Getting Help on the Farm From the Kids

Amanda and I live in central Alabama, and all our children live 2,000 miles away in California. So most of what we do on the farm has to happen without them. All three of them are interested in their weird parents’ adventures in agriculture, however, so when they came to Alabama to celebrate the 4th of July and to baptize our grandchild, we knew what to do.


Having your children help on the farm is an almost essential part of the mythology of American agriculture, but Amanda and I can’t take it for granted. We have to work for it, and when we get the chance, we need to make it count. And I can tell you that, for me, there’s nothing quite so exciting, nothing quite so sweet, as working with my children.

Adrian was the first to arrive, so she and I had an afternoon together, and she used it to help me get the barbeque grill on a pallet. You may regard this as having nothing to do with farming, but keeping the barn organized is critical to us, and that includes things like keeping the grill out of the way when we’re not using it. So humor me.

adrian-at-saw-for-blogWe had a pallet already in existence from Home Depot, the one on which they had sent the pressure washer and several plumbing components, so we were able to press it into service. Adrian was in charge of the radial arm saw, using it to cut a piece to length and then ripping it. Yes, that’s smoke coming up from the saw blade. It’s always smoked during ripping, but it seems to be getting worse now. It may be time for me to get a new blade.

adrian-ripping-for-blogWe used the resulting pieces as spacers between the top of the pallet and the bottom surface of the grill, to keep the bolts from deforming the grill bottom.

It was great to have her help, because she’s strong enough to put real pressure behind a tool, and she was smart enough to warn me a couple of times that I was about to make a mistake. Adrian is beginning to make noises about moving back east soon, and I can assure you that nothing would make her parents happier.

lee-w-grill-on-pallet-for-blogAfter we got the grill bolted to the pallet, Adrian took this photo of me using Tractor to move the grill into position. It now sits triumphantly on the top shelf of the pallet, ready to use but out of the way when we don’t need it.

My family thinks I’ll get tired of moving the grill up on the pallet and will decide to leave it down all the time. I admit this may happen, particularly during warm weather when we’re using the grill on a regular basis. I still think I will be happy to have it on a pallet, though, because even if it stays down most of the time, there will still be times when I want to get it up and out of the way.

Two days later, our son Joe and his wife Michelle joined us, and we worked on assembling a couple more rolling shelf units. The video shows Joe, Michelle, and Adrian cutting the platform for one of the units while I was gathering up the casters. I should mention that this little sequence is the first one I have been able to shoot with the Flip camera and edit using Final Cut Pro. Before this, I had been unable to get the Flip video files to play well with FCP and had to use iMovie instead. Now, thanks to Joe’s help, I can edit in Final Cut Pro, which gives me much more control. Yea!

I look forward to the day when one or both of our children chooses to live close enough to Longleaf Breeze to help out there on a regular basis. I think they will enjoy it, and I know Amanda and I would love to have their help and their companionship.

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