Weed Whacker Policy Change

 

Most of the time I use a blade like a circular saw in my weed whacker. Given the mix of plants that grow here, there’s not much chance of getting through a cutting session without having to cut through plants with really tough stalks, like yomogi (mugwort) or kaya (thatching reeds), and the plastic string option really can’t deal with those. But sometimes I need to cut carefully to avoid doing damage, like when I clear weeds from between a plastic mesh fence and an electric fence. A blade would rip right through either fence. Sometimes I’m cutting up against piles of rocks, and sometimes I cut weeds between stones in a graveyard, where knocking notches out of the stone would be frowned upon. For those occasions, I usually switch to plastic string, which is rather feeble against tough stalks, but doesn’t destroy other stuff. The problem is, the string gets shorter all the time, and can even snap off if you try to cut those tough stalks. Where does the string go? It must be fraying away into small plastic fragments and dust, which is a pretty good definition of microplastics. All those little particles are going to settle into the soil, or float out the next time there’s typhoon-level rain, and wash into the river, which will carry it to the sea. Not really acceptable if we’re supposed to be all about the soil.

 

Plastic string for weed whacker
I used to use this for some weed-whacking jobs

Speaking of weed whackers, last year I switched to a battery-powered one from Makita. It runs on two 18V lithium ion batteries, so the motor gets 36V, which gives it more grunt than the old petrol-driven one I had. It goes for about an hour on a charge, which is less time than it takes to charge another pair, so if you’re close to your chargers, you can go all day. Obviously it’s not going to work if you want to wander off into the wilderness and cut stuff all day, but I never have to do that. The upsides are less stench of smoke, less noise, and less weight. I can use it near chickens and not spook them with noise and smoke. The up-front cost is a lot higher, but a regular user could probably recoup that from low running costs. Another advantage is that this machine is madly weatherproof. I can leave it out in the rain indefinitely and it doesn’t care. Last winter, I left my reciprocating saw, another machine in the same series, on a stone wall by the top field and forgot it, shortly before the first serious snowfall. About six weeks later, I remembered where I left it. I had to snowshoe up to the area and spend a while digging to find it. When it finally surfaced, I pulled the trigger and it ran just fine. Nice tech.

New weed whacker cutter
This cuts more gently and doesn't make microplastics

Speaking of weed whackers, last year I switched to a battery-powered one from Makita. It runs on two 18V lithium ion batteries, so the motor gets 36V, which gives it more grunt than the old petrol-driven one I had. It goes for about an hour on a charge, which is less time than it takes to charge another pair, so if you’re close to your chargers, you can go all day. Obviously it’s not going to work if you want to wander off into the wilderness and cut stuff all day, but I never have to do that. The upsides are less stench of smoke, less noise, and less weight. I can use it near chickens and not spook them with noise and smoke. The up-front cost is a lot higher, but a regular user could probably recoup that from low running costs. Another advantage is that this machine is madly weatherproof. I can leave it out in the rain indefinitely and it doesn’t care. Last winter, I left my reciprocating saw, another machine in the same series, on a stone wall by the top field and forgot it, shortly before the first serious snowfall. About six weeks later, I remembered where I left it. I had to snowshoe up to the area and spend a while digging to find it. When it finally surfaced, I pulled the trigger and it ran just fine. Nice tech.

Makita Saw In Snow
This is how I found my Makita saw under the snow

Of course, my total inability to properly run and maintain engine-driven tools is another factor behind my choice.

Weed Whacker Policy Change

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