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Dangers and Accidents on a Homestead

 
pollinator
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Life is full of dangers, and that includes the home and farm (regardless of how small or big). But if I'm aware of potential dangers, I can usually avoid getting harmed....or having my growing areas or livestock harmed. With all the new people getting interested in permaculture and farming, perhaps a discussion of potential dangers could save someone a bit of grief.

I've had my share of accidents too. So far I've been lucky. I've survived them all fairly intact.
 
garden master
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Hmmm.... As you harvest your many greens, just prior to them bolting to seed, do not be overconfident in your repetitive movements. Always be aware of precisely the positioning of the hand that holds your greens in relation to the location of your very sharp knife!!! Ouch!!
 
master pollinator
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I am moving to somewhere, where there are many quite poor people. This presents challenges and opportunities. It means lots of inexpensive labor, but also people who will covet what I have. So I have to be careful who I associate with. There will be those who want something for nothing, those who want loans and those who aren't pleased with my relationship with a local woman.

It won't always be easy to identify who is who. There will also be those who are hoping to make some money, through providing various services that I need. For them, my arrival will be a very positive thing.

Then there are cobras, centipedes and scorpions.
 
Posts: 531
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I view the yard as a workplace, so wear the appropriate safety gear: hat, gloves, Standards Approved work boots, etc. And, take the correct precautions when using anything that runs on electricity or petrol.

Most farmers here wear high visibility work gear as normal clothing - similar to the stuff roadwork crews use - if something goes wrong out in the paddock, they are easily spotted.

Lifting heavy or awkward loads can really screw up joints, tendons, muscles and the spine. So am ultra careful - doing most of the work alone, I tend to think up easy ways to move stuff: a bit of wood to lever something heavy into place rather than drag or push it.

Keeping the place clear of long grass and storing sheet metal, etc properly is a must - removes shelter for vermin that always attract highly venomous snakes.

The village is very people safe, so there's no problems with security. Everyone looks after each other.

Injuries would simply delay all the things I want to achieve, so an ounce of prevention is worth ...
 
steward
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Here's a related thread with good information about tractors and heavier equipment The extreme danger of machinery.

I'd highlight the wood cutting arena as a high chance of injury.  Watch the youtube safety training videos by the major chainsaw companies (Husqvarna comes to mind).  Also watch the videos with titles like "idiots with chainsaws".  It's very informative to see WHY you shouldn't do things like:
  • Cutting branches off a tree while standing on a ladder
  • Cutting straight through without doing a notch and hinge
  • Assuming your buddies truck and a rope can pull over a 40,000 lb tree that is leaning towards your house
  •  
    pollinator
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    when you're scything or machete-ing and need to really put some oomph into it, cut AWAY from you, not toward your opposite leg, for example. those machetes can be longer than you think (i didn't cut off my foot but I sure had a close call).

    Keep your knives sharp, even if that means stopping and wiping the tomato juice off your knife. A dull knife is a knife that can hurt you (and that one I learned the hard way).

    from back in the day with tractors but this holds true for any equipment- emergency brake and in gear when you park. Chocks if your equipment has no brake. If you get in the habit it becomes second nature.

    Always shake out your boots/shoes and hanging clothing/towels (I live in a place where there are venomous spiders and snakes. Again, make it a habit and you do it without thinking).

    @Dale, I also made that kind of move a few times and it takes a big shift in mindset (coming from North America). Luckily we are simple people and not proud but every once in a while I find myself biting off a word before I say it, just to be safe. Not sure where you're going but what I learned the hard way, if your neighbors have bars on the windows, get bars on your windows too, no matter how ugly they look. The bad guys go for the easiest target they can find, why make it easy for them. It doesn't hurt to get a big scary-looking dog too (just don't let the neighbors see that he's actually a big baby).
     
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    Be aware of what you're doing and what's around you while you're doing it, stop and rest if you start to space out, learn to anticipate where the tool will go if it slips, or what you'll fall onto if you lose your footing.  Go get help if you need it, even if it takes more time, because if you tweak your back out it will be more trouble in the end than fetching the neighbor to lift whatever it is.  Spend the money for proper safety gear and wear it--you'll look way better in chainsaw chap orange than bloodsoaked jeans! Where I live if you are injured and need medical attention you either have to find someone with a boat to take you off, if it's not really serious, or get medivacced out, which is really expensive.  Getting hurt is a huge deal, logistically.  We have remarkably few accidents here, despite all the chainsaws, sharp tools, tractors, and physical labor, because people are pretty cautious, for the most part, and have learned to work smart and safe.  
     
