stuff. 

Kate Schat Yeah. So I decided I was spending enough time on all this social media stuff that I needed to treat it like a business and it needed to pay me like a business, right? So I started having set hours. I worked before my husband got up in the morning and then we had a deal that every other evening I would work because I couldn’t just work every evening. We needed time to spend together. So the evenings I worked after the kids were in bed, he would go hunting or fishing or whatever. And then the other night, we would hang out together. So we did this back and forth. And actually he liked it because he would just go hunting or fishing, and he was happy. And I treated it like a business and I was able to grow it like a business. Once he quit his job, I then had to transition into working different hours. And I was so used to working for the last year or two on this morning and evening schedule. And now I’m like, I purposely don’t work mornings or evenings. I have my set office hours, and I think it’s a line between compartmentalizing things, but not. Because what makes people like what I do is that I share real life. So I maybe am filming and this and that in real time, but I don’t share it in real time. I have to compartmentalize when I’m putting that stuff online and when I’m interacting with people. Otherwise, you get caught in constantly just back and forth online and not in your real life. 

Lisa Bass Right. And it can be really tricky to manage. And my experience was like yours where I was doing late nights for quite a while. And then when Luke came home, it wasn’t that we had all this like more time, it was just that we had our evenings back. I could devote time to my business that wasn’t these extreme late night hours. I wasn’t necessarily getting anything more done. It was just that it was in— hours that made more sense. 

Kate Schat When he quit his job, did you think, “We’re going to have two people at home. We can get twice as much done. There’s going to be two adults here.” Did you think that? We did.

Lisa Bass Absolutely. 

Kate Schat We were like, “Totally. We’re going to get so much more done because there’s two adults.” We ended up just embracing bigger margins and having more downtime. We really value our mornings together. We don’t get going on much of anything until like—well, unless you count milking and animals and all that—until like 9:00 in the morning. We have a leisurely coffee, and then we milk and do the animals, and my husband makes a big breakfast, and then we do devotions, and like it was after 9:00 before we got doing anything else today. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. So that sounds exactly how it works for us, too. So before, that would have been all very structured and set time. And then we thought—like you said—that we would be able to get twice as much done. But now we do. We do mornings like that. And it was funny because two years after my husband quit his job, my sister’s husband quit his job because she was like— whenever my husband quit his job, she wanted to start the same business because she’s like, “Well, duh, that’s awesome.” And so two years later, hers did, and she’s like, “We’re going to have all this time and we’re going to get all this stuff done,” and I’m like, “You just wait and see.” Somehow— I don’t even know how, but you don’t actually have any more time. It’s just the way you structure things maybe is a little bit different. 

Kate Schat I think you have more margin, which is more sustainable and less stressful, although there’s just different stresses now. 

Lisa Bass Definitely. I know a lot of people— the lifestyle that you and I have is very different. And a lot of times people are several years prior. So for example, they’re a first time mom and they have maybe two little kids and they’re trying to figure out how they can keep different plates spinning. And it’s interesting to hear how the progression maybe happens over the years because I don’t know if you’re like this, but that season felt really hard in its own way, and this one is just a lot different. So between homesteading, homeschooling, home-based business, how are you able to keep all of these plates spinning? And that’s kind of a loaded question. And we’ll go further into each one, but what’s your short answer on that? 

Kate Schat My short answer is not everyone is given the same deck of cards in the same 24 hours. And when you are in that stage of like only little kids and your husband works full-time, you really can’t get much done. I outsource. Like every possible thing I can outsource in my business, I outsource because I value that. And outsourcing is hard because you have to put up the money before you see the product of that. But for me, it’s always paid off. Even in my home. My mother-in-law is our nanny 12 hours a week. I had to commit to paying a nanny without knowing if it would pay off. But it has paid off. Having set office hours has been the best thing for our life. We’ve had that for close to a year now, probably 11 months. And I love it. It allowed me to compartmentalize. When people would be like, “Can I have a meeting with you?” Yep. Tuesday or Thursday. You know, “Can I do this?” Yep. Tuesday morning I’m available. I can just put things into those office hours so that I don’t have the overflow of work into the other days of the week. 

Lisa Bass That makes a lot of sense. What are your office hours? Did you mention yet what they actually are or how long they are? 

Kate Schat Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 to 3:00 are roughly— there’s the odd time it changes, like I’m taking kids to the dentist this afternoon, but I do six hours twice a week. 

