By Renata Finch
It is always difficult to leave the homestead, even for a short period of time. There is no one who can care for your homestead the way you do. However, it is healthy for you to take some time to occasionally get away. It makes you so very thankful for your blessings upon your return.
Because we live far from our families, we take holidays at least once throughout the year. This summer we are travelling interstate. While we have wonderful friends who are happy to help us look after our homestead, we do not want to overwhelm them with large amounts of work. After all, they have their own homesteads to care for as well. We use the following ideas to streamline the jobs we need them to do:
- Pigs. Our pigs have a large self feeder. This will provide sufficient food for over two weeks without any additional supplement to their diet. They also have a water cart which they drink from. This enables them to have enough water for almost a month. We are generally gone a maximum of two weeks.
- Sheep. Sheep are wonderful foragers and we rarely have to supplement their diets as we have a vast range of pasture. As it is summer here in Australia, it is essential to ensure they do have a sufficient water supply. We have a gravity-fed trough with a float valve. This is attached to a large water tank. We ensure this tank is full before we leave. We also have a large dam which we leave accessible for both the sheep and cows.
- Cows. While our cows can be virtually self-sufficient, they are used to a ration of grain at milking time. To ensure they do not go hungry or get into mischief while we are away, we provide them with a bale of hay which we pour grain through. This means they will not get too much grain at once as they need to eat the hay to get to the grain. As we do not wish to bother our friends with daily milking, we dry off our house cow if she has no calf on her. This is a good time to send her out to the bull.
- Chickens. The chickens need to stay locked inside their pen while we are away. We love allowing our chickens to free-range; however, without someone being at the homestead morning and evening, they would end up being taken by predators. Their pen is very large and they have plenty of room to fly and run around in it and they are safe. We have attached a float valve to their waterer which is also attached to a water tank. This means their water is kept full at all times. We also give them enough food for a couple of days to ease the burden of daily visits for our friends.
- Housecats. We ensure they have sufficient food and water for a couple of days. They also have access to the outdoors and are known to catch their own food in our forest if they want to.
- Garden. We put in a watering system and leave it attached to a tap on a timer. This theoretically means it should be able to be left without checking.
It is good to get away from the homestead occasionally. Allowing yourself and your family time to rest and relax is essential for maintaining a positive mindset and for building precious holiday memories.
Renata is a happy wife and homeschooling mama to four precious children (including identical twins). She spends her days surrounded by beauty on their small farm. She journals her homesteading, homeschooling, and homemaking adventures at Sunnyside Farm Fun.