    Posts: 65
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    Lift with your legs! I was cutting up a tree which had died and I cut down... a 10-ft section I needed to prop up on another small log so it would be easier to cut with the chainsaw, so I lifted it up with both hands, then held it in place while attempting to kick the smaller log under it. It worked fine.

    2 days later I came down with sciatica pain which plagued me for 2 weeks, required a doctor, drugs and 2 weeks of physical therapy to eliminate. I'm 68 years old, you'd think I'd know better. The worst part was an embarrassing lesson in how to lift heavy objects, by the physical therapist with everyone watching and of course I assumed they're all thinking, what an idiot this guy is, trying to lift a huge log at his age...
     
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    ALL good advice and insightful both safety wise as it has no costs’ to be safe where being healthy paranoid of humans is a must. We haven’t started work on our farmstead yet other than moving materials into place on the 36.2 acres over the last two years in anticipation of drilling a water well to kick everything off. Due to our soil profile being 100% deep sandy loam on the up slope of neighboring parcels west and south and state trust sections north and east, all rain water absorbs fast, deep and flows down slope making sprinkler irrigation a must. We are heavily forested with mature producing Pinion Pines and Juniper trees averaging 20 to 30 feet in height or taller at an elevation of 6300’. As I’ll be alone in this very remote location with spotty cellphone service I’ll carry a satellite beacon with phone capability at all times. Being from the industrial construction and service trades working alone was the norm, it’s a frame of mind never to be taken lightly. That said the aspect of safety of tools and equipment from other human(s) comes into play during winter months when no one is there full time. I will not be making friends with most everyone around me which is maybe about 12 parcels in the 12,000 acre development, not interested.                
     
    gardener
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    Victor Skaggs wrote:

    The worst part was an embarrassing lesson in how to lift heavy objects, by the physical therapist with everyone watching

    Vinctor, for any of us who grew up in suburbia, it's not just that we never learned, either through direct teaching or observation, how to lift, but how to use many common farm/homestead tools. I learned a much better way of using a shovel and fork from reading a book. There is a difference between a long handled and a "D" handled shovel, and they come in different shapes and using the right tool for certain jobs can make a huge difference. But when I first started to garden, a shovel was a shovel, (what - you can use a file to sharpen a shovel?)

    So I know that the obvious dangers are around heavy machinery and sharp objects, but take the time to learn about the ergonomically correct way to use common tools if you've never been exposed to them, or if you think you've been imitating people who could easily use brawn to make up for good practices.  "Ergonomically" is just a technical way to say the efficient and safe way to interact with a tool or object. I used it because if it's used in a safety video, there's a higher chance that the video was made by someone with actual training. That said, listen to your own body when you try new ways - I've run into "ergonomically designed tools" that were ergonomically designed for 6 ft males who weighs 200 lbs and that simply don't work for me.
     
    Posts: 28
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    Was just talking about this over in the "Working Alone" thread.  

    "1) I endorse the emphasis on safety.  It doesn't take long to bleed to unconsciousness.  Get used to the idea that its better to send a false alarm then for someone to find you dead from a missing toe.  If its deeper than an inch, or the puddle is bigger than a pancake or it burbles up like a clogged water-fountain, take a ride in an ambulance, let them decide how bad it is. "




    So this came up with regards to taking down trees using straps, but is applicable in other situations with tension:

    If you are going to work with lines under tension remember  (chains, ropes, straps, cables), if they are under-tension they can be storing a tremendous amount of force, which can, if they snap, accelerate the now-free ends faster than anyone can react.  You won't know its happened until its over.  I've seen a 5" diameter tree CUT IN HALF by a snapped chain from a tractor pulling a second tractor out of mud. Sounded like an explosion.   I have heard about people getting cut in half by snapped cables.
    So...
    1) know the rated capacities of every part that is under tension, from pulleys, to shackles to nuts and bolts.
    2) put a shear-bolt, or put the weakest link in your system where you want it to fail, so that if something goes wrong, the failure point is known and the failure doesn't put you in danger.   I put my shear bolt right at the stationary end of the come-along, and that is right next to the tree I'm felling. If it snaps, the come-along is pulled away from me toward one anchor tree, and the other end is pulled away from me, around the target tree and toward the other anchor tree.
    3) Use a tension guage so you can stay well bellow the rated tension.  in a system where 1.5 tons in the lowest rated part, I use about 500lbs of tension.  that is plenty on a small tree. This does not replace properly planning your hinge-cut, and it is not a good way to cope with a large tree that is leaning.  this is for a tree where there isn't enough diameter to get a wedge in.  



