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Empowering Tasks

Chicken Ladder

I built a chicken ladder.

Now I know in the grand scheme of things to build this isn’t monumental, but it felt like it to me. You see recently I sat down to several meetings and many hours with pen and paper to solidify my goals going into 2023. Every year I get more serious and more focused on the intention I want to set for that year, and the goals I want to complete, most recently broken down by relational, business, and spiritual. On that list was carpentry skills. It felt like a broad overarching idea more so than a goal, but here, five days into the new year, I was met with frustration and an irritable attitude but also a new skill to master.

You see, I get incredibly frustrated with my sweet husband. He travels for a living so when he arrives home I need him for much anticipated tasks that I deem are important. Some of them really are, and others are more of a priority to me than to him. I think part of my frustration comes from my own lack of ability to understand how to complete a project, or fix something. I am fiercely independent and yet still so dependent on him.

So with my sassy, overwhelmed, fed up, and frustrated attitude over unfinished projects and my much needed chicken ladder, I asked him the other morning where the saw was. That got his attention. I told him I have asked him no less than ten times to fix the chicken ladder and I was going to just figure out how to do it myself. I was worried the chickens would break their legs sliding on the plank he installed because there was no traction and the nonskid didn’t work. We also lost one of our sweet, handicapped chickens because she couldn’t get up the ramp so for me this was a pressing farm chore that absolutely needed to be done.

I grabbed the drill, some bits, a box of wood screws, some old tobacco sticks, a saw (don’t ask me what kind) and got to work.

Three attempts to screw in the first rung, three stripped screws. I called Drew.

I am not pleasant to deal with but I still require his help to figure out what I am doing wrong which irritates me even more.

I stripped the drill bit. Ugh.

He instructed me on how to apply better pressure. Then he swapped my saw because I grabbed the wrong one. He said he would take over but at this point I was determined. I was going to fix this, I wanted to learn, and I took the initiative. I am still fuming but told him I wanted him to show me what to do and then I would do it myself because “I am more than capable.”

He showed me and then reluctantly let me take over and he walked away to work on something else in the barn.

I finished that chicken ladder. It’s not perfect, but to me it is glorious.

My sweet chickens have a sturdy way to get up and down from their coop and I got to check off some carpentry skills from my yearly goals. I triumphantly came to Drew in a better mood proudly displaying my scrap wood masterpiece and told him that for the entire year if any fence needed mending, anything needed screwed or cut, I wanted him to show me, and allow me to do it. I need to be more capable if I intend to run this farm alone which is the only thing our situation allows.

It is a challenging part of our relationship, not being aligned on needs vs. wants and all the work a farm entails. I didn’t realize until years into this that my dream of living off the land and homesteading with livestock and gardens, did not align with his dream of owning land and hunting it. I focus on growing food – he focuses on food plots. It would be so much easier if our passions were most closely aligned but I am sure with time, with prayer, and many ‘table talk’ as I like to call our meetings after we have been arguing, we will get there. In the mean time I will continue to find more projects that put my newly found skills to use and become more independent.

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