My, how our desires change as we get older.  If you’d asked me 20 years ago what I’d want for my 54th birthday, I’m pretty sure a chainsaw wouldn’t have been on the short list.

But that’s what I bought myself today:  a 20-inch Stihl chainsaw, protective chaps, protective helmet with face guard, and a Stihl weed-whacker with a blade attachment that will bring down the briar patches I’ve hated since we moved in.   I’m ridiculously happy to own these shiny new tools.  (So is Chareva, and it’s not even her birthday.)

Now I’m off to play a birthday round of disc golf.  I wish Jimmy and Christine Moore were still here to make it a competition, but it’ll be fun anyway.

One more year, and I’m a senior citizen.

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34 Responses to “Birthday Presents”
  1. Phil J says:

    Happy Birthday Tom!!

  2. Lynda says:

    Happy Birthday!! One question… you are a senior citizen at 55 in US? It is 65 here in New Zealand. 55 seems awfully young but then maybe due to the bad health of the nation it is appropriate.

    I depends on who’s defining you. For Medicare, you’re a senior citizen at 65. For insurance discounts, restaurant discounts, etc., you’re a senior citizen at 55.

  3. Amy G says:

    Happy happy birthday!! My husband got a chainsaw, chaps, and helmet with face guard and ear protection for his birthday, too, a couple of weeks ago. Must be the paleo homesteader birthday present of choice this year! :D

  4. Kathy says:

    My husband got a Stihl weed whacker (the kind where you can change the ends for other tasks, is that what you got?) for his 66th birthday last month.

    We’re not homesteaders (yet), but it seems we’re starting on the tools.

    That’s right. It has a whacky-stringy-thing attachment and a blade attachment.

  5. Marilyn says:

    “One more year, and I’m a senior citizen.” I well remember the day I drove past a building going up, with a sign outside reading “55 and better.” Huh? I was 55 at the time, but figured I was just early middle age.

    I hope I’m just now at middle age myself.

  6. Heidi P. says:

    This post really deserves some pictures!

    I’ll take some of me using my toys later. Right now they’re all in the garage.

  7. Becky says:

    Paleo Homesteader. New blog idea! Happy Birthday. You know you’re old when you start buying your own presents. I do it all the time now.

    That means I was old a long time ago.

  8. Marilyn says:

    Happy Birthday! Is Chareva womping up a fabulous low carb cake?

    Nope, on my birthday I go crazy and have pizza and beer.

  9. Marilyn says:

    @ Becky: No, you’re not old when you buy your own presents; you’re old when neither you nor your spouse wants anything because you’re trying to get rid of stuff. :-)

    Tom, enjoy your pizza and beer. Sounds wonderful!

  10. mezzo says:

    Why – then I have been a senior citizen for almost two year without having the slightest inkling about it. Big fat grin. And I must have been old for a good long time because I always buy myself presents (bigger, fatter grin). So – best birthday wishes from one undefinable citizen to the next!

  11. oliviascotland says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope that you enjoy the chainsaw – I give my husband one 3 years ago for Christmas, and it sees a lot of use as our house is heated by solid fuel!

  12. Lobstah says:

    Congrats on the gear. Prepare to get hopelessly addicted to wood…as in cutting, splitting, stacking, restacking, carrying, restacking, and finally, burning :) Few things are as satisfying as standing back and looking at what you’ve done, be it cutting or splitting or stacking.
    Don’t forget to pick up one of the magnetic stack thermometers for your stove…very important for maintaining efficiency in the stove and reducing buildups. Another woodstove safety item that frequently gets overlooked is a small item that looks like a flare. It’s function is to put out chimney fires. You may never have one, and I hope you don’t, but if you do, you’ll be mighty glad you have one of these on hand. I think they’re about $10 (been awhile since I bought one), but they are a “must have” in my mind. I used to put mine right beside the fire extinguisher that’s close to the stove.

    Good idea.

