Thursday, September 8, 2016

Women's Work

I love making a beautiful home.  Serving tea, making bread and schooling my children are part of my everyday life.  And I wouldn't change it for the world!  However, I've come to realize that my duties can't be limited to the household arts.  I am my husbands help-meet, and as such, the scope of my responsibility spans far beyond the kitchen proper. 

When Adam was in the garden, God sought a helper comparable to him.  Genesis 2:18  None among the animal kingdom were deemed comparable to Adam, so God caused Adam to sleep and took from his side Woman and presented her to Adam.  Genesis 2:19-22   Eve was designed to be Adam's helper, his completer, the flesh of his flesh.   Adam needed Eve.

And so it is today.  I am my husband's helper.  I care for our home, our children, our holdings - but I also do whatever needs to be done to help my husband care for our family.  Sir Knight works in town, about an hour away from our home.  He is there 5 days a week for nearly 10 hours a day.  So many things happen that require attention while he's gone, that I've learned to do what needs to be done.

In the early years of our marriage, I had a clear idea of what I considered "men's work" and "women's work".  I would take care of the house and children, garden and chickens, and he would be responsible for everything else.  While living in town, this separation of duties seemed to work well - and then we moved to the country.

I'm sure that if Sir Knight worked from home we would still have a similar separation of duties, however, he does not.  I have learned that to be an effective helpmeet, I've needed to become a Jill-of-all-trades.  In order to help my husband, I have learned to fix leaky pipes, troubleshoot fussy generators and thaw frozen pipes.  I've plowed snow, pulled out stuck vehicles and saved cows that have been stuck in bogs.  I've pulled a trailer laden with batteries (3000 lb. industrial batteries, to be precise) through the middle of a city during rush hour and then backed the trailer up a narrow road to off-load said batteries.  I've belayed a gun safe into a basement, using a tree as an anchor and saved a wind turbine from colliding with the ground after the guy wires broke during a wind storm.  I have learned to do what needs to be done and truly help my husband carry the burdens of life. 

Although I have learned to do a lot of things over the years, one thing I never learned was to run a chainsaw.  I remember my dad teaching my brother to run a chainsaw, say it was the most dangerous thing he had ever done.  I watched my husband teach our eldest son to run a chainsaw with fear and trepidation - and was thankful that was one skill I didn't have to learn. 

Over the last 16 years we have lived a rustic off-grid lifestyle, and I have come to realized that every new skill is an asset.  The more I know how to do, the more I can help my husband, my children, and myself, as well as those in my community.  And I want the same for my daughters. 

And so, we are teaching our children.  Our sons will know how to run a household and our daughters will know how to do whatever needs to be done - even if that means learning to use a chainsaw.

Miss Serenity is the first of our womenfolk who has learned to use a chainsaw - and I'm telling you - that girl's got skills!  Sir Knight taught her about safety (she never picks up a saw without saw chaps, hearing protection and safety glasses) and saw maintenance.    He taught her about controlling her saw and how to expect the unexpected.  He taught her to sharpen a chain and use a wedge.  He taught her to fell trees and cut off a log deck.  Miss Serenity uses her (Dad's) Stihl 044 with confidence.   Already she has helped many in our neighborhood with her chainsaw skills and she regularly helps me with our winter wood supply.  She is a blessing and a help.  She is a master at "women's work".

We will continue to raise our daughters to uphold the values extolled in Proverbs 31.  Our prayer is that our daughters will conduct their lives with wisdom, with strength, with virtue - that they will be the women God created them to be.   This truly is "Women's Work".


  1. What a wonderful post! Skills are more important today and we women can use all we learn. The skills learned today could possibly save lives tomorrow. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that everything is important to know.

  2. Excellent topic!

    Montana Gal is the best helper I've ever had. We value independence. If the need to 'cover' for me ever arises, she will keep us independent with her skills and knowledge. Businesses call it cross-training. We call it common sense.
    Montana Guy

  3. Well, I sure wish someone would teach THIS woman to use a chain saw, instead of telling me to "let the menfolks handle that."

    You're a good mama.

    1. Funny. Kind of reminds me of the two guys sitting at a bar. One says to another, 'Hold my beer. Watch this!'

      Much of my career was teaching safety. I can't tell you how many times in retirement that I've offered guys the use of hearing protection, gloves, safety glasses, respirators, even chainsaw chaps. Always the same answer, 'Nah, I'm OK'. I close my eyes and pray.
      Montana Guy

  4. I enjoy reading your blog but by far my favorite posts involve the empowerment of your daughters. There are a couple of young men out there who don't know it yet but one day they will be blessed with formidable partners and they better be up to the task or they might just find themselves bowled over.

    This summer we built a small greenhouse my wife has wanted for a while. She didn't want to run the chop saw, but she did. She wasn't thrilled about the framing nailer but there are a bunch of nails in that she drove in. There were a few parts with the roof that she wasn't tall enough or strong enough to do. I showed her how I would do it then I showed her a couple of different ways that she could do it without me being there. Not a big thing but you should have seen her smile when it was done.

    Now I just have to hurry and get it fenced in before my pillow ends up on the couch...

  5. More skills is always a good thing - I have more I need to learn. As Robert Heinlein said "Specialization is for insects".
    I agree with the previous poster - never forget your safety gear! Use it even for small jobs that will 'only take a moment'.
    As for chain saws, in addition i would recommend a helmet (hard hat) and a face shield, especially when felling trees. The more head knocks and face swipes you can avoid the better.

  6. I am a late post here, but I am glad to see the chaps. I am smaller (now in my later 50's - 5'4" and 110#, down from about 120# in my college - weight lifting days). I did run a crew that cut trees with chainsaws building a state trail in the 1980's. We worked 10 hour days - mostly running the saws. One of the guys (18 years old) who was good with his saw (proper care, chain tension, etc.) had a chain actually BREAK on him. It made 4 rounds before stopping. It took the leather toe cap off of his steel toed boot and split the heavy nylon open in four neat cuts about 6-8" long exposing the Kevlar on his right thigh. It would have been bone deep and there is no way he would have survived the hour drive to the emergency room had he not had those chaps on. They may seem "expensive" to some to buy ($60 to $100+) but that amount is peanuts compared to not having them and needing them. Natokadn