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Starting a new homestead from scratch - what are the most essential tools?

 
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I love my Broadfork.

https://www.easydigging.com/broadforks/unbreakable-broadfork.html

Neighbors often ask to borrow it

 
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I so love to keep lengths of wire around.  8, 12, sometimes 16 gauge can serve so many purposes (most often for rigging things in place of a broken or missing piece of hardware).
 
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Dave Bross wrote:
Bocking 4 or 14 comfrey, because those two won't go invasive and can propagate from root cuttings.
This assumes they'll grow where you're going.
These go deep on roots, pulling up nutrients for the plants or trees around them.

Elaegnus family, Goumi berry, silver berry, autumn olive etc.



Lots of good information there, thanks, Dave! I'm not sure about comfrey. I have the idea it might require more water. Though in Australia I used to grow it in the shade under fruit trees and that area only got a few more inches rain a year.

Funny that you mentioned goumi! I was looking online for goumi seeds just before I read this! There aren't many sources in Europe, unfortunately, and those who have it are quite expensive. I may post asking if anyone on Permies in the UK or EU has some.
 
pollinator
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Might want to try for goumis from cuttings or buying plants if possible.

they don't come true from seed, are difficult to get to sprout,  are hard to find seed for, and you have to go through quite a song and dance to get them to sprout...if they even do.

https://permies.com/t/84042/berry/Buy-Goumi-Seeds

Not sure what the shipping plant material between US and UK situation is right now, but there's a growing number of nurseries in the US growing the named cultivars, which are much tastier than unknown origin ones.

Ebay or Etsy may have sellers that can ship to you.

I have some named cultivars of autumn olive, another in the elaegnus family which seem a lot tougher and faster growing than the Goumis.

Autumn olive  is considered invasive in a lot of places, just so you know.

https://onegreenworld.com  was where I got mine and they have good descriptions of the goumi and autumn olive cultivars.

Elaegnus ebbengei or silverberry is another one to consider. It fruits in the fall, so spreading out time of harvest, and is evergreen.  The other elaegnus shrubs fruit early summer. It's mostly used as a hedge, being evergreen, which is one thing I'm doing with it currently. it comes in cultivars with variegated yellow/green leaves too.

You might try contacting gardening and vegetable growing clubs there in England. I'll bet someone there would have some cuttings you could get. The Brits love their gardening and there may be some great resources if you poke around a bit.
 
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We began a homestead from scratch 4 years ago. What I wish I had done during year one:  plant fruit trees, then plant more fruit trees, then plant some more fruit trees.  Plant fruit perennial bushes, then plant 3x what you think you want/need.

Canning fruit or dehydrating it is imperative for winter consumption of vitamins and minerals that can't be had in other ways. Food security is very important!  Chickens and other critters also love the fruit.  Think free food!!

Also, bartering with food (fruit, veggies, eggs) may become a necessity sooner rather than later.

Can you "borrow" a few goats from a neighbor to help tame the overgrowth?  They'll deposit nice fertilizer whilst they mow.

I use grow boxes for many reasons: a) I'm 64 and don't want to be crawling around on the ground gardening, b) weeds are much easier to control, c) line the bottom with 1/4 inch hardware cloth and tunneling critters can't eat your garden, d) easier to keep rabbits and other critters out of your garden, and e) easier to control soil type. Better yet, start learning about wicking beds---people in desert climates use them successfully to grow gardens. I'm converting my wooden boxes to them since we always have a drought in the summer.

May I suggest the following youtube channel--it revolutionized my thoughts on gardening. You want to focus on soil health, then you'll have a healthy garden.  I Am Organic Gardening at https://www.youtube.com/@iamorganicgardening/videos. Even before I had a garden, I was learning from this wonderful man. Go all the way through his videos to the very beginning. He teaches in an easy-to-understand manner.  

Start preparing your soil now and you'll be ahead of the game once you move to your new homestead.

Can't believe no one has mentioned the indispensable duct tape.  Seriously, can anyone have a homestead without it??

For the kitchen, I'd get the tools you need to preserve your harvest so you can eat yea-round.  Canners that hold 7 quart jars, 8 pint jars. Presto (in the US) makes a good canner that is easy to use. I have 2 that I use simultaneously as I put up 500-800 qts of food a year.  A dehydrator is also good to have but not as essential as the canners.

Best of luck to you! And may God richly bless you and remember to ask Him for Wisdom on what to do and when!!
 
