A day in the life of a wool mill operator (Ben) - where did my day go?

…. 5:15PM – I found my cup of coffee from this morning sitting next to a sewing machine I had sat down to try and fix earlier today and wondered to myself “what happened to my day”

Sometimes I wish for a life where I have my day planned, things go according to schedule, I start the day with a task list and I end it with all those items crossed off…. But that doesn’t seem to be my reality so lets rewind….

10:00PM (night before)– wrestling with anxiety about many tasks I need to do tomorrow.  I’m hoping for a 2am waking from slumber feeling very rested (I do this weird thing where if I wake up early in the morning feeling very rested I just go into work and then come home for breakfast getting a great 4-5 hrs of un-distracted work done but I rarely set an alarm as life with kids presents plenty forced wake ups as it is… therefore if my body is rested and I wake up great!... if not then either the sun or the kids will do the job for me)

5:30AM – lying in bed thinking about going to work but the house is still really quiet and I think to myself… maybe today the kids will all sleep-in if they don’t hear the floor boards creaking as I tip-toe out the door to go to work….

6:30AM – they are still sleeping!  Yeah! But….. my mind is racing with the dozens of tasks I have at work and I decide to make the brave (or foolhardy) attempt to sneak past the kids’ bedrooms

6:32AM – I hear a small stampede of footsteps on the floor above me…. Surprise! Everyone’s awake and my 4 yr old says with a smile “Dada I heard the stairs creaking and I came downstairs to find you!” My 2 year old is still rubbing sleep out of her eyes and my wife (pregnant with #3) sleepily smiles and slumps onto the couch obviously feeling more tired now than when she went to bed the night before

7:30AM Chickens are fed, garden is watered, and I leave the house with lots of blown kisses from little hands at the side of the driveway.  Whew! Morning routine went better than normal 😊

7:40AM I’ve arrived at work and preparations for day 1 of post-COVID retail store opening begin in earnest and I tackle a couple key production questions for the day ahead before things get crazy.

9:30AM respond to Thursday/Friday emails from the previous week that remained unanswered and read a blog from a rancher we work with who suffered a severe brain injury falling from a stack of hay when feeding her sheep.  A good reminder that sometimes our troubles pale in comparison to others. 

9:50AM – first customers arrive and are asking for our brand new (COVID friendly self-guided tour)…. Only problem is the self-guided part isn’t quite ready…. I tell my employees I’ll take care of guiding the “self-guided” tours today.

10:10AM – whew… I have a lot of work to do to truly make the tour self guided and I have a whole new appreciation for museums that convey great information via signs/displays/etc. 

10:30AM – I have a bunch of wool masks to make and the sewing machine used to finish the ends has been acting up…. Maybe now I’ll get a chance to implement the solution I was thinking about all weekend…AND maybe I’ll get to sip a cup of coffee in the process 😊

10:35AM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…..

11:15AM - ….”thanks for coming in Rancher A”…. “oh hi Rancher B what brings you in today”…..

12:30PM – …”well Rancher B thanks for coming in”

12:31PM – “oops….. I told my wife I’d be home for lunch at 11:30…I better get going”

I’ll just say this about the 2 hrs from 10:30-12:30… I hope that someday I will continue to operate with the principle that our time is the best gift we can give someone and to be hospitable to the unexpected guest is a key aspect of recognizing the dignity in each person…. But I’ll admit… sometimes it makes me a bit stressed about the dozens of things I had to push back till later

1:15PM – I sit down and immediately standup as another “self-guided” tour has arrived

2:00-PM – my dad arrives (he does most of our construction projects) with supplies to make our stairs safer for visitors (handrails etc)

2:05PM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…. another unexpected visitor (parish priest from neighboring city).  …. It is good to be fully present to those we meet in person and so I am grateful for the opportunity to practice that.

3:00PM – hurriedly tackle some urgent email correspondence needed to coordinate the logistics of some exciting new machinery being delivered

3:35PM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…. another unexpected visitor (well at least I knew the visit would be this week).  A wool delivery from a great rancher we’ve worked with for years and some good visiting about updates on life since the last time we met (a year ago). 

5:15PM – sipping some cold coffee – tidying up the email correspondence on the machine delivery – and thinking about the things I need to do tomorrow…fix that sewing machine… 😊 


  • Melinda Fisher

    Just discovered the Mountain Meadow Wool website … enjoyed hearing about your
    day from start to finish. Trying to choose a kit to order and can’t decide between the knit cowl
    or the slouch hat….anxious to try your wool.

  • RVSBean

    Enjoyed reading the candid report about a typical day for you, your family, and MMW staff. Thanks for sharing and helps give customers like myself even more reason to want to share with others and support your business!

    Just received the new wool mask last week and tried it out while in church – Florida churches are kept quite cold inside with the air conditioning so found it to be great for indoors—the plastic tie fastener makes it simple to tighten as needed. Most of all, I appreciated its design in that I could pull it down in the front and wear it like a temporary collar when I had to use the microphone to sing as one of the cantors.

    God bless!

  • Mary Catherine Byrnes

    Ben, thank you for sharing this — you live very sweetly, work hard and have the very best values. Your spirit shines and teaches us all the good and deep lessons of purpose and mindfulness. My best to you and your family!

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