It feels a little strange to be talking about working in the yard (in short-sleeves!) today, since it’s crazy-cold outside, but two days ago, it was beautiful.
Where we live, this is the time of year when the last of the leaves are falling off of the trees, and it’s starting to bug me that I can’t walk out of my front door without sloshing through leaves.
Actually, it may have bugged other people long ago, but I’m just starting to notice it.
So, last Saturday, in an effort to take advantage of the beautiful weather and attempt to keep the house quiet so my sick hubby could get some rest, the kids and I worked in the yard.
See those awful things in the picture? The boys were more than willing to help pick them up, since they make tackle-football rather painful. I told them that I would pay them a penny for each one they picked up. Each child was given a plastic bag to fill.
I got this idea from my own parents. They once paid us a penny for each bagworm we pulled off of our bushes, when we were having some sort of infestation.
I remember it as one of the most miserable days of my childhood.
But, since it is also a distinct memory that involved much laughter around the table as my father first tried to count them, and then decided to just give us each $5.00 . . . I didn’t feel too bad about inflicting this type of memory-making-moment upon my own children.
After they filled their bags, they divided them into piles of ten to count. (Insert greed-motivated-math-lesson here.)
Honestly, they did well. My 4 yo daughter earned eighty-nine cents. When she was told that she only needed to find eleven more to make a dollar, she said, “No, I’m okay.”
My nine-year-old made $3.40, and my seven-year-old made $2.67.
While I believe that there are times when the kids need to work just because I say so, I do love to look for times when they can earn some money. Seeing how quickly pennies add up, grasping how many of those awful things were actually out there in our yard, and being able to tangibly understand the relationship between their work and the amount of money they earned were all good life-lessons.
And another yard work tip?
When picking up piles of leaves to put them in the bags, use two baking pans to gather up a larger amount that you can with your hands. (And to protect yourself from being poked.)
If you’re normal, you may not have two random pans that you find in the garage but have no idea where they came from. But you also may be able to handle the thought of washing them and then re-using them for cooking.
If you’re me, you definitely have pans of unknown origin somewhere in a pile, and can breathe easier that you won’t have to overcome any issues and use them for non-leaf-gathering uses again.