Dave Bross
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Duct tape....absolutely!

Along the same lines...a roll of thick gauge aluminum electric fence wire and a roll of steel wire.

Same idea as the duct tape...securing things that are moving and shouldn't.
 
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Jane writes,

I can't move for four years so will be doing what I can in two week visits several times a year.



In my one acre world, the most versatile precision tool (once mastered), is the machete (or the shorter, top-weighted bolo) plus a metal sharpening file and puck-style sharpening stone. This $20 tool, plus ~ $10 file and stone, requires time to get beyond the awkward beginner phase and use effortlessly. Luckily, you have 4 years to become an expert.
At home, when dreaming of your homestead, you can step outside and practice your moves. Become proficient by using only this one tool for chopping down small trees, peeling bark, splitting wood, clearing roots, chopping straw, weeding, clearing brush, slicing paper and cardboard, girdling larger trees, exposing and cutting invasive roots, harvesting and preparing food and so much more! Mastering the machete or bolo, in my experience, reduces the need for a vast tool supply. The skill has given me confidence that I can address most permaculture challenges that I encounter using this one inexpensive and elegant blade. To learn how to use the tool efficiently and safely, it is nice to work with an expert. Since experts are rare, watch Youtube videos to pick up techniques.
There are lots of tools but not very many skillful users. If I had 4 years to prepare, I would trust that a wheelbarrow, spade, and flat pry bar could be easily sourced and spend my time mastering the machete.
 
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Everyone seems to have the "tools" category covered for outdoors and repairs. The kitchen however depends on what you call tools. A set of good quality knives are a must. As well as quality cutting boards.  I use only cast iron, stainless steel and glass for cooking.
I have electric and manual both of each small appliance that I use, ie: food processor,  coffee maker, tea pot ...
( I live in south Florida USA so power outages from hurricanes are a thing here.)
Also, a good non electric canner and canning supplies.
Lots of shelves.
 
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Dave Bross wrote:Might want to try for goumis from cuttings or buying plants if possible.
they don't come true from seed, are difficult to get to sprout,  are hard to find seed for, and you have to go through quite a song and dance to get them to sprout...if they even do.


Ah, that is very good to know as I was considering buying seeds and just planting them and seeing what happened with complete neglect. As I won't be living there permanently for some time, anything I plant now needs to be tough enough to survive on its own!
Cuttings or living plants may be a challenge to source, I won't be able to transport those from the UK to the property in Bulgaria. The EU places I found selling plants were mostly in Italy, so the locally selected varieties may not be cold hardy enough.
I will keep looking, and consider other easier Elaegnus species, too. The appeal of goumi was to spread the fruit harvest with some earlier fruiting shrubs.
 
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Dottie Kinn wrote:We began a homestead from scratch 4 years ago. What I wish I had done during year one:  plant fruit trees, then plant more fruit trees, then plant some more fruit trees.  Plant fruit perennial bushes, then plant 3x what you think you want/need.



That's what I intend to do, Dottie! Thankfully the place is already blessed with a few fruit trees, a very productive peach, an apple tree, and a huge walnut tree. There are other fruit trees I'm unsure of yet, and plenty of wild plums. Also plenty of edible weeds like purslane, chickweed, and amaranth. But getting more fruit and nut trees and perennial edibles planted, as well as self-seeding annuals that can be allowed to naturalise, is my main priority. I'm hoping to get the place fully productive apart from needing some extra annual beds by the time we move there full-time.

Canning, dehydrating, and other preserving will be a must. My neighbour already has plans to teach me the local ways of food preservation. I'm hoping I can buy what I need for that second hand rather than needing to buy all new.

Totally trusting that He will guide me and support me!
 
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Amy Gardener wrote:In my one acre world, the most versatile precision tool (once mastered), is the machete (or the shorter, top-weighted bolo) plus a metal sharpening file and puck-style sharpening stone. This $20 tool, plus ~ $10 file and stone, requires time to get beyond the awkward beginner phase and use effortlessly.



That's super helpful, Amy! I'd been thinking to get a billhook, but possibly a machete will serve more functions. I am wondering what length would be best for me.
 
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Lori Coil wrote:A set of good quality knives are a must. As well as quality cutting boards.  I use only cast iron, stainless steel and glass for cooking.
Lots of shelves.



