Lansing, Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- It was on a golf course in the early 1970s, that I first saw one, while waiting on a tee box.
The groundskeeper was handling some type of gasoline-powered, handheld machine that mystically removed the high grass around a tree trunk. My amazement got the best of me and I stopped him in his tracks and asked him to see the apparatus. It was called a Green Machine, and when he told me where he got it, I plunked down $300 and had one of my own the next day.
That was the first line trimmer I had ever seen and it spelled the end of the hand-operated grass snippers. As ingenious as the Green Machine was in its day, it had issues and fouled out spark plugs on a frustrating basis. Still, it beat spending hours on hands and knees to get that well-manicured look.
Fast forward some 40+ years to country living, where managing a property for wildlife is an ongoing proposition. Felling trees, firewood, mowing and trimming never end. So, when I visited S &K Farm and Yard (south M-52, Owosso – 989-723-2369) to buy my first Stihl Chainsaw, I asked proprietor, Fuzz Koski, to include a spare spark plug in the deal. “You’ll never use it”, he boldly pronounced, and I still have that unused plug 20 years later.
Since then, I’ve been back on numerous occasions for more equipment to keep up with the outdoor chores. A multi-purpose, straight shaft line trimmer known as part of the Stihl Kombi System has turned out to be one of the most versatile tools imaginable – especially for someone responsible for acres of outdoor maintenance. Some five different power heads can operate over a dozen attachments, and unlike many multi-purpose gadgets, each interchangeable attachment becomes a quality tool in its own right.
For pruning, there’s the pole pruner that eliminates precarious and dangerous ladder climbing to trim trees. And, with the available extensions, it makes for a safe and effective means to clear shooting lanes while standing on the ground.
A recent addition to the cutting and trimming arsenal is the adjustable hedge trimmer. This unit will cut a 2-foot swath through shrubs, small tree branches and tall grass effortlessly and works similarly to plug-in electric units – only better. There’s no cord to cut (been there, done that!) and is the only sensible way to reclaim overgrown vegetation such as wild berry bushes, tag alder, autum olive, multiflora rose and anything else that can poke or slice skin. The advantage of the heavy-duty hedge trimmer is that it can be adjusted for any angle, allowing an operator to get under trees or to operate overhead – again, without getting onto a ladder. By adding an extension, it can reach 10 feet or more safely. It’s a portable sickle bar cutter that doesn’t sling debris all over the place. When my neighbor saw it in action, he had to have one, too, so we are now joint owners of yet another Stihl outdoor power marvel.
You can visit online at www.StihlUSA.com or see the Koski brothers locally for a test drive of your own with their loaner hedge trimmer. And, while there, don’t forget your chainsaw chains for sharpening. They’ll sharpen them while you wait. Try that at the local Cheap Mart.
About Glen Wunderlich
Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).