  13. Don in Arkansas says:

    Just a suggestion from a frequent chain saw user. Go get another one. Cheaper, less powerful maybe but there will (trust me) come a time(s) when your chain saw will get jammed in a log and sometimes the only way to get it out is to cut it out. At least have some wedges and a big-ass hammer to open up the cut. Get you a 9 pound splitting maul to split your firewood and in a few weeks you’ll be adding 50 yards to your frisbee ‘tee shot’.

    With the weight training, I think I’ve about reached my potential on the driving distance. A second chainsaw wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  14. Liz says:

    Pizza, beer, cake–is there another way to spend a birthday?! Honestly though, I bet you feel light years better at 54 than you did at 34. Senior citizen, indeed! :)

    I do. I enjoyed the pizza and beer, but no cake for me. Cake hasn’t appealed to me in years.

  15. Ed Terry says:

    I turned 55 this year and have set a couple of family records: 1) no heart attack and 2) no stroke. 55 is not much different from 50 although my recovery time from intense exercise and increased a bit. One thing I’m also very grateful for is that I regained the ability to perform critical analysis of scientific information.

    Congrats on breaking those records.

  16. Rocky Angelucci says:

    Happy Birthday, Tom!

    Remember, for low-carbers, 55 is the new 40!

  17. Paul B. says:

    54?!?! I’ve only read about people that old…

    Not sure how sensitive you are regarding age… but you may wish to think of it this way:

    You’re not necessarily 54, you are 49 with five years of experience. Seriously, if I wanted to hire a 49 year old, do I want one with no experience or FIVE YEARS of experience. If you wish to market yourself with even more experience… choose an age like 42. You have 12 years of experience at being 42!

    I’m not at all sensitive about age. I feel better at 54 than I did at 34, I’m leaner and stronger, and in those 20 years I’ve acquired an awesome wife, two adorable daughters and a mini-farm in an area I love. Life is good.

    Happy Birthday.

  18. Firebird says:

    I will eat a large cheese omelette with a side of steak in your honor.

    I am honored.

  19. FrankG says:

    Happy Birthday Tom!

    For the chainsaw, be sure to learn how to effectively sharpen the teeth… it makes all the difference in the world :-0

    Makes me think about the lumberjack who consistently fails to meet his quota, until one day, in desperation, the foreman joins him out in the woods. The foreman takes the chainsaw and pulls the starter… at which the lumberjack jumps back with a gasp… “what’s that noise?!?”

    Enjoy!

    LOL.

  20. Tammy says:

    Wow Happy Birthday Tom – and many more !!!

  21. Spork says:

    You won’t be sorry you paid a tad extra for the Stihl. I went through at least 2 Poulans and countless number of cheapo weed whackers before I smartened up. Worth the extra cash!

    Happy birthday.

    Cheap tools and cheap furniture don’t last.

  22. TJ Huber says:

    Happy Birthday!
    For everybody’s sake, be careful!. The blade attachments sound like a lot of fun in the store, but they require an amazing amount of control and power to maneuver correctly. NEVER let anybody near you while you are working with it. These things have a way of jumping. No, I am not kidding.

    The guy at the Stihl dealership warned me those blades can get caught and yank the weed-whack around in your hands. I’ll keep the wife and kids away and wear my protective gear.

  23. Marilyn says:

    Happy Birthday, Tom! And welcome to almost-geezer-dom! :-) My husband and I knew we were grownups when a trip to Sears for tools became more exciting than almost any other type of shopping…. and that was many years ago! We sold all our gardening stuff before we moved to AZ 8 years ago, thinking that without a lawn, we’d never need it again – but we’ve been slowly repurchasing trimmers, clippers, and just last month, a nice new electric chainsaw! (we’re only on 1/2 acre so we don’t need gas-powered). Chop On!! XO – M

    Wait until I get a log-splitter … then I will be in hog heaven.

  24. Robb says:

    Happy 54th! ( same as me). That sounds like a really great b-day present!

  25. Kim says:

    Just don’t ever join AARP. It’s a Leftist organization that struck a backroom deal with Obamacare. Besides, there’s other alternatives now.

