If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a family to care for a farm. At Noddfa Farm in West Virginia, we three kids and two parents care for five horses, five goats, countless poultry, dogs, cats, garden, etc. It takes everyone to care for everything and if it was only one person it would be hours and hours of work. With five members of a family, though, the time is minimized to around half an hour to an hour a day. My sister Nonee and I have cared for our own animals since we were four and a half years old. I am a little bit older and our birthdays cross the school cutoff so I am one grade ahead of her in school. When I started middle school, Nonee was left with morning chores by herself, which she wrote about in her first blog for EasyCare.
Nonee driving the tractor for afternoon feeding with 4H friends and Team Easyboot member Mikayla, me and Ashlee in the back helping.
Now that we are both in middle school, our younger brother Noah has taken up morning chore duty. We have more animals than we did when Nonee took care of them but since Noah is homeschooled it’s easier for him to care of all of them. He takes care of the horses, poultry, goats, and the donkey Pedro in the mornings. We all help out in the evening.
Noah loves to drive the tractor.
Noah does not necessarily like the horses as much as we do, but he has done a pretty good job helping out. He is a bit intimidated by bigger horses, but he became attached to the mini donkey Pedro whom we were rehabilitating for one of Mom’s clients. Pedro is now part of our family.
Noah and Pedro checking out the new chicken coop.
Nonee and I still have the majority of duties where the horses are concerned. That is as it should be as they are mostly ours. Or mostly Nonee’s: she has three and I have one. But I love my one, Maggie is my girl.
Left to right: Bella, me, Maggie, Sasha, Nonee, Phoenix. Maggie is mine; Bella, Sasha and Phoenix are Nonee’s.
We try to make the whole farm self-sustaining, or at least inter-dependent. The horses help support the garden with their composted manure, which is the thing Dad likes best about them. The poultry help take care of the horses by eating insects and being natural fly predators. The garden helps feed us, and the leftovers go back to compost or help feed the poultry and other animals. We enjoy sharing vegetable and fruit salads and snacks with our animal friends. Mom is an awesome cook. The goats… well, we are not quite sure that the goats help with a lot, other than to amuse us with their antics.
We, and the horses, find the goats awfully funny.
It takes everyone to take care of the farm, including all the animals. We all work as a team to get the job done. And when it is done, then we get to ride.
Liz, Nonee and me heading off down the trail.