The Tree, The Blade Of Grass, And The Tow Rope

I have a 30 acre property, at least 2/3 of which is forested mostly with various Evergreen species along with lots of Birch, some Maple, and others.

I have a long term plan which involves taking down a small fraction of these Evergreens to open up some new space for a variety of reasons.

I go about the task once in awhile when I’m in the mood. The quick part is felling a given tree with either my Stihl or battery operated 40-volt Oregon (a fantastic chainsaw!).

The pain in the ar$$ part is bucking the tree, chipping all those branches with my wood chipper (powered from the PTO on my tractor), cutting the main trunk into manageable logs and then stacking them somewhere.

It seems like I will never reach my goals because there are so many, they’re densely populated, and it takes a fair amount of time to process just a single tree.

In any event, I digress. Let me get closer to the point of this post…

Sometimes I will fell a tree or two, process one, and leave the other for another time. Sometimes weather gets in the way. Other projects too…

Anyway, I’ve been working in a particular area on the property and will use the tractor to drag the trees over there – where I process them. I usually have several trees lying around which I eventually process.

Well, there’s this one tree which I had dragged over and was kind of on the perimeter of the processing area. I kept ignoring it and would do other trees instead.

The other day I had decided to get to that tree and get it done. It wasn’t that big of a tree. I hooked up a tow rope to my ATV and the other end wrapped around the tree trunk so I could pull it over to where the tractor and chipper was.

I put the ATV in 4-wheel, set the gear shift to Low, and proceeded to pull the tree. NOT! That tree wasn’t budging.

I backed up the ATV and tried again. This time accelerating until the slack of the tow rope snapped tight. Problem was the ATV still didn’t budge it as I jolted to a stop!

I’m sitting there looking at this relatively small tree saying to myself that the ATV should be able to easily move it. I got off, walked over to the tree.

Upon examining the situation, I realized the problem…

The tree had been lying there long enough so that the grass had grown and intertwined around all the branches that were on the ground. Amazingly the grass was holding the tree in place like cement!!

It was incredible really. When you think about it, each tiny little blade of grass is so small, weak, inconsequential. But you get enough of them wrapped around something and together they become very strong and can hold that ‘thing’ down! In this case a tree!

So where am I going with this?

Do you know what I thought about right after I realized what was happening?

I thought about how it’s a great example of how we as a people can be held down (from growth/success or whatever) when so many seemingly “little things” add up.

You could use the analogy for so many things. Over-regulation, taxes, rules/laws, agencies, bureaucracies, govt, you name it… Maybe each thing on their own could be dealt with. But as they continue to add up, to pile up, it becomes exceedingly difficult to move.

Here’s another thought:

Lets throw some politics into the equation. What about the constant drone of the so called mainstream news media with their relentless chipping away at the thought perceptions of the masses. One blade of grass at a time as they begin to grip the mind…

How about the anti-g u n crowd, their lobby, their politicians, their corporate partners… all chipping away at our rights a little at a time. You might view each little chip as though it’s not a real big deal. But next thing you know…

Kind of like the tiny Lilliputian’s of Gulliver’s Travels…

Gulliver lies down on the grass to rest, and soon he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he finds that his arms, legs, and long hair have been tied to the ground with pieces of thread. He can’t move. He feels something move across his leg and over his chest. He looks down and sees, to his surprise, a six-inch-tall human. Then 40 more climb onto his body…

I could go on with analogies. But I thought I would share this with you because I found it interesting how tiny little blades of grass can seize up the works.

Don’t fall asleep when and where lots of tiny threads may be cast over you.
Enough of them and you will be ‘pinned to the ground’.

By the way, how did I move the tree?

I got a ‘bigger stick’. I used the tractor ;)


  1. Great reminder article. Death by a thousand cuts, boiling frogs , whittling a branch to wood chips . One small step at a time and the job or task is done and no one notices the process .

    The erosion of our liberties are a perfect example of one tiny step at a time . The loss of small liberties are not even noticed by most folks. Political correctness has been a slow moving , lethargic process that has come about with no more than some quiet whimpering from the masses . The term ” hate speech” is something that someone else doesn’t want you to hear or they do not want to hear . Freedom of speech with boundaries is not freedom of speech at all.