Lisa Bass Okay. Yeah. So 12 hours devoted to your business. I think mine is structured a little bit differently, but it’s still about that exact same amount of time. It’s just more throughout the week in the afternoon, so a little bit less time, but more throughout the afternoon. But I actually— I’m tempted to try the way that you’re doing it. My sister did that for a long time. She did just Mondays. And it was just— she got all of her work done on Monday. If it couldn’t get done on a Monday, then she wasn’t doing it that week. And that’s the thing about being self-employed is you can keep rolling it over like that. It’s totally fine. And it wasn’t something she had to think about all week. The rest of the week, she was just the mom, which was very helpful to compartmentalize everything. 

Kate Schat I’ve tried a few different schedules. I find I do need two days and them not back-to-back because there is a certain amount of customer service that I need to do. And I can’t always leave people for a week. When I’ve accidentally left someone for a week, I really don’t like that. A lot of my customer service now I can just forward emails off. So I will often walk by my computer and be like okay, quickly forward off a few for someone else to deal with them. But I’ve tried shorter office hours, like four hours at a time, but I find six hours just gets me into a different kind of groove. You can get into a different work zone. You can, after a few hours, take a break, eat lunch, and you still have a whole other few hours. Whereas like four hours, it’s kind of this in-between of like I don’t overly have time to have a break, but I need to have a break or I’m going to crash. 

Lisa Bass That actually makes a lot of sense. I feel like that could be something that I’m missing personally. So whenever you say that you do these two office hours, are you filming things for Instagram or Instagram stories throughout the week and then just only posting them during that time or scheduling them out or sending them off to a VA? Or how are you making it more compartmentalized? 

Kate Schat So everything I film for YouTube and Instagram is very off the cuff. Rarely is there anything that’s scheduled or planned or like a how-to. What does best for all my YouTube and Instagram is just day in the life style stuff, so I film it all on my phone. These days, I don’t even pick up my camera. I film it all on my phone and I film it all horizontal. 

Lisa Bass Really? 

Kate Schat I post to Instagram during downtime, so like, am I laying on the couch while the kids watch a cartoon? Am I on the toilet? Am I waiting in the car or something? That’s when I’m posting to Instagram. And I just take what I’ve filmed for YouTube and I post little clips to Instagram, and then I save the rest for YouTube, and I put them all together into a big, longer video. 

Lisa Bass Okay, so we’re getting a little bit into the weeds on like specific business stuff, but I’m just interested. 

Kate Schat Yeah. And I do take pictures and such that are vertical, and I’ll take the odd vertical video if I’m like this isn’t really something for YouTube. This is just something that’s kind of going on on Instagram right now. But yeah, my Instagram posting is not within my office hours. My office hours is content creation and editing videos and emails and— let’s see what’s on my list today. I’ve got to pay some bills; I’ve got to make some phone calls; I’ve got to email some things to one of my VAs; I’ve got to— 

Lisa Bass Oh yeah. Oh, I know how fast 12 hours can fill up. That would be absolutely no problem to fill up whatsoever. So have you ever had a time or times of complete burnout in any of the above areas? So homesteading, homeschooling, home-based business. And if not, how have you avoided that? But if so, what did you do to push through or maybe not push through? 

Kate Schat I had bigger burnouts when I had little kids and I was seeking perfectionism in places like how we ate or that sort of thing where you’re seeking to have the perfect diet and you’re holding yourself to these standards that are just really hard to meet and you’re not balancing any moderation. So my fifth baby was born March 2021, and about August, September, I got postpartum depression and anxiety, and that was the first time I’d ever experienced that. I had five kids, and that was the first time I ever had. I honestly feel a lot of that was linked to the fact that I was working. That was the first baby I was ever working in my postpartum. You know, I took a bit of a break, but it’s hard to take a break in this business. And I was also so fresh into it, I didn’t feel I could take a break. If I had another baby, I would take a big old break and hang the losses. I know I could now, but my business was still fairly young then, so that was a real struggle for me. It wasn’t until I kind of came out of that after a couple of months that my husband was like, “Okay, you’re feeling better? Okay, I can do things again.” And I was like, “What do you mean?” He was like, “I’ve basically just been devoting to keeping you rolling.” And then I started thinking about it. He would deliver me food at my desk. He would be like— even though his mom was with the kids, he would be doing other things. He was just very devoted to keeping me going, so I’m very thankful I had that support. He had seen postpartum depression in my sisters and his sisters. He’d seen it before, but it was the first time I was experiencing it, but it wasn’t a new thing for us. So he knew I needed lots of support, and he was able to do that. And there was a lot of time where I would turn myself on and I’d do a video, this and that, and then I would turn off my camera and I’d go lay in bed for two hours. And he’s like, “I thought you were doing better because you have this happy face and you’re filming.” And I’m like, “It’s my job, and I have to turn my face on and do it.”

