I smiled while typing that headline, ’cause I knew what you’d think — finally I’d tired of this silver mane, and with summer comin’ on I got out the clippers and cut it off. But the truth is that “haircut” is what we’ve been calling the pruning we had to do along our road.
Yesterday seemed ideal (and one of the last days before our fiver’s delivery) for doing the deed — morning temps in the high 60s and an easy breeze.
The plan was to drive down to the bottom of the road and work our way up The Mountain, me doing the trimming and Deb following behind me in the truck. Then we’d turn around and pick up what I’d cut, either stuffing it into the woods or tossing it into the bed for hauling to our brush pile near the homesite.
When we turned the Silverado around in a driveway to make our first pass, we got a pleasant surprise — the 14-year-old neighbor kid ran out to meet us and asked if he could please help. (He had his dad’s permission.) I was glad to put him to work, assigning him the job of picking up whatever I cut and making it disappear into the woods along the half-mile stretch.
Tagging along with us was Sparky (The Wonder Dog) II.
The job went quickly. The boy was enthusiastic and genuinely helpful. Having him beside me to deal with the trimmings basically cut my work in half.
Once we’d finished, he and I hopped up on the tailgate and rode back to his house, where Deb and I praised him to his dad and mom. We chatted a long while. Great neighbors.
The best part, of course, was a kid who saw work being done and took the initiative to help. It confirms that we’re in the right place, and in a larger sense it gives us hope.
Afterward we stopped by the homesite for a few minutes, where I used the pole saw to clear a handful of limbs overhanging the south end of the driveway. As reward for the day’s labors, Deb treated us to “burger bags” (burgers’n’fries) at The DOE Boy Express roadside wagon in Gassville.
Driving back west toward Harrison on US 62, it occurred to me that we’d first made that trip exactly two years ago. Time flies.
Even though we own a couple of gas-powered woods tools — a chain saw and a brush cutter, both Stihls — we’ve done most of our work lately with a pair of DeWalt electric saws. I want to talk briefly about that.
There’s no question that our Stihl 16-inch chain saw is the better choice for processing firewood and dropping larger trees. Electric tools can’t match its power and torque. For general trimming and pruning, however, and even light felling, I’ve found the battery-powered DeWalts simpler and easier to use.
While giving the road its “haircut,” for example, I brought along both the pole saw and the 12-inch chain saw, knowing that I might want to switch back and forth between the two. I wouldn’t need to kill one engine and start another — all I’d have to do was pick up the tool and pull the trigger.
Keeping them running takes only bar oil and batteries (which last quite a while). And naturally, they’re much quieter, too — no hearing protection necessary. And used within their limits, they’re as capable as they need to be.
Now lest you think that I’m “going green,” allow me to disabuse you of that notion — I don’t give a rat’s ass about my “carbon footprint,” nor do I believe that battery-powered electric tools are better (subjectively or objectively) or somehow friendlier to the environment. I’m concerned only with qualities like performance and value, durability and convenience.
My personal experience with electrics goes back fifty years — in the ’70s, my father thought it’d be a good idea to take a chance on General Electric’s innovative “ElecTrak” lawn tractor. It was powerful, flexible quiet and capable, with all manner of nifty plug-in attachments. (We had only the front-mounted mower deck and a small trimmer.) But a full charge was good only for about an acre of mowing, and recharging was an overnight proposition. The five big lead-acid batteries required a lot of maintenance and were obscenely expensive to replace.
Long story short, he sure was glad that he hadn’t sold his Cub Cadet.
In the end, it’s simple — either a tool works or it doesn’t, whether it runs on electricity, pre-mix or fairy dust. So far, I have to say that those 20V DeWalt saws are working for us.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.