So I made a list of tasks that I thought were age and ability appropriate and went to work setting times for them to come. Lunch and a treat were part of the deal. Usually I took them to the deli to select what they wanted and then we went to freezer to choose ice cream or popsicles for dessert.
The first to come was Gianna. She helped me trim a 50 foot rosemary hedge. Gianna is methodical and always figures out the practicalities of a task. Based on her evaluation of the project, we used both hedge trimmers and hand held pruners and moved along steadily with her setting the pace.
Next came Clare and Mary Autumn. Three-year-old Clare organized drip system pieces by size, type, and color in the drawers a small parts cabinet. She also helped me plant rotten bananas in my rose garden. She loved that job, especially when the trowel turned up worms. Mary Autumn helped me clean and organize my potting yard cabinet. She cleaned pots, wiped down shelves, and put things back in the best of order. That cabinet has never looked so good.
Leon helped me build a rock retaining wall and a step into the side yard. While eating popsicles after completing the job, we discovered our shared love for bird watching. The kid has an incredible eye for sighting the smallest bird in a tree. We took a bunch of pictures.
Cody worked with Granddaddy to build a retaining wall and two sets of stairs in the side yard. It was hot, hard, dirty work but Cody hung in there and finished long after I had retreated to sitting in the shade. I now have a spot for a fruit tree and berry vine to be planted in the fall.
Taylor and Candice are window washers extraordinaire. Candice worked ahead of Taylor and I cleaning all the window sills and the cruddy tracks where the aluminum windows sit. We came behind washing windows, inside and out. Cindy meanwhile was working on cleaning the screens. This was a 6-hour job and there was not one complaint from these girls and plenty of giggles! And can I just say, Taylor voluntarily cleaned up inside after the job while I was putting things away outside.
Next came Athan who helped me trim the oleander, a monumental job that I have to do every summer after the bloom. High atop a ladder, Athan chatted away about the view and pruning decisions he was making, once commenting on how he was like his dad in his interest in pruning. Yep, this is true. The oleander have never looked so fine as when he finished.
Still to come are Kyle, Aliou, Huck, Nell, and Anna Mae. Also, Candice and I agreed that she is going to come twice. (She was saving for dance camp so she came along for Taylor's job.) I haven't mentioned August because he regularly works in Dearma's yard.
When people find out I have 14 grandkids, the first thing they often say is "How do you afford Christmas?" I must say the gifts I get from these kids far exceed what I give them.
(NOTE: I didn't get pictures of Gianna, Clare, or Mary Autumn and promised Taylor I wouldn't publish a picture of her as she didn't feel prepared for a photo shoot.)