C5’s Forever Fences

headge tools

With your Host, Category5


This all started with a discussion of bill hooks and faggots. Stick with me here. I mean faggot in its historical context.

I don’t have an anti-gay bone in my body. I have usually had lesbian and gay friends for most of my life. My general principal is that if you fuck with them, you are fucking with ME. And I will fuck you, Firstest, Hardest and Worstest.

But we are not here today to talk about “a bundle of sticks”. That comes soon. Today we continue on my long quest for a free or freeish fences that do not require much of industrial inputs… and will still be workable when steel, purchasable retail fence material is no more. We mentioned this before when I showed my experiments with the living willow fence. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/c5-says-build-me-a-wall-permaculture-style/

Our first experiment here at Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre was on the historical method of dead hedging. I will get to a full article on that another time. It was a lot of physical work and it decomposed much too fast. But we did have some success when viewed as short term fencing or fencing that needed to be replaced each year.

My living willow fence is an ongoing experiment. I will increase its size over the next 3 years. I will try to add another 500 willow stakes this spring to close off access to 1 side of my house. Eventually, I will surround the house to create a safe zone, visual barrier and wind break.

It seemed logical that my next experiment would be to pursue traditional European hedge laying. Instead of planting willow, my intention is to use encroachment trees that are already growing. I just need to reform them into a way that makes them impenetrable but continues to grow. Part of this is to impede trespassers from the road. Over the long term though, the intention is to be able to keep grazing animals contained.

As food becomes more scarce in the world, I want to be able to turn human inedible food, grassland, leaves and tree hay into human edible food. Meat or dairy. This will increase soil fertility without chemical inputs, also Rebuilding top soils as well as aerating but holding soil in place through deep roots. As a bonus, this also keeps flammable materials thinned right to the ground.

And part of this is to introduce to North Americans the traditional European bill hook which never really got traction across the pond. It’s not part of our self identity.

Roll the film please.

I often say preppers and survivalists have a mindset problem that needs to be fixed. How many preppers give any thought to hedges or bill hooks? It is not on their radar. The bill hook doesn’t look tacti-cool. It doesn’t look like you could fight zombies with it. Besides, every manly man has a machete because machetes are just so cool. Very manly.

I say our real issue is a crisis of masculinity. We are not considered real men unless murder is somehow involved. Roll the next film.

This fine fellow was a real gem to find. Big Fan.

Now, I am a poster child for what I call “Survivalists Drag Queens”. I look like a survivalist. I act like a survivalist. I still think like an old school survivalist. I am trying to fix this. Funny that being a survivalist is actually a real threat to Actual Survival. Real survivalist tools don’t actually look cool. When was the last time some manly men got together and talked about the survival necessity of a good set of limb lopping shears like the ones shown at the top of the page?

If you have actually used a machete in upper North America, I wonder how few people went, “this is not very efficient”. It’s the wrong tool for the job. It was designed for a different job in a different climate with different plants. Mrs.C5 has a well worn machete. Guess what she uses it for.  She uses it for grass and weeds. Some places in the world, people use a machete for haying, the same way we would use a scythe. Now THAT is a skill. Some day, you can repurpose all your useless machetes for haying, that moment when people suddenly realize how valuable hay really is in a world without diesel run machinery. It will be your entire summer job. Your regular question will be, “how do I get my animals through the next winter?”. That’s it.

When thinking about bill hooks and how hard it was to find a decent one in the sizes I need, I sort of hit a wall. But I decided to use some of your donations on some possible replacements. Things that are easily available for purchase to North Americans that “may” do the job (while being affordable). The RESEARCH part of Survival Research Centre, is that I will experiment with them this year while doing a test plot of hedge row laying and small wood cutting. I did a very small test already to get a feel for the job and mainly used my SP-8 machete from Ontario Knife Company, seen at the top of the page. It did the job grand. At least part of it. It was the right size tool to really get in there in the tight spaces of that brush. You wouldn’t want to be trying to swing a machete in there. It might work but it is just not very efficient Not the right tool for the job.

But I wanted to give you folks options. I decided to purchase 2 short machetes from Cold Steel. Cold Steel products are so ridiculously inexpensive for what you are getting. One was the Black Bear Bowie Machete, also seen at the top of the page. I just could not argue with the price. $38 CDN. I wanted to test a cutter that I could abuse. Heavy chopping in tight spaces.

Okay. Let’s say it now. When I unboxed it and held it, I got a bit engorged. Little chubby action going on there. This is as tacticool as a man can be for $35 bucks. I instantly realized it was the right size for me. But I am 6’3”. It was the right weight. This is not a knife. It’s a machete, but shorter and fatter for the added weight.

size comparison

(I only put the machete in there for size comparison.)

I showed it off to Mythos and Logos last night. They said that it is about the size of the ones people used down in Honduras. I replied, yup. Its a bit bigger than the one used buy a Maroon Elder I spent a day with the Jamaican jungle. His blade didnt look like much more than a Really Big kitchen knife but you could just feel the years of hard service in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was second generation.

I watched a lot of youtube video reviews before decided to make the purchase. Good idea/bad idea. It really reinforced the level of stupid in the prepper world today. On one hand I watched them trying to do stupid cutting where the right tool for the job would be an axe. Then I watched them trying to make feather sticks and complaining about it. Jobs that would be done with a small Mora knife. It was truly embarrassing thinking this is what passes for prepping nowadays. No wonder it’s not taken seriously by the masses.

There was only one video that convinced me. A guy was pointing out the broken knife edge on a similarly sized knife from Ontario Knife Co.. While bashing hardwood, the Cold Steel bowie didn’t break for 2 reasons. #1 – The machete material flexes on impact. #2 – The slightly rounded bevel of the grind. The OKC is a knife. The Cold Steel was for bashing and deep entry without chipping. Sold.

