Thursday, November 21, 2013

When You Have to be Away

     Yesterday found me away from home touring the beautiful gardens of Mercer in Humble. Due to the time and travel required, homestead chores fell to others which brings to mind the all important task of preparing for time away.
     Homesteading is a commitment that requires our time at home and limits our ability to get away. County fairs, livestock shows, camping or the occasional trip often allow us time to locate a 'sitter' and prepare them to fill our shoes. We invited our home sitter to join us for chores before being left along to the task. While this is preferred, it isn't always practical. When an emergency occurs we need to be prepared and set for a last minute sitter to step in and handle the home.
      In order to be ready for any and every sitter situation, labels are everywhere! Feed bins are located near the coup/stall they supply and labeled clearly: who the feed is for, how much to feed, and how often to feed them, with a note to check water when you feed. Emergency kits are inside each feed bin, specific to that animal with clear directions and phone numbers. A master list is inside the large freezer we store extra feed in. This gives detailed feed times, our feed routine, and special instructions. Brooders contain feed bins specific to their flock and have a master list inside their gate.
Milking directions are posted on the refrigerator next to the milk stand.
     Before we get to focused on the barn, we have to remember the gardens. Our homestead has three large gardens and a greenhouse. While they don't need as much attention as the barn does, neglecting it would be tragic. Each garden has it's own duties which are listed inside the greenhouse. Short term sitters usually face the task of watering and maybe picking a few green beans.
         The notion to pay or not to pay is a touchy one. Often our sitter is someone living close by willing to do the task and take home the rewards: eggs, milk, fresh picked veggies and herbs. My times away have been very short, only a day or two, and are few and far between.
          All of this may seem a bit overkill- let me be honest in saying my lists and labels are a bit outdated and well in need of revamping. With holidays on the way, work that sometimes finds me out of pocket, and all the other little things in life that make being away possible it's definitely time to re-up the notes and get that homestead sitter situation planned out- we never know when we find ourselves having to be away.


1 comment:

Dicky Bird said...

We have done plenty of chores for my friend when they were away at cattle shows. This experience also taught us a lot about "homesteading" - herdsmanship from learning what others do. If you are considering a species - good idea would be to find a family who raises them and go over and see what is required for keeping them - before you purchase. Blessings from Ringle, WI