Tips on Small Farm Equipment
by Robert Bradford
(SW MO USA)
I fell and buck firewood with a chainsaw. We have three two-man saws and seven one-man saws. I will continue to use the chainsaw as long as petrol is available and affordable. I still have not quite mastered chain sharpening but am getting better.
We do not have a gas powered hydrolic splitter. I use a six pound maul (so it doesn't tear up my shoulder muscles) and wedges. This system is sustainable.
We use T-posts because they can be reused almost forever. One if the best investments we have made is a post puller (does not bend posts) from Lehman's in Ohio. I later saw a better puller at Tractor Supply and we could have saved shipping costs, better because it has a grab hook to pull wooden posts also. Our homemade post driver should last forever.
One trick we learned the hard way is to spray paint outdoor tools dayglow orange to make them harder to lose.
When I bought it, I was not smart enough to buy several replacement blades. Now I can't find any to fit and the brand name has worn off.
We don't have every new gadget that comes out at the garden center but we have invested in good, substantial basic tools. Over the years we have purchased several lopping shears. If we had been wiser we would have bought the biggest and best first. Value (including longevity, spare parts availability and repairability) over price is more important than initial cost.
Yes we have a real human powered reel lawn mower with a grass catcher. Like the chainsaw above we will continue to the gas powered mower to gather chicken feed and orchard and garden compostables as long as it is practical.
There is a six inch water main in the front yard. We are trying to wean ourselves from it. Today we gave a 35 ft raised garden bed 100 gallons of water from a rain barrel by gravity feed and soaker hose at zero cost. That made it rain to refill the rain barrels. We bought twelve 28 cent goldfish to put in the rain barrels to eat the mosquito wigglers and add nitrogen for the garden.