Saturday, January 21, 2012
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
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.