Absolutely! I'm focused on the outside work for now, because I can't do anything with the kitchen till the roof is replaced. But the first thing on the list for there is shelving and a good knife set. Thankfully it already has a fridge which seems to work, a wood cooking stove (which I haven't tested yet but should work), and a lovely old kitchen table.
 
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What about luggage transport? Travelling with public transport has its problems given that you have to drag everything yourself. What about a modern pram as a luggage cart? Is legal to take with you, should fit the trains and so on and pushing something on 3-4 wheels is much easier than carrying heavy bags around 3/4 of Europe. Plenty for sale second hand too.
 
Amy Gardener
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Thanks for your reply, Jane:

I'd been thinking to get a billhook, but possibly a machete will serve more functions. I am wondering what length would be best for me.


The billhook sounds very helpful (though I've never used one) and is one of 3 styles recommended for gardening in this article by Machete Specialists.
Regarding machete length, I learned a lot from watching this brush-clearing expert use a long machete to clear brush and a short bolo-style machete to make a reaping hook as the companion tool for his clearing technique:

 
Jane Mulberry
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Very useful links, thanks so much, Amy! After watching those, I think the machete and bolo would have a wider range of use than the billhook. So may different agricultural tools, and without trying them out, it's hard to know what will work bets for the tasks I'll be doing and which will work best with my body, too.
Do you use both the machete and the bolo, or is just the machete enough for you?
 
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tamara dutch wrote:What about luggage transport? Travelling with public transport has its problems given that you have to drag everything yourself. What about a modern pram as a luggage cart? Is legal to take with you, should fit the trains and so on and pushing something on 3-4 wheels is much easier than carrying heavy bags around 3/4 of Europe. Plenty for sale second hand too.


Great suggestion, Tamara! The first time I visited the small town closest to the house, I purchased a "granny trolley", basically a vertical shopping bag on a wheeled frame, the biggest size I can take on the sometimes crowded local minibus. A pram would hold more and be more stable, but I don't think they'd let me take it on the bus!
 
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Do you use both the machete and the bolo, or is just the machete enough for you?


For about 15 years, I've only use the long style (22" blade and 5" handle). About a month ago I bought a bolo because I want the shorter blade for tasks that don't require working at ground level. The new bolo needs work: sanding the wooden grip and sharpening the factory stamped blade. I'm very happy with the long blade but just wanted to see if the bolo would be more effective for working at close range and standing postures. I'm hoping that the weighted end may require less energy to use for an extended period of time. I'll get busy and customize the bolo to learn more.
 
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I'll be interested to know how you get on with the bolo, Amy.
 
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Not to hijack your terrific thread Jane, but for clarity: I will never give up the long machete in my arid environment due to its ability to cut prickly pear cactus, cholla, and yucca from a safe distance. This is less relevant to people in non-desert environments. The long machete is also outstanding for chopping corn stalks at ground level then mulching into bits. The bolo appears less useful in my ecosystem than the long machete, so if I had to choose one, it would absolutely be the long machete.
 
Dave Bross
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A few resources for trees and shrubs in Bulgaria.
Search term I used was     "bulgaria" fruit tree and shrub cuttings


https://eugardens.eu/location/bg/business_area/fruit-nurseries/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW1Z1_ELI98

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/sofia/fruit-trees/
 
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Amy Gardener wrote:Not to hijack your terrific thread Jane, but for clarity: I will never give up the long machete in my arid environment due to its ability to cut prickly pear cactus, cholla, and yucca from a safe distance. This is less relevant to people in non-desert environments. The long machete is also outstanding for chopping corn stalks at ground level then mulching into bits. The bolo appears less useful in my ecosystem than the long machete, so if I had to choose one, it would absolutely be the long machete.



There's plenty of prickly stuff in my semi-arid environment, as my place is in the driest village in Bulgaria! I just did an online search and located the long Brazilian machete I will probably order!
 
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Thanks so much, Dave! I will check those links. I hadn't thought to look on Facebook!
 
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I think Ebay and Etsy might have a good bit of plant material for sale that could ship to Bulgaria. I know they have custom sites for different parts of Europe. I'm constantly surprised at the high quality and excellent price of plants and seeds I get from those two. Amazon not so much.
 
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Dave, I'm glad to know that you've found those sites reliable. I've bought plants on Amazon and even from very well-known UK online plant nurseries' sites and had some disappointing experiences so I was a little dubious about Etsy. Will give it a try!
 
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Oh yeah, I too have had some ugly "learning experiences" with substandard stuff.