    Stay alert to the world around you ,the times are interesting indeed .

    1. Bluesman,
      I also thought of “death by a thousand cuts”. Each cut taken individually is no big thing, but the cumulative effect can be completely debilitating. And I agree with your comment about the erosion of our liberties. If taken all at once there would be a huge uproar, but taken in little tiny bits and pieces, most people are unaware or unconcerned. Until it’s too late.

  2. Those pesky blades of grass will get you every time. They got me saturday, while moving wood in a cart attached to the tractor. Tractor could not make it up a short incline (too much wood and the grass was wet). So the tires spun in place. I had to unload half of the wood to get moving again,

  3. – Ken –
    Like your analogy. It seems a lot of things in life, from politics to weeds in the garden, are exactly like that. Keep it up!
    – Papa S.

  4. Ken,
    Next time put a few wraps of rope around the tree trunk at midpoint, then roll the tree out of the grass, then reattach and pull. That said, a lot of good analogies there. Here’s another one: As you get older, if you do not keep active, the grass seems to grow in around your feet, and you become “an immoveable object”. All good thoughts to start the week.

  5. I immediately saw your analogy from a different direction. Each of us is a blade of grass, with multiple forces trying to drag our “tree” in a particular direction. But if we work together they won’t be able to move us.

    1. This was my first thought, too. Then I read further in Ken’s article. Both analogies work.

  6. Ken, great article and wonderful analogy. I just took a few friends on a weekend getaway as an exercise in helping them “uproot” from their daily ruts. It was a wonderfully exhilarating experience for all. It also reminded me that life goes by in the blink of an eye. I have returned home with some new resolve to expand my relaxation and revitalization routines!

    Also, I want to personally thank you for this web site. I am sure I have said that a time or two….but not sure that all I recommend this site to really appreciate the totality of experience and wisdom shared here. Keep the blog going! PLEASE and THANK YOU!

  7. Ken,
    Great thought starter for the day/week!
    From a political point of view, I believe this is the tactic bring used to try to immobilize our President and his administration. Each blade being one more little (or big) attack from a different front, each a distraction meant to derail the agenda of cleaning up the swamp and restoring our liberties.

    I often found this happening as a small business owner. You have a plan, whether big picture (strategy) or small picture (daily to-do list) and all of these pesky, disruptive little things happen every day that will derail you completely if you allow it to happen. The days and weeks add up, and you realize important, sometimes critical needs are being given too little attention.

    And, this can just as easily be tied to preparedness – how many times do each of us have every good intention of getting something done, or replenished, or finished – but we let the little niggling things get a hold of us, and somehow the important stuff gets pushed to the side?

    Having been well-motivated, I’m off to mow down some “blades of grass” myself!

  8. Perhaps as small and insignificant as we seem to be, we the people can keep the Tree of Liberty from being budged from it’s rightful place. Keeping watch so as to ensure that no one pulls it away.

    1. “We the people” , when we make too much noise , have become targets of the ruling class and . that can be very uncomfortable . An example is the targeting of the noisy “Tea Party” organization not too long ago.. They were complaining about way too many taxes , no accountability for government spending and that the elected class should follow the United States Constitution. They helped elect mostly Republicans and it was the Republican leadership that had the IRS investigate and home in on Tea Party groups . Lois Lerner of the IRS was just following orders .
      Sad times we live in .

  9. Imagine if all those blades of grass were prepper grass trying to hold on to their preps. The rotting log being a source of sustenance for all the prepper grass in the area.
    Ok.. That was really bad. 😊

    That’s why I always use a front end loader with a set of skidding tongs hooked to a chain attached to the bucket to pick the log up to move it around my pasture. Pushing or pulling them sometimes just doesn’t work.

    1. Good idea. I need to get me some skidding tongs!

      I’ve been dragging them around with chains or flat tow ropes with the tractor. The tongs would grip nicely – and eliminate having to wrap chain or rope around the trunk (sometimes it’s pretty difficult to get underneath a big fallen tree flat on the ground.