    Also:  Lock out/Tag Out.  You think you're working alone.  but is some "helpful" person going to turn the water or power back on while you are fiddling with the system.  This almost happened with my electric fence.  I'm solo homesteading but I live in a small neighborhood of about 30 homes up on a low ridge.   I'm replacing two fence posts, have the electric fence turned off.  I come back up the hill to see my neighbor and his dog staring at my energizer and he says "hey, how do I restart this, your fence is off!" I guess he noticed the clicking sound was gone and he was, what, going to reboot it like a computer?  Anyway now I leave notes on things, even if 99% of the time no one is going read them.

    One last danger issue:  fire and tiny houses.  I live in 105sqft tiny house.  I sleep by the door, i have two fire extinguishers and a smoke/CO2 detector and no sources of combustion (all appliances are electric, arc-fault breakered, I keep flamables in a shed, etc.  I still practice fire-drills and time them. I use a phone app called "Randomly RemindMe" to surprise myself.    Poisonous fumes from fire can kill very quickly in an enclosed space.  I used to work in chemistry before retiring to homesteading.  Its why i won't go near any of that home-brew Biodiesel preps or wood vinegar stills stuff.  We don't have as much control as our fancy blue-prints suggest.  Real materials and dirty mixtures are not 100% predictable. That 1% risk  re-rolled every day or every week is a funeral in the futre.

    On a happier note, most of homesteading actually improves your health, your fitness, your happiness and your survival chances... so just be cautious and enjoy.
     
    Posts: 1982
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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    Tools. Obvious dangers associated.

    Animals. Turkeys and chickens have been far more dangerous to me than my pigs.
     
    pollinator
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    In my opinion machines are much more dangerous than people.
    So I rather make friends and work together with them, than to work in a remote location all alone with a machine
     
    pollinator
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    This is just a general warning: do your thing to be and stay safe physically. As we embark on growing food for people, there are those who are not happy because they want cottage industries to fail: We are their competition.
    Join your local Farmers' Unions to prevent idiotic laws to be implemented. Someone actually floated the idea of making *manure* illegal to grow organic crops: "There is no quality control!"It failed quickly, but to think that someone in the legislature would come up with a hair brained idea like that!!
    Also, if you have employees, do all you can to keep them safe and carry adequate insurance. Beware of growing too big. An employee injured on the job can attract a lot of ambulance chasers. They seek out the biggest money pot.
     
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    Dale Hodgins: You said: "Then there are cobras, centipedes and scorpions."

    Those three are mostly ground dwellers - at least when they are outside.

    You also have to watch for fuzzy friendly looking caterpillars. They climb on tall grasses or low hanging leaves and will cause very painful stings just by brushing against them.

    Oh yeah. . . the plants are powerful as well. Always wear protective eye gear when picking Mangoes or Cashews  - or cutting the branches. The sap, which runs freely, will severely burn your skin and can blind an eye.

    Welcome to Thailand! (or Cambodia etcetera).
     
    Su Ba
    pollinator
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    Ladders and table saws have by far caused to most numbers of major injuries among my friends.

    With ladders, they need to be set correctly, you can't go reaching out to grab something without unbalancing it, you can't safely climb higher than it is meant to be used, and climbing down can be dangerous as well if you don't watch your step. And it's wise to use the correct ladder type for the specific task at hand. Sadly I've seen people in my area kill themselves from a ladder fall. Others have broken their backs, ankles, legs, arms, and wrists. One just recently knocked themselves out and got a concussion. I myself peeled a 10 inch strip of skin off my shin when I missed a step coming down. Boy, did that hurt! Yes, I was in a hurry and didn't watch what I was doing.