Here in the US a lot of old nursery outfits with great past reputations have been sold to the next generation of owners with mixed results.

I don't know if there's anything over your way like this but a garden info site here put together what they call a garden watchdog where people can post their experiences with nurseries and suppliers  pro and con. It has a huge amount of data, and since discovering it I've saved myself a lot of grief by checking this first.

https://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/

for those in the USA, I'll point out one supplier that has been outstandingly high quality for prices that are beyond reasonable for fruit trees and shrubs.
Great stuff for those food forest projects that need lots of plants without having to wait for cuttings or seeds to get up to speed.
Anyone can buy wholesale from them by buying $100 worth total and minimum 10 of each type plant up to plug flats of 72.
they also have a retail side with prices much higher for smaller numbers of plants.
They don't warranty anything but every order I've placed with them has included a couple extras just in case.

https://hartmannsplantcompany.com/wholesale

They also wrote a guide to all the plants they sell that may be the best compilation of how to on each one I've seen.
Worth downloading if you go there to look. Good stuff for reference on a lot of what you might have in a food forest.
it's listed under one of the links in the header at the top of the page. I would give you a link to it but I can't get to their site right now.


 
Jane Mulberry
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What an excellent site! Here's the link to their "Grow Guide" : https://hartmannsplantcompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/growing_guide.pdf
 
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Hi Jane, congratulations on your decision for your future. There are many, very, experienced people here to give you valuable information about tools. Buckets! I love buckets! But one thing that stands out to me loud and clear, is the fact that you will not be living there for a few years yet, and all tools that were there originally have been taken. What about your new ones? Top of my list would be very good security for anything I bought.
I'm English, moved to France 2 1/2yrs ago with the same dream (still looking for bigger acreage) I was 73 when I came, so you've got more time on your side 😆. I suffered a lot from theft and damage before and after transition, in the empty place, so for me security would be number one. Perhaps you have an outbuilding you can make your stronghold? Now that your neighbors know you have taken ownership, they might keep an eye on it for you. Sorry to bring gloom to your story, but I wouldn't like anyone to have my experience. Good luck. Isn't it exciting?
PS see if you can find a second hand Excalibur dehydrator in the meantime. Start collecting preserving jars and buy yourself a presto canner. The bigger one! You won't regret it.
 
Jane Mulberry
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Hi Emma!  I hope you find the land you want, and sorry you had theft and vandalism issues. I love that you were a few years older than me when you moved! Yes, there's time. My late fifties were dismal, full of ill health and gloom. I feel stronger and more ready to take on a challenge now, and the renewed hope it's given me is helpful in itself. Plus it's a healthier environment at the "homestead" compared to all the environmental issues where we currently live. I feel younger and stronger every day I spend there!

Thankfully, the place seems safe and secure. The things that were "taken" before I bought the property weren't really stolen. After the previous owner died, first family and then neighbours removed anything they wanted from the property before it went on the market. Which meant everything really useful was removed, and what was left in the house and the outbuildings was mostly junk, broken, or too heavy to move. Nothing there, either preexisting or brought in by me, has been removed since I bought the place.

Not all villages are so safe, but this is a good one. My house is in a quiet location but fairly central in the village, not at all isolated, so anyone trying to steal would be seen. There are no police locally, but there's a very strong community spirit and I'm blessed with wonderful neighbours who keep an eye on the place.

So far, I've had no problems at all. I was a bit concerned because a new ladder I'd bought seemed to disappear. That gave me an awful sick feeling that the place wasn't as safe as I thought. But then it reappeared! Turned out the builders doing my roof had been using it and tucked it away somewhere I hadn't seen it. They left their tools on the front porch when they weren't there, so clearly they trusted that things wouldn't be stolen.

The electric dehydrator is an excellent idea! I have the big Excalibur from my raw vegan days, but our current UK house is too small to use it and the fan noise annoys hubby, so it's in storage. I will need to think about how I can get it to Bulgaria without paying a fortune in import fees - joys of Brexit! I would like to set up a solar dehydrator, but there are plenty of cloudy days so the Excalibur would be good to have as a backup. I hope to convert one of the outbuildings into an outdoor kitchen and run power to it, and setting up a preserving station there is something I really want to get done as soon as possible.
 
