Learning to care…

Our daughter wants chickens. And she does so more than anything. She dreams of holding them and petting them. But her view of owning chickens was similar to owning cats. When you asked her “who will feed the chickens?”, she answered “You and dad”. When you would ask her “who will clean up after the chicken?”, she would answer dad.

So we thought about it… and thought some more… and came up with a plan :

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Our Little Miss is now the proud caretaker of a 1/2 pound family of red worms. In the early morning light, we take out the worms and tend to them. She helps sort out the kitchen scraps and learns to count while remembering which quadrant we feed next. She learns about chemistry by applying the egg shells to keep the environment from turning too acidic. She learns about the cycle of life, watching as the worms reproduce, she learns about composting, she learns responsibility, she learns consistency, she learns about planning ahead… but most of all, she gets to hold them and pet them. They are her first hard-working homestead animals and she can’t wait for her chickens next year.

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About Yanic A.

Hello to all of you and thank you for stopping by! My name is Yanic. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of 2 beautifully complex and unique children and a lover of all things inspiring. Having started a personal journey of self discovery when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I've since embraced a daily life of simpler pleasures and gratitude. As we get to know each other, you will know me as a quilter, a gardener, a Tao cultivator, a vegetarian foodie, a true believer in a healthy family life as being the secret to my happiness and hopefully as time goes on, a friend... I will try to share with you my days as they unfold, speaking of my happy successes without censoring my challenges, trying to make this blog a true portrait of the ever-changing path that I have chosen for myself. I'm hoping to find in these pages others to share with and learn from, bringing to light the absolute connection in all things and people, showing this world as being a true community.
This entry was posted in Family Life, Gardening, Homesteading, Learning at home, Life, Pets and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Learning to care…

  1. Appleshoe says:

    What a brilliant and thoughtful compromise. Beautiful.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you… its been so much fun for us as well. And they are such hard workers. It’s only been 3 weeks an we have a couple of cups worth of compost down there. Although it won’t really be enough for our gardens, we plan on using the compost produced to make compost tea for hand watering. She also made us promise we would use the compost in her fairy garden this summer. 🙂

      Like

  2. barnraised says:

    My daughter wants chickens too! So do I but I know that right now is not the time with all of the work the horses require, though I’d like to add them in in the future. Love your worm farm. What a fun idea!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Its all about responsibility isn’t it? If you don’t make it fun, then responsibility is scary when they are young. It,s also teaching her that worms (insects in general) are not something to find gross or to be scared of. We would like to own bees as well one day so teaching her about the bees’ role in a garden was a priority last year. Now she loves them, watches them from afar. Her connection with all parts of nature is just so important to us. I’m so happy she is embracing it.

      Like

  3. sophiezest says:

    Great idea! She must be so happy. My little man would LOVE to have chickens too, but it’s been impossible here in Brussels. He built plenty of insect homes in the garden, though, and when we get back to the UK we’ll have a wormery again, I’m sure.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Your son and my daughter would get along great I think. I can’t wait to hear all about your life when you get back home. Seems like, although you were very happy in Belgium, there are so many opportunities for you back in the UK. 🙂

      Like

  4. What an amazing idea! I love this 🙂

    Like

  5. bitsofthepast says:

    Great alternative! Looks like she is enjoying her worms. Really cool idea!

    Like

  6. That’s a wonderful compromise. We have a bigger one in our garden it’s suprising how much they do produce we empty it (not completely) once a year.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I know… we were told that in about 6 months, we may have to decide on a second bin or giving away some worms because they reproduce so fast they will overcrowd themselves. Our goal is 3 bins high. 🙂

      Like

  7. Carie says:

    What a brilliant way to compromise! They sound like perfect starter pets and I love that she still planning on chickens someday!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Truth be told, we all want chickens (and a dog) but we had promised ourselves that they would come when the kiddos could participate. So her proving she is ready is a huge part of the deal. She,s taking it about as seriously as a 4yo can! 🙂

      Like

  8. Carlin says:

    That’s awesome, we started with snails over here (but truth be told, we’ve only progressed to a fish so far). Cute pics ~ did you get a new lens?

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you… Nope, same lens, I’ve just been venturing into the manual functions of my camera… 🙂 I do want to get a new lens though. I only have the standard 18-55 and I find it very limiting now that I’ve been playing with the settings. 🙂 Snails? Never had those except for a few in our aquarium once.

      Like

  9. What a wonderful project. I had composting worms for a short time while in college, and I must admit, now that I have been keeping chickens on and off for nearly 10 years, they are much less work and have a lot more product to offer than those finicky worms! I hope you will find the same when you welcome hens to the homestead. In the meantime, hats off to your work. You are a better woman than I!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I haven’t found them to be that bad… We do have a really nice place for them downstairs : perfect temp, perfect darkness, perfect humidity type of place for a worm (or worms) to thrive. Many have asked if we will take them outside once it’s hot, but I say no… why mess with a good thing? The educational value for me is worth the efforts, but like you, I think that once we get chickens (and eventually rabbits), the worms will most likely be given on to friends that won’t be as lucky. Or maybe we won’t… My daughter does tend to get ridiculously attached to living creatures. It’s one of the reasons why we are teaching her proper care. I know we will be keeping our chickens way passed their laying prime. 🙂

      Like

      • That’s a tricky one! We have some birds that are coming up on that phase, and I have to admit, I’m questioning our planned course of action. I know this, next time we will get only one breed so that no one can tell them apart and name them and get further attached to them!

