Homesteading with a large family is great! There are unbelievable things that happen when you put everyone together to complete a task. I have what most consider a large family and most of which aren’t quite ready for the big tasks yet.
My large family at the time of writing this consists of a seven year old girl , six year old girl, three year old girl, two year old boy, and a five month old boy. My five month old was born in the height of harvest season. I knew that once I found myself to be with child, my body wasn’t going to allow much of anything, which is why I decided not to plant a garden this past year. I know my history with pregnancies and was worried about preterm labor and the ailments I usually have, so we decided to take this past year off. Little did I know I’d still end up having a preemie at home (link to that post here).
So we started our season off in November.
Tilling the land and just keeping the soil broken up. We have been cutting, splitting, and hauling wood to our shelter which consists of an old greenhouse frame, some chicken wire, and a tarp. Reasoning for the chicken wire is we at one point had used it as a chicken coop after a bad storm messed up our greenhouse. It is a 12 by 20 foot greenhouse and it will house enough wood properly stacked for a good winter. We don’t have very bad winters here. It’s the end of January and have had a few 70 degree days with humidity in the 50’s. Many days with the wood stove it is between 70 – 84 degrees in the house. So I baby wear or have him in a seat/play pen either dressed appropriately out with us or in the open barn which is 10 feet away from everything I am doing. I admit baby wearing and working isn’t a strong point of mine. I usually wait until he is asleep and use a baby monitor.
Having a large family is nice but I’m sure it would be nicer if they were older and more spaced out. The three and two year old I have to keep my eyes on so I make games with them. Go pull as many weeds and rocks out of the garden dirt (this is after tilling). See how many sticks you can find to make frog huts. Playing in the dirt and water and make mud during spring and summer.
It is completely doable to have a large family and homestead.
You can create jobs for each kid. The six and seven year old help with wood. They help during the tilling process by removing debris from the area we plan to garden. Everyone helps by gathering pine straw from the ground when the needles fall. We use this to bed the houses for the dogs and nesting boxes for the chickens. People say that straw isn’t very good for chickens because it can cause an impacted crop. I have never had any of my chickens to eat the pine straw. Some days I stay in with the kids and it’s a good time to catch up on homeschooling ideas. While my husband works with splitting wood. It’s all a give and take. Some days it just isn’t nice enough to bring our four month outside so it’s our day to stay in and That’s cleaning day and meal prepping time.
As the kids get older they will be learning how to hunt and fish. We do not have a pond where we are at the moment, so there’s no fish to get but I can’t wait. I was fishing as a kid as soon as I could hold a pole and myself upright . So I can’t wait until I’m able to pass that down! The kids help with the feeding of the animals and gathering eggs. They are able to rake leaves and straw in the fall and pull clover in the spring.
With a large family there will be a wide array of jobs for them to do. As they get older, alternate jobs between kids. So then all of them get proficient in all things homesteading.
Our girls help with the laundry right now, and when the boys get older they will too. There will not be a boys job or a girls job. We are equals. When there is an issue with strength then we work together as a family as it should be. We are a tight knit family and I can only hope it stays this way because of our lifestyle.
What are some good meal prep ideas you have that you do? Comment below with any tips you may have for a large family.