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I agree with getting tools first from garage or yard sales if available, then flea markets or other places for used tools. When you are starting from scratch, you can just get the things on your list that are available and then backfill with buying new as needed for specific projects. You get better prices and often better quality. If there are are farm sales in Bulgaria, then you would not need to transport the tools from afar. The same goes with screws, bolts, nails, etc. which can add up if you buy them new. Also look for canning jars and rings. You can get new lids for the jars cheap.  
I get free plastic buckets from local bakeries, often you can get lids with them. I just have to clean out the remaining contents (e.g. frosting).
I am not sure of the diameter of the black locusts, but anything wide enough could make good fence posts as it is rot resistant.
 
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Unfortunately in Bulgaria garage or yard sales aren't common, apart from in areas with a lot of expats - which mine isn't!

Locals hold onto everything in case they need it. That's been very helpful - my Bulgarian neighbour has a well-equipped workshop and a quick rummage will usually uncover anything I need. Though I don't want to keep borrowing from them or asking, as a neighbour who is always on the take gets wearing, fast!

The nearest town has a market, but no one there is doing second hand tools. Unfortunately getting used items locally is a little more challenging than it would be in the UK or US, but I will keep looking as I prefer to buy used if I can.
 
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On tools, unless you're rolling in nickels, many are going to be temporary, until you can upgrade them. For example, the previously mentioned channel lock type pliers are a must.  Many of us might have to suffer a cheaper set, until our tool collection is complete.  When we can, we could upgrade to a set of Knipex locking pliers. After which, we'd only rarely have anything nice to say about the cheap ones.  We might like those Knipex versions so much we'd look at the version with no teeth and that replace Crescent type wrenches.

On brands, no one, be it Milwaukee, Makita or Festool, makes the best of everything. For example:

  (1) My hardwood store dumped the often touted [and very expensive] Kapex miter, because it couldn't handle the load put on it a Hitachi could, cutting various hardwoods throughout the day.  

  (2) I like my Festool sanders and have even looked into their jig saws, but I don' have to swap my Bosch foot plate to do what the Festool does, at twice or more the price.

I love my three cordless drivers and drills.  The Panasonic has been going strong for about fifteen years and is still going, but the battery is showing age signs. The Makita has gone about twelve. It's still going.  The Dewalt made it about five and is waiting for me  to whatever I'll do with a drill with a dead battery.   The mentioned Panasonic will get new batteries, because I like it that much.  

All that said, I have nine different corded drills. Every one of them starts every time I pull switch in, unless the electric is out.  They'll be going long after I'm gone.  And, sometimes the higher speed of a corded drill is a must.  Similarly, my Sthil weed eater, which I bought for ten bucks at a yard sale fifteen years ago is still going strong. It's corded.  The bump head needs to be replaced (about $20.00) and the shroud has a lot of patch repairs (tin over plastic), but it is yet going and would go much longer, if I lubed the drive cable.
 
Kelly Craig
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On that fastener thing, a few friends mock me for my collection, but I don't have to run an hour to town to finish a project. Instead, I buy on line. OFTEN, I can buy a thousand square drive screws for just twenty more than I'd have paid for a hundred. So I made bins, got a rack and, slowly, loaded up.  Now, rare is the project I cannot complete, without rushing off to town and buying a few screws at an inflated price.


On the cheap tool thing, yes, they have their place. For me, I take the "I can't afford cheap" approach with any tools that will get used over and over again.  My channel locks are a good example. I have several stashed at various places on the property and in the house, but the main tool box has Knipex for their reliability. In fact, I like them so much I just bought their version of a Crescent, which looks like a channel lock. Using them makes the sting of their prices fade pretty fast.



Lina Joana wrote:

Jane Mulberry wrote:
That's a sensible way to approach it, to just buy what I need for each trip there. I may end up needing to buy some tools twice -- the closest hardware store stocks only cheap, low-quality tools -- but to start off till I see which tools are worth investing more in, it may be the way to go.



I remember a friend saying once “buy the cheap version. If it breaks, get the high quality. If you lose it before it can break, buy another cheap one.” Not good for everything - sometimes the cheap version works poorly enough that it makes the job harder - but I definitely follow that advice for small tools and gloves!

 
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Anne Miller mentioned this tool, which I have heard called a swing blade, sling blade, or weed/grass whip, and I wanted to second that recommendation. It swings like a golf club, which uses more physical momentum than strength, and its serrated blade slices through pretty gnarly and dense weeds. I attached a photo of it for reference since so many of these tools have vernacular names that can be confusing particularly in a second language (and the article the image came from has some good info on the tool as well). https://natashalh.com/best-grass-whips/

My dad, who is older than you, and is strong but has some long term health issues, uses this and a machete for a lot of work in his yard, including awkward spaces and heavy underbrush. He's done it as long as I can remember and is able to use it effectively as he has aged.

