Cows had to be fed, their living areas cleaned and their bodies milked by certain times in the day before infection and possibly death would overtake them. Wheat had to be planted early on in the year, maintained for months and harvested during fall time so that belly-filling foods such as biscuits, breads, and sprouted wheat cereal were a possible food option throughout the year. Chickens had to be fed and certain eggs fertilized in order to keep nutrient dense eggs as a constant source of food.
Homes were usually built by the hands of those who lived in them. Those homes needed continual fixing up. And vegetable gardens and fruiting trees needed persistent attention during most of the year.
As families grew so did the amount of animals, garden-space, abundance of fruits and home space. There was no way only 2 adults could take on care of it all. Which is why it was necessary for children to help. It was a lot of work and the work took up a good amount of their time. But they grew by doing so.
Work builds and strengthens character. It teaches patience and persistence and teaches a child how to take responsibilities seriously. It increases mental focus and creates maturity inside and out.
Many parents today wish that they could provide their children with experiences that will help build such character traits. These parents also tend to feel frustrated as to how to go about accomplishing such a thing in a world so filled with distractions and frivolousness.
I have seen some parents use music practice or the up-keeping of their large homes or sports practice as a substitute to the traditional "farm" experience. I'd like to add another kind of farm experience to this list.
You see, I believe that a type of farm already exists. This farm gives plenty of wonderful opportunities which will build character traits and will knit a family together in unity through work. Such a farm is possible and even (in the opinions of some) necessary when we choose to eat healthy, whole foods.
Harvest time is a busy time in our home. During the late summer we pick green grapes - freezing some in jars and juicing the rest for a special nutritious sunday drink. We pick prunes, juicing them (Champion juicer) and store them for a fruit leather. We pick apricots and do the same with them. We parboil boxes of tomatoes, skin them, blend them up and store them for a nutritious and un-meddled with spaghetti sauce. We slice and freeze boxes of peaches for additions to smoothies or use them for a pancake and waffle sauce. We pick purple grapes and steam them for their juice and store them. And we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labor throughout the next year.
We keep up on our own humble garden. Watering, weeding and picking when necessary. We make nut milk every week. We purchase our meat, milk and butter from another city. We are continually sprouting grains and seeds. We grind our dehydrated wheat. We grow and juice our own wheatgrass. We rotate and continually add to our food storage. We are continually making all kinds of breads, home-made snacks, filling meals, and sauces and such - some of them requiring some preparation days in advance.
I continually teach my children why these things are important - helping them realize what foods to avoid and training them to savor, recognize, and find joy in the taste and nutrition of real food. The food Heavenly Father meant for us and wants us to consume, enjoy, and be thankful for.
This is our farm. And although it may sound like a lot - many of those steps take very little time. But we do these things because we feel it is important to be healthy and we believe that a lot of the food within most grocery stores creates poor health due to the absence of proper food preparation, the large amount of processed ingredients and the lack of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants within the provided foods. We find joy in this way of living and eating. It reminds me so much of the family in Elsa Beskow's book, Children of the Forest - I love it!
No matter what kind of family one wants to be like - if we want to help end degeneration, minimize the number of people within the health crisis and bring greater health and vitality to our children and their children and so on - it is necessary to create a modern day farm within the walls of our home.
And by doing so, if done in the right spirit, we can create a home filled with united relationships, good health, good work ethics, and joy.