A day in the life of a Stardew Valley farmer

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If you’re anything like us — overworked, overtired, just plain *over it* — then you’ve wondered what it might be like to give up your fast-paced life in the city for one in the quaint farming community of STARDEW VALLEY. Just think: a general store instead of Amazon, home-cooked (and grown!) meals instead of Postmates, courtship with one of eight NPC bachelors or bachelorettes instead of Tinder. It could be heaven, right? It could be everything you’ve ever wanted.

We caught up via *snail mail* with Stardew’s farmer on the rise, Hendog, to get the skinny on what a typical sun-up to sun-down looks like and most importantly, how he gets his pumpkins to grow so dang big!

6am: Cock-A-Doodle-Dew [as in “Stardew” lol]

The moment that rooster crows I am up and at ‘em, fully clothed before even getting out of the bed I share with my wife of four days, Leah, who is ALSO already up and busying herself in the kitchen. Early risers! She hands me a freshly brewed cup of coffee; in return, I give her a poppyseed muffin. Everyone knows that the key to a happy marriage in Stardew Valley is daily presents, which is why I always keep a neverending supply of poppyseed muffins (her favorite!) on hand. “Happy wife, happy life!” I say as I sip my delicious coffee and think about all the fun things I’m going to do today.

6:20am: Basement Cheese

So not to brag, but in just three years I’ve managed to turn Mount Goofy Farms from a ramshackle patch of dirt into a thriving, nearly autonomous operation and successfully rebuild the town’s community center (with the help of a gelatinous alien race, don’t ask). So now… I mean I can kind of just relax! Other farmers might start breeding horses at this point, enter their pigs in state fairs. Me, I’ve been throwing all my weight into cheese-aging.

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The process can take up to 30 days but leads to some great-tasting, very profitable goods. Not that Leah or I really need the money — we’ve got something like $300,000 in the bank, which we can spend on seeds, rare hats, and warp totems to the beach that a local wizard sells, natch. I can honestly say that for me, it’s just about the cheese. The texture, the smell, the way every piece looks exactly the same. “Cheese Louise!” I say to myself when there’s no new cheese to collect, which thankfully isn’t often.

6:50am: Udder Delight

Where’d all that cheese come from in the first place? My cows! Waiting for me in the barn are my girls Fartso, Gjelina, and Rue, along with an assortment of sheep, pigs, and goats. “I’m the only GOAT here!” I say to them, sometimes, but I don’t think they get or appreciate the sentiment. Sometimes I feel bad that I’ve managed to cram something like eighteen animals into one pretty tight living space but Marnie, who sold them to me, assures me they’re happy enough as long as they have hay and heaters to get them through the winter. Does Marnie have the best judgment, though? She’s having an affair with the town’s mayor, Lewis, who keeps leaving his purple pants at her place and clearly has no intention of ever getting serious. So if Marnie says I can fit eighteen adult animals in my barn… I mean maybe I can, but I don’t know if I should. I try not to think about it as I put their milk into the cheese machines I keep outside the barn.

8:10am: Pickin’ Time!

Fall in Stardew Valley means PUMPKINS, and this season I’ve thrown every one of Mount Goofy Farm’s non-cheese resources into their production.

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Those really big ones, they sometimes just show up overnight. I don’t know why! None of my agricultural classes at Stardew U covered or even hinted at this sort of farming anomaly. But I suppose in a valley that’s home to wizards, witches, “jellyfish dances,” and the aforementioned gelatinous aliens, a giant pumpkin is the least weird thing around. They sell for boffo bucks. Considering our financial security I wish I could give the pumpkin money to charity, but Leah keeps pestering me about having a baby. Personally, I think this is selfish given the climate reports I’ve read but another cranberry is usually enough to punt the conversation to another day, or season. Marriage!

9:30am: Storin’ Time!

You assume when you start farming that your days are gonna be, like, hugging tomatoes and ushering watermelons into ripeness with a poem but really it’s one long spreadsheet of things to knock off. Sometimes I wonder if all I’ve done is replaced Microsoft Office with a collection of gold-plated farm tools…

Whatever! I think I mentioned that I have $300,000 to my name, which means I hardly need to sell any of our crops anymore. Some I do, just for shits and gigs, but the bulk I keep in a series of multicolored wooden chests. Is the produce rooting in there? Probably! In my experience, an outdoor wooden chest is the last place you’d want to store thousands of fruits and veggies. But freshness hardly seems to matter to the people of Stardew Valley, who will buy literally anything I sell. You want this orange I grew three summers ago and have kept next to batteries and “monster guts” this whole time? Have at it!

10:10: Make time for conversation with my wife

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We have a good thing going. Really!

10:40am: Maintaining friendships

Done with farm chores, I head into town armed with 999 cranberries and start handing them to literally everyone I see. Do you have a pulse? Then you’re getting one of Farmer Hendog’s cranberries! Even though I’m not sleeping with any of them, my friends react to the gift the same way Leah does a poppyseed muffin. Like I said, gift-giving is the lifeblood of meaningful Stardew Valley connection!