    Table saws seem to cause a lot of injuries, mostly lacerated or cut off fingers. Thankfully I've never run afoul with a saw. But there are numerous people in my area missing parts of fingers due to table saws. It's common for people around here to build their own houses, barns, sheds, etc. So using saws is common. And so are the injuries associated with them.
     
    gardener
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    Creosote fires in chimneys are fairly common. Prevented by cleaning.

    A neighbor recently blew up half his house & put several people in the hospital. Trying to light a gas insert in his fireplace. Not sure exactly what happened but obviously there was too much gas involved. It was a very loud BOOM. Things at our house shook. About half a mile away.

    Someone mentioned lock out tag out. That OSHA law requires a physical lock as well as a note (tag). The person at risk possesses the only key. That law applies to all forms of stored energy. Electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, etc. Don't take someones word for it. Lock it yourself & VERIFY with meters & such that it is truly de-energized before proceeding.

    There are old pilots & there are bold pilots. There are no old bold pilots. The same applies with a lot of other activites.
     
    Jay Angler
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    Mike Barkley wrote:

    VERIFY with meters & such that it is truly de-energized before proceeding.

    I'll second that verify - my spouse nearly electrocuted himself discovering that the idiot who wired the house we bought had mixed up the wires so that the baseboard heaters which require 220 Volts were hooked up to 2 different sets of paired breakers instead of on a single set of paired breakers. He turned off one paired breaker, the heater appeared to be off, so he carried on. We had the heaters off for painting. He covered the wire ends and put a plate over the box and we rely on the wood stove for heat - and he bought brushes so he'd clean the chimney regularly!! The moral here is that you can't even trust that a house that "passed an electrical inspection" is actually safe.
     
    Victor Skaggs
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    My back injury which fortunately has healed was caused simply by lifting wrongly while too old... as people go through the dangers in a home or at a homestead, I have to mention... the farm equipment!

    Ever since I turned over a large Ford tractor on a hillside I have been scrupulously careful with my smaller one, a 19hp Satoh Buck. That tractor could rip off a limb or crush me to death in an instant if I made a wrong move. The rototiller might not kill me but could rip up a leg. Someone pointed out that people raised in the suburbs might not know about these things. Very true. I was fortunate to have been half raised in WV so I knew how to drive a tractor, shoot all sorts of guns, etc. I had some country smarts. But you can never let down your guard. Make one little mistake with a gun and you'll regret it forever.

    The overarching rule for using any tool or equipment is to do so while aware, awake and alert. Never let down your guard. Always THINK THINK THINK what you're doing. Those of us trying to get back the culture of food production and living on the earth are valuable people so let's not hurt or maim or kill ourselves in the process!
     
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    Hi Victor,


    Excellent point about not letting down one's guard.  I certainly have more than  one grey hair, and I am careful to think through each task before I start.  Most important is considering everything than can go wrong. I then have the benefit of identifying the early warning signs and stopping what I am doing to change tactics.
     
    John F Dean
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    Hi Mike,

    Your post reminds me of a drive I used to take about every two weeks.  I would stop at a small town cafe where there was an old gas station across the street.   Except one time the gas station was missing. As near as could be determined, the station had hired a new employee who decided to clean oil from  the bay by moping it with gasoline......then the furnace kicked in.
     
    Joe Danielek
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    Just found out today there is a Air Ambulance Service that provides emergency flights from remote areas to subscribers for a annual fee of around $85.00. They provide one Life Flight per year per subscriber and family and possibly friends on their remote and/or wilderness property. Don't know the details yet but a huge savings of 15k to $22k.

    When I find out I'll post the details and contact info.
     
    gardener & author
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    I learned about blade safety the hard way a couple of years ago when I chopped through two tendons in my hand.

    At least we got this video out of it:



    I was using a cane machete with a hook on the back while wearing a straw hat. I crouched down to open a coconut, took a swing, hooked my hat and brought the blade down on the back of my hand. Brutal.

    I thank God a local doctor was able to stitch me back together, but it took a long time to heal and still hurts. I will be forever grateful that I can still play guitar. That was my biggest fear.
     
    Cécile Stelzer Johnson
    pollinator
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    John F Dean wrote:Hi Victor,
    Excellent point about not letting down one's guard.  I certainly have more than  one grey hair, and I am careful to think through each task before I start.  Most important is considering everything than can go wrong. I then have the benefit of identifying the early warning signs and stopping what I am doing to change tactics.



