DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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11 March 2015

Work - who does what?

This was originally published on 3 August 2009


While I don't want to make DTE a question and answer blog, I do want to address a question Donetta posed last week. In part, she wrote:

I see your Dear Hanno laboring in the garden often in your images. What percentage of the physical labor are you able to tend to in the garden? You see many of us women have this heart and the efforts tend to come from our hand. I think it would encourage us to see that it is your combined physical efforts that achieve those awesome wonders grown on your hand. It is a very different story if the woman tends to much if not all of the hard labor of tending the earth. Truly Rhonda do you do the hard labor too?

Donetta and friends, our work here is truly a partnership. Sometimes one of us may do hard work while the other doesn't, but overall, it evens out. We have tended to divide our work according to what we like doing and what we're good at. We both work in our community, me as the manager of our local Neighbourhood Centre, which I do twice a week + extra bits and pieces at home, Hanno drives the bus from the Centre to take elders on shopping trips and to pick up food from the Foodbank. He does that about once a month. We consider that work is part of our normal weekly work.


But on a daily basis, Hanno likes working outside and does most of the gardening. However, I set up the gardens with one of our sons when we first came to live here 12 years ago, and carried on gardening over the years until Hanno took over when he retired about three years ago. Now, he does the day to day tending of the gardens, while I sow seeds, tend seedlings and look after the worm farm. I harvest and still plant a few things, but Hanno likes everything tidy and in straight lines and I'm not a straight line gardener, so I usually leave it to him.













These are the seedlings Hanno planted before the wedding earlier in the year. Shane and Sarndra married in our garden in June 2009. It was a beautiful family garden wedding, made better by the gardening Hanno did beforehand.

I do most of the inside work - the baking, cooking, cleaning etc but now that I'm writing my book and a monthly column for a magazine, writing is a large part of my daily work now, so Hanno helps with the laundry and some cleaning. Now that we're here by ourselves now, that is minimal. When we clean something it tends to stay clean - unlike when our boys lived at home; we do laundry about once a week.

We each work on our little projects - Hanno's are usually outside and mine inside. Hanno worked on making a new lid for the worm farm today while I recovered from a bout of the flu, the first I've had in years. When I work inside I'll do a project like the oil lamps, make soap, sew, knit or mend; at the moment I'm knitting a jumper for Hanno. When Hanno is outside his projects are things like mowing the lawn, making compost, tending the chooks, house and car maintenance.


I have to tell you, none of it seems like hard labour, although in the past I would have seen it as such. Now there is a gentle flow to most days. We rise when we feel like it, we work at whatever task or project we choose for that day along with the normal daily chores. At 10 am each day, tea is taken on the front veranda and we take the time to relax and talk about what we're doing and what we have planned. If we don't want to work, we don't. But we both know that if we want to live this way for a long time, there is work to be done, so we get to and do it. Not every day is a diamond but generally the work we do is enjoyable, gratifying and enriching - not only in what it gives our home but also in what it gives us.

How do you divide up the work to be done at your home?


17 comments:

  1. As I am currently on 5 weeks annual leave and have decided to just stay at home and be fully domestic, I do everything. However, once I am back at work my jobs will be the washing, soap making, laundry detergent and cleaning product maker, bread baker. Everyone takes a turn at cooking daily meals (5 daughters and us) during the week. We all pitch in and do a evening tidy up during week days and on the week end we clean and garden. There are a zillion other little jobs too of course.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Phil, I hope you enjoy your time at home. It's good to see everyone helping. Our sons did a lot of cooking here before they moved out. With everyone helping with the cooking, it makes it easier, doesn't it.

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  2. It's just me now so most everything is done with my hands and heart. My son in laws do the heavy things like flipping the mattress, changing bulbs, or furnace filters. My kids do anything that is up high because they don't want me to fall off a ladder.

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    Replies
    1. Turning the mattress is so difficult now! I hear you, Angie.

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    2. At this moment husband works night shift. We also home educate so we consider taking the same amount of time to help our 'roses' grow on the words of kindness and goose character. This is quite a task.

