Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chainsaw Jockey!

Another day clearing the patch of woods that will be our future new pasture. We'd been meaning to get back to the pasture project for months, literally, months. Although it was fun last time out, when Dan and my brother in law, Mike, did the clearing and I mostly reigned in the kids took pictures and carried brush, this episode started with a sigh and a heap of reluctance.
No. I did not want to use the chainsaw. Thank you. No, really. I'm fine-- just fine-- with the pruning shears. I can haul the trees you cut, honey. I don't want any part of no mechanical, loud scary saw-your-arm-off type tool. No chainsaw for me! No, really, no thank you.....

Well, sometime halfway through the afternoon, I decided I'd swallow my pride (about making so much of a fuss) and my fear (because that chainsaw is one meanscary tool!) and give it a try. It was a smallish chainsaw, I reasoned, an electical one. And there were a heck of a lot of saplings too big for my pruning shears and too small for Dan's full-blown macho gasoline powered thingamabob.
Now, my family of origin had very rigid, though unstated rules about the work of men and women: Women worked long hard, ambitious hours outside the home. Men, not so hard. Women were opinionated, inveterate planners and askers, suggesters and list makers. Men, not so much. But if there was a light bulb to screw in or a battery to replace or anything else involving a tool, women went weak and floundery. Tools were the purview of men. It was just the way things were. What can I say? Dan's family had a much more egalitarian "can do" streak. His mother, even now, crawls under the house to fix the plumbing with the same understated competence with which she attacks a ripped pair of jeans.
I am determined that my girls will not grow to wait for the menfolk to come along and put in a battery for them They will have the full complement of skills. And what kind of example would I set if I feared a silly little chainsaw?
"Okay," I said. "Show me how." He did. And you know what? For a reformed suburbanite who never set foot beside a powertool until a few years ago and even now, holds my breath when Dan goes off to bring down the trees we convert to winter warmth and double check on him every few hours just in case he loses a toe out there, I did all right! In fact, I really had fun with that thing! It's quite a great feeling to fell a tree, albeit a small one.

I was one macho farmer today! (At least in my own mind.)

Between the two of us, Dan and I cleared quite a few small trees. The blank patch beside the pasture is growing and in the spring, with any luck, it will be a nice brushy delicious thicket and then later, once the sheep clear the brush and we smooth it down with the harrow, it will me an even nicer new pasture.

So next weekend, put a chainsaw in my hand and turn me loose!
And yes, this these are the goofiest pictures ever. But they're the only ones we got.

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