During the summer, the farm is in full swing. Between mowing the yard, taking care of the livestock, building the new shed and tending to the garden, it seems there’s never enough time to get everything accomplished, let alone fit in quality time with family and friends. Instead of leaving the farm to celebrate a holiday or a birthday, it can be fun to invite loved ones to the farm for a visit—and often, you can get some helping hands out of the deal.
A lot of times, your farm visitors will take pleasure in helping feed the chickens or riding around on the ATV, though for some, the idea of farm life can be intimidating. Using these tips, you’re sure to wrangle a few willing helpers.
1. Look For Enjoyable Jobs
If Aunt Linda is afraid of birds, then asking her to clean the chicken coop is probably not something she will enjoy. But if Uncle Ron loves tinkering with old cars, he might relish the chance to work on your farm equipment. If your tractor has a clogged fuel line or if your ATV needs new spark plugs, ask him if he’d be willing to take a look.
It’s important to think outside the box while inviting your guests to join in on farm activities. Mucking stalls and digging rocks out of the garden might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can tie their hobbies and skills to a suitable project, you might find them much more willing to join in on farm activities. Plus, they’ll have a better time if the project is a pleasant one that suits their interests.
2. Find Beginner-Level Chores
Even the most enthusiastic of farm visitors can’t take on big tasks if they don’t have any experience, so be sure to ask for help with simple jobs that don’t require a high level of expertise, such as watering the garden, raking leaves or collecting eggs. Best of all, quiet, simple tasks like these make it easy for you to catch up with your visitors while getting your work done. It’s much easier to have a conversation with Aunt Essie while she helps you in the garden than when you’re distracted by other people, the TV or other conversations.
3. Ask for Help in Small Doses
If your visitors are on vacation, chances are they will be looking to relax and not spend their time hard at work. So with this in mind, don’t ask them to participate in several hours of work each day. Instead, encourage them to take on smaller tasks to help speed up your day—perhaps they can help move a few bales of hay or assist in the quick repair of a broken fence. After all, the sooner you can finish your farm chores, the sooner you can do something fun together.
Along similar lines, you never know which everyday farm tasks your company might wish to try, such as shelling peas, planting potatoes or grooming horses—activities that you do all the time and take for granted. Friends from the city sometimes jump at the opportunity to try their hand at these types of activities, so if they seem interested, go ahead and give them a chance. You’ll give them the delight of participating in a satisfying task and the knowledge that they’re giving you a helping hand.
4. If All Else Fails, Just Enjoy It
It can be hard to enjoy time with your visitors if you’re constantly thinking of all the work you really should be getting done. Instead of feeling unproductive and worrying that you’re neglecting your chores, remind yourself that these reunions don’t happen every day and you should do your best to enjoy them. Some chores can’t wait, but you should postpone whatever you can … for a few days, at least. When it comes right down to it, you’ll probably value a talk with Grandma Harriet more than a perfectly maintained schedule, and chances are you’ll be happier for taking the time to sit on the back porch with the grandmother you love.
Get more farming help on HobbyFarms.com:
- 7 Winter Projects You’ll Thank Yourself For This Spring
- 5 Farm Chores Your Kids Will Say “Yes!” To
- 5 Ways to Love Your Farm
- How To Find a Trustworthy Farm Sitter
About the Author: Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including The Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, (Voyageur Press, 2013). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and enjoys gardening, especially heirloom vegetables.