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Do you know that most people in the US don’t know how to use a shovel properly or how to hold and use an ax?
Knowing how to use your tools appropriately not only helps you do the job more efficiently, it also saves you money and protects your body from undue harm. Tools are designed to be used in a specific way. When used in an intended way, they need less sharpening and care. Your body also requires less energy to operate them and will be less likely to be injured.
A modern homesteader is going to use more tools than just the basic shovel or ax. Though I guarantee that you will get a good deal of use out of both. Learn how to use each tool as it is meant to be used or prepare to spend many evenings resting by the hearth with a hot or cold pack applied to one muscle or another, perhaps even an occasional trip to the emergency room, pitchforks are no joke (ask our kids how we know).
Speaking of pitchforks, if you have children make sure that you aren’t the only people who are educated in the use of the tools on the homestead. Don’t think you are going to have everything locked up at all times and that they will never get into the tools. They are kids they get into things or you will leave it out when the goats get out and run over to the neighbor’s brand-new delivery of expensive horse hay.
Your children need to understand the danger of farm tools. What they are used for and how they are properly used. More than that, they need to know that certain tools are for adults and certain ones are okay for kids and that, just like broken glass, sharp items, and other dangers, they should tell you if they see them out instead of picking them up. When they are old enough to use the tools, you should teach them how to use them properly or they will try to use them anyway and end up hurting themselves.
Keep your tools well-cared for, stored in a clean, dry location, sharpened, and rust-free for best results. Repair tools with cracked or damaged handles by replacing them with new handles right away or you’ll end up with a collection of rusty tool heads taking up space in your shed (thank you, previous homeowners).
That brings us to the topic of our next post, caring for your tools.
Have you ever had an injury due to improper use of a tool? Was it avoidable? Tell us about your experience here.