    Indeed: I don't get hurt very often. It is rarely the neophyte who has a serious accident. Why? Because s/he is really apprehensive about doing something wrong that will either damage their work or themselves. After you gain some confidence with the tool and get a bit cocky, thinking that you don't need to 'waste that time' being careful, that is when bad things happen. Applying yourself to do the very best job you can at all times will keep you safe [or saf-er] because it heightens your senses and focuses your full attention on the task at hand.
    Another one is when you feel like you 'have to' finish this phase of your project even though you are tired or after you made a bad cut in your material. The mistake is your signal that you need to quit, take a break and refocus. After your break, you will have a better sense and focus. No use rushing.
    When you get tired, you don't have the attention required to stay safe.
     
    Mike Jay Haasl
    steward
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    Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:It is rarely the neophyte who has a serious accident.


    I think there are several kinds of neophytes.  Cautious ones who are very careful as they try something new.  And the other ones who get hurt.  

    Just search Youtube for "idiots with chainsaws" and you'll see plenty of new chainsaw users getting themselves hurt or crushing their house.  Usually they aren't gory and I've actually learned a lot about how not to operate a chainsaw by watching them.
     
    pollinator
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    All I can say is: beware of ice! I slipped on ice while carrying a bale of hay. I now have a titanium plate, one large bolt, and 5 screws holding my ankle together.
     
    Jay Angler
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    Speaking of ice, I read somewhere that spreading ashes on ice would help. Any thoughts out there?
    We've got a downhill north slope path into our field with no alternative and the icy snow hasn't melted despite above freezing during the day - that just seems to make it more treacherous! It is *not* a place to put salt down.
     
    Cécile Stelzer Johnson
    pollinator
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    Jay Angler wrote:Speaking of ice, I read somewhere that spreading ashes on ice would help. Any thoughts out there?
    We've got a downhill north slope path into our field with no alternative and the icy snow hasn't melted despite above freezing during the day - that just seems to make it more treacherous! It is *not* a place to put salt down.



    It should, depending on your temperature and exposure. A lot of things can melt ice. Ash is nice because it melts it 2 ways: The potash salt in it will melt the ice and is green. It darkens as soon as wet also, so if it is in the sunshine, you get a boost from the sun too.
    But also Epsom salt and sugar will melt ice too
    r you can try this one:
    https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/melt-ice-without-salt/
    Otherwise, how about laying old pieces of carpeting? [dark ones work better]. They will quickly warm up the underside of the carpet. Once night comes, it will refreeze, fastening the carpet to your walk and voilà. It will at least last you past the first snowfall because even under the snow, the carpet fibers will provide traction.
    Once it melts, you can get your carpet pieces back and perhaps lay a path between rows of asparagus.
    Dropping twigs will also work the same way for your path but you will have to dispose of them in the spring.
     
    gardener
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    Animals always present a level of danger so you must always maintain your guard around them.

    I grew up with horses, cattle and pigs.  I can't tell you how many times I've watched people walk behind a horse that they did not know.  I've seen dumb parents let little kids/toddlers walk around and practically under a horse.  Its nothing for an irritated horse to kick backward, and they can aim their kicks upward 3 or 4 feet easily.  I've seen horses take a big chomp onto someone shoulder or arm . . . if you've never been bitten by a horse before, you've not lived.

    A young bull or even an older bull that feels cornered or protective of his cows will charge and crush you.  Rarely do they bluff: they'll come after you, knock you over and stomp you.  I'm always aware of an escape route when I'm working with a bull.  Even cows can get protective or wild.  Generally, cows are tremendously curious and gentle, but I've seen mama get a little crazy when you get close to her calf.  Much of this depends on how much you work with them: they get habituated to having humans around and working with them.  But if they have been out in a remote pasture, they get pretty wild.

    Large hogs are flat-out dangerous.  They'll take  your hand off.  Big mama sows can weigh upwards of 400 lbs and they simply cannot be stopped if they start coming toward you.  I always wear gloves and a loose jacket when trying to move big pigs; if they ever get a bite on me, I'll be able to pull my arm out and leave them with a glove or sleeve in their mouth.

