An olive farm of two hundred and forty jugera (160 acres) ought to be stocked as follows: an overseer, a house keeper, five labourers, three ox drivers, one swineherd, one ass driver, one shepherd; in all thirteen hands: three pair of oxen, three asses with pack saddles, to haul out the manure, one other ass to turn the mill, and one hundred sheep.
Of the duties of the overseer.
These are the duties of the overseer: He should maintain discipline. He should observe the feast days. He should respect the rights of others and steadfastly uphold his own. He should settle all quarrels among the hands; if any one is at fault he should administer the punishment. He should take care that no one on the place is in want, or lacks food or drink; in this respect he can afford to be generous, for he will thus more easily prevent picking and stealing.
Unless the overseer is of evil mind, he will himself do no wrong, but if he permits wrong-doing by others, the master should not suffer such indulgence to pass with impunity. He should show appreciation of courtesy, to encourage others to practise it. He should not be given to gadding or conviviality, but should be always sober. He should keep the hands busy, and should see that they do what the master has ordered. He should not think that he knows more than his master. The friends of the master should be his friends, and he should give heed to those whom the master has recommended to him. He should confine his religious practices to church on Sunday, or to his own house.
He should lend money to no man unbidden by the master, but what the master has lent he should collect. He should never lend any seed reserved for sowing, feed, corn, wine, or oil, but he should have relations with two or three other farms with which he can exchange things needed in emergency. He should state his accounts with his master frequently. He should not keep any hired men or day hands longer than is necessary. He should not sell any thing without the knowledge of the master, nor should he conceal any thing from the master. He should not have any hangers-on, nor should he consult any soothsayer, fortune teller, necromancer, or astrologer. He should not spare seed in sowing, for that is bad economy. He should strive to be expert in all kinds of farm work, and, without exhausting himself, often lend a hand. By so doing, he will better understand the point of view of his hands, and they will work more contentedly; moreover, he will have less inclination to gad, his health will be better, and he will sleep more refreshingly.
First up in the morning, he should be the last to go to bed at night; and before he does, he should see that the farm gates are closed, and that each of the hands is in his own bed, that the stock have been fed. He should see that the best of care is taken of the oxen, and should pay the highest compliments to the teamsters who keep their cattle in the best condition. He should see to it that the ploughs and plough shares are kept in good repair. Plan all the work in ample time, for so it is with farm work, if one thing is done late, every thing will be late.
When it rains try to find some thing to do indoors. Clean up, rather than remain idle. Remember that while work may stop, expenses still go on.