Change is not something that comes easily to all of us. Change causes us to be uncomfortable and to feel uneasy. We are not often without discomfort in life, though. One of the many things that make us uncomfortable is the realization that nothing lasts forever. Our universe is ever folding, from in to out, out to in, like dough under the constant kneading and pressure of the baker’s knuckles. Time, while relative, still follows along like a metronome. This holds true from the magnificent cosmos to the blades of grass growing in my field. It applies to everything from the physical to our very ideas and thoughts.
One of the great many evolutions that take place within our lifetime come at our very own hands. This has to do with the evolution of work and the progression of technology. Technology, being “the machinery and equipment derived from scientific knowledge” is at the forefront of mankind’s advancement and desire. Ever since Prometheus provided us with fire (as the Greeks believed), we have strived to better our position through the advent and mastery of technology. Shortly after America’s revolution, we found our leap forward at the end of a kite string adorned with a key sent aloft in strong winds during a thunder storm. During the industrial revolution, two brothers hoping to bridge the gap between earth and sky on the sands of Kitty Hawk would bound us forward once again. The sky was the limit.
I have always counted on the reliability of chainsaws and trimmers from our sponsor STIHL. Just buying my first STIHL years ago was a landmark moment signifying an advancement in my own independence and adulthood. STIHL was part of my growth and aspiration. The sound, smell, feel, weight, and quality was something to be proud of. And, oh, was I proud! I even loved having my own self-mixed can of fuel.
After visiting with STIHL in Virginia Beach, it wasn’t hard for me to swallow my pride and switch to STIHL’s own fuel as it was precisely mixed and formulated for the tools. Even my father noted a significant improvement in his 25-year-old saw when using the fuel.
But like all things, this was not the only change I was destined for. Recently, STIHL has developed and refined its Lightning Battery System. The fact that the power source diverged from the traditional gas and piston systems I was used to made me a bit nervous, to say the least. Fortunately, STIHL sent me three units to put to the test on my own farm; the MSA 200 chainsaw, FSA 90R weed trimmer, and the BGA 100 blower all from the AP lineup.
One of the first things I noticed when I got my hands on these new STIHL units was the fact that they were significantly lighter. I found that I could carry the saw and trimmer longer before I noticed the weight. What was even better was the fact that I could swap the battery out from one to the other when working in my field. That meant I had less to bring with me when I was working in any particular area. Even better, I didn’t have to mix fuel. It was all right there in one battery pack.
Three of the primary differences that I found to be most appealing were the absolute lack of emissions from the tools as I used them, the “instant on” capability and the quiet performance overall. With the new baby needing to sleep all the time (at least when he isn’t eating or doing that other thing that babies do) I need to keep work volume to a minimum. The FSA 90R trimmer, for example, can be set to a lower power mode and get stuff done up near the house with significantly less noise than my gas-powered STIHL FS250.
With the “instant on” ability, I don’t have to stand around with an idling engine either. I go from stark quiet to full work mode in a second and back to quiet at the pull of the power trigger. What’s more, there is NO exhaust coming from the engine which means we can leave the windows open around the house while I work.
Taking hold of the MSA 200, I got every cutting chore done around the property before I drained a quarter of the AP300 battery. As the chainsaw is the flagship of STIHL’s product line, I was very happy to see that this unit was built with the same quality principles that STIHL employed in all of its original equipment. Cutting through dead fruit trees was as easy as setting the chain and guide bar in place, pulling the trigger and watching the MSA 200 separate limb from trunk thousands of wood shavings at a time. It’s amazing how STIHL brings out the similarities between wood and butter. This was even more impressive as the noise level of my MS391 – as incredible of a machine as it is – is similar to a small monster truck. The MSA 200 was on in an instant with the relative noise level of a milkshake being made. She was off as soon as the cut was done and ready for more, with about 230 cuts left in her before I’d have to take five seconds to swap out the battery.
Finally, and surprisingly probably my favorite of the bunch, the BGA 100 blower blew me away (see what I did there?). With all of the same noise, emissions and start/stopping benefits of the other two Lightning System tools, this one brought out a whole new side of work I hadn’t really paid attention to or realized needed to be done. With the lack of water and ample amounts of wind here in Southern California, much of my walkway and driveway was covered in dust. Having never owned a blower, all of my previous grass trimmings were either left to the rake (nope) or natural dispersal (I just hoped a strong wind would take it away). The BGA 100 made these issues child’s play. Literally, it was like I was a child again! It also made it incredibly easy to clean up after the escaped goats and sheep and all of the “remnants” they like to leave behind.
This is a line all unto its own, bringing homesteading capabilities to the masses. The STIHL Lightning Battery System is my own style of instant gratification in the world of farm work. There’s no pull-starting, fueling, mixing, smelling, or deafening noise. It’s high-quality work done at the push of a button. This is change worth embracing, and a change that advances us forward yet again when it comes to work around the house.
Whether you live on a farm in the rural hills, or need a way to care for an urban chicken coop, or simply want to tackle your own front yard without waking the baby.
What’s your yard work style?
Our lawyers want us to remind you to always wear the proper protective apparel as shown in manufacturers product/instructional manual. Seriously, you guys. We know people who have lost toes and stuff.