It seems like something that could be bought without a handle for transport and then have that added on site.
grass-whip-by-asparagus-bed-768x1024.jpg
Grass whip via https://natashalh.com/best-grass-whips/
Grass whip via https://natashalh.com/best-grass-whips/
 
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Lina Joana wrote:I remember a friend saying once “buy the cheap version. If it breaks, get the high quality. If you lose it before it can break, buy another cheap one.” Not good for everything - sometimes the cheap version works poorly enough that it makes the job harder - but I definitely follow that advice for small tools and gloves!



An interesting strategy.  I will have to give that more thought.

With tools, as with many things, there are often three layers of product available: cheap, mainstream, and premium.  While I admit that I often gravitate towards the cheap option for many things, with tools I ALWAYS buy mainstream, and even occasionally premium.

My philosophy is "Never buy cheap tools.  Your tools are what you count on to rescue you when all of the other cheap crap in your life breaks!"
 
Matthew Nistico
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Dave Bross wrote:Might want to try for goumis from cuttings or buying plants if possible. They don't come true from seed, are difficult to get to sprout,  are hard to find seed for, and you have to go through quite a song and dance to get them to sprout...if they even do.

...there's a growing number of nurseries in the US growing the named cultivars, which are much tastier than unknown origin ones.



Quite correct!  I have many goumi and, collectively, they've dropped tens of thousands of seeds onto my property over the years, both directly and via bird poop.  From all of this, I've observed so few seedling goumi pop up that I could probably count them on one hand.  Definitely plan on transplanting your goumi.

I will also admit to having purchased and planted some nameless seedling goumi transplants over the years, together with several named cultivars.  Now that they've all matured, I can attest that there is a noticeable difference in the quality of the fruit.  In time, I might start chopping the unnamed goumi and propagating the cultivars to replace them.
 
Jane Mulberry
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Mercy Pergande wrote:Anne Miller mentioned this tool, which I have heard called a swing blade, sling blade, or weed/grass whip, and I wanted to second that recommendation.



That's interesting, Mercy! I have never seen one of those, but it or a small scythe could be just what I need. I have a lot of long grass growing in part of the former vegetable garden. I don't want to pull it up because I won't be planting those beds this year and erosion from wind and water is a real issue on the sloping site. But I don't want the expense and noise of a powered weed whacker, either.

I was blessed to win a Fokin hoe in a giveaway earlier this year. I've used it as a hoe around other plants, which it's excellent for. I think, if I can sharpen the long edge right, it could also function like one of these weed whips.
 
Jane Mulberry
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Matthew Nistico wrote:Definitely plan on transplanting your goumi.



Good to know! I will need to beg or buy good named variety cuttings if I can find someone in Europe with some. Which variety do you recommend?
 
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Wow Jane - GOOD ON YOU. ( "I'm only 62! That's not to old to learn to be a permie, right? " -- absolutely not!)
You'll be around 66 yo by the time you get there so good prep is important.  
I'm 68 this year and live in New Zealand.
I wont "add" to the ever growing list of recommended tools.  
Just a couple of comments around electric tools - its a good idea to do some research on whats going to be available locally -
1.I'd suggest spending the extra on brushless battery powered tools - they are more powerful and efficient.
2. Stick to one one brand otherwise you'll end up with a confusing array of batteries and chargers, having to buy different ones for different tools. So make sure the brand you go with have a good range options.
3. My wife and I live off grid, along with another couple, for 8-9 mths of the year (RMH/Composting toilet/Rocket Oven etc etc) and only have 12V solar  for power - so make sure which ever system you go with has a 12v charger  to charge their batteries.

We've gone with Ryobi - mostly brushless - they have a 6 yr warranty as long as you register the tool within 30 days of purchase and a no questions return system.
We have circular saw/chainsaw/jigsaw/drill/tek screw gun/planer/sander etc
I have the brushless Ryobi chainsaw and whilst it has a small bar (300mm  I think) it meets all of our needs insofar as firewood and bush clearing goes - much quieter that a fossil fueled job, and our "go to" when a saw is called for, my friend has a petrol Stihl and it only comes out when I'm not around.
I have used the Milwaukee Chainsaw and was very impressed - but I am equally impressed with the Ryobi especially in terms of bang for buck.

