Thursday, September 23, 2010

Farm Work Beats Housework

I've been procrastinating.

There has been a dirty task that needed my attention. I just didn't want to do it. The chicken house was in desperate need of a cleaning.

The chickens have a huge run and access to the woods. The layers take full advantage of this. They explore the full range of their territory thus leaving most of their droppings out there instead of in the chicken. When it is just the layers, the chicken house stays relatively clean.

The meat birds, however, are another story. They too have access to the large run and the woods, but they choose to spend the vast majority of their day situated as close as possible to the feeders. I bring a variety of food to them in the chicken house, but generally they are just too lazy to venture outside to find greens and bugs like most chickens do. So, as a result, these birds leave almost all their droppings in the chicken house. And boy do they make a lot of droppings, a lot of very stinky, gross, droppings. When we have a batch of meat birds, the chicken house really needs cleaned daily.

It had been a little longer than that.

Oh, I had lots of excuses. There was the selling and distributing of a small amount of hamburger. There was the fact that I started school with the younger two. There was work to be done in the garden, laundry to do, hot weather, and list of 100s of excuses that I made to not deal with that stinkin' mess out there. Today though, I determined, was the day to get it done.

It was hot today, around 95. I had other things that had to be done in the morning. So, I didn't get out there until after lunch. It was hot, but not too bad. The chicken house is in the shade and there are fans in there. It was stinky, but really you adjust. I dug into the task.

About half way through, I had a sudden realization that cleaning the chicken house wasn't really that bad. Why had I put it off?  I was pleased with how the chicken house looked, and with the fact that my garden was getting huge nitrogen boost from all the droppings. I realized, with some surprise,  that I'd rather clean the chicken house, than do dishes, laundry or pretty much any other cleaning in my house. Yes, I'd pick farm work, even shoveling stinky chicken poo, over house work any day of the week.

My house shows it.

When I have time to work around home, I invariably pick a farm or garden task. Really, I will pick just about anything over cleaning. Somehow that little revelation, while shoveling chicken poo, gave me a little freedom. I can't be everything. I can't do everything. I do what I have to keep some semblance of order and cleanliness in the house, but the animals and the garden are what I enjoy. They are what I'll choose any day. (Well, any day there isn't company coming over that is, or at least company I don't know well.)  And that is just fine!

In fact, it is a privilege to do work that I actually enjoy, instead of work I feel I am supposed to, or work I need to do in order to earn cash. It is a joy, and I need to stop beating myself up (and comparing myself to others) about the things I don't get done, and enjoy the blessings that come from the things that I do get done.

Now, I am hoping that one of my children discover they enjoy cleaning the house.


  1. There is something so satisfying about a job where you can really see your progress. I don't love the housework either -- and I don't think I know anyone who doesn't do their best inside work when people are coming over!

  2. I so agree with ya!!!;-) The house doesn't stay clean very long anyway. Being outside is so much more fun.

  3. I am right there with ya! I hate house work too! Give me a good messy barn to clean anyday.

  4. I noticed in your picture that your chickens are picking each other. Mine were also until I learned to put apple cider vinegar in their water, about 2 tablespoons per 5 gallon bucket. It does calm them it seems. Hope this helps.