Battery-Powered Devices Not Enough When Nature Comes at You

My family and I reside in a bucolic part of Santa Barbara County. Our neighborhood is filled with chickens, horses, coyotes, and other bucolic things.

We don’t own livestock, but we have an acre to maintain. For a kid who grew up in East Los Angeles where there are cracked sidewalks, crumbling asphalt, and concrete everywhere, maintaining a bucolic garden is not easy.

In the interim, I need to get up from my computer and go out to tend to this rural forest, which seems to grow each week.

My wife has a little hobby of waking up very early on Saturdays to go to estate sales. She says she does it so that she can bring me fresh donuts home, but I’m sure of the truth. She returned one morning with not only donuts but also a battery-powered weed whacker. Yes, I’ll take the hint.

There are more weeds in our yard than you could shake a stick. This is what I usually do when they start sprouting up everywhere. This time, I was prepared for a fight between man and the natural world. It’s not that I was bragging, but it felt like I was Norman Schwarzkopf when I saw invasive plants being wiped out one by one.

After routing my enemy, I felt so confident that I debated if I should finish the job by bringing the battle into the yard of my neighbor next door. Then reality struck me in the face like a Pottery Barn vase. Not my mission.

My weed wacker finally stopped after about 20 minutes of kicking my ass. The battery was dead. After 30 minutes of charging, I was back to the fight. After 20 minutes, I had run out of battery again. It was a good opportunity to read X posts while my battery charged.

This experience, as it happens so often, got me thinking, and I found this on X:

I learned some valuable lessons from this, um, yardy situation. Capitalism is the only thing that can replace it. Huh? Keep with me.

Think about it.

In 1940, an American farmer provided food for approximately 18 people. In 2016, an American farmer provided food for 164 people. American farmers export more than $100 billion worth of crops and products worldwide.

While batteries are cool, and I love the way they work with my TV remote control, they don’t do a good job when it comes time to power heavy machinery and manly tools. You need hydrocarbons to power machines and feed millions of people.

Natural gas is my favorite energy source. It is 50% cleaner than coal and America still has enough to last nearly 100 years, even with our current consumption.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a marvel of human ingenuity that my battery-powered weed wacker works — as long as the battery is charged. I could not ignore the facts of the matter. The system only worked for 20 minutes at a stretch. If you listened carefully, you could hear the weeds expressing their frustrations and regrouping after the third recharge.

The Calvary arrived the following weekend after hearing about my ordeal — and my son-in-law.

Now I could access modern weapons of warfare. He owned a Sikorsky gas-powered weed-wacker, a Raytheon gas-powered precision-blower, a Litton Guidance and Control gas-powered hedge-trimmer, and almost certainly a General Dynamics gas-powered riding mower. It was a tiny green and yellow battle tank with a steering wheel, pedals for gas, and other gadgets I don’t know what they do. It could have been an M1 Abrams.

This is a game-changer. Even the debris, grass, hedges, and weeds surrendered on the spot. White flags and empty canteens are just a few examples. Operation Rural Storm has been a great success. Mission accomplished!

My approval rating in the house has risen to 90 percent thanks to American capitalism, human ingenuity, and technology in partnership with America’s independent frackers. What can I say, then? You’ll always find more things to do in the house…