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Getting "man jobs" done as a single woman homesteader  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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As a single woman homesteader I get asked ALL the time how I do stuff without a man. I think that the cultural split between "women's work" and "men's work" is especially prominent in the homesteading lifestyle, since there are a lost more domestic-y domestic chores than the average suburban house (like canning, baking bread, etc) as well as a lot more of the "heavy lifting" tasks like mechanical things, building stuff, etc.

So here's a video where I talk about how I deal with it, what I do instead, and how I sometimes modify tasks to be more doable for myself. A lot of it is a shift of mindset and understanding that while I was never really "expected" to learn things like car repairs, drywall, etc. that doesn't mean I can't learn. Having a "is there any reason I can't do this?" mindset instead of "I can't do that!"

 
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My partner and I have taskd we each do more of because we are better at it butttt he makes lovely bread when I'm at work and I haul all the water when he's working.
We have everything set up so that physically I can do everything (it might take me 2 trips instead of his 1 sometimes) or I carry scissors or a knife for opening sacks that he can rip with his bare hands.

We each work away for extended periods and we can each run a farm on our own.  For carrying pig feed I have a cart where he has biceps. I wrote down the planting plan so he can pick it up anytime and plant away without having to redo all my research on guilds.

Women all over the world farm and regularly farm alone/with children and have done through history. Let's try not to be daunted by it
 
pollinator
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I watched a man of integrity, a man I EXTREMELY admire, absolutely lose it on a guy when he made an anti-woman joke. The man? A dairy farmer who has over 1000 cows he is milking 3 times a day. He is proud of his daughters, his wife, and some of his workers that are women and honestly put most men to shame when it comes to work ethic. Dairy farms do that though.

Honestly, it disappoints me that this sort of thing is even on here, as I do not look at any woman as being unable to do what I do on their own farms, alone, with a husband, or otherwise.

I would make a list of the women I so admire on here, and really, really am trying to not do that, because I would inevitably leave many women out on here that I feel put many men to shame in terms of integrity, intellect, work ethic, and sheer physical ability. Let me just say, if you are a lady and regularly post on here, then you are most likely on my list of woman to whom I admire.

In terms of farming, WE have to be gender-blind.
 
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I will go on the record saying I'm a woman who didn't learn a lot of the "man chores" growing up, and I have some physical health challenges that mean I can't do a lot of heavy lifting and intense physical labor.  Finding ways to do what needs to be done in ways that work for me (or perhaps finding ways to barter) are extremely important to me. 

I agree that women farmers of all ages and backgrounds all around the world are amazing and strong.  But there are some people (sometimes women) who need to learn how to do things they weren't taught, or were even taught that they couldn't do--and people with physical challenges who need other ways of approaching work.

I'm glad to find tools that help me, like the small hand tool, the hori hori, which makes small scale hand digging much easier.  Little things like this, experience, and encouragement can make this sort of work more accessible for lots of people.

So I am not offended by the post but encouraged that others learn ways around any limits perceived or otherwise.
 
pollinator
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I love both my kids but I trust my 10 year old daughter with the power tools over her 24 year old brother.
She is simply  more grounded, more willing to learn by doing.
Ive been a an industrial electrician for most of my adult life, and I discovered that ALL shapes and sizes of men could contribute, becuase we where all expected to do what we COULD.
I've been the flabby weak young guy and I'm now the brawny fat old guy who tires easily.
In between I was a fit energetic climber,digger and lifter who did the grimy work to earn the knowledge I have now.
When women are given the same expectations, they get the job done.

My mother in law has been sick lately, so ,my wife has been tending to her.
This leaves me with my regular work , plus the house and kids.
I feel overwhelmed, like I told my mom"I have to work all day and them come home and work some more? What am I woman? No I'm just a man, darn it!"
She laughed, because she worked as a teacher, cooked, cleaned and earned her masters degree all at the same time.
She still isn't sure how she did it.
My father did take over the laundry during that time, a job he refuses to relinquish to this day...

I'm gonna watch this video, maybe it will help me grow some ovaries.
 