PS.I also liked the idea of buying tools as you pick off each job discreetly.
PPS - finish off the job as you go (we haven't!) - otherwise in turns into a bit of a 'mare.
PPPS - love your idea of a copse.

Good luck and may the (Permies) force be with you
 
Jane Mulberry
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Thanks, Steve!

I've been thinking the same about power tools. I haven't bought any power tools yet, only a few hand tools as I needed them. But I will need to get into power tools. Now the roof is done, which I wasn't brave enough to do myself, I can start working on the inside of the house, will need at least a decent drill and a circular saw. For outside, a small chainsaw will be very useful.

I want to get a compatible system that will work together. I'll check out the Ryobi range.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Okay, getting to the OP's original question, there are many, many tools that you will eventually want in order to run a small homestead.  I have accumulated so many that I will some day have to build an entire workshop in which to use them.  Currently, my unfinished home serves that purpose, but that situation obviously (hopefully!) has an expiration date.

I won't offer suggestions for outfitting your entire workshop, however, as that could fill pages.  Besides, you will figure out as you go along many of the things you need.  But here are a few essentials to start with.  Based on my own experience, these are the tools I turn to most often.  I am younger than you are, but I am also disabled, and so my choices of tools have been strongly influenced by my own limited physical abilities.

In general, I emphatically recommend electric power tools over gasoline models.  In addition to being quieter and without nasty odor, electric tools have one irresistible quality that gasoline tools lack: when you go to use them, you know they will work!  I have spent so much time, energy, expense, and (worst of all!) frustration trying to get small gasoline engines to actually function when I need them to.  Particularly two-stroke engines, which in my experience are completely reliable in their unreliability.  I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy.  Over time I've replaced every one of my gasoline tools with electric ones (including my car!).  Even for heavy duty tools like wood chippers, there are invariably serviceable electric alternatives.

Plus, these days there are many cordless electric power tools that are totally affordable!  Obviously, these are more convenient and versatile than corded options.  You should focus on one brand that offers a whole ecosystem of tools sharing a common battery.  I am particularly fond of the Ryobi 18V One+ ecosystem, though this may be influenced by the presence of a nearby distribution center from which I have frequently bought refurbished tools at deep discounts.  I also have a few Milwaukee 18V cordless tools, similarly sharing interchangeable batteries.  While these are inarguably premium quality, I will soon try to sell them.  I've managed to replace each one with a Ryobi equivalent, for which I've accumulated many more interchangeable batteries.  No idea what brands are available in Europe, but these are what I've used.

However, be aware that, for heavy duty cordless tools such as string trimmers, pole saws, chain saws, and leaf blowers, you really need to invest in a second, more powerful line of batteries/tools.  There are 18V tools to do all of that, but they don't really cut it.  I have 40V models (also Ryobi) of these four, and they are truly powerful enough to be considered gasoline-equivalent.

For outside work...

I think my single indispensable tool is the one-handed cordless reciprocating saw.  I turn to this more often than almost anything else.  Infinitely more versatile and wieldy than larger two-handed designs.  Here is an example: Ryobie One+ one-handed recip saw

Tying the top spot for most-used outdoor tool would have to be a good set of rachet-action hand pruners.  It is amazing the size of branches these will cut given a little persistence, for which you would otherwise need a set of loppers.  But loppers necessitate a two-handed, whole-body-weight approach, and they can't be maneuvered into tight spaces.  These are similar in concept to mine: rachet pruning shears

For gardening, I find myself turning to small, one-handed mattocks far more often than to hand spades.  Of course, the ultimate digging tool is simply a full-sized shovel, but I can't use those.  Something like this will prove more useful in more situations than you might suspect: hand mattock/cultivator

Very similar in action and utility is the Korean hand hoe.  I find this extremely useful because you can use it in a chopping motion in order to dig deep with the point, like a light-weight hand mattock, but then also turned to the side in a sweeping/gouging motion in order to remove loose dirt, like a hand spade.  With the simple rotation of your wrist, you get two tools for one.  Try one out: Korean hand hoe

For general construction and maintenance...

