Saturday, January 21, 2012

Girl's Work

Post authored by Margaret Wilkes, 20 year old daughter of James and Shannon Wilkes and Chief Food Officer, among other duties, at Faith Mountain Farm

I have observed that girls, by their nature and talents, usually carry their duties out in the home and surrounding environs, involving themselves in pursuits that are rightly theirs to do. We enjoy this “women’s work” and find great solace in carrying out the duties given us, the duties such as preparing meals, beautifying the home, teaching children, pursing various handicraft skills, shopping for the home, ordering the days, and creating various things.

Most females are not interested in taking part in “Men’s work,” things such as mowing the lawn, building things, operating power equipment, shooting guns, splitting wood, etc.  However, I happen to believe that it is not only beneficial for ladies to learn skills that are normally performed by men, it is very enjoyable. For one thing, I found it makes you appreciate and empathize with the work your brother or father or husband toils through each week.  Another, it is a wonderful change of pace from our usual sphere of work.

This past week I made good on a promise to do a bit of wood splitting with my brother. Remembering how much I enjoyed splitting wood as a child was one of the motivations for this promise. It proved just as enjoyable as it had been when I was young. We split the logs until our splitter ran out of fuel, then he informed me that now I could pick up what logs I could and place them near the splitter for the next workday. He then left to do some other thing, and I began scouring for logs I could move. I came upon four gigantic ones, each weighing at least 85 pounds apiece. Thinking I couldn’t possibly move those, I walked on until I spotted the sledgehammer and wedge sitting a few yards away. Immediately I was intrigued. Mimicking what I had seen my brothers do, I placed the wedge in a groove in the wood and started by hammering it gently with the sledgehammer to keep it from falling over when I started hammering in earnest.  After several hits from the sledgehammer, the wedge really began sinking into the wood. Soon, across the stillness of the field, I heard a crackling sound that was soft at first, but grew into a loud symphony of crackling. Seeing the end was near and breathless with delight at my success, I kept hammering furiously. Then, with a loud THWACK the log split in half and splattered in the mud nearby. I was hooked.  I did the same to the 3 other logs, the last one taking the longest to split since it was a hardwood log. At one point I was so engrossed in my project I hardly even noticed several cars with drivers ogling me as they rode by. What I sight I must have been! Muddy all over, red faced, wild hair, and wielding a sledgehammer with the determinedness of a madwoman. I did not care in the least, for I was having too much fun! After the logs were all split into a size I could carry, I took them to the splitter one by one. It started to rain as I was carrying the last log, and thus ended my day on the job.

It goes both ways.  Put a man on laundry duty for a day and expect them to stand in awe for the next week of every shirt that miraculously appears, perfectly folded and pressed, in their drawer. Put a girl on wood splitting duty for the day and she will appreciate each piece of wood put into the fire for warmth. Not only that, but you may have to fight for the possession of that wedge and sledgehammer.


TJ said...

Margaret, I love your insights and couldn't agree more! One of my favorite Duggar episodes in when the guys take laundry/cooking duty and the girls learn how to change tires/oil and do yard work. They all come home to appreciate one another and all the work involved in running the household. One of my biggest challenges in having so many more girls than boys (um... boy) is giving my son a "turn" making those pancakes! Love your writing! Have a blessed day! Tina Jobe

Anonymous said...

You are such a SPECIAL lady:)
G. Ransom

Angela said...

We have done all the work here- all of us. I can really see how much easier it is to appreciate Scott splitting the wood when I have spent an afternoon doing it instead of him. :) While we've been doing our remodel of our house, I have learned just how much he works here and the things I find more challenging he does with ease and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I need a woman like you around my house - any time you get the urge to do some more 'men's work', come on over!