        Like

      • Yanic A. says:

        Oh, its not only that… we are vegetarian so we won’t eat them and it is also part of our cultivation, we have taken the vow of not taking lives. So if they get terribly sick, okay, but ending it because they don’t produce anymore wouldn’t be something we would be able to do as a family. But yes, naming them never helps. LOL! No, our plan is to start with 3-4, then the following year, get a few more, then the 3rd year, a few more… that way, we have a rotation. Regardless, they will work for our homestead : scratching, eating bugs, fertilizing, heating up our greenhouse (we plan on having a combo passive-greenhouse and chicken coop), so they will earn their keep. But still, I know there will be a time when we will have more hens that don’t lay than do and I want the kids to understand that they will need caring as well.

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      • That’s what we’ve done, add a few every year. It works out pretty well, or it has for us. We also love all that they do to earn their keep!
        Being vegetarian is so admirable! I was vegetarian/vegan for nearly 10 years and have sadly had to return to the omnivore life for health needs. It’s been hard to reconcile the karmic aspects. In fact I haven’t yet! A friend of mine that is also an omnivore talks about teaching her children to care in all of their work, even when choosing to take the life of a living creature and that we never do so lightly. So, while I reconcile my forced omnivore lifestyle, I hope that the kids get that we care for animals in all aspects of the way we interact with them.

        I suppose we might avoid the whole thing by raising worms. I don’t think any of us would be very excited about eating them!

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      • Yanic A. says:

        LOL! I agree with your last statement. 🙂 Vegetarianism seems to come easy for us. I’ve been for 20 years, my husband for going on 5 and my kids since birth. So we have no merit for it. It’s just always worked for us. My kids are huge and healthy, I had 2 successful pregnancies with it and my husband is a hardcore athlete on it as well. Every body needs what it needs. If this is what is best for you, then it is. I have friends that only buy local, free range and organic. Some people I know only eat what they raise. Some people hunt out of sport. I’m surrounded by all walks of life. To each their path and the karma associated. You know? We are all meant to travel the road that is meant for us and nobody has the right to say it is right or wrong. 🙂

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  10. kathrynpagano says:

    Wonderful! I need to do this with my girls. We’ve got worms but I’m the care taker. I want to get chickens but I know I will take full responsibility. But maybe I can make them more involved than just petting and holding. 🙂

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      It’s so hard to get the kids into taking care of our cats because the cats were there before them and avoid them like the plague. So this is the first “pets” that she has had that are hers. I think that is a great motivator. Let me know how the girls do…

      Like

  11. You never seem to stop to amaze me! 🙂 Most of the people that I know (probably including myself) would do one of the two things: get a pet and then take care of its’ needs myself or deny that wish to a child. But you did the best possible thing: teaching your Little Miss responsibility and caring is something that she will carry with herself in adulthood. Respect! 🙂

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for your kind words… children want t learn. They are sponges. It only matters what you teach them. They will soak it up. Compassion is one of the 5 great virtues of Tao. We try and include it in every aspect of our lives. As always, your kindness and generosity of spirit when it comes to my little life are truly touching. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just this morning I told Mladen about your new project. We both came to conclusion that for being a good parent you need to have things sorted with yourself, to be calm and loving. That is the material of what are the best parents made! 🙂

        Like

      • Yanic A. says:

        Well, it’s what we are striving for. Can’T say we have it all figured out yet, but I feel every small step towards peaceful parenting is a win for everyone. You and your hubby are very sweet to show so much intention and kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Nice! Worms are fun! I’d like to have enough worms to feed the chickens but I haven’t figured out a way to get that many at once. They do make quick work of the chickens bedding- I added some to a 50 gal container I filled during “the great spring cleaning out” last spring, by fall it was ready to plant in. Can’t wait to use it getting some seedlings started.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I was so surprised at how quickly they work. We are hoping to have enough compost for mid-summer seed starting. By the following spring, we should have plenty for a super-charged seed-starting season. 🙂

      Like

  13. great idea, my children wanted so many pets and we ended up with hermit crabs (while at the beach) and they loved them so. We had quite the burials when they passed. I see chickens in your future 🙂

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      That is adorable. We have had cats pass and they have been cremated and have a special place under a special stone in the backyard. It was quite an official affair.
      I totally see chickens in our future! And rabbits, and bees… and one day a dog. She is being such a curious and excited little miss with all our homesteading projects. It’s a wonderful age. 🙂

      Like

  14. What a great idea. Animals (even worms!) take work, and it’s so good to start small. 🙂

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you. It’s what we thought… if she can handle these, chickens will be that much more rewarding because she gets eggs she can eat and chickens she can “really” pet and hold. She,s doing a great job at being a worm-mama.

      Like

  15. sally says:

    What a great idea to start her off, and practical too, just perfect!

    Like

  16. erica says:

    what a wonderful plan… nothing like worms to get her hands dirty and right into the venture of husbandry

    Like

  17. remmus26 says:

    Love it!! This is so awesome!! We tried composting worms a few years back but they didn’t make it through the intense heat we had when we loved in Orange County. We’d like to try again soon though! Good for N that she’s learning all of this great stuff!!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Have you tried keeping them indoor? That is the best for worm composting I think because they need to stay between 55 and 75’F to be at their best. I’m thinking a cool corner of the basement would do the trick. 🙂 Good luck!

      Like

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