Petersen: Chores |

Petersen: Chores

W When you live in the country, especially if you work the land, you have chores. Every day; even Sundays and holidays. Chores do not allow time off just because it’s too hot, too cold or too tedious. There’s some flexibility as to what time of day one begins one’s chores — due to the yearly change from standard to daylight time. However, if one has sustained a broken bone, incurred walking pneumonia, gotten bucked off a horse or tossed by an irate bull, one still does chores. Four-wheelers, walking casts and/or crutches are acceptable aids.

Relief from doing chores is not an option unless you are a woman and about to give birth. Going to a hospital means a luxurious few days of no chores. Sometimes a clever woman will go into false labor a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.

Occasionally shoveling out the chicken coop chore can be Tom Sawyered by asking a kid or kids old enough to handle shovels, but not yet old enough to expect wages in any form other than cookies and ice cream. This ploy can get the chicken house shoveled out only once. After that, youngsters tend to smarten up.

To obtain help with corral and barn-cleaning chores means locating a teenage girl who is wild about horses but has no equines of her own. Allowing her anytime use of Old Dobbin in exchange for shoveling out corral and barn means that task will be taken care of for at least a summer. If by next year, she has acquired her own horse, another summer of corral and barn upkeep can be parlayed by letting Miss Teen pasture her steed on the south 40 pastures. If she brings a girlfriend or two along, be prepared by having extra shovels and rakes handy.

“To obtain help with corral and barn-cleaning chores means locating a teenage girl who is wild about horses but has no equines of her own.”

Elimination of pesky varmints (the ones that are not on somebody’s endangered list) is a never-ending job. If the pasture is overrun with gophers or cottontails, find a reliable teenage boy and let him target practice. The only expense is keeping the kid in ammo.

Warning: Most chores are gender-related. He drives the farm machinery; she deals with household responsibilities. However, if a piece of machinery breaks down while himself is running it, she must go to town for parts. If the equipment breaks down whileherself is driving it, she still must go to town for parts ­­— plus explain what she did wrong that created the problem.

Space limitation prevents a complete summary of rural chore requirements. Doing chores is like getting dressed every day. Other people will not care or notice what goes into executing these mundane tasks unless they’re left undone. There are no dress-code requirements, however, a Lady Godiva garment is probably not a wise choice — even in triple-digit heat.

The ranchwoman out on the tractor

Is happy except for one factor

When every last bump

Meets up with her rump

She’s certain that someone has whacked her.❖


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