Every fall, we get a load of wood delivered.
That way, we have plenty of wood to burn in our fireplace all winter.
The girls have to help their dad stack it all.
We make them do this work, even though it's hard, because it's so good for their bodies to get that exercise.
It's also practically too much work for the grown ups to do alone in the time that we have to get it done, so we actually need their help.
And the girls have able bodies, so it is right they they use them and it would be wrong for them to sit around while others do all the family labors for them.
Note: The girls used to complain about this kind of work, but I haven't heard that much complaining in the past few years.
Interestingly, I think it's because we have seriously limited their screen use and they are spending more time outside in general.
They seem able to appreciate all the subtle stimuli the natural world has to offer them now, now that they aren't so addicted to screens.
It might be a good litmus test for parents to take your kids outside to play or ask them to do something totally reasonable like help with yard work. If they complain and keep complaining, if they have no endurance, if they can't see anything or appreciate anything beautiful or interesting outside, they are probably spending too much passive time inside in an artificial environment on screens.
Now our girls just accept that fall chores are part of what is required and part of what's right for them to do since our family needs and uses the wood all winter.
They even seem to enjoy the work now.
I think it's enjoyable for several reasons:
We are all outside together and it's beautiful outside.
The cool air and warm sunshine feel lovely.
The living woods and the dry wood they are stacking smell lovely.
There's always something diverting to see in or about the yard- mushrooms, turkeys, bees, jays, etc.
And the physical work is wholly engaging.
Several odd pieces of the wood are often too small to stack, so these go into a big pile to be burned.
As the weather continues to turn, leaves, sticks, and even entire branches have started to fall off the tress and into the yard.
So while we are all outside stacking wood, there's also an abundance of woody debris to clean up and pick up, too.
Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars have been moved to the end caps at the local grocery stores, so we usually have those on hand already.
The hard work finally gets done, the sun starts to set, it starts to chill, everyone is really ready to sit down.
So naturally, it's time to light up the fire pit.
I usually make a chili or something else that's hearty.
This year I made hopin' johns.
We eat in front of the fire or eat inside and then go sit in front of the fire.
And once the fire has burned down to hot coals, we make s'mores...
and then some more s'mores.
This year the girls also roasted an apple to share since that's what Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy, and Trumpkin did in Prince Caspian, our most recent read-loud.
Fall chores and a big burn in the fire pit is another way we find ourselves moving with the seasons, sharing the workload, living in and appreciating God's natural world, and making memories together.