Obviously a full set of hand tools - hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, socket wrenches, etc. - will be useful on any small homestead.  I won't bother listing them all, as such a list should be self-evident.  But here is one tool I find indispensable that you might not think of right away.  A metal mallet handles situations that a regular hammer just doesn't handle, and can be used by more people and in more situations than can a full-sized sledge hammer: 3-lb mallet

I am big on fixing things before replacing them, and also on fabricating little odd bits when a pre-made solution isn't readily available.  It is surprising how often you can make your own widget by modifying existing odd bits into even odder bits!  For these purposes, epoxy putty is often the critical enabler.  An extremely useful material that can assume any shape, can create a water-tight seal, can bond nearly anything to anything, and can be further shaped, drilled, sawed, or sanded once cured.  Its like a little tube of smooth, quick-set concrete you can mold with your fingers, only stronger!  Look for it with plumbing supplies if you can't find it elsewhere.  Here is a random example, but there are many brands on the market: epoxy putty

I have only recently been shown the wisdom of the compact cordless impact driver.  A wonderful tool!  Some can, based on the clutch setting, double for a power drill.  Otherwise, an impact driver is meant to accept a socket wrench to insert/remove nuts and bolts.  While not nearly as powerful as a pneumatic model, as found in automotive shops, a cordless model will handle most stubborn machines around the homestead.  But it is perhaps even more valuable using regular screwdriver bits for installing or removing stubborn flat-head, Phillips head, or hex head screws.  With every jerk of the tool's impact action, the driver bit jumps slightly loose of and then resettles itself into the screw's head, which effect grants the tool an amazing ability to smoothly work difficult screws in or out WITHOUT STRIPPING the heads!  You really need to try it out, then you will become a believer as I did: Ryobi compact cordless impact driver

In the kitchen...

If setting up a new kitchen - assuming it already has the basics: a sink, a stove, a range top, etc. - these would be my first three appliance acquisitions.  First, an Instant Pot pressure cooker.  Best thing in the world for making bone broth and for quickly cooking dried beans, pulses, and grains of all kinds, even without a pre-soak.  Be sure to get one with a yogurt incubation function, also super convenient, like mine: Instant Pot Duo Plus

Second, an air fryer.  Even though mine is fairly new to me, I find more uses for it almost daily - and not just things that you might otherwise deep fat fry, but all sorts of things that you might otherwise bake or roast can be done faster and easier in an air fryer.  Regardless of how you might value the health benefits of air frying, it is just too convenient to pass up!  Get one of the style with a front door and slide-out baskets/trays.  I find this arrangement very user-friendly, easy to clean, and for most recipes you don't have to jostle or turn your food at mid-point of the cook cycle, either - all this as compared to the more common style with a big pull-out plastic basket at the bottom.  Here is the one I own: Gourmia air fryer

Finally, the essential homestead kitchen appliance: a vacuum sealer.  FoodSaver is the main brand here in the States.  This is valuable, obviously, for vacuum sealing foods for longer-term storage, particularly meats for freezer storage.  Honestly, while I do this all the time, I've had mixed success.  I find that a sizeable portion - a quarter? more? - of the vacuum bags I seal loose their seal over time.  There are precautions I've learned to improve my success rate, such as wrapping the items I store in wax paper or parchment paper to contain juices and dull any pointy bits or sharp edges.  When I retrieve a vacuum-sealed bag from my freezer to discover that it is no longer under vacuum, that isn't a bad thing - the food is no worse off than if I'd just used a Ziplok bag to begin with - but it's not a good thing, either, since Ziploks are cheap and FoodSaver appliances are not.

However, there is also a secondary use for vacuum sealers that by itself makes them worth the purchase: if you get one with an accessory attachment, you can add a jar sealer kit (you might need to purchase separately).  With this combination you can quickly vacuum seal all manner of dry goods - beans, grains, nuts, herbs, spices, dry pasta, cereals, dried fruits, or really anything dehydrated (dried chilis, jerky, etc.), and probably more things I've not even thought of yet - in standard Mason jars to greatly extend their shelf lives.  I've vacuum sealed rimfire ammunition for long-term storage.  Use regular or wide-mouth jars.  And the beauty is that, unlike when you use the jars for water-bath canning, the lids are infinitely reusable.  After you've opened the jar, you can reseal it using the original lid in seconds.  In contrast to using the vacuum bags, I've so far observed a high rate of success in jars.  Over 90% for sure.  I've only ever opened a few that were not still sealed.  If that happens, check for a flaw in the rim of the jar, or else assume that the rubber gasket in the lid is flawed and replace the lid.  Here is what you'll need: FoodSaver with accessory attachment together with jar sealing kit
 
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