Monday, November 18, 2013

Homestead Chore Rotation and Relief

     Chores are abundant on the homestead, but the workers are few. Depending on the size of your family and the age range of the children, the workload can seem ominous. Our family had a system for getting things done, sharing the load, and allowing for rest.
     When our homestead was new and our children school age, our chores rotated on a two week basis. This offered each family member opportunity to learn the various needs of each animal and garden plot. In the barn, rabbits, large stock (horse, cow, donkey), small herd (goats/dog), and poultry were assigned a family member. They had to learn the needs of that stall: water/feed requirements, stall upkeep, hoof/health care and be prepared for emergencies such as injury, illness, or birth. The 'odd man out' was in rest mode- preparing the breakfast for those busy with chores.
     To keep things simple, feed bins were labeled for each stall/animal listing how much feed to give and how many times a day. A first aid kit was in the bin as well, with a procedure checklist for minor ailments. Visiting cousins and friends buddied up with one of the kids getting the opportunity to see how things work and to help out if they were interested. During our foster family years, new family members kept the buddy rotation until they felt comfortable or were old enough to take rotation on their own.
     In addition to the barn chores, we have three garden fields: large crop/fruit, kitchen garden/greenhouse, and the herbal/rose garden. Rotations in these gardens followed suit with the barn rotations. Everyone spent time learning propagation, seed starting, weeding, harvesting, and planning the plots.
     Once the children aged up entering those early teen years chores took on a different routine. In their maturing they sought to take ownership of different areas of the homestead honing those skills and refining the plans. That doesn't mean we didn't take turns caring for things, but their was an overseer to each area. As overseer that teen set up feed purchasing, planned for any amendments needing made, bought, sold, bred and planted the areas they were in charge of- life skills easily applied to so many areas of adult life.
     These days there are less hands on deck. Chores are assumed by those home and available. I am overseer of the stalls, coups, and gardens and I do so gladly for I know the precious memories created from years of sharing side by side.



Dicky Bird said...

Teaching children a good work ethic is one of the most important things we need to do as parents! I know so many lazy kids - honestly! My kids can even point them out. Now especially that they are older, they have said - "mom, we are so glad you made us work." Being a good steward includes a good work ethic!

Simply Scaife Family said...

What a wonderful blessing! Thanks for sharing.