Let me preface this post by saying this is not the first time I've done physically demanding work or gotten my hands dirty. In fact, I've always loved lifting heavy things, feeling strong, and being productive.
If you're on my mailing list or follow me on Instagram, you may already know my husband and I are building a house, and much of it we will do ourselves. We purchased a heavily wooded piece of land on a slope, so there is a ton of work to do to prepare for building.
Here are the things I've learned in the past three weeks of hauling, lifting, throwing, sawing, and rolling logs and branches in the woods so far:
1. Proper gear is key:
Sturdy boots with good grip, support, and protection. I dropped logs on my foot that could have really hurt me if I had regular shoes. We've also had to climb and carry things up and down the hill on rocky terrain.. my running shoes could never! Tall socks for sure.
It's July and it's pretty hot in Kentucky right now, but I've had to wear long pants to both protect my legs from scratches and cuts and also from insects. I've also learned the hard way that it's best to wear compression shorts under my pants to help keep the ticks from creeping in!
Hat or head wrap / neck gaiter / buff. My husband has been loving my Island Flow Yoga neck gaiter since his hair is pretty long and he needs to keep it out of his eyes when chainsawing! I didn't wear anything on the first day and after getting branches tangled in my curls I realized I needed to wrap it up. Also no no ticks please.
2. Hydration station, frequent breaks, don't be a hero:
My man has a lot more experience than me and he's had to remind me throughout the day to take a break before I burn out. It's hard once I get into a work flow, but then need to remember I have to last for several more hours, so best to not redline. And hydration has always been a challenge for me, but I'm definitely improving!
Don't be a hero is another hard one for me as I already strained my neck from wrestling with branches that were too big for me. My husband joked that this was better than CrossFit, and he def has a point!
3. Leaves of three, let it be, and cover your entire body:
I can't believe I'm even sharing this as an adult who grew up camping and running through the woods, learning from a very young age to watch out for poison ivy. Although I distinctly remember camp counselors pointing out the plants alongside a trail, never in my life did I actually came into contact with the plant to fully understand the severity of its bite. Well let me tell you it is NOT something to be taken likely and I'm not even entirely sure how I came into contact with it, but this past week I suffered a pretty severe case of poison ivy rash that even landed me with a fever and overall dreadful feeling.
I had been using a plant identification app to identify TREES in the land, but somehow I didn't even think to identify smaller plants that could be potentially poisonous. I didn't exactly frolic through the woods with exposed skin BUT it could have been carried on the dogs' fur or our clothing that ended up getting me later, I'm still not sure. Rookie move indeed and yet another case in my life of learning things the hard way! I went to urgent care and am on the mend now, but if you've been following my stories on social media, maybe you saw the gnarly rash that covered much of my torso and my arms, yikes!
We're still adjusting to a different way of life in the Commonwealth and a different time zone. On top of it all, I don't know a single person here besides my husband and it can feel pretty lonely at times. I've had some crazy challenges with every major move I've made in my life, and this one has been no exception. I received a message from a dear friend and student that I have so much resiliency, and that kind of reassurance means a lot to me. I know it's true and I know ever challenge, setback, and obstacle I've ever faced has made me stronger and more equipped for the next hard thing that comes my way.
Thanks for being here. I hope you learned something from my mistakes and life lessons! Drop a comment below if you feel inspired. I'd love to hear from you.