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When most people think of “prepping” they usually think of storing supplies, such as food, water and other essential items for use in a disaster or collapse type situation. What to store and how to do it, is of course a vital part of prepping but we also need to make sure we are prepared for the actual work that will be involved as well. We often take for granted the ease of cutting down a few trees with a chainsaw. When the time comes that you are not able to power the chainsaw and you need to clear a decent patch of land, are you prepared to do it?
Although we own a fairly nice Stihl chainsaw and have used it in clearing the land for the homestead (especially in the early days), we are trying to clear the land for our crops and outbuilding areas with hand tools just as we would be required to in the event of a total grid down collapse. We have decided we are not storing gasoline for generators or power tools, because we feel the financial and storage requirements to do so would be better used for something else.
At our disposal we have two axes which I did a review on earlier and a good old hand saw. If you have never swung an axe then I urge you to get out there, pick a tree on your land and give it a go. It is great exercise and very therapeutic as long as you are mindful of your swings and that the axe can deflect if you swing wrong. Be careful out there. You will learn by practicing.
For smaller trees of 6″ to 8″ in diameter, the handsaw is your basic tool of choice. It is easier than swinging an axe and gives you a cleaner cut. Just like when using a chainsaw you should be mindful of the lean of the tree or the saw can jam.
As you are cutting down the trees, start thinking of what you can use the lumber you are cutting down for. A lot of the lumber I am cutting down is being sized for burning in our future wood-burning stove for the cabin. Some of it is being sized for poles to hold up bean plants, build trellises, and other gardening activities. We are planning on using cut trees to make the beds in our raised bed gardening, as well as for the herb and flower beds in the main yard. Once we get to that point, we will do a post with pictures and instructions, along with updates on how it goes.
Some of the wood is being piled up for fence posts and covered areas for the dogs, as noted in our posts about working with green wood. The smaller branches are being fed to the goats, as they love the leaves from most of our trees. What cannot be used is going onto burn piles for bonfires. We are from Louisiana and I am originally from St. James Parish, which is the self-proclaimed “Bonfire Capital of the World” so this is in my blood (the St. James Christmas Eve Bonfires along the Mississippi River levee are simply amazing).
I am sure I have mentioned this before, but it is worth saying again, there is a huge difference between survival for a weekend or even a month and survival for several months or years. Many preppers practice and have bug-out drills over weekends and that is fantastic. Practice drills are always highly encouraged, but we also encourage everyone to start doing things long-term now the way you would in the event of a total grid down scenario. Even if you only switched to hand tools for your smaller projects now, you will learn valuable lessons, work the required muscles and save a lot of frustration for your larger projects in the future.
Many blessings and happy prepping to you all!