When Chelsea and I first moved in together, our long-term philosophies were glaringly different. When it came to getting tools, furniture, electronics or other high-budget items, it became apparent that the bull within me would dominate the fox in Chelsea. She always enjoyed craftily finding discounts or great deals, while I followed reputation and pure quality. Cost was a point of contention – until she realized that on a farm, things like brush clearing and preparing for emergencies are utterly priceless.
When I was young, I was fortunate to come from a solid home. My father grew up without a dad and made sure he was there to be my dad, teacher and mentor. I was also lucky to have my maternal grandfather, Papa, as an elder male figure along the way.
Learning to Invest in Quality Brush Clearing Tools
In talking about what makes an impact on your life, the young remember so many things that the old never expected would be caught in the snares of a youthful consciousness. I still remember my Papa's face when he walked out of his late 80's suburban Chino home to find his oldest grandson attempting to chop down the city's black plum tree with a claw hammer. I never wanted to see him upset again. I'm pretty sure I killed that tree as I slammed my way about two inches into its five inch diameter mass. The only thought in my mind at the time was, “Oh boy, I'm doing it!” Kind of impressive for a four year old.
I learned many more lessons from Papa over the years, not the least of which was “measure twice, cut once.” My father offered further insights such as, “You get what you pay for” and “Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.”
And so, as fiscally-savvy Chelsea would find “great deals,” I had to teach her to look past the smoke and mirrors of a dollar sign and pay attention to the details. Materials, desired longevity, warranty, and reputation were the code that needed to be deciphered to find what was king. Quality.
We both learned first-hand relatively quickly. Chelsea was the sole female living with three 300-pound UCLA offensive linemen. After we broke three aluminum futons in one month, a lightbulb clicked on in her mind. Materials mattered.
Moving from Mindset to Maintenance
Fast forward eight years or so. We own a home on three acres with plenty of work for me to do in the field. My parents established their first house with their own orchard to maintain just five minutes away. Out of the suburbs and into the country life we went! The only minor setback has been a serious amount of field work to do ourselves, with the absence of an HOA. But my father and I love getting our hands dirty.
Moving here, we needed new equipment we had not needed in some time. One thing we had to do was get a grasp on what had to be done and – like a blue collar doctor – prescribe the appropriate tools. Southern California has four seasons: spring, summer, fire, and colder summer with a chance of rain.
We heard about wildfires, and even experienced a couple evacuations in the various Southern California cities we lived in before settling into our own place. But nothing prepares you for the moment you find yourself utterly engulfed in flames that are chasing each other, hopping from dry sprig to dry sprig as if intentionally trying to encircle your family. It's a reality we've experienced just once. We emerged unscathed, but we flash back to the fear every time we see ominous flames peeking up from a nearby hill.
Clearly, when it came to OUR land, the first issues which needed to be addressed were the fire hazards. Brush clearing was priority number one.
Product Selection for Brush Clearing
Ever since I was a little boy living in southern Washington, I knew one brand to be the master of the field power tools: STIHL. When I was a kid, my family would go every 4th of July and watch the logging shows at the lake park in the center of town. Without fail, every year, 98% of all saws would be STIHL. It was a common language among woodsmen. Orange and silver were the colors of fashion there. Everyone from moms and dads working on brush clearing to major landscaping crews knew this language and trusted their jobs to the reliability of STIHL.
And so, Chelsea only faintly grimaced when I told her I'd be investing in my first STIHL trimmer for our brush clearing needs. I came home with the STIHL FS250 R, and I got exactly what I paid for. A top of the line, high end, long lasting cutting monster. Come to think of it, it worked well with my personality.
I set about cutting down three acres of brush left behind by years of neglect. Eventually, STIHL and I tamed most of my field and now we have a pretty property to really set our own personalities to.
Have you been properly brush clearing your space?