Best Tools For Working In Your Outdoor Areas
Which Tools Do You Keep in Your Tool Box or Shed for Working Outdoors?
Most people in the city have a drawer with hand tools, or they might even have a toolbox of some kind. I have both - a couple of drawers in the kitchen, as well as a number of toolboxes. Some of the boxes are in the house, while others are in the carport or on a trailer. Unfortunately, most my tools are scattered about the property, and never where I can find them easily!
The tools I use most of the time have their special places. I cannot afford to lose them, as I use my tools on a daily basis. It takes a lot to keep a farm running, especially when there is only one person doing it! Following are the most useful tools I've found to keep my property up and running!
Tools for Splitting Firewood
My dad always says "Cutting your own firewood warms you 4 ways:
1) When you cut it
2) When you split it
3) When you stack it
4) When you burn it!
Since my house is heated by a wood-burning stove, I spend a great deal of time preparing for cold temperatures. Sometimes it is like a scavenger hunt - picking up wood off the side of the road. Other times, it is an organized expedition, where myself and others descend on a pile of pushed over trees. And on occasion, there are the friendly neighbors who deliver pre-cut wood for me.
Regardless of how I get the wood, it is never the correct size for my stove. First, I get out a chainsaw. Depending on the circumference of the wood, I'll either use the small electric trimmer or the regular size, gasoline powered one. My wood must be no longer than 18 inches long.
After getting it to the correct length, it's time to split it. My preference is the torpedo wedge, that has 4 sides. Place it in the middle of the top, strike the wedge with the sledge hammer a few times, and it splits in several pieces. Nothing to it!
Some people prefer a splitting maul to the wedge/sledge hammer combo. I've never quite mastered the maul. It might be because I don't have enough strength.
For more detailed instructions on splitting firewood, read my article: How to split fire wood.
Here's some of the firewood I've cut & split recently
Hammers & Drivers
It's amazing how many types of hammers you need any given day. My personal favorite is my 6 pound sledge hammer. I've gone through a couple of these in the past 5 years, which shows you how much I use them!
Of course, there are the regular household type hammers that most everyone owns. Many women are comfortable with the 8 ounce hammers. I prefer 16 or 20 ounce ones. I have 3 hammers - 2 with wood handles, and one with fiberglass. I like the wooden handles, as they can be replaced easily at the local hardware store. I keep my hammers in various places around the property. It seems there are always loose nails needing to be pulled, or a nail to be added.
I used to use the sledge hammer to pound t-posts into the ground. My dad bought me a t-post driver for my birthday, and it's amazing how much easier the posts go into the ground! Just slide it over the top, grab the handles, and pound a couple of times! Mine came in hot pink; I imagine most men would prefer a different color than mine!
But at least I don't have to worry about someone stealing it!
Get T-Post Driver on Amazon:
One of the handiest tools for driving t-posts into the ground. It certainly beats a sledge hammer, which can damage the tops of the posts.
Texas Fence Fixer
A fence fixer is not a tool that city folks need. However, it's a godsend out here in the country! These are not available in most farm or feed stores. You're most likely to find them at a ranch or farm exposition, or perhaps even eBay.
I use mine all the time to tighten barb wire fences. It's great, because you can do it on your own, and it really tightens the wire!
1) Simply insert the slack wire into the jaw joints, bring the handles together and secure them with the attached chain
2) Take a piece of wire, lay it across the top of face of the fence fixer, and wrap it around both sides of the fence wire.
3) Take a screwdriver or plier handles, insert them into the loop between the handles of the fence fixer, and wrap the loop around the spare piece of wire
4) Continue wrapping until the loop is tight, then undo the chain, and your fence is fixed!
Unfortunately, I can't take a picture of myself doing it, so there's a video below giving a demo.
Hoes & Shovels
A hoe is probably the most versatile tool of all! I actually have several of them scattered throughout the property. With a hoe, I can:
1) Chop down weeds in the garden and along the fence row
2) Clean out chicken coops
3) Break ice in water troughs
4) Cut off the head of snakes
Shovels have pretty obvious uses, and I have several of them as well. I use them for everything from digging up shallow, temporary ponds for the ducks, to planting bushes & trees, to cleaning out the BBQ smoker, to cleaning up dog poo.
Probably the most important - or rather handy - tool that I own is my wheelbarrow. It definitely beats toting around a 5-gallon bucket! I use my wheelbarrow daily. It's great for:
1) Toting rocks
2) Wheeling bags of sand or chicken feed from one place to another
3) Loading up with firewood and bringing straight into the house
Strangely enough, if your wheelbarrow has a flat tire, it's usually cheaper to buy a new wheelbarrow than have the old tire fixed. I had one repaired just last week, and it cost $19.00!
I've been looking around for a better-made wheelbarrow, as mine is getting pretty old & rusty. I found one at Gardener's Supply that looks like it will do the trick. It's called a Poly-Tough Cart, and is supposed to handle up to 300 pounds.