[Market-farming] child labor

Liz Pike liz at laughingbrookfarm.com
Wed Jan 29 16:53:10 EST 2003

Leigh, your post came in just as I was finishing mine.  Yeah, Marc's
comments were tongue in cheek--I hope ; ))

As far as child labor on a farm, is hanging out on a city street any safer??

My children work hard on this farm, and yes some of the stuff is
dangerous....regularly climbing
a vertical ladder to get into the hay mow from where they could possibly
slip onto a concrete floor 10 feet below.  They operate a hay elevator,
drive the farm trucks, throw around 60lb bales of hay, feed up, ride &
exercise rambunctious horses.  They help catch run-aways, and assist the
farrier and vet.  They hatch out chicks, raise orphaned critters, handle my
stallion, feed the Doberman, and flee a particularly nasty rooster ; )).
They also have to listen to mom rant/cuss up a storm (possibly the most
dangerous activity on this farm ; )) when frostfree faucets freeze or the
hay turns out to be broomstraw or a calm horse turns into a bronco the very
second a potential client drives up.

Now that my oldest is a teenager, her friends come over just to hang out &
gladly pitch in.  They enjoy working, they WANT to work. All I can offer in
exchange is unlimited eats, swimming in the creek, and an occasional ride.
When the work gets tough/tiring/boring, I tell them they're living reality
tv.  So far no one has walked away.

When given the chance to go live with my ex, in a cushy home with NO chores,
no cold fingers, no frost bitten noses, no stomped toes, my kids chose to
stay here.  Because they like farm work/life.  They like working with
nature, even when it seems all of nature is against us.  They enjoy the
feeling of accomplishment and being needed in the family unit--something
alot of kids are missing out on all across this nation while their
<tongue-in-cheek> responsible, pc parents let them vegetate in front of a tv
or computer screen.  They're safe...physically...but their brains are fried.

Children working on a farm is NOT about child/slave labor--it's about
growing citizens willing to do whatever it takes to get a job done, even
when conditions are deplorable.

Liz Pike
Laughingbrook Farm
Westfield NC

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