Lisa Bass Wow. 

Kate Schat So that was a huge thing for me. And then we were sick a lot this last winter, and I definitely struggled with getting behind and feeling like I was just— like, no content was ahead. I normally like to have content ready ahead of time and I was like just just meeting my deadlines and that sort of thing. And that was really hard and that feels very overwhelming because it doesn’t leave you margin. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. What do you suggest? So a lot of times I get somebody who maybe they’re experiencing postpartum depression or sometimes people just struggle to keep all of the plates spinning. They have a couple little children and they have a hard time keeping up with the housework. And then they look at people like you who have a homestead. Those kind of jobs keep going even when you’re experiencing that, not even talking about the business, but just those kind of jobs. So what do you suggest in that situation if somebody doesn’t have a whole lot of support or how can they approach that? 

Kate Schat So with previous babies, basically every time I’m pregnant, we have to downsize some animals. I remember one time going outside and my husband going, “Pick your favorite meat rabbits. The rest are going.” 

Lisa Bass The rest are meat. 

Kate Schat He was like, “Give them away. I don’t care. You can’t handle this.” He’s like, “I can’t do this. You can’t handle this. Pick which are your favorite. We don’t need to get any money out of it. I don’t care. They need to go.” So those sort of things. Like I’ve dried up a cow before because I just couldn’t handle with the stress of pregnancy with milking, like that sort of thing. So you definitely have to look at what do you actually have to be doing? And what are you doing because you say you have to be doing it? Personally, I find milking— like now that I have old enough kids that I can just go milk and I don’t have to bring them with me— like there’s usually always kids with me, but I don’t have to bring babies out in winter. Like we get -30 weather. I don’t have to bring babies out then. 

Lisa Bass Right. Yeah. 

Kate Schat So for me, the schedule of milking is good for my mental health. It makes me get outside and get fresh air and get my heart rate up once or twice a day whether I feel like it or not. 

Lisa Bass Right

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Lisa Bass I like what you said, though, about what things do you think you have to do that maybe it’s just you telling yourself that? I have a feeling that I put a lot of those on myself. So do you have any examples from your own personal life of stuff that you’ve cut that you’re like, “Oh, wait, I didn’t actually have to do that, but I thought I did.” 

Kate Schat So before the last— 

Lisa Bass I know it’s not laundry. 

Kate Schat Actually. My mother-in-law does almost all our laundry. That’s part of her nanny job. All I have to do is put away my laundry. She does everything else. 

Lisa Bass Oh, well maybe it is laundry. 

Kate Schat I throw on the odd load of laundry, but she likes doing laundry, so she does ours. At the end of my office day, the table has folded piles and everybody grabs their laundry and puts it away. So I did manage to outsource the laundry. 

Lisa Bass Okay. Hey. 

Kate Schat Something I can think of is that when Marius worked full time, we didn’t hardly ever get takeout or anything like that. Like that was— no, that never happened. And even for the first year or so. But like in the last year, sometimes I will finish a really stressful workday in the middle of a work week that— like in the middle of a launch or something, and Marius would be like, “Hey, I’m going to be driving past the pizza place. I’m going to grab pizza for dinner.” And I’m like, “Yeah, cool. I’m a working mum. Yeah, we can get takeout,” right? And then I saw these whole memes once where it’s like, “Dad, who brings home takeout? What a winner. Mum who brings home takeout? She’s a failure. Mum in the grocery store with rowdy kids. Wow. She can’t handle them. Dad in the grocery store with rowdy kids. Wow. What a champion. He brought his kids to the grocery store.” Right, like this whole thing. But I’ve kind of just let go. We did the other day. I had a really busy day, and Marius is like, “What’s for dinner?” And I was like, “I was going to throw something together based on leftovers.” And he was like, “Let’s go to the food truck.” I was like, “Sure. That sounds fun.” Right? And it’s just one of those things that I’ve let go, thinking I always have to make dinner because I am a working mum.

Lisa Bass Yeah. I mean, I think I’ve had some of the same realizations in the last couple of years. I used to — if it got to the point where it was time for dinner and we didn’t have something like thawed out or made—I mean, obviously that’s nice to always have that—but I would feel really bad. And now I’m like, “I guess we’re eating eggs, guys. Or we’re going to go somewhere or do something. I mean, this is not 100% on me. As a family, we all can figure this out. It doesn’t mean that I’m a failure.” I will also say that I think guys are also offended or dads are also somewhat offended by that whole, like, “If dad takes the kids to the grocery store, go him. Whereas the mom, if hers are misbehaving, she’s looked down upon.” I think dads also hate that the expectations are so low. This has been being brought more to my attention lately by a few Instagram accounts and then just like talks with my husband. They also feel like we can do more than women think we can. 

