Power Tools

It is my belief that every good urban homesteader should be as independent as possible. First and foremost, you must be comfortable with basic power tools. This not only reflects the romantic pioneer spirit that ought to accompany the homesteader, but can also save a ton of money. A "real" urban homesteader does not hire out her work, she uses her evenings and weekends to do the improvement projects and to create necessary garden art.

Really, the homestead tradition does spring from the need to be frugal anyway right? Grow your own food, it's cheaper. Build that chicken coop, you don't have to buy eggs. Only in this century does it also represent a counterculture, hip and avant garde lifestyle. If you have chickens running around your yard and you don't have some self-designed, chicken coop tour award-winning coop that you built yourself... well, you might just own chickens because you need free eggs. The fancy coop displays your knowledge of how you eat impacts your local economy and global warming. It is your testament to sustainability.

I diverge in order to avoid the disclosure I'm about to make. The reality is, I'm afraid of power tools. That's right, I have visions of losing a finger (or maybe more than one) to that circular saw in my garage. I've just learned what a chop saw is, how on earth will I avoid flinging wood into my eyes? (I'm quite certain a splinter could go around my glasses and into my eye and the user manual pretty much confirms this.) Oh of course I can use a power drill, but how will I ever make my own coldframe if I can't cut the damn boards to size? Frankly, should I use the power tools if I have to read the owner's manual?

Fortunately, I have a wife who knows how to use power tools. So far, despite the fact she never reads the saftey warnings that come with them, she has used power tools to help us replace part of a fence, put in new (bamboo of course) flooring, part of the baseboards and now part of a new deck. (Please ignore the fact that I have used "part" with all of these projects.)

Where does this leave me though? Am I an urban homesteader if most of the time these things are just my ideas and I constitute more "free labor" than builder? And, well let's face it, I sit in my yard on my lone day off and think about handmade solar dehydrators, a finished deck and baseboards, and a supersized cold frame. Now you know my dirty little secret.

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