    Animals are instinctually wild.  You have to respect that.  Even dogs --- when startled or wounded, will revert back to instinctual responses.  
     
    Posts: 182
    Location: 7b desert southern Idaho
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    My most dangerous list
    A) my stubbornness
    B) my anger
    C) my cockiness
    D) that look my wife gives me after I’ve done any of the above
     
    Posts: 80
    Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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    Keep hand tools sharp!

    Always sharpen your ax, machetes, hatchets and clippers. The stress on your joints, your back and your energy levels (read: overall morale) from using blunt tools is all too real. I let our ax get dull and then set about splitting a cord of wood over the weekend. The ax broke. I had to buy a new one. And the new one is so ridiculously sharp that it sliced through wood I was really whaling on to get split. I doubled over laughing from my own stupidity. I haven't always been good about sharpening my tools but this experiential lesson was very profound. I'll never let 'em get dull again!

    Oh - and don't reach under wood debris of any kind without gloves. All sorts of things want to sting and bite you and wreck your day. Cover up!

    One last thing - if you have guinea hens they WILL create dust bath craters in your yard. Be aware, lest you fall in one as I did and wreck your precious ankle joint!
     
    master steward
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    Mike Jay wrote:

  • Assuming your buddies truck and a rope can pull over a 40,000 lb tree that is leaning towards your house


  • Fun story, that... so, when we bought our house, the marvelous previous owner had built the garage right next to three trees (two hemlocks and one cedar) that were all growing next to, or in, and old cedar stump, and all got their roots chopped when he installed the garage. Then he stuck a whole bunch of railroad ties in one of the trees to climb up to install his satellite dish in it. Needless to say, it was a horrible mess and a hazard to our house. Why, oh why, did he not just cut down those trees when he built the garage?!? So, we had a tree cutting party, complete with the friend with the truck and cables. Thankfully, we did have people far more experienced with chainsaws, and who did as much research as possible to make sure it didn't destroy us or our house. At the time, I remember not being worried at all, because my Dad was there, so of course things would go fine! Now, looking back as someone who's been homesteading for a few years and had to make the decisions, I can understand why my dad was so stressed about the whole affair!

    Tree 1 came down just fine, leaving the two, more difficult ones.



    Tree number 2, despite being pulled by a cable and cut correctly....went 90 degrees from where we were intending. It landed 10 feet from my grandfather (who didn't even get out of his chair as the tree came falling toward him!)



    The third tree, which was leaning right toward our hosue, thankfully almost went where it was supposed to, though it hit the chimney of the trashburner that the previous owner had built!



    And now I know why my father adamantly refuses to cut down any more big trees--there's SO MUCH that can go wrong. We hired an experienced arborist the next time we needed big trees cut down. My dad has lots of experience successfully cutting trees, but it's a wise man who know his limitations and plays it safe!

     
    gardener
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    Repair top boards on cow pens. Get chased with extreme prejudice by that one crazy cow in the pen. Vault neatly over nice sturdy new top board. Spend 0.5 seconds congratulating yourself on your foresight and agility. Land on old top board with nails still in that you missed when you dragged them off to the burn pile. Spend a few seconds of detached fascination staring at the nails coming out the top of your boot before the pain hits. Spend a few more seconds psyching yourself up to pull the foot off the nails...a few minutes crawling to the truck...a few weeks feeling extremely stupid...a few years living it down. Fail to work the crazy cow or any others and hire auction ring cowboys in shame. Write large check.
     
    gardener
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    Victor Skaggs wrote:Lift with your legs! I was cutting up a tree which had died and I cut down... a 10-ft section I needed to prop up on another small log so it would be easier to cut with the chainsaw, so I lifted it up with both hands, then held it in place while attempting to kick the smaller log under it. It worked fine.

    2 days later I came down with sciatica pain which plagued me for 2 weeks, required a doctor, drugs and 2 weeks of physical therapy to eliminate. I'm 68 years old, you'd think I'd know better. The worst part was an embarrassing lesson in how to lift heavy objects, by the physical therapist with everyone watching and of course I assumed they're all thinking, what an idiot this guy is, trying to lift a huge log at his age...



    I am under the doctor now for a bout of aweful sciatica so I sympathise.  Also doing what I shouldn't  be doing trying to get the finca ready for Spring. Now I can't  do a thing so ..stupid stupid stupid.
     