Kate Schat Oh, like Marius’s mum will say about— like one of his brothers only has one kid, and his mum will be like, “Oh yeah, he’s babysitting today.” And Marius would be like, “No, he’s not. He’s parenting his child.” 

Lisa Bass Yeah. 

Kate Schat Like, “He’s not babysitting.” That ticks him off. He will not allow that sentence. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, my husband is the same. 

Kate Schat And I think for us, it’s not a last-minute dinner thing. It’ll be like mid-afternoon. He’ll be like, “Do you have a plan?” I’ll be like, “No.” He’s like, “I got it. I’m going to get pizza.” Sure. Cool. If it gets to a last minute point, there’s definitely just like, we’re just going to eat whatever there’s there. But actually, he—in March or February—took over breakfast because I go out to milk in the morning, and then I would come in and make breakfast, or our oldest would make breakfast or we’d go back and forth. And now he just makes breakfast every morning, and it’s really awesome. I eat way better in the mornings than when I used to make breakfast. Like he cooked bacon, sausage, and eggs this morning. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. Nice. That’s a really good way to do it. That’s how we sort of structure it, too. Right now, currently, he’s milking and I’m the one doing that, but it was flip-flopped before I had our last baby. And then over the winter, it got flip-flopped because I didn’t want to take the baby outside in the winter, and then it hasn’t switched back since. But agreed. I think it’s just refreshing for people to hear that you don’t do everything because they imagine their current life, their current circumstances, and then on top of that, you have the homestead, the business, you homeschool. They don’t imagine that maybe there’s a little bit different structure to it all, and that’s how it all fits. It’s they picture of their life plus all of that, and they think, “Wow, I must be just really horrible time management.” And there could be some of that, too. Maybe also time management. But I think it’s just refreshing to hear that you really don’t do everything. 

Kate Schat I sit on the couch and drink coffee and think about going to milk for as long as it takes me to milk. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s how our mornings look, too. 

Kate Schat My husband doesn’t milk. Only if I’m pregnant or have a newborn, then he will milk. But he does all the other cow care, and he just doesn’t really enjoy milking. He keeps them watered and fed and their barn clean and picks up feed and all this stuff, but he doesn’t milk. He doesn’t like to milk. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah. My husband never thought he would milk, but then it just was like, “Oh, I just had the baby. I guess you can milk for a few days,” and then we never have swapped back, but maybe one of these days. So with your business— you already talked a little bit about this, but we can go on a little further. How do you establish boundaries? Because I personally am just curious about your answer to this, because it’s really hard to know where to draw the line as business owners, because there’s always more that you can do. You could start growing a TikTok following. You could start a second blog. There’s always so many different avenues that you could go. I mean, honestly, there’s— in a way, you’re drowning in opportunity with an online business. So how do you decide what’s worth pursuing and what to say no to? 

Kate Schat At this point, I definitely look at what is the payout going to be. I’m not really doing things for exposure and that sort of thing. Am I going to enjoy it? Am I going to enjoy the process? Like, this podcast is not going to necessarily make me any money, but I thought it would be interesting to have a chat with you because you’re someone that I admire online, too, and I thought it’d be fun to have a chat with you. So that’s why I said yes to this. Whereas there’s been other podcasts that I get invited to and I’m like, “I have no idea who this person is. They could have a million followers. But I don’t know who they are. I don’t want to talk to them. No, thank you. I’m too busy.” Really. So a lot of it is based on the enjoyment of the process for me. I stopped blogging because I hate the process. And it didn’t make me very much money. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, in a way, there’s just some kind of intention behind it. You you realize that there are more opportunities, more things you could do. You could hire a writer for your blog, but then you’d have to manage that. There’s always going to be more things you can do, and maybe you’re saying that your priorities with you and your family and having more time to spend together just outweighs any amount of money. And at this point, you’re just seeking to minimize a lot of that in your life, and you’ll take on some things that are enjoyable, but say no to the rest. 

Kate Schat Yeah, it’s definitely— maybe it sounds crass to say, “Will this make me money?” But it’s true. If I need to invest a bunch of time and usually money in something, it needs to have a payoff. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. No, that makes complete sense. To me, it’s interesting when people criticize a person who is building an online business that you only do things that they make you money. I mean, we would just spend all day with our family if we weren’t going— you wouldn’t devote two office hour days a week if it wasn’t going to earn you any money. That would make absolutely no sense. So with your business, how do you decide what to outsource? I think you pretty much said basically everything possible. 