Bethany Dutch
pollinator
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Lori Whit wrote:I agree that women farmers of all ages and backgrounds all around the world are amazing and strong.  But there are some people (sometimes women) who need to learn how to do things they weren't taught, or were even taught that they couldn't do--and people with physical challenges who need other ways of approaching work.

I'm glad to find tools that help me, like the small hand tool, the hori hori, which makes small scale hand digging much easier.  Little things like this, experience, and encouragement can make this sort of work more accessible for lots of people.

So I am not offended by the post but encouraged that others learn ways around any limits perceived or otherwise.



Honestly, I'm surprised that anyone would be offended by the post. Or maybe I'm mis-reading some of the comments. I am a single woman homesteader, and the truth is there are some things I have to do differently. Most homesteading couples that I see have a relatively traditional split, more or less, in terms of the tasks. I doubt you see many homesteads where they have an opposite split, for example (where the women does all the heavy lifting, building stuff, mechanical things, etc and the husband does all the domestic chores)

Being on my own, I have to do all of it. I'm not "less" because I have less upper body strength, for example... I just need to figure out different ways of doing things. I'm not "less" because I wasn't taught how to work on cars when I was growing up, it just means I have to teach myself now.

And you are right, some of us need to learn how to do things we weren't taught to do. From a realistic standpoint, it is more likely that a little boy is going to grow up being socialized (maybe a different word would be better here) to work on cars than a little girl. Or to build stuff. Same reason a little girl is more likely to be socialized to do things like knitting, sewing, etc. It's a crappy fact, since none of those things are inherently gender specific, but it's the culture we live in. I'm glad we are slowly but surely coming out of that, but it is what it is.

As a single woman homesteading with kids, I just always have to remind myself to check my radar. You know how some things aren't even on your radar? And then if you really think about it you realize there's not really any good reason why you can't learn how to do something, etc. I mean yeah I have physical, time and resource limitations and it doesn't make sense for me to actually do everything (like cut my own firewood when I can earn enough money to pay for a winter's worth in a tenth of the time it would take me to cut/process it myself). I have to be efficient with my time and my resources, that's the only way I'll get any of this stuff done.
 
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I think that a woman can hire a few contractors or rent/buy a few tools/machinery and do any job a man can do.
Okay maybe hiring a few contractors is 'cheating' but everyone uses tools so go ahead and get an appropriate tool.

But I think what you are really saying is what to do when you haven't been "book-educated" or "experience-educated" in certain tasks like electrical or changing a tire, lol. I know cheeky tire example.

the answer is:
get educated (youtube, books, workshop/school, as questions on forums, google stuff)
get low-risked experience (volunteer, practice before you really needed, hire someone to review your work, hire someone not just to fix it but to teach you in the process)
 
Bethany Dutch
pollinator
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S Bengi wrote:I think that a woman can hire a few contractors or rent/buy a few tools/machinery and do any job a man can do.
Okay maybe hiring a few contractors is 'cheating' but everyone uses tools so go ahead and get an appropriate tool.

But I think what you are really saying is what to do when you haven't been "book-educated" or "experience-educated" in certain tasks like electrical or changing a tire, lol. I know cheeky tire example.

The answer is:
get educated (youtube, books, workshop/school, as questions on forums, google stuff)
get low-risked experience (volunteer, practice before you really needed, hire someone to review your work, hire someone not just to fix it but to teach you in the process)



That is basically it, yes. I mean - aside from the whole "how do you do it alone?" being the #1 question I get, I see in the Facebook groups at least once or twice a week, some woman comes on and asks "Can I homestead alone without a man?" I've never seen men ask the same question, so there's SOMETHING making women often think they can't homestead alone. That's literally why I started my channel... lol. Because I have such a hard time with the fact that women doubt their ability to do this solo. Or maybe they just need some encouragement and someone to tell them YES YOU CAN. Or to see other women doing it and realizing that they, too, can pursue this dream.

