When living in the country, many situations can crop up, and planned projects, too. Be prepared with the right tools and equipment for the job and plenty of supplies to back them up. Having these things on hand and doing each job right the first time will leave you with no regrets.
Plumbing is a continuous challenge for those living in the country. You’ll be busy repairing frozen pipes, priming pumps and getting water from wells to storage cisterns, and from there through distribution manifolds to your home, outbuildings and garden spigots. Start with a shovel, a good set of adjustable crescent wrenches, hand and power hacksaws and two heavy duty exterior extension cords. Lay in plenty of work gloves, hacksaw blades, Ã‚Â½”, Ã‚Â¾” and 1″ PVC pipe lengths, valves and joints for both hot and cold water, PVC cleaner and adhesive, insulating pipe wrap (rubber tape and self-adhesive foam lengths) and Teflon tape. Forget to drain pipes, wrap them, install a valve or prime your pump just once, and you’ll appreciate how valuable and consumable these tools, equipment and supplies all are.
Living in the country, you’ll build sheds for water pumps, install and replace hinges and doorknobs, build decks and assemble and reinforce raised garden beds. Grab a tool belt, toolbox, sawhorses, vises, claw hammer, rubber mallet, screwdriver set, level, caulk gun, pliers, nail and staple guns, power drill, bits and an air compressor. Buy a quantity of carpentry pencils, assorted nails, screws, nuts, bolts, washers and staples. Pick up some sheet Styrofoam to insulate your sheds, silicone spray for locks and hinges and insulation spray foam and caulk for sealing gaps.
Tarps and Sharps
Invest in plenty of quality tarps and bungees, both in assorted sizes, as well as spools of twine. You’ll find many uses for them while living in the country, beyond protecting the garden in winter and shielding tools, equipment and supplies and works in progress during rainy seasons. Sometimes the twine will be a better choice than bungees. Multipurpose scissors and a utility knife with replacement blades will be used in all sorts of projects, and frequently get lost as a result. Keep a few in a central location.
Light and Dry
You can never have enough flashlights and batteries, both regular and rechargeable. Keep assorted sizes well stocked at all times. Add to this a few clip-on work lights and bed lamps, table lanterns and large boxes of compact fluorescent light bulbs. Consider hard hats, headband lights and hooded, zippered windbreakers part of your toolkit. When working in the rain, you definitely want your hands free for the task at hand. Hardhats protect your head when hard frozen icicles begin melting. Having a few of all these tools, equipment and supplies around protects helpers and replacements will always be within easy reach.
Mowing and More
Your choice in lawnmowers will depend upon the size of your property. For small areas, a typical riding mower will suit the task just fine. Larger areas are better addressed with a tractor and attachments. Both riding mowers and tractors can haul tools, equipment and supplies around your farm. Riding mowers require caution on sharp inclines and in tight spaces. If you plan to do hayrides or have large harvests, a medium- to large-sized tractor would be a better choice. All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs and four-wheelers, are work horses for a variety of farm and ranch work. Remember that they are designed for off-pavement use only and study safety guidelines. Stock a few gas cans and a couple bottles of fuel stabilizer to prevent condensation in the gas. A tire pump and a can of flat fixer are also good to have on hand.
A Final Note
Last, but not least, permanent markers beat printed labels for resisting fading and remaining adhered to gas cans and circuit breakers. They’re also handy for marking expiry dates on canned goods in your pantry. Buy several in wide and fine point and keep them in an office drawer and your toolbox. In addition, sticky notes can help you remember what you need at the store, and steno books and grid paper can help organize your project ideas, including garden planning. Old standbys can still prove to be the right tools, equipment and supplies for whatever notation and labeling needs you may have. See also Living in the Country: 5 Lifestyle Changes and Living in the Country: Country Homes.