Kate Schat So the first thing I started making money on was YouTube, and I started making $150 a month when I got monetized, and I immediately put that into 10 hours a month of a VA who started overhauling and updating areas of my blog. And 10 hours is not that much, but it’s what I could just directly take that I was making in the business and invest into it. I then hired a graphic designer to do things on the blog that I just was not capable of doing. My original VA left and I got a new VA who— like when I do a recipe, I’ll write out my recipe notes, and instead of baking powder, it’ll say, like “BP” and it’ll be like “mix wet, mix dry, mix together, 350.” Right?

Lisa Bass Right, right.

Kate Schat And then it’ll be notes on like, “This was inspired by something my grandmother made and this—” and I’ll give her notes and that’s what I send. And she fleshes it all out. And for my ebooks too. She then fleshes it all out, makes sure all the measurements are in the same metric or imperial or that sort of thing and makes sure it’s all even and goes over and makes sure I have apostrophes because I never have apostrophes. And she’s just so great for that sort of thing. So then I have a bookkeeper who’s actually my mother, and she also is like my membership assistant, so she does a lot of the customer service for my members. She actually writes member content as well because she’s a super creative, interesting person. And she does all my member emails. I do my regular newsletter, but she does my member emails. I also have Instagram help, which is recent. I have a friend who I met through Instagram who I text with basically daily for years now. And I knew she spent a lot of time nursing a baby every morning or all day, really. And I was like, “Would you be interested in doing Instagram messages?” She does all the same things as me. She gardens, milk cows, animals, cooks from scratch. She watches all my Instagram stuff. So every morning before I go on Instagram— and she’s actually in Missouri, too. She’s then two hours ahead of me. She hops on my Instagram, she answers every message she can. There’s rarely one she can’t. Gives people links, does all the things. So I start the day with an empty inbox and that has just been very freeing and gets rid of some of the time suck of Instagram because I enjoy Instagram and I want to help people in the DMs, but I do not have the time to help people in the DMs. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. And it’s clear from a lot of the messages that you get on Instagram that people aren’t aware how many you’re getting. It is a challenge. 

Kate Schat Oh, like I saw one message my VA had answered. So the person was asking you about this cow’s body condition score and how to score it. And she said, “Look up this and this and you’ll be able to do it.” This person sends back a couple photos and says, “Well, here. You can do it.” 

Lisa Bass Yeah. 

Kate Schat And so then I just reiterated, “No, actually, look this up and there’s a chart and compare your cow to it.” 

Lisa Bass Yeah, it can be challenging. And I know based on when I followed bloggers years ago before I was one, and the emails, that I was just very unaware of the amount of emails and messages that they got. And so I didn’t know better either. But yeah, at this point— I was actually thinking before I even said it, “I bet Kate gets a lot of pictures of cows.” Like that was the first thing. I get pictures of sourdough starter. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how many pictures I get of sourdough starter. 

Kate Schat Oh, yeah. 

Lisa Bass You probably would believe it, actually. 

Kate Schat I get lots of sourdough questions too. 

Lisa Bass Okay. I don’t get any cow pictures, but I imagine that you get so many like, “Check out the udder. What do you think? Like what’s going on here?” And I mean, I’ve sent you several DMs on cow questions. 

Kate Schat Literally just yesterday. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. Oh, man. Yeah. I mean, you can’t blame them. You have this knowledge and they’re like, “I have a direct source. I can literally just message this person with any question I have.” But that is why we create this content. We try to make it really searchable through our Instagram highlights and through our blogs and YouTube so that you can find all the answers. But it can be a lot.

Lisa Bass Taking another quick break from this conversation with Kate to tell you about the next sponsor, Redmond Real Salt. If you have a from-scratch kitchen like I do, salt is something that will be a staple, something that you’re reaching for constantly to ferment vegetables, to add into your sourdough bread and your homemade bone broths. It’s important that you have a high quality salt. That’s why I love reaching for Redmond Real Salt. They actually have offered a discount code for my followers, for the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast listeners. So you can go to bit.ly/FarmhouseRedmond. Though they have a huge bucket of salt that you can stock your kitchen with, which I highly recommend. I just did that so that I don’t run out of salt. I find that I run out of salt at the worst times, and then I can’t continue on making dinner or making eggs, steak, burgers. Everything needs a good salt. I’m forced to run to the store and just get something that is less quality. So though I recommend that, I also recommend some of their seasonings. They have an organic seasoned salt shaker. They have an organic garlic salt shaker. Organic lemon pepper, onion salt, garlic pepper. So, so many great seasonings that you can use on the grill this summer. Lovely seasonings to go alongside your garden herbs to spice things up and make your meals more delicious. So again, head over to bit.ly/FarmhouseRedmond to get a discount and stock up on good quality salt. 