The truth is, it's not even so much that they consciously feel they don't have the skills, I think it's a subconscious holdup of sorts. Sometimes you can want something deep down inside and not even realize it's possible until someone tells you it is. Kinda like how even when I was a little girl I wanted to live a hermit life in the mountains but it wasn't until I was in my mid twenties and I was gifted the Carla Emery Encyclopedia that it totally hit me like a ton of bricks that living a hermit life in the mountains was a legit thing I could be working towards and that people really lived like that! I was blown away and immediately started working towards homesteading actively.

But before I'd read the book, I just kinda thought of myself as someone who might have been born in the wrong century and really liked the outdoors but was still following along the humdrum of "regular" civilized life. It took someone saying "Hey... this is a thing and you can do it, really!" (in a sense) for me to gain the confidence and direction I needed to get there where I always wanted to be, deep down inside.
 
S Bengi
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Just like woman, alot of men who are homesteading alone:

Worry about finding a good woman and even actively put themselves out there to pursue women because they unconsciously feel like they are missing something.
Gets Harassed by worried friends/family how they are surviving with single dad workload.
Gets told that it isn't healthy to be raising the kids by himself and that the kids need a female role model in the house.
Gets told that he is a wonderful single father/potential partner and they have a friend of a friend who they want to set him up on a date with.
Also gets told he is a loner hermit weirdo.
Asked when are you going to produce some grandkids, maybe you are a hellbound homosexual.

The struggle is when 'friend/family' demand that you provide them with acceptable normalcy, guidance, education when you are already overburden.
For the most part it is okay if they are just asking for education vs trying to 'fix' your lifestyle.
And I am glad that you have a video that provide education for others to have a easier path if they have a similar situation.
 
pollinator
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For me, it's not a gendered thing, but rather an alone thing. Some tasks are just easier with another set of hands. I was taking apart some metal shelving in my garage because we are taking it with us, and you have to lift the shelves up over the posts evenly. The shelving unit is like 8 ft. high and 6 ft wide, this was not easy to do alone. Now, being taller would have helped, most men are taller than me, although my ex isn't, but mostly another person would have helped.

I expect that other than jobs that require a penis, I should be fine.
 
garden master
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Bethany: I'm a small female who does a LOT of traditionally male work 95% of the time alone, it is just what I find interesting to do, or needs to be done. If you haven't seen the thread I did on Tool Thoughts for Women you might find it interesting. I keep meaning to write the rest of that series, that goes into a lot more tools, and the physics of physiology to choose the ones that work for you, but keep getting distracted. (Squirrel!!)

Have not watched your video, not a video person, I may try later tonight. I saw commentary in this thread about hearing snarky comments about what you do, the one that baffles me is "You must be a lesbian." No. My skills and talents have nothing to do with who I sleep with. Where do people GET this stuff?

And I always LOVE your posts! Wish you lived near me :)
Keep being awesome!
 
Bethany Dutch
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Bethany: I'm a small female who does a LOT of traditionally male work 95% of the time alone, it is just what I find interesting to do, or needs to be done. If you haven't seen the thread I did on Tool Thoughts for Women you might find it interesting. I keep meaning to write the rest of that series, that goes into a lot more tools, and the physics of physiology to choose the ones that work for you, but keep getting distracted. (Squirrel!!)

Have not watched your video, not a video person, I may try later tonight. I saw commentary in this thread about hearing snarky comments about what you do, the one that baffles me is "You must be a lesbian." No. My skills and talents have nothing to do with who I sleep with. Where do people GET this stuff?

And I always LOVE your posts! Wish you lived near me :)
Keep being awesome!



Whoah... I don't see that comment! Was it in a different thread? I did see a very disappointing discussion about the snarky comments thing on Facebook this morning in one of the homsteading groups... did someone say that to you?

Anyway - I wish you were a video person.. because I just read the tool thread and you have SO MUCH WISDOM. Great job :)
 
Pearl Sutton
garden master
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Wow. I don't see it either. Where did I get the idea it was in this thread? I have been bouncing around a lot, my apologies for confusion. And no, I don't do FB...

There's a lot more to the tool thread, it's just still in my head!  :)
So many cool things to learn and do, so little time to write about it....

 
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