    Josephine Howland
    pollinator
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    Just a couple of comments on posts. Nicole, about cutting trees near buildings. My EX insisted on cutting a couple of tall pine near the original camp on this property. As he was preparing to cut, I was standing at a distance, but I noticed that he had left the two "Anderson" crank out windows in our bedroom open. I called stop, waved stop, he didn't hear me, or ignored me. The first tree came down, taking both windows with it. I just shook my head.
    As for recovering from homesteading injuries, After my ice slipping, ankle destroying fall, I thought I would need to use a cane for the rest of my days. I was lucky that there was an old motel not too far from me, that had a bit of a gym in the basement, which they allowed locals to join in a monthly fee basis. It took time, but by using their treadmills almost daily for a few months, I am happy to say that I can walk without a cane or other assistive devices. I do however, on ice days, use a spike ended hiking pole, better safe than sorry.
     
    Posts: 44
    Location: Oregon Coast and Cascade Range, valley side, ~44 N
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    One more machete safety tip, if I am cutting lots of solid wood limbs that requires multiple hits, for lots of hours, I wear some eye protection now.  I had been hit in the upper torso/arms/neck/face by flying shards of wood probably a few dozen times, but they were not fast enough or pointy enough to make me think, immanent and serious danger.

    Then this one time, a ~3 inch oak limb took maybe 4 hits before it sent an ~1 inch long triangular shard, into my cheek.  It felt about like a hornet sting for a moment, then I went to rub it a moment later, OW, that splinter was still in my cheek.  Upon pulling it out, it put out about a drop of blood.

    Granted this is about the thickness of limb that has most people reaching for a chainsaw, and I have swung a machete like this for probably 100 hours over the past few years and have longer faster arms than most, and this somewhat freak accident has happened precisely one time.   I still could have been pulling that piece of wood out of my cornea.

    I have also crushed a finger so bad it took 6 months to be pain free, by catching a machete swing on the handle instead of the blade.  That was my most painful gardening accident; a poorly planned swing in a cramped witchhazel thicket.  Fortunately I broke my old machete, and the new one has a guarded handle which has saved me from another crushing blow to the fingers at least once;  

    https://www.murrayslures.com/Woodman-s-Pal-Military-Premium-Model-284-p/pt284-ns.htm?gclid=Cj0KCQiAn4PkBRCDARIsAGHmH3cfX4-DDLite4wgWxf8KMBENDa249DHFcMsnybs59xv4Pg6Ou-kO1EaAk-mEALw_wcB

    highly recommended. It cost twice as much as my first machete, but I'm pretty sure it's at least twice the quality and will last more than twice as long.  It also has a great hook!  I've never taken to swinging a machete while wearing a hat though...Thanks for the heads up
     
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    If you are going to be outdoors frequently, take care of your skin. One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer, being sunburnt frequently greatly increases your odds, melanoma is deadly.
     
    Posts: 79
    Location: Wichita, Kansas, United States
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    Tereza Okava wrote:when you're scything or machete-ing and need to really put some oomph into it, cut AWAY from you, not toward your opposite leg, for example. those machetes can be longer than you think (i didn't cut off my foot but I sure had a close call).

    Keep your knives sharp, even if that means stopping and wiping the tomato juice off your knife. A dull knife is a knife that can hurt you (and that one I learned the hard way).



    Absolutely correct on both points.
    Cut away from yourself.
    Oh sure, there are some tools made to cut on the pull stroke, draw knife, spoke shave, Japanese saw, Japanese planes, but if it isn't designed to cut on the pull stroke, cut away from yourself.  I have a couple scars from times when I wasn't careful enough to do that.

    I would say keep all cutting tools sharp.  
    Tools (and knives) sharp enough to cut with gentle pressure are easier to control and less likely to slip.
    They are safer and give better results.
    I even sharpen my shovels and hoes once a year.
     
    Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
    gardener
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    Make sure, when removing the blades from an electric carving knife, that it is unplugged and you are pressing the blade release button, not the power button.
    Now ask me how I know that.
     
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1. But I'll always remember this tiny ad:
    paul's patreon stuff got his videos and podcasts running again!
    https://permies.com/t/60329/paul-patreon-stuff-videos-podcasts
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