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Ann Bailey: Teamwork helps tackle tasks

Ann Bailey

Each season I have a list of projects to accomplish. With the wet weather this fall it has been more challenging than most years to finish chores so I can check them off of the list posted on our fridge.

We had two October storms that dropped a combined 20 inches of snow and since the snow melted, it seems like every time we have a couple of consecutive days without precipitation and we figure it will be dry enough on the third day to tackle some chores, it rains again.

I am satisfied to say, though we have managed to get some projects done. One thing about being in the middle of the wet cycle is that it encourages us to work fast and furiously on the infrequent sunny days.

A couple of weeks ago, for example, on a fair Sunday afternoon, Brian, Brendan, Thomas, Ellen, Sophia our exchange student, and I cleaned up branches and limbs that had snapped off from the weight of the October snows. With six of us working we got the tree parts cleaned up in a couple of hours and the yards looking back to normal. We got the job done so quickly that we had time for another project before dusk.

We also quickly dispatched the second job of putting in winter storage the summer lawn furniture and gardening tools. After we had everything put away I still had time to dig up the gladiola bulbs, clean the mud off of them and take them to the basement where they will spend the winter.

Working together

Teamwork on farm chores is something Brian and I grew up with and have worked to pass on to our children from the time they were little. One thing that I've noticed lately is how the roles have reversed with my children and I when it comes to doing tasks that are difficult or a little dangerous.

When Brendan, Thomas and Ellen were young, for example, I didn't let them do projects such as cleaning eves troughs while standing on a ladder or the flat roof of the porch. Now, if I put a foot on the ladder I hear "Mom, we'll do that. We don't want you to fall off the ladder and get hurt." Or when I am about to climb to the top of the straw trailer to start throwing bales down to stack in the barn I hear "Mom, we'll climb up there. You stay down here and we'll throw them to you and Dad."

As someone who has enjoyed working outdoors her entire life and would rather clean the barn than the house, it is humbling to be told by my children not to do the things I've always done. But I reluctantly heed their advice because I figure discretion is the better part of valor. And putting my ego aside, I am grateful Brian and I raised children who, besides being part of the team, respect and honor their captains.