It all started with eggs…
After living on the farm for a little bit we decided we needed to get some chickens. After all, what is a farm without a rooster crowing and hens free ranging around the yard? Plus, eggs, farm…fresh…eggs, enough said. Kyler and Kolten were still pretty young and we thought it would be a great experience for them.
We purchased some Barred Rock chicks from the local hatchery. It was March and too cold to keep them in the coop, so their temporary home was a storage tote in the living room. The boys helped with feeding, watering and keeping the tote clean. We spent most of our evenings gathered around the tote watching the little chicks scurry around and peck at their food. They grew quickly and as soon as they were nicely feathered we moved them out to the coop. Well of course we ended up with several roosters. What do you do when you have an abundance of roosters? You make chicken and dumplings, and I have the perfect recipe for you to try.
The business arrangement…
It soon became obvious that our little flock was going to produce way more eggs that we could consume, so we made a deal. We would provide the real estate, exclusive grazing rights, utilities, and feed; the boys would be responsible for feeding, watering, egg gathering, and coop cleaning. In return they could sell all the extra eggs and keep the money.
They were excited about the prospect of earning some cold hard cash, and decided that they would sell each dozen for $2. They were diligent in their duties, everyday after school they would head to the coop to feed and collect eggs. Every weekend, laden with grocery sacks full of egg cartons, they would walk up the road to peddle their goods to the neighbors. Over the years they developed regular customers who came to depend on their weekly deliveries. The only downside is that when the chickens weren’t laying we would go without eggs so the boys didn’t have to let down their customers.
They boys soon learned that earning a dollar wasn’t quite as easy as they thought. On average they sold 6 dozen eggs a week, which equaled less than a dollar a day for each of them. And that’s without any overhead.
Rain or snow they would have to trudge out to the coop to care for their feathered friends. There were no days off, and no excuses. They valued every dollar they earned from their egg enterprise and squirreled it away in their piggy banks to save up for something important or special.
Years have passed and those little boys are becoming young men and the meager profits are not as enticing as they once were. But everyday after school they head out to the coop to feed and collect eggs. Sometimes their little brother tags along to help, and I hope that one day he will be as excited as they were to sell his eggs and save a little of his own money.
What methods have you used to teach your children real world knowledge and values?