A Man At Peace With His World (me and power tools)

This is a hard post to write, not because it is dripping in some sort of partisanship, but because it is about me and the stage of life I am now in.

For those of you that know me, you know my age is 69 and I will be 70 this November. I am far past the spring and summer of my life. I might have a tenuous grip on late fall, but in reality, I know I am kind of staring down the winter of my life. A long winter, who knows, only God can answer that question, but, and this is a big “but,” I have my suspicions.

I have noticed lots of little changes in the last few years, I drop things, especially from my left hand, my fine motor skills are not quite what they used to be, and sometimes my reaction speed is a little slower than it used to be. The dropping things drives me nuts and I sometimes have a problem with my hands not being quite where I thought they were so I knock things over and bump into things. When visiting elderly relatives in a nursing home, I used to notice some bruising on their hands – now, I think I know how those bruises get there as I am sporting some of my own.

The reaction speed problem scares me some – this is all about driving and operating a motor vehicle. I am not sure if the message from my brain to my feet to operate the brake is just getting there more slowly or what. To compensate, I drive slower and in doing so, I am annoying the world. So many cars pass me when I am on the road. The odd thing is I am usually going the speed limit or just a little less. I am traveling at a comfortable speed, but the world is passing me by. Oh well.

I mow my lawn using a tractor and I am ok with this. At least for now, I can sit on the tractor and not fall off while I am mowing. The same goes for snow blowing the driveway as I use the tractor for this in the winter. I do pick up a snow shovel, probably more than I should for my age, but there is a certain comfort in the rhythm of shoveling snow, and it maintains the quiet. I crave quiet now days and will do almost anything for peace and quiet, even if it means more work for me.

Last summer I had some downed wood to cut up, not big trees, but some good sized limbs off a couple of the maple trees. I never went for the chain saw, but used a hand buck saw to cut up all this wood. I like the quiet and the idea that it was me that was powering the saw, not an engine. And also, I don’t quite trust myself with the chainsaw anymore.

I have kind of come to some peace with the weed wacker. It didn’t want to start last summer. Some sort of a problem with me leaving fuel in the little gas tank all winter – oh, another thing to try to remember at the end of the season – get the fuel out of the tank and put in some winter stuff that is supposed to keep the carburetor from gumming up.

Well, I really didn’t miss the weed wacker last summer and I am glad my friend Joe had it most of the summer while he tinkered with it and then eventually, he ordered and put on a new carburetor. In the meantime, I did my clipping with my old grass clippers and I enjoyed it. My wife thinks I am silly when she sees me using the hand clippers. I have tried to explain to her where I am with all of this but she sees me forsaking the speed and convenience of the weed wacker. I am forsaking the noise and the fumes I breathe in and lugging the darn thing all over the yard. Oh well, some arguments are meant to never be settled. I never liked weed wackers anyway. I am not adverse to using a scythe when I need to and I have a couple snaths and scythe blades hanging up in the barn if the mood strikes me.

I have set up my garden in raised beds and I can broadfork the beds or even use a garden fork to lightly work the soil. I have added lots of compost to these beds and the soil is nice and not compacted. The soil turns easily with very little effort. From what I have read, I am actually doing the soil a favor by not getting too violent with it and using a tiller on my tractor or a roto tiller. I am sure the world looks at me and thinks, he is making this job harder by not using power tools or his tractor. Well, I actually thought about this ahead of time in the design of my raised beds and the way I built up the soil. No, I will never have a truck garden this way, but I am not trying to be a commercial grower, just a man at peace with his world.

So, you will see me reach for a hand tool when I start some task, maybe a hammer, maybe a shovel, a rake, or whatever. I am being deliberate here. I am a man at peace with my world – (and I know my limitations). And, I am probably a Luddite at heart.

Take care, that’s what I am trying to do.

Published by Ed Pirie

I am a Vermonter, been one all my life. That just about tells you all you need to know. I am not much of a follower and like to do my own thinking. I value my family and a quiet existence in a very rural part of Vermont. There is a lot in the world I do not understand. My writing is my attempt to wrap my head around much that is swirling around me. Some time ago gasoline pumps changed to the way they look now. I had stopped to fill my Jeep and I could not get the gas to pump to save my life. I went inside and complained to the attendant. She knew me and said, "Ed, the whole world is changing and if you don't figure out the changes you are going to fall off the earth as it spins around." Well, I am not always successful figuring out the changes, but my writing is my way of working through some of them. I hope you enjoy.

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1 Comment

  1. I know whereof you speak, Ed, and certainly do hear you about the noise of so many tools. Timesavers yes, funsavers, no.


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