If you are a reader of farmer/rancher blogs, you probably know that livestock farmers are never off the clock. Raising animals is a 365, two-to-three-times-sometimes all day, seven days a week kind of job.
And just like the postman, farmers head out to the barns or the pasture rain or shine, snow, sleet and hail.
I grew up on a livestock farm. My dad raised pigs and cattle, and my sister had horses. We always had one or seven orphaned calves (yes, one spring there were seven!), a dog and barn cats. Lord have mercy, the cats!
As we got older, my sister, brother and I fell into a chore routine. I cared for the cattle, my sister the horses and my brother the dogs and cats. The rule was the animals ate before we did. During the school year, chores came first thing, before homework, breakfast and primping for school. In the summer, chores had to be done by 8 a.m., but that meant we couldn’t have breakfast until then. Chores were done early in the morning.
In the afternoon always, always, always chores started at 4 p.m. If we were a few minutes late, the animals would let us know, calling us back to the barn, “You’re late! You’re late!”
To this day, 4 p.m. is a trigger. I feel like I should suit up and head to the barn.
My parents probably grayed a bit trying to get us to do chores just right, but by high school, chores were just part of the day. It’s what we did, no questions asked.
Of course in high school, the three of us were involved in other things. Other things that didn’t bring us home by 4 p.m., didn’t bring us home by 6 p.m. or even later. If we didn’t ask our parents to fill in and feed the animals, they didn’t. That was one of those lessons in responsibility. Trust me, it took just a few midnight chorings after long volleyball games followed by longer bus rides for my sister and I to ask for help.
Last night, by the time my kids and I settled in to the house after a long day, the farm was dark. Chores still needed to be done. They whined and begged for me to feed the cats and dog instead.
But as they bundled up and trudged into the night with their flashlights, I remembered all the lessons that came with chores in the dark. One day the kids will appreciate them.
Read more 30 Days of Farm Girl Memories
- Day 1: Surprise Kittens
- Day 2: The Men in My Life
- Day 3: Small Town Saturday Night
- Day 4: “Fall”ing in Love
- Day 5: A Bag of Caramels
And find other 30 Day bloggers starting with the one who got us into this – Holly Spangler from My Generation.