Lisa Bass So what does a typical day in the life look like for you? 

Kate Schat Okay, so a typical day in the life, I get up between 6:00 and 7:00 and I make coffee and usually the babies are up then and usually Marius gets up then. Sometimes he burns the midnight oil and works until midnight. If so, I don’t wake him up when I get up. And we wake up big kids by 7:30. I have five kids if people don’t know. The oldest is just about 13 and then 9, 6, 3, and one. So the big three get woken up by 7:30 and we head out to milk pretty quick after that. We milk, we do chores, we do some kitchen tidy up, and breakfast is served by 9:00. We eat breakfast and usually do devotions then too. Then, if it’s an office day for me, that’s when I go up to my office until 3:00, and I will pop down a couple of times to get food or drink or whatever. But otherwise I’m in my office until 3:00. On days when I’m not in my office, that’s when— this time of year, Marius and I will go sit outside and enjoy tea or coffee for an hour or so because we live in a very cold climate and you need to enjoy the outside when you can. We work on our projects; we get what we need done. My older two are starting to work odd jobs, so quite often it’s seeing one of them either get picked up or yesterday I dropped off my oldest to power wash at a dairy farm for a few hours. Babies go down for nap in the afternoon. This time of year, we’re getting what we need done—outside chores, inside chores—and then going to the lake if it’s a nice day because we have to take advantage of that. In winter in the afternoon is when I would take on an extra project. Am I decluttering this room? Am I organizing this freezer? That sort of thing. This time of year, I am not doing any extra household projects. I’m outside as much as possible. One or two days a week, we have a good chunk of garden time where it’s like, this is we’re working in the garden right now, and we have family who come and help us in exchange for knowledge and vegetables. So it’s usually a set thing and it’s like they’re coming at 3:00 and we’re working until 6:00 and there’s four adults working and we just get lots done. So that’s really changed our gardening this year because it’s not like fitting in pockets here and there. It’s like we have a good chunk and there’s four adults and we’re going to get a lot of stuff done. So I basically don’t have to garden the rest of the week other than when family comes over. 4:00 the big kids do all their animal chores, and we do a main floor tidy. We call it main floor tidy and vacuum. Everybody’s got a room they got to pick up. Kids have different vacuum days. The kitchen gets back to square one. I finish up whatever dinner stuff I need to do at that point, and then the kids have free time then. Once their afternoon chores and animals are done, they usually are watching a movie because they don’t get screens the rest of the day. Maybe they’re playing a game on the computer. We dinner by 6:00, we clean up the kitchen, and then we go out to milk by 7:00. And that takes about an hour to do all the afternoon evening chores. We don’t rush on it. If we rush, we can take less time. We’re currently milking two cows and one is fresh, so it’s taking us a full 45 minutes to an hour right now. 

Lisa Bass Oh, wow. 

Kate Schat Then the big kids— in winter time, they would just go to bed right away after milking. Right now, they get to stay up till 8:30 or 9:00 because it’s light out. I might water the garden, the greenhouse. We have a kitchen garden up at the house and I’m in charge of watering that and the greenhouse. The big crop row garden, Marius waters, so that’s not my thing. But the other night at 8:00, both of us were watering the gardens. And then I like to read. We might enjoy a drink in the garden. Last night he was puttering away on the milking machine, and I sat on my milking stool out in the barn and enjoyed a gin cocktail while he was doing that. And then I like to be in bed by 10:00, but he’s more likely to not be in bed till midnight. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. Does he work on your business? Like doing SEO or stuff like that? Like for the behind the scenes of Venison for Dinner. 

Kate Schat He does not touch computers except for to turn on his classic rock playlist. 

Lisa Bass Okay, so farm work, then? 

Kate Schat He’s the farm work. So like Marius’s rough day in her life: he gets up, he takes care of babies while we milk, he makes breakfast. He’s right now working on setting up chicken pens and I forget what else is on his list today. Oh then he needs to go get some parts for the milking machine that he’s fixing that don’t come in until this afternoon. He makes sure cows stay watered and fed, and he’s building new fences right now. And he was talking about making a new quail run because there’s like 30 quail hatching in my bathroom behind me right now, and they’re going to overgrow our current quail pen. He does more big projects. The kids and I do  the daily maintenance chores for the most part on animals and such, and he does more like the bigger projects, although he does— when I was pregnant with our fifth, I couldn’t shovel. I was on bed rest and then I was on limited activity, so he took over mucking out the cows and feeding them, and then I just never took it back. So it’s been close to two years and I still don’t clean out the barn. He cleans out the barn? 

