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Claire trying her hand at woodchopping.

I think I write a lot about our family doing chores, mostly because that’s honestly what we spend a good deal of our day doing: work. One thing I want my kids to learn is that work can be enjoyable, give them a sense of pride, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment that sitting around never could. Plus, I love that my kids are hard workers. Yes, I am still privy to plenty of meltdowns, refusals, outright laziness, crying, and children who magically disappear when I announce our next project, but more often than not, they’re more than happy to help with the chores around here.

My little country boy.

Maybe it has to do with the kind of chores I’m asking them to help me with. Sure, we do the boring house cleaning and dishwashing, but there are also opportunities to collect maple sap or burn down brush piles once the mundane tasks are completed.


And, if they’re really lucky, they might get a treat out of it, like hot-off-the-fire toasted marshmallows.

That was one big, blazin’, burning hot fire!
My favorite is, of course, going out to feed the animals.
Zoey tossing in a handful of gree grass.

Maybe it’s because horses, cows, chickens, and turkeys never complain at dinnertime, even when they’re getting the same thing they’ve been eating since they nibbled up the last of the green grass.

Stoney loves his sweet feed.
The theme for this week’s list of chores has been mulch.

There’s an awesome mulch supplier only a few miles away, so I’ve gotten a few trailer loads when the weather broke and we got right to work. Henry and Zoey helped me do a massive new landscaping space in the front yard. Not sure what we’re going to grow there but it’s nice to start off with a blank slate. We also spent part of spring break setting up a nice raspberry patch, separate from the main garden.


Then after dinner, we headed out to get some fresh air and take care of re-mulching the orchard. We’ve been saving our cardboard all winter to use as a sort of biodegradable weed barrier (works like a charm, by the way!). Claire spread the old boxes around each tree…

While Henry the fireman worked on his own tree…
…and Kate dumped and spread the mulch.
Zoey did her job, tossing mulch around the trees two fistfuls at a time.
 Raven was even recruited to help drag boxes over! I tell ya, she’s the best farm dog there is.
Raven helping pull her weight.

Doing chores together is a bonding experience–at least for me. We listen to music, everybody works hard and learns that many hands make it easier and quicker and that once we’re done, there’s time to kick up our feet, share a well-earned treat, and enjoy being worn out at the end of the day. Maybe it’s that we’re doing different kinds of chores than mere laundry or mopping but whatever the reason, there is contentment in work.

Evelyn was in charge of the grapevines.
And I for one like that. 


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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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