Monday, March 26, 2007

Post Script

P.S. for yesterday's entry: A reader writes, "And here I installed (and removed) about 75 feet of garden fencing using standard t-posts and never had a clue that there were tools that could help make that job easier. You have managed to make them sound like *very scary* tools however. How does the post driver work? Is it some sort of percussion driver?

The post pounder is basically a steel pipe about 18" - 24" long, large enough in diameter to fit around a T post. One end is capped, and partially filled with ballast of some sort. Fancy ones have 2 loop handles on the sides of the pipe; I've seen homemade ones without handles. Very simple, no moving parts, nothing to wear out.

A friend came by today to plant four persimmon trees, children of trees he rescued from land no longer in his family. When it came time to drive T-posts to mark and support the young trees, he asked for something to drive them with, expecting a sledge hammer. He was very impressed with the post pounder. Of course, when my light, rock-less soil is wet from spring rains, you can drive a post with a 2 x 4!

Maybe we should all be more "scared" of tools. So many folks blithely pick up hammers and smash the dickens out of their thumbs...then there's my personal nemesis, the utility knife, so eager to create the opportunity for scar tissue on unsuspecting fingers! And the THAT'S a scary tool...esp. when combined with the cell phone! According to last week's Safety Meeting at work, driving while talking on the cell phone is more dangerous than driving drunk.

Isn't it funny how familiarity breeds recklessness, and unfamiliarity begets fear? The post pounder is actually safer than a sledge hammer, because it's more controlled and there's much less chance of missing the post.

Living for many years without health insurance has given me a deep appreciation for my body, and a healthy respect for tools or activities that could compromise the function of this body. Probably if more people respected tools more, more people would be able to afford health insurance!

Several years ago, some friends were helping erect a shed on my farm. At one point, a dilemma arose over how to work on a particular awkward part. Someone suggested a rather risky approach. Someone else replied, "Sure! Why not? We all have health insurance!" I was stunned at their willingness to risk life and limb simply because insurance (i.e., everyone else) would pay for the consequences of their lapse of judgement.

I take safety seriously. It's a spiritual matter, to me--respect for my body and for the mysterious Higher Power who gives it life from one moment to the next. I feel a great sense of responsibility for taking good care of this wonderful gift. So when I talk about a tool, I'm likely to include warnings and safety precautions.

Because I care. And because you don't have to learn the hard way, like I did. You can learn from my experience, if I share it and if you pay attention.

That's one of my reasons for writing this blog.

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