For most of the year on the farm, my husband and I are able to do all of the work by ourselves. We feed animals, start and clean up gardens, fix fences and build sheds for 12 months a year. But summer brings with it additional sets of chores: Summer Session, hay, chicken processing, special projects. We’ve been lucky over the years to work with some great teenagers to help us with those projects. This is an open letter to them:
Dear farm helper;
Thank you for all that you do for us!
You work hard! The farm is not a place for the faint of heart. Working hard is relative, so if you thought you were going to “work hard” playing with horses or getting a tan, you quickly found out you were wrong. Thank you for using your muscles, keeping going and getting the job done.
You anticipate our needs! Especially if you’ve gotten to know the place, you have intuitively clued in to how we like things. You know that we like the hallways and not just the aisle swept in the barn. You know that you don’t ever walk past an empty water bucket – you stop and fill it.
You care about our business! Even though it’s not your own business, you care about ours. The quality of your work matters to you and therefore adds value to our business.
You care about our customers! You try to help them when you can, have nice things to say about our farm, and are all around pleasant when talking to customers or potential clients.
You solve smaller problems by yourself! If you see a gate down, you pick it up and put it back. If there’s a better way of doing something you try it and let us know about it. You don’t need to ask us about every little detail.
You are available when we need you! I don’t expect your world to revolve around our farm, but boy am I glad that when I ask you to work you are willing and available to do it.
You volunteer! I can’t always pay someone, but if you are my #1 volunteer, I promise you will be next on my list when I do have money to pay.
You have a great attitude! Farm work is hard and it makes it more bearable to be around people who are fun and happy.
These qualities don’t just make you a good farm worker, they make you a good teacher, electrician, veterinarian, banker, small business owner, or anything else you want to be when you grow up. I’m so impressed you already have these qualities and I hope that in some way, we might have helped you learn them.
A blog about farming and food. Kate Bogli owns and operates Maple View Farm, raising livestock and growing veggies, with her husband Jason. The farm has been in his family for 65 years.