Lisa Bass Yeah. That’s how a lot of our animal work has shifted, too. It’s a lot of work. I mean, we don’t even have near the amount that you do, but our life sounds very similar. 

Kate Schat So we have honeybees and he refuses to do anything with them because he says if he starts, then he’ll have to take it over. 

Lisa Bass Yeah. 

Kate Schat So when I need someone strong to do it, he’ll come help. But he doesn’t know anything to do with them. He helps extract honey and that sort of stuff, but he’s like, “I don’t work the bees because if I start, then I will be expected to continue.” 

Lisa Bass Smart man, because that’s exactly how it goes in our household, too. It’s like all of these farm projects, it slowly always becomes Luke’s job every time. And he’s fully aware of that. But our lives sound very similar, the structures of the day. Now when are you doing a lot of your cheeses and yogurts? I know you spend a lot of time processing milk. 

Kate Schat Yeah. So I’ve been on a cheesemaking break for the last month or so because we just didn’t have extra milk to make it. But now this cow calved. Although you still can’t make cheese right away when they calve because there’s still high bacteria count as they’re flushing out their udder and such. But it’ll be on my not office days most likely. I’ll come in from milking and as soon as he’s off the stove for breakfast, I’ll get a pot going of milk to make cheese and then I’ll just be like tootling about on inside things. Maybe I’m prepping dinner and this and that as I’m making cheese. In winter homeschooling and cheesemaking go really well together because we homeschool in the dining room which is right by the kitchen. So I can be back and forth and helping and consulting where needed. Evening cheesemaking works really well too, kind of starting it around afternoon tidy up time too. Our last few summers have not been very warm. Our average is like 75 with only a few times where we get to like 90. So there’s never really a time the last couple of years where you have to embrace a summer schedule. You can kind of work outside whenever you want. When we do get times where there’s a time of day where it’s really hot out, which we did have last week. It’s like mid-afternoon. It’s like, “Okay, guys, it’s hot out. We’re getting all our inside stuff done, so when it cools down later, we can go work outside.” So that’d be like mid-afternoon, I’d make cheese, make butter, get yogurt going, that sort of thing. 

Lisa Bass Right. Okay. 

Kate Schat I kind of tend to— if I have one thing I have to deal with, I’m like, “How many things can I get going at once to make the most of the time that I’m in the kitchen right now?” I’m baking bread. Let’s bake muffins. Let’s get butter going. I’m already here stirring a pot of soup. Let’s get yogurt going. I’m always making more than one thing at a time. 

Lisa Bass Yeah, I’m the same. Whenever I have fed sourdough starter, I’m like, “How many different sourdough products can we start right now because it’s at its peak bubbly time, and we could make so many things for the week if I just do this all right now.” See, I try to do the same thing. So what tips or advice do you have for listeners who want to homestead or they want to pursue some kind of other goal—whatever that might be—but are overwhelmed. And they want to know, how can I get started on these things without dropping a lot of other balls? 

Kate Schat So do you want the gentle or the harsh? 

Lisa Bass Give it to us straight. Tell me how it is. 

Kate Schat You waste more time scrolling Instagram than I spend making cheese.

Lisa Bass Ooh. You know what? You’re right. 

Kate Schat The average person probably does, right? I scroll Instagram while I stir my cheese pot. 

Lisa Bass Mm. 

Kate Schat I’m already standing there stirring. I’ll—with the other hand—be replying to messages. I might do a Q&A if I’m stuck there for a while. You have times in your day where you are massively wasting time in a not restful and not productive way. Like make your rest rest, and make your work. That in between where you’re just sitting and not doing anything but you’re also not resting your body or soul, they aren’t helpful. Like if you need a rest, go lay down and read a book. Go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. You know, don’t just sit on the couch and veg for hours, and then wonder why you never get anything done. 

Lisa Bass That’s some really good advice. And honestly, it’s stuff that I need to hear, too. I feel like I get a lot done, but I still don’t make my rest as restful as I should. I like that same intention when it comes to rest that I have with work. I don’t have any trouble getting work done. It’s just my personality. What I have a hard time doing is sitting down and reading a book. And so I think we can take from that based on our personalities, all of that very blunt advice that you just gave which is really good. 

