Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Farm Sitting - The Chores

Farm Sitting - The Chores

After just a few days of farm sitting, we've already grown in appreciation for all those who run farms on an ongoing basis. Just doing something for a couple of weeks doesn't equal walking in the shoes of those who do this for a living - but it sure does give some insights. 

We are thoroughly enjoying the jobs we do every morning and evening here on the farm, and it's a good feeling to be out among the animals and tending to their needs. It's a new experience to be guided by the sunrise as to when to get up and get going. The novelty has not yet worn off - and maybe it won't as we're only here for two short weeks. 

Jessie is pleased to see Mark! She knows it's breakfast time!
It's wonderful to be greeted with hee-haws from Alice, the Donkey, and the nicker of Jessie, the horse. Not to mention the cacophony in the barn produced by the guinea fowl, hens, peacocks, roosters, ducks, and geese - to name just a few! Mark reminds me of Dr. Dolittle as he talks to the animals, letting them know that it's breakfast time or dinner time!

Here are a couple of movies of Mark doing the morning chores! Have your sound turned up!!

                                 MORNING CHORES    and  MORNING CHORES CONTINUED 

Alan feeding Alice

The ice has to be broken up to make room for more water
During the winter, one challenge is in the provision of water as temperatures are consistently below freezing. Very often, water containers have to be attacked with a sledge hammer to break the ice so that fresh, clean water can be added! 

Here are a couple more movies:     WATER       WATER - BREAKING ICE

It crossed my mind that, if you work on a farm, you have to be committed to the work and show up in all weathers - rain or shine, snow, hail, freezing rain, balmy and humid summer days, or full blizzards. The animals still have to be fed and watered, straw to be changed, stalls to muck out. And - no matter how the farmer is feeling, (s)he still has to do the same, day after day. Imagine, you're in bed in the morning after not sleeping very well - you may be suffering from flu, food poisoning, fatigue, or some other debilitating condition. However, the animals will still be waiting for their breakfast - and the farmer has to get out of bed and carry on! 

My dad worked on a dairy farm and milked the cows twice a day, clearing out the stalls, washing the equipment, preparing feed, and looking after the cows while giving birth. I remember him going in every single day, without fail - even when he was thick with a cold. I would hear him out in the fields in the early mornings calling the cows names to encourage them to come in for their morning milking. It was only later in life that I began to realize just how hard he had worked for most of his life. 

Mark collects some scratch-feed which is stored on the upper floor of the barn

Delightful 'Frizzle' bantams

Alan, mucking the stalls

Collecting the eggs!

The next time we stroll down the food aisles in the grocery store, let's give a thought to all those whose hard work helped to fill those shelves and send a mental thank you to all farmers for their commitment, dedication, and sheer hard work!
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