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  3. Husband and I are both self-employed, although at an age where we could retire, he is not ready to do so. I run a quilt shop 5 days a week, 9 hours a day average. He is a building inspector, and his hours are more irregular, sometimes he has 6 or more inspections a week, sometimes only one or two. And his territory is a 100 mile radius from home, so some weeks he is on the road a lot.
    We have never really discussed the 'division of labor'. I'm the better cook and gardener, he takes care of the lawns and buildings. I clean the surfaces, he runs the sweeper, and since I cook, he washes dishes.
    But when he is working away, I do some of his chores, if I've got a busy week with lots of classes, he fills in for me.
    Since all our children are gone from home, it is much easier to maintain the 'clean' - we just don't track in or mess up the house.
    It's not hard to manage at our age, since we both are willing to share the load.

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  4. As l have a lot of health issues my husband tends to the muscle work and l do things like cooking, laundry and school work with the boys. We mix jobs at home according to my health and the work-load of his paid job and help and respect eachother. We always try to support and encourage and we are a great team. Pam

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  5. Hi Rhonda,

    Apologies if this was covered already, I also live in Maleny and wondered if you knew a place or where you source your vegetable seedlings. I have a new veggie patch awaiting planting :-) Thank you kindly,

    Danielle

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    1. Danielle, we get our seedlings from the Caboolture markets - open every Sunday morning from 5am. Not the seedling stall near the main side gate, there is another local supplier towards the centre of the market. If you have a look in the stalls selling chilli, bananas and Asian vegetables, they sometimes have a few of the more unusual seedlings or tubers.

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    2. Thank you Rhonda, I will head there this Sunday :-)

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  6. We don't divide up the work at all, in fact neither of us thinks of being at home as 'work' (we're both retired) and neither have we discussed any of this. If something wants doing, then one of us will do it if we feel like it but nothing's obligatory here. I do all the cooking and most of the housework simply because I'm better at it and I like doing it. I do most of the DIY, cleaning the chimney, the gardening as well but I know if I asked Mr to do it instead he would do, happily. We're not regimental here, we just enjoy life and do things if they need it and don't bother if they don't. He does all the 'fiddly' stuff like sorting out insurances, holidays, flight bookings, car maintenance and all that stuff I really struggle with, so we're both happy. Mr.G did say he'd take on the washing up in the evenings when we retired which I let him do, but I struggle with that even as he uses far more water than I would and rinses everything beforehand with the tap running...drives me round the bend, but he thinks he's helping so I just let him get on with it!

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  7. Hi Rhonda I am in trouble cant seem to log in to the forum Please help cheers Affussa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The forum has moved. An email was sent to you explaining the move and how to access the new forum. https://simpleliving.forums.net

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  8. Very interesting to read how you divide responsibility. Here we have a similar division of labor. My wife Cherie handles most of the inside work, because she prefers it. She also takes care of bill-paying and most financial things. I do most of the outside work, again because I prefer it. One important exception is that Cherie takes primary responsibility for any medical intervention we need to do with the animals on the farm and she is the goat midwife.

    This way of dividing things up works for us and keeps either of us from having to spend a lot of time doing things we'd rather not do.

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  9. I like how you said that you mainly do what each of you enjoys the most. That way it hardly seems like work! =) My husband works at his job long hours, usually 12-14 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. So when he comes home he's tired. I do most everything around the house, and outside too. He fixes things when he can, but mostly it's me. I don't mind, except we are without a washing machine right now and hand washing everything leaves little time for everything else! I can't wait to get a washer.

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  10. That sounds very like the way my husband and I devide up the work. He likes working in the garden and so that's what he does. I like it too but someone has to do things inside - especially using the home grown food to cook and bake with. So that's what I do.

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  11. Fancy questioning you about what work you do. Its hard working writing a blog for the pleasure of her reading and taking the photos and writing a book and cooking and baking and making our mouth water. oh well some people live in a blind world of their own. I love reading your blog and my husband tends the garden too while I tend the house-which I think involves more teeny tiny everyday stuff that never ends. We both go to work full time as well and I have a blog I write in regularly. Keep up the good work that we cant see you do but makes your world go around Rhonda xoxoox

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