Just one of those typical day kind of posts, recapping a bit what life looks like here on the farm. We welcome the kids' help with the farm and CSA as much as they'd like, and now, they earn money by doing so. This has been a weird thing for me to figure out because with the house, we don't have "chores," and the money is simply family money. What ever is left over after having paid the bills gets distributed, and we have slush money that goes toward different necessities each month. With the farm, however, I wanted to do something a bit different because the farm and CSA are our "home business," and I wanted the kids to be able to earn money from it as well, for it to be our contribution to the family finances in an empowering way.
How to do this, however, was the tricky part, especially considering we're not yet making money, and the money that's coming in is still being reinvested in infrastructure. A bit abstract for the kids to grasp, and way too future oriented. So, I decided to just start paying them when ever they felt like working, and this system has worked out pretty well because it gives the kids a chance to earn money on top of their regular budget and save more quickly for things they're wanting to buy. No one needs to work who doesn't want to, and it's been interesting to observe the different motivations and work ethics. Jules often helps and has saved a considerable amount already. Sam and Em are far less inclined to help and often do far less work when they're out helping, so we've kind of developed a pay-by-the-animal system rather than an hourly system. Most of the time, however, Sam's content to play—he's being a Chinese dragon in this photo—and leave the money-making to others, though having fewer dollars on the chalk board is a bitter pill at times.
Most of all the kids' time is spent playing—as it should be—and they play amazingly well together most of the time. They recently made a pair of stilts with their dad and have been spending lots of time trying to master the new skill, working hard together. They've been very into building fairy houses recently, thanks to Devin Martin's introduction to the hobby at the Live and Learn Conference. They recently had more Devin-inspired fairy fun carving some of our home-grown pumpkins to build hanging fairy bowers in the front crab apple tree—our one small climbing tree. The girls have rediscovered embroidery, which seems to be a fall activity, brought on by the shorter days and the nesting instinct they generate in us all. Books on CD are a great way to wile away these hours, and we've recently enjoyed The Swiss Family Robinson and Alice in Wonderland, and Em in particular is begging for more. We're considering joining an online audio book club, a la Netflix but for books, to feed this passion, as our library selection is dismal. But while our bodies and interests are turning towards fall, our weather has been doing anything but, and we've enjoyed balmy dinners by candlelight on the patio filled with love, laughter, and delicious homegrown food. Life is good!