Category Archives: homesteading

Meat Rabbits; or How Children Can Provide Substantial Assistance on a Homestead, Part 1

Buck

Mature breeding buck

A few years ago we began asking the children this question: “If you could pick one farm project, what would it be?”  We got many wide-ranging answers, some realistic, some not.  One answer was given by our son – meat rabbits.  Our first step was to have him do what free and readily available research he could.  Once he exhausted our own home library, we bought the Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, a pre-owned copy of course.  The Storey’s Guide series are one of our go-to introductions to any topic.  They are well-written by experts in the specific topic relevant to each book, they start from the beginning specifically for someone with no knowledge of the topic, and they go into enough detail that anyone could start that project without a more advanced book. Continue reading

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Helpful Children

“Many hands make light work.”  I would argue that many small hands make light-hearted work.  Children love to help, and often get giddy with excitement when there is an outdoor job to be done.  Many times the job to be done couldn’t possibly accommodate as many workers as have volunteered, so I try to delegate down to the smallest task to involve as many willing helpers as possible.  Usually this means the smallest children have completed their part of the job very quickly and move on to asking poignant and sometimes existential questions about the work we are doing, followed by spontaneous outbursts of energy which most times will culminate in a game of tag around the area where I continue to work.

Like the phases of matter, solid to liquid to gas, these phases of children’s helpfulness are just part of the natural order of things.  They heat up and cool down, settling back in to take a knee for a couple more questions before exploding outwards at full speed with no warning.  If I were to time how long the job would take, I would not be surprised to learn that it took me far longer to complete the work with their help than without, but neither I nor they would have gotten nearly as much enjoyment out of it.  Pausing to wipe sweat from my brow becomes a moment of joy, my sore back and aching feet forgotten as I watch the children squealing with joy when a hand just misses its mark or a ball goes flying over a head.  They are helping me dig this hole just as much as if they held the shovel themselves.

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Filed under children, homeschooling, homesteading