Slowly but surely I’ve ingratiated myself with everyone in town, including my ex, Penny — a shy schoolteacher I had courted (with turnips, at the time) until realizing that a life with her also meant a life with her alcoholic mom, Pam. No thanks! I turned my attentions to Leah and that was that. Penny and I remain on cordial terms. Honestly, it’s like she’s forgotten about that part of our lives entirely. Works for me!

12pm: The Saloon

Can I admit something to you? I’ve usually run out of things to do by mid-day. The farm pretty much takes care of itself, all of my friendships are at 10-heart level (they literally can’t get any closer or better!). If I liked fishing I guess I’d do that, but it’s sort of the same thing over and over again. I guess a lot of life in Stardew is the same thing over and over again?

I push this thought clean out of my mind and walk into the saloon right when it opens. Maybe it’s early to get blotto but I figure what’s the harm in knocking back a few suds before the happy hour crowd shows up? “No harm at all!” says Pam, who shows up at opening just like me. Even if I wouldn’t want to live with her as my mother-in-law she’s still good drinking company. We share ten beers and keep the jukebox playing all the hits, from “Summer (Tropicala)” to “Winter (Nocturne of Ice).” It’s not Outkast but then what is?

3:10pm: Rummage through people’s trash cans

People get mad if they catch you doing it and say things like “disgusting!” or “why would you do that?” but listen:

  1. I’ve been drinking for the past three hours
  2. There’s very little to do in Stardew Valley
  3. You can find all kinds of good shit in there! One time I found a whole cake in the bin behind the mayor’s house.
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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” I yell into the trashcans, and this is not just an empty saying — back at Mount Goofy Farm, I own a series of recycling machines that literally convert trash into treasure (well, usable resources). No one in town seems to understand this. Sometimes I think I’m the only person in Stardew Valley who can think for himself, who isn’t on some pre-programmed loop. Have you ever seen ‘The Truman Show’? Related: there isn’t a single movie theater in all of Stardew Valley, and our television only shows The Weather Channel and a cooking show called “Queen of Sauce.”

4:20pm: Into the desert

Last year I completed a specific “bundle” at the Community Center and, with the help of those gel aliens, was able to repair the town bus and reconnect Stardew Valley to the nearby Calico Desert. Pam drives the bus. Should see, having just had ten beers like an hour ago? “I could drive this thing blacked out,” she tells me. “And I have.” Color me impressed! Maybe Pam would have been a fun mother-in-law after all.

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The desert is where I go when I can’t think of anything else to do, which is most afternoons these days. Aside from cutting down palm trees, my favorite desert pastime is this never-ending mine called the “Skull Cavern.” It’s full of monsters and jewels, but more importantly the threat of real danger. The thought that something down there might hurt me, even kill me, is thrilling on a level no amount of giant-sized pumpkins can conjure. Sometimes I go down there with no food and my health bar already halfway depleted just to see what happens. Will I ever push it past the breaking point? Leah would have to find someone else to give her cranberries, I think, as I leave the cave with one bar of health left. A now sober Pam drives me back to town.

10pm: Hang with my best friend, Linus

I could go home but first decide to pay a visit to my best friend in the entire valley, Linus. Earlier I mentioned I’ve cultivated level-10 friendships with everyone in town, and that’s true, but Linus is the only guy I really trust. Is it because he lives in a tent on the edge of town, outside the bounds of society or expectation, and appreciates a good trash rummage as much as I do? Possibly! He just has this DGAF spirit that, the longer I live in Stardew, really speaks to me. Sometimes he sends me fish he’s caught in the mail, which is super-weird, but I love it. In turn, he’s the only guy I don’t give cranberries to; nope, Linus gets a fuckin’ pumpkin. If his tent were bigger I’d probably ask to live with him.

11:10pm: Late night farm maintenance

Back at Mount Goofy Farms I realize there is more work to be done and head into the greenhouse, where I cut down all twenty-four of my cranberry bushes. Maybe I’m tired of using them as a social crutch, or maybe I just want to try something different. Either way, they’re gone! Afterward I toss all of my Skull Cavern gems and minerals into the trash (saving one for Leah), then plant 300 pieces of wild grass and trees around the farm. It won’t happen overnight, but my hope is that before long, Mount Goofy is completely reclaimed by nature!

1am: Goodnight, Stardew Valley!

Leah is still standing in the kitchen, silently, when I enter the house. I want to talk with her about my day, about how I nearly died in the desert and think I might actually want to start an intentional living thing with Pam and Linus, but she has no more speech options for the day. I give her a ruby I dug up in the mine. “Thanks!” she says, with the same inflection as if it were a poppyseed muffin.

Before I get in bed I think about building a boat that could carry me to the very ends of Stardew, the ends of the world even, and what might be on the other side. The realization that I’ve been in a simulation this whole time? That Stardew Valley is less a place than a game, maybe even called ‘Stardew Valley’, and I’ve reached the end of it? I think it’s time for me to ‘Truman Show’ my way out of here. I think it’s time to be free…

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Wow, what a day! Our thanks to Farmer Hendog for letting us tag along for a fun-filled day of cow-milkin’, crop-plantin’, and pumpkin-pickin’! Now go clean the mud off those boots!

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