There are only a few things that my dad asks us to do to help maintain the several acres that we are fortunate to live on. And having two little ones to take care of, I am very thankful for this. One thing that we are asked to do every spring is to pick up sticks.

My favorite part of your yard is the alder grove.


It’s a great place to run and play tag, to lay around in the hammock and do scavenger hunts. My love for this area though, decreases significantly come the middle of spring.


Yup, look closely…there are a lot of little sticks.

However, I have decided this year it was the perfect opportunity to give the kiddos a lesson in responsibility. We talk to them often about picking up their toys and taking care of the things God has given us. For this job though they got to help take care of something that is for everyone and as a bonus we got a chance to help out Grampa.

They were ready and willing to get started.



We made it into a game by seeing how fast we could gather them up into piles. I had expected them to want to be done soon after we started. Nope it was me wishing we weren’t picking up sticks. Normally I would be super motivated to do an activity that was getting the kids involved in learning responsibility and persevering when they wanted to quit. But on this day, I learned that lesson. Now, I had noticed there were occasionally sticks that felt wet, didn’t think much about it at first. But then I started to wonder…”they have been walking through here a lot lately”…”were they here this morning”…then I see this…


Elk poo, looked pretty fresh to me. And I was convinced, the wetness was most likely elk urine. Ok, so I don’t know for sure if it was, but I was positive of it at the time. But I persevered, and along with the kids we got about half way through the alder grove before the motivation wore away and we were left feeling like this…


I’ll admit I tried to push to get more out of all of us (I didn’t know when it would be a nice day again and I didn’t want to come out here in the rain). I sometimes forget how young they are and I should be thankful for the 15-20 minutes they helped. And all in all I think we accomplished quite a bit.


And best of all it was time to go inside and wash our hands.


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