Action is the word for the day, transplanting, sowing seeds, taking care of children, helpers, nursery stock and livestock, wow! It takes a fair amount of organization to keep things going smoothly. I do my best organization in the morning. After the boys get on the bus, Remy and Rob get to milking, and I take inventory on the tasks at hand. Knowing priorities and sticking to them is what I do. We have regular farm meetings to discuss priorities, projects, draw kitchen chores, plan meals, and plan time off (which is very little this time of year, but still very necessary.)
My kitchen is equal opportunity when it comes to cleaning and food prep, no age or gender discrimination what so ever. I have a bucket of tasks that need to be done everyday. Everyone draws an item from the bucket, and that’s their duty for the day. I also have a weekly task bucket for dusting and vacuuming common rooms in the house. This helps my boys to learn very important skills like cooking and cleaning, but it also helps me keep things orderly and tidy, especially at a time when I can use extra help with these things. The task bucket is fun, like a game. The boys seem to enjoy drawing their duties, even if they don’t like what they get. It changes every week, and they know that they won’t need to repeat the same task.
Planning meals is something we do together as a farm family too. Because the individuals preparing the meals differ in skill, we try to plan meals based on what we have on hand, what people like to eat, and what the cook is able to prepare-with help of course. We prepare a grocery list together and I get help with the groceries. There is very little waste this way, because meals are usually agreed upon.
Priorities and projects is yet another part of our meeting. We all notice things that need to be done. But without focus a farm, home and family can be overwhelming. So we list projects that need to be done, and discuss how we should prioritize. In doing this as a family, and a farm, everyone is on board to knock the projects off the list. Everyone focuses on the same project, and everyone can pitch in.
Everyone’s favorite part of the meeting is the reward ceremony. For all that completed their tasks, I give a fine selection of temporary tattoos. My boys love them, and I keep a hearty supply at all times. It seems a little silly, but it’s a healthy reward, I believe. Besides, I like getting them too.
So many people in my life wonder how I manage so many different obligations. The answer is, I don’t really manage it at all, I encourage family management. I involve my family in the management process. They own the responsibility because I am trying to teach them this. I hope this system can help other families that may feel overwhelmed.