There was an even cheaper version that I would recommend that unfortunately I could not get for testing. The Cold Steel Tanto machete. https://www.coldsteel.com/tanto-machete-clampack.html  . Some of you folks like me for my thriftiness and disdain for “Yuppy Scum Survivalists”. This is thrifty.  You folks in the U.S. can get this for $15-18. I couldn’t get it for less than $48 with shipping. I will have to pass. It’s the right size and weight for the job, with more weight near the tip than the bowie version. That means it will chop better. And who can’t afford that price. If it is still too long, get your grinding wheel out and cut it down.

The next product that I purchased for the same tasks is the Cold Steel heavy machete. https://www.coldsteel.com/heavy-machete-with-sheath.html  There is nothing tacticool about this brute. It’s still short-ish but with a ton of weight behind the cut. I think this will do the job. If not I will use it as a blank and grind it down into a bill hook. Win win. I can’t show it at the moment because I pulled a dumb ass, me so stupid, bad C5 moment. I thought I found a good deal. It arrived. Turns out I only bought the sheath. I have since reordered but am really getting screwed on this purchase. I found one in Vancouver all the way on the other side of the continent for the reasonable price of $19 CDN. But the shipping and the previously purchased sheath all makes this the most possible expensive way to purchase it. Facepalm.

Laugh it up fuzzballs.

The last item I purchased was a completely different direction. The PowerGear2 loppers by Fiskars.

I have the original version and it has surpassed all my expectations. I thought it would break. I have worn out lots of loppers. But it hasn’t. It uses a geared mechanical advantage. They sell this as that it makes you stronger using it but what I appreciate is that it lessens wear on the tool. The new version uses 2 types of gears at the same time, to be even more efficient. We’ll see.  This purchase will make more sense in my next article on apocalyptic firewood.

Now lets’ chat about the lite  Billhook at the top of the page. This was a surprise donation from RE over at the Doomstead Diner, since we had been having long chats about bill hooks.

The bad news is that it is a bit light for chopping jobs. The good news is that I have a use for it. Before we get there, the reason for the hook is that it grabs into the branches. This is important with light branches that would just bounce off a blade or skid away from the blade without cutting. Traditionally it was particularly good for things like blackberry bramble. Sharp and pointy things you do not want to get particularly close to or handle. You use it to pull the thorny material out as well.

It’s now time to show you my embarrassing first attempt. I did about 50 feet just to get a feel for the job.

laying 1

laying 2

(think about swinging a machete in this)

It did not go very well. I went back to the video to figure out what I was doing wrong. The reason I was having trouble “laying” them was because I had not cut off all the higher branches. I now have to go back and clip all the bulk out of it before trying to push it down again. I get it now. We will observe this for a year and see what grows back, at what rate and which plants tap out.

A sturdy set of hand clippers would do the task of thinning out the upper branches. That is also an underrated or un-thought of survival tool. I generally have one in my pocket when I head out the door in the summer. Have you ever had someone refer to tactical garden shears? Only me, I guess. It’s a tool that Actually gets used.

But the bill hook is sure going to speed up that job.

So at this point you all get what I am here talking about. A growing fence. It keeps people out. It keeps animals in. Animals process inedible things into human edible food.  Without money or oil, it’s a Survival Adaptation technique… that has just been neglected for a couple hundred years.

To reinforce its importance, here is your bonus read of the day. Vegans will be miffed that their survival advice… is wrong.   https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-01-08/eating-the-platter-clean/

Now, there weren’t many giggles in this post, soooo….. Lets talk about Trumps Wall. I have some sympathy when I think about it in a Anthropomorphic Global Warming context. The thing is, If it wasnt obviously a xenophobic, Mussolini like, social manipulating tool for a facist power grab, the better place for the wall would be about half way through amerika. It would be about the same line used in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, but with its purpose reversed. Any one south of that line is abandoned.  We can call it C5’s Wall

(edit- looks like you will have to follow this one back to Youtube by pressing where it says, “Watch this video on Youtube”)

On a prepper note, if he gets his way, expect steel prices to sky rocket. This is a good time to hit the metal recycling yards to get usable metal, roof metal, galvanized fence posts and fence material, ect., as cheap metal prices may soon end.

On a more serious note, here is a recent interview with David Suzuki, I stumbled apon. It sounds like he has been listening to Chris Martenson and Guy McPherson and gone angry, full catastrophist. “We are in the 58th minute.”

Why It Is Time To Think About Human Extinction.

His comment on being an elder, resonates with me. Its time to reveal a secret about this blog. I don’t have many more years left in me. I’m not doing all this because I plan on surviving the apocalypse. I’m too old and I have been rough on my body. Old age is a story I will never get to tell. I’ve certainly covered my assets, to get through disruptions… but that is not why I am still doing this. The smart move would be to cash out and just live an enjoyable life til the moneys gone.

My one reason for continuing is to model the things I have written about, to visually show it, to give the young that will grow up on a fundamentally changed planet some of the skills necessary to navigate the change. To show how it can be done. To give others a fighting chance. It may be a fools errand but it is a suitable reason to continue going on in a world without value or meaning. To be an Elder and an Educator.



If you would like to give a TIP for writing services rendered…… I think I can give up on this idea of spending a bit on myself. It seems doing so just means I’ll still just spend it on things that I will experiment with and teach about anyhow. All tips go towards Experiments here at the Dark Green Mountain Survival RESEARCH Centre. You can find the paypal link by going to the top of the page and hitting  “Giving just the Tip”. Since you stuck around through me passing the hat, you deserve some entertaining reward.

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