Caution: Child labor photos ahead

I think I have told you before that we all work together as a family and that means that my youngins’ have to help around here too.  Every day after school, not only do they have to help with barn chores, but they have to bring in firewood for both our farmhouse and their grandparents house.  Tonight, I captured them chopping the wood with an axe.

chopping wood

This is not a normal sight.  Usually, Cranky chops the wood and the kiddos load it up and bring it in.  We  have a woodsplitter, but Cranky always chops by hand.  He says it works out all his frustrations, it’s good exercise and besides, “it saves gas.”  Why does Cranky have all these frustrations anyway?  Why would he have frustrations when he is married to such a sweet, loving wife, has beautiful, well behaved children, lives on a farm with his wonderful, caring in-laws and has a relatively stress free life?  (Cough, gag, sputter, snort, coffee blows out my nose.)  Oh man, I am so full of crap.  I am enough to drive myself nuts.  I can’t begin to imagine what I’m doing to the mental health of my husband.

chopping wood

Now, I know that I should not be allowing my 11 and 9 year olds to be wielding an axe.  I am fully aware of what could happen.  Trust me on this one.  My blind brother severed his big toe one time when he was chopping wood with an axe. And the toe had to be sewn back on.  My blind brother was not blind at the time…I know many of you are thinking that it’s no wonder that he cut his toe off.  Anyway, to this day, he still doesn’t have any feeling in his big toe.

chopping wood

Here’s the funny thing about this…that piece of wood that my second son is loading up is the same size as before his brother started hacking on it.  I guess my oldest son finally gave up, figured it would fit in the woodstove as is and told ordered his younger brother to load it up.

chopping wood

My oldest son then handed the axe over to his brother, saying, “If you can do a better job, then you do it.” 

And yes, that is my second son’s underwear sticking out from his jeans.  It’s true…I can dress him up, but that doesn’t mean that I can take him out.  “Work with me, boy. Tuck your underwear in your jeans!”

chopping wood

It wasn’t long though till my oldest son had to be in control again.  But notice that the wheelbarrow is filling up with rather large, unchopped, but hacked up pieces of wood.

"Man, it's cold out here!"

"Man, it's cold out here!"

" I think I will just sit here and watch you chop wood, brother."

" I think I will just sit here and watch you chop wood, brother."

I suppose some of you with homesteading/wood burning skills are wondering why we don’t have our wood already split and stacked.  Well, that’s not how it works around here. 

We are born procastinators in this family.  It’s hereditary and in our blood to put off bringing in the wood until there is at least some snow on the ground. I have proof.  My daddy always tells the story about his father and mother bringing in wood every night on this very same farm.  I guess Grandpa would cut a tree down, drag it down from the woods and then park the whole log right outside the front door.  Then every night, after barn chores but before supper, Grandpa and Grandma would go right outside the front door, cut a doughnut off  the log with a two man saw, and that was their firewood for the night. This was usually done with snow on the ground.  I kid not.  I have heard this story so many times, it’s not possible for me to mess it up.  So, I blame everything on my ancestors.  Even Cranky, who never grew up this way, or knew my Grandpa, has taken on the family tradition. Out of respect, I suppose.

"Gees, I'm out here working and Mama is taking pictures. She makes me sooo mad!"

"Gees, I'm out here working and Mama is taking pictures. She makes me sooo mad!"

 Guess what happened next?

Man, that sucks!

So, the boys loaded the wheelbarrow…again.

And then, Cranky wheeled it in the house for our wood for the night.  Cranky is such a good father and husband. Especially since he doesn’t make me use a two man saw to cut that wood.



Filed under farm life

4 responses to “Caution: Child labor photos ahead

  1. I need me a sixteen year old around here to put to work. Parents say it don’t necessarily work that way though.

  2. Nothing wrong with a little child labor =) . Love the pic of your punk looking up at you, too funny! Great post!

  3. Hey, farm child labor. It’s what made this country great! Seriously, I’m into putting kids to work. It’s good for them. And if you’re doing it properly they’ll think they’re on vacation when do actually go out into the working world.

  4. We use to have some of that child labor, but they grew up and moved away. Now, we have an old middle age woman labor to fill in the gaps(me)
    Our 2 sons learned to work doing those same chores, and it was a good lesson. They both are still good, hard workers now that they are grown.
    Great pictures.

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