    I swore I’d never join AARP even before they got in bed with Obama. They’ve become advocates for mo’ better government, never mind the ticking debt bomb.

  26. Rob Thomas says:

    Happy Birthday Tom! We moved to a rural area about the same time as you and I cannot describe my elation at all powered yard tool acquisitions. It’s very strange because I couldn’t have cared less on our tiny little lot in California. But on 5 acres in Washington; give me some tools!

    I could’ve cut our “lawn” in California with scissors.

  27. Jimmy Moore says:

    Happy birthday old man. My elbow is still sore from the 5 million holes we played last week. Trying to heal up to throw a boomerang in Oz. I’ll be back to kick your ptooey soon enough. ;)

    My elbow feels fine, so who you calling an old man?

    Bring it!

  28. Christine says:

    We wish we were there with you, too! Happy birthday!

    Well, if the choice is between here and Australia …

  29. mrfreddy says:

    Happy Belated B-day!

    Hope you’ve recovered from your pizza. I go on cheating benders once in awhile but I always start to feel like crap and can’t wait to get back to eating “normal.”

    Notice I didn’t mention the beer. In my world, beer is what I call “good carbs” haha. Just not too often and not too much.

    And oh yeah, I must be going to the wrong kinds of restaurants – I’m 56 and I never seen a discount on anything anywhere…

    Clearly you don’t take advantage of the fine dining at Denny’s.

  30. TonyNZ says:

    “I’ll take some of me using my toys later.”

    Please get Chareva to do it, you’ll need both your hands if you’re using them and, unless you’re a lot more flexible than me, you can’t operate a camera with your feet.

    Hog heaven = log hell?

    I second (or fourth) the second chainsaw, good for more appropriate size tasks. De-limbing a tree with small branches and a 20 inch bar is always overkill.

    Make sure you warm up, stretch and warm down (!) before lifting big rings (not sure of your scale but when I split rings its usually with one other person on a hydraulic ram splitter and picking up 100kg rings between us is not unusual) and use the proper lifting. I’ve seen plenty of aches and strains from this sort of work. Same goes for extended splitter/axe use.

    I’ve heard people say that if you are sore you have worked harder (and in some odd reality are therefore a better person). I prefer to work smarter, particularly when I don’t fade fitness-wise a couple of hours into the work (must be all the butter).

    Working smarter is always better.

  31. Live Free or Diet says:

    A personal rule: Take a break whenever the saw runs out of gas. It’s easy to get tired and sloppy with a chainsaw.

    I love the 20″, but also have a little 14″ I still use for branches and those inevitable times the 20″ saw’s blade gets pinched like Don mentioned. Before I bought the 20″ I used to have to get the 14″ bar out of a jam by having a second bar and chain for the same saw.

    Your advice is spot-on. I was using the weed-whacker with the blade attachment to clear the briar jungle today and ran out of gas. When I took the enforced break, I realized my hands were getting numb from the vibration. I didn’t feel that while using it. I decided to stop cutting and start dragging the briar out to a burn pile.

  32. Mark n MD says:

    Tom, don’t forget to get a portable grinder sharpener, See link. It’s essential for when you’re away from home and in a pinch…

    I also have a 20″ Stihl plus a cheapo Homleite 16″. I never use the Homelite but lend it out when a friend needs a chainsaw so it has it’s uses… Remember to always use ear and eye protection…

    Never owned a splitter but would borrow a friends. If you’re going to buy one make sure it’s a vertical style so you don’t have to lift heavy logs..

    http://www.amazon.com/0000-882-4001-Portable-Sharpener/dp/B005DC28I2

    On a side note if you are going to use the wood stove while you have no power make sure (if on a well) that you have fire extinguishers on hand…

    We have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, just off the dining room with the stove.

  33. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your blog and your hardwork finding and interpreting studies for us. Happy Birthday!

    Thank you.

  34. Rebecca Foxworth says:

    Happy birthday from me to you! 54!
    The day before you turned 54, I turned 45.
    Happy, happy birthday!

    And happy birthday (belated) to you as well.

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