Do you enjoy something that others perceptually might not? Are there activities from your childhood or adolescence that you continue to this day?
It seems every other post I mention, “sawing, hauling limbs, and clearing our land” in one form or another. These activities are a major focus of my life now and provide me with much sanity as we inch very much closer to welcoming our second daughter.
As a kid growing up, I was taught to use saws, a pick ax, a chain saw, and more. We had regular “tree cutting down parties” because the backyard was so thick with small trees and so was our neighbor’s. I learned safety and sanity in doing the physical labor. I became adept at figuring out the physics behind the work and how to work most efficiently.
Part of what attracted me to the home that we own was the size of the land. Another part was its need for a major overhaul which would allow us to make the land our own. Additionally, the land held immense possibilities for play and exploration for Susanna and any future siblings when we bought it.
We’re now under a month away from welcoming daughter 2. The repeat C-section date is on the calendar, but all of us (including my incredible OB) know that kids come when they want, how they want, etc. So we’re looking ahead, working with the weather, and clearing land.
My main tools in clearing the land are a simple bow saw, a hatchet, my hands, and my brain. Safety is paramount at all times. We’ve cleared more than what I anticipated at this point, and are hoping to get in more today along with a likely burning of the cut pieces (as much as possible, anyhow).
While for some it might seem bizarre or unrealistic to be sawing, squatting mere inches above the ground, pulling down limbs, tossing limbs, and more all on uneven ground, for me it’s natural and fun. It’s prep for welcoming our daughter, it’s saving us money, and it’s keeping me sane. Plus, it’s something I do with Scott, and that teamwork is a beautiful reality.
Without further babble, here are my 5 tips for clearing a piece of land while pregnant…
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Nearly every day that we clear or burn, I’m in my Marmot Precip jacket that I bought 12 years ago and my Keen Newport sandals. Between and under those are either running shorts or tech pants and a comfy shirt (sometimes it’s a cotton volunteer one, other times it’s a tank top or a running shirt). The shoes are crucial as they fit my expanded-during-pregnancy feet and are incredibly comfy with good traction. The jacket protects my arms from salmon berry spines which I don’t particularly enjoy. The less I think about my clothing, the better I am able to work efficiently.
- Know your body, your fitness, and work accordingly. Clearing land is intense. It’s a great workout, and it requires more mental focus than some workouts. I’ve been caught off guard by how sore my shoulders are during a swim after sawing for 3 hour the previous day. As a result, I study my body. I am aware if joints are more loose, or if I had a hard swim the prior day, etc. What I accomplish in a clearing session depends on the ever-changing reality of a pregnant body in the third trimester.
- Hydration and more hydration. I bring at least a half gallon of water outside with me at a time. When I think I might be thirsty, I drink. When I feel thirsty, I double drink. I allow the time for hydrating and also eliminating. It keeps me safe because I’m focused on something beyond just the next limb, the next pile, the roots on the ground, etc.
- Choose your tools wisely. I don’t feel comfortable right now with a chain saw, so I’m not using it. We have a few other hand saws I could use, but they don’t work best for the areas and my body at this time. I’ve avoided the pick ax because I’m concerned about the whole body swing, and the thought of digging out ferns just doesn’t appeal to me. The hatchet caught me off guard yesterday, for I don’t use it often, but it was a blessing as I took my turn on an 8-inch-in-diameter trunk.
- Rotate with a partner and positions. A few weeks ago, I could saw in the same position for 30 plus minutes. My body doesn’t like that anymore. I’ve taken to sawing and then hauling to keep my body from being in a squat for an extended period of time or pulling limbs and holding them. The variety has been awesome and I also rotate with Scott every 60-90 minutes. (Yes, working from home allows us this flexibility on days that we choose. Clearing days are normally 3-6 hour days and burning days are 2-12 hour days.)
Finally, set mini goals. Last week I was determined to have a section cleared before our daughter is born. I wasn’t sure how realistic it was with all of the rain and wind. Saturday came, the skies were calm, and I met my goal by 10 am. I hoped Scott would get a bit more done, and while I never shared it with him, he completed all that I had hoped.
Now I’m at the point of new mini goals. I’m sharing them with Scott and again, I’m aware that the weather can/will impact things, as does when our daughter arrives, and how my body feels.
I’m always asking myself, “would I rather do this now or with an infant…” There’s also the chance that the repeat C-section will happen and I won’t be doing anything physically intense for 6-8 weeks. I respect that.
Yet, the flip could happen. I could go into labor outside and while I don’t intend on giving birth under a pine, others have done it before. Working the land is a natural process, just like labor. By prepping our land for ourselves and our children, my body is being prepped for welcoming another daughter. Health and safety are at the forefront of both. How they happen is to be determined (minus the tips in this post).
What is at the forefront of your life now? What is your favorite tool to use in any element of your life?