Ron and Beth recently had to cover some animal chores for about 10 days because the young crew was away. Ron took on milking the cow, checking her water, and extending her pasture as needed; feeding, watering and letting out the chickens; and watering the sheep and goats. He regularly milks his goat and moves her kids twice a day to new grass. The time his daily chores took each morning doubled.
Beth took on the daytime and evening chores. She found out where lots of things were and stretched muscles that aren’t used in household chores. (Cows, pigs and turkeys are managed by an older son who was around all week. We are glad we didn’t have to do those chores, too!)
Garden chores were basically (harvest) tomatoes, beans, squash, repeat. These chores need to be done every 2-3 days or the vegetables split, stop producing, or get too large, respectively. So every day involved harvesting.
On the hot afternoons she would check water for chickens, pigs, sheep and goats. She would also check goats that were staked to make sure they weren’t tangled.
Late in the day she would collect the eggs from the Taj Mahal. The nest boxes are built into the right side. While we can collect eggs from the outside, many times we go inside and collect them that way. Currently we are getting about 3 1/2 dozen a day.
Sometimes she would hear and see the Rhode Island Red hen with her yellow chicks hiding in the weeds. The hen always makes a humming sound, and the chicks make peeping sounds, so if they are around, they can be heard, though not always seen.
Each evening she washed and boxed the eggs. Then after dark she went out to lock the chickens in.
Usually 2-5 hens roosted on the tractor frame. While they might flap their wings when moved, they don’t peck or try to run away. They are quite docile and are easily moved into the Taj Mahal.
The mother hen nests on the ground with her chicks under her. We let her be and hope for the best.
These chores took a lot of the day. It is also harvest season, so each day we canned something – beans, beets, pear sauce, and pears. Two older sons, who were around evenings, helped with the prep work for these things. Life was steady!
We are grateful for the regular, faithful labor of the young crew. Good to have them go, good to have them come home!