Does anyone really like Mondays? It is hard for us to get rolling with the schedule. Even more so when it is so cold and grey outside.
Yesterday morning was no exception.
We all enjoy reading the paper with breakfast. Philip, Thomas, Patrick and I read the whole thing, plus parts of the Wall St Journal. The rest of the kids read the Extra section, the comics, and the classifieds, just in case. (just in case someone might be giving away a free horse and Dad might be completely changing his mind about having horses.)
We occasionally have to mediate disputes over who gets which section first. After having to aggressively drag kids out of bed I was not in the mood to deal with newspaper disputes, but sure enough a fight broke out. We won't name names, but while those fellows went out to do their chores, I quickly read the newspaper then disposed of it to prevent further complications.
Of course every family has fusses and fights. All part of the growing up process. I grew up with two sisters and we did our share of bickering. Now we are all very close and love each other dearly. I have seen some siblings who never did get over their feuds and sadly carry bitterness through childhood and the rest of their life. After the newspaper brawl I decided to pray. I asked for an opportunity for the boys to work together on some project that would engage them and draw them closer together.
Rachel went to Stuarts Draft to pick up feed for the animals and enroute dropped off girls to play with friends. The boys got to their math and I got to some laundry. A knock at the door surprised me. It was a gentleman who has property behind us. He brought us a deer he had shot that morning. The lesson plan abruptly shifted into biology and life skills as the boys went out and watched our neighbor eviscerate the deer. After sharing a cup of coffee, our cold hunter friends departed and Patrick and Thomas got to work figuring out where to hang the deer. We were anticipating guests for dinner so I really didn't have time to oversee the deer operation. I recalled a parenting column by John Rosemond. He suggested the parental over-involvement was doing more harm than good for our children. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to test his theory.
Patrick and Thomas have seen their grandpa skin a deer. They have watched us as we process meat. Both are Boy Scouts and have had knife training and handling experience. Patrick has a video on deer processing and loves reading survival books. I told Patrick to call his grandpa for some advice and then went back to my own chore list. After a brief long distance consultation with an expert Patrick sharpened the skinning knife. Then he and his brother went out to get a stick to use as a gambrel, got a rope for tying it up, and decided to work on the deck, out of the rain, near a water source.
I peeked at them a time or two, but left them completely on their own. It was a job that required four hands. They worked together for the rest of the afternoon. Absolutely no brawling. I am so proud of them.
Patrick asked if he could soak the deer hide in the upstairs bathtub. The one I had just finished scrubbing.
Oh well. ( he promised he would clean it out afterward. He wants to tan the hide)
If you come for a visit, please don't use the upstairs bathroom. Maybe I should have asked how long this process takes. Maybe I better mention to Patrick that the hide absolutely must be gone before Thanksgiving guests arrive.
Sometimes God answers prayers in mysterious ways!