Labor Day

Labor Day is a holiday of contradictions. It celebrates work, and yet it is a day of rest. It comes at the end of the vacation season when the weather is usually hot and summery, and yet it marks a return to the daily grind and school. In rural, northern regions, labor day comes at the end of the vegetable harvest and points to the coming of harsh weather. These days, we rarely think about the politics behind this holiday. I don’t, but I do think about the different types of labor – the work we do to bring in paychecks to support ourselves, the hard work it takes to maintain even a small garden and home, the never-ending drudgery of necessary daily chores, and the most complex of all, the labors of love.

When you have animals, you can’t take an entire day off. Perhaps you can slow down a bit, put the animals out to pasture, top off their water buckets, and go on a picnic. But your time away is limited. Unlike the two in this photo, my animals aren’t necessities. If I didn’t have the chickens and goats, I’d still have food on my table. So, I have the choice to work as I do. It’s a choice that I feel privileged to be able to make.

51silo - Version 4


  1. So true…..I had an older woman(Mom of a friend), visit me for the first time yesterday. I proudly showed her around the garden and the hen`s house that I love to play in, as the Chickens happily followed us around. I asked her if she ever had chickens. She replied` yes….but I don`t remember it ever being this much fun.`

    • That reminds me of bringing our chickens to “visit” at church & several people being amazed at how my son just picked them up & walked around with them & all were totally happy. Again, their memories of their chickens growing up were not as rosy. Enjoy your non-laboring Labor Day!

  2. Farming is a tough business. Subsistence farming even more so. Not sure I have the guts for it.

  3. I wonder if the chicken she is holding was dinner that day.

    My thought on Labor Day yesterday was, apparently people who work at restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, retail (heck some care dealerships were open in St Louis) are not considered part of the labor pool.

    I think it would be absolutely wonderful if we could just a few days a year in all was closed except for the real necessities of life. Thanksgiving use to be one of those days but that is slowly but surely disappearing and I am sure Christmas will be on the hit list next. I’m off my soap box. ;-)