Many hands make light work on Mother's Day weekend

Susan Manzke
Just being cute Wyatt and Harrison with Grandma Susan.

I don't always like to ask my family for help. But when they ask if they can do anything for me, I think about it and eventually come up with a few chores for them to do.

It was the week before Mother's Day when five adult family members stopped by to celebrate and help with some chores. The first thing that needed doing was picking up branches that had fallen over the winter.

Actually, that wasn't the first thing. We had to get the cart going again so we could gather up the branches. I was able to hook up the battery charger for a time before they arrived. That did the trick. We had the vehicle that we could transport branches in now.

Winter storms had left quite a few on the ground. All those dead branches needed picking up. This was especially true around the basswood tree. I wouldn't want to walk under that tree when the wind was wicked. Too many branches were hanging loose and dangling in the wind. But by this time the majority had fallen.

The first of my children to arrive were Rebecca and Andy. They revved up the cart and made sure there was gas in it for the chores ahead. Back and forth they went with loads of basswood branches. Those were transported down the lane to the brush pile to join other yard waste from last year.

Next to join the work crew were Russ and Cynthia, with their son Harrison. They were soon followed by Rachel and her youngest Wyatt. It was good to have the two young cousins visiting at the same time because they could play with each other while the adults were working. Even if they could pick up sticks and branches, we would rather not have them underfoot just in case something fell, and they got hurt—that meant the two boys played while the adults worked.

Besides picking up branches that were already on the ground, I had my eye on a few that needed clipping from the trees. These were either bent or broken but still hanging on the trees. I needed to get these out of my way so I could eventually mow closer to the trees.

Son-in-law Andy pouring gas into the cart, after refilling the oil.

Russell brought an electric chainsaw from home. It was just right for this job. I didn't do much of anything. It was my job to tell him where to cut. Cynthia was snipping away at the downed branches so they were easier to transport—by this time Rachel was behind the wheel of the cart, heading back and forth to the brush pile.

Like my two grandsons, my children would rather have me out of the way. They didn’t want to hurt my healing hand, or anything else important.

This crew really helped get the yard in shape again.

A few days later, my son, Rob stopped by with his wife Tara and my grandson Caleb. The weather wasn’t nice enough for outside help, but I did manage to have Rob do a few simple chores.

He noticed that one of my lights in the kitchen was blinking. I thought it was loose, but he said that LED bulbs do that before they quit working. Luckily, I had a spare.

Rob didn’t even need a ladder to change the bulb. When he was finished with the kitchen light, I handed him another bulb. The light by the backdoor had been flashing, too, and again, he didn’t need a ladder to fix that problem—I know I’m shrinking, so it’s extra nice to have someone tall to help. At least I didn’t have to pull out a step ladder to change the bulbs.

Maybe during future visits, we can just enjoy each other’s company. But of course, there’s always something waiting in the wings to get fixed. In fact, I’m starting to make a list.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;