Kate Schat Totally. And I delete social media off my phone. From Friday evening until Monday morning after milking, I don’t have social media on my phone. And if I do check Facebook on the computer because I’m looking for something on Marketplace, I do not feel obliged to answer any questions that I see in my notifications. I don’t answer emails. I won’t even check my email. There’s the odd time I’ll look at my email and be like, “Maybe that looks important,” but I’m not going and looking through my email unless it’s an emergency that I see there. You have to just walk away. If social media is your business, what business do you have to be there 24/7? Every business gives you breaks. 

Lisa Bass It’s such good advice. So needed. So what tips or advice do you have for listeners who are moms, homemakers, and business owners and are burned out? So maybe people who have already gone and achieved some kind of goal, but now they’re burned out. How would you encourage them to keep going? It’s probably just the same advice. Like if you’re at that spot, then you need to rest harder. 

Kate Schat So I always called it survival mode, but then a friend’s mum called it autopilot mode. You need to— if you’re in a burned out season or you’re like really pregnant. Because that’s the other thing. Maybe you’re like, “I spend so many hours laying on the couch,” and I’m like, “Girl, you’re eight months pregnant. You’re supposed to be spending hours laying on the couch. Like, that’s normal. That’s good.” You know? And what has to be done? You have to feed your people and they probably should have clean underwear. Right? Like my grandma says in the morning, you get everybody fed and you feed the animals and then you make dinner. Then no matter what happens for the rest of the day, you have dinner. So when I’m in very pregnant or new baby mode, I literally finish breakfast and while the kids are cleaning the kitchen—because that’s where we’re at right now—I’m making dinner. Even if it’s just throwing a frozen chicken in the crock pot, we got that. There’s at least that. So what is your hardest time of day? You need to get that done sooner in the day. Don’t make dinner at dinnertime. 

Lisa Bass Hmm. That is good advice. I actually did that this morning. I had a chicken in the oven before 9:00, and we had to go all morning for swim lessons. And when I got back it had been cooking a long time, but we did it for lunch. And I actually already had all of the broth simmering and the potatoes cut up for dinner. So, yeah, I agree with you. If you’ve got that hard stuff done at the beginning of the day, there’s a lot that you can either get done or not get done throughout the day, and the hard stuff is behind you. So that’s some really, really good advice. 

Kate Schat Oh, that was yesterday for us, too. Two nights ago when I cooked steaks, I marinated Maui ribs at the same time and popped them in the fridge because I was like, “I’m taking out one pack of meat. Let’s just take out two packs of meat.” They’re both thawed. One went on the grill, one went on a marinade. And that ended up being a huge blessing because we got home from the lake yesterday at 4:45 and I realized that in order to get to Bible study on time, I needed to milk at 5:30 and it was 4:45. So I was like, “Mac, fire up the grill.” He got the grill going. I ran and picked a salad. We threw the Maui ribs on, they cooked, we warmed up a jar of canned potatoes with butter, had the salad dressing already made in the fridge, threw it all on the table. We were eating in 20 minutes. I was like, “This was impressive.” I had time to sit and finish a drink with Marius on the deck before I had to go milk. 

Lisa Bass Right. And it didn’t require any more time of you to get that happening at the same time, really. I mean, maybe just mere minutes and it made the next day so much smoother. I feel that you have a lot of good advice to offer and we could talk forever, but I also know that you have to get your kids to their dentist appointments. So thank you so much for joining me and taking the time out of your day. Tell us about where to find you and a little bit about your membership or anything where people can follow up with more from Venison for Dinner. 

Kate Schat So I’m Venison for Dinner everywhere: on YouTube, on Instagram, on Facebook. VenisonforDinner.com. Instagram is where we have the most fun; that’s what I think anyways. But there’s lots to be found everywhere else. I have a membership where it’s called Homesteading Without the B.S. So it’s all things homemade, and you can live in an apartment or you can live on a thousand acres. We will meet you where you’re at. And we have information for everybody. We have informationa and we also have a really amazing community where you can come home with your box of mason jars you got at a thrift store and all your family’s like, “You’re weird,” and we’ll all be like, “What a score!” Right? Like, we’re here for you, and everybody is your cheerleaders in the Insiders Club.

Lisa Bass Awesome. That sounds like a really great community to be a part of. Well, again, thank you so, so much for for joining me and sharing all of your wonderful advice that you’ve learned over the last well, however many years you’ve been alive. So thank you. 

Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode. Again, go check out Kate over on YouTube, follow along with her life over on Instagram, and I will see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. 

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