      1. Homesteader/Ken
        Im with Homesteader on that one, unless the trees are real small id use the tractor exclusively, ATV not really built for that, will ruin it in short order, tractor on the other hand, especially those nice little Ford/Newholland tractors can do some work.
        They make some nice little skidding rigs that hook up to the 3pt hitch and PTO or hydraulics on the back of a tractor, Baileys sells them im pretty sure, one model has a winch, personaly id yard all the logs and deal with the slash as needed, over here it rots down and composts all on its own if you pile it up and crunch it up, especially the small stuff, still hook the chipper up though, the chips are nice for mulching stuff.

        1. I use the tractor for 100% of my log transport from mainstream cutting. The ATV skidder though is a great suggestion while harvesting in an area where a tractor might not get. Those small ATV skidders look great!

  10. How does one eat an elephant?
    For better or worse (in ones opinion), that’s the way things are done.

    Unfortunately if one only concentrates on the “Big Picture” they may lose the pleasure of the small, ,fulfilling, wonderful, things in life, for this Article works in both directions.

    Ever hold a Butterfly in your hand, than remember the “Butterfly Effect” than can change the world?

    Change does not always need to be a bad thing, again (in ones opinion).

    1. Honestly bud, at the moment, i could care less about the big picture,,, my little personal universe is all i have any say in and even that is not much

      1. Tommyboy;
        Your “little personal universe” IS the big picture. As mine is for me
        A lot of people just dont understand that and need to control “it” all

        1. NRP
          Thought you were talking bigger as in way beyond our insignificant little selves

  11. Nice story……………….Oh…………..
    Silver is at a Two year low. Better stock up ASAP.

  12. Confucius also says, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

  13. Yosef the value of silver and gold is what you can trade for it. Trees can be firewood or with craftsman made into useful items. Grasses even annoying ones can feed my critters. Aside from Colloidal Silvers medical value most folks need stuff not PM’s for SHTF.

    NOW once you have several years of food, training, useful materials and equipment laid in feel free to buy PM’s. Skills with out the tools is not so useful. Tools with out skills much the same.

    An example is one ounce of Silver today is 14.00 and change PLUS any premium/shipping etc.

    A Can of Chickarina Progresso Soup locally is 1.68 each 260 calories, 16 grams protein, a pound of GV white rice 79 cents 1600 calories, 30 gram protein. A decent 2400 calorie diet for manual labor would be 3 each cans of Progresso Meat Based Soups and a Pound of Rice. Cost 5.83 per day OR the money you could spend on an OUNCE of SILVER would buy almost three days of food at 2400 calories and 78 =/- grams of protein. If you bought Store Brand or on sale (like Silver is today) an easy three days of solid food.

    After SHTF if your hungry and holding an ounce of silver how much food do you expect you will get ASSUMING that Violence is not a viable option.

    When NH accepts PM’s to pay my taxes I will change my mind.

    Pray for the Republic

  14. I thought you were gonna make an analogy of “if everyone works together, we can accomplish great things” kind of thing. it seemed to me you were going to say that alone, we are weak regardless of preps, land, and effort, and that if we all band together into a community we can become strong. I thought you were gonna talk about how gangs of marauders during WROL would tear apart sections of the country side (the ATV) and that a community of likeminded and perpared individuals working together (the grass) can stop them in their tracks.

    Haha, I had a whole idea for what the article was gonna be about after reading your story and then it was slapped in my face. Shouldn’t jump to conclusions. XD

    1. Yes, there are both positive and negative analogies! My first thoughts were on the negative side (probably because the grass was giving me a heck of a time rather than helping me move that tree ;) ).

      1. Ken;
        A little hint on moving that tree, reach down, grab a small amount of that Grass, roll it into a small cylindrical paper, lite one end and puff on it a few times.
        Now that may not move the tree, but honestly you wont care HAHAHAHA.

        1. NRP,
          Ya just can’t help getting in trouble can ya?
          luv ya’ll, Beach’n

  15. A blizzard can bring a city to a halt, but is nothing more than lots of little snowflakes.

    1. Old Chevy
      Now that is funny…….thanks for the morning laugh. 😁

  16. A retired politician from Israel used the analogy of cutting grass to their nations security management of terrorist activity.

    There are no big secrets, you just have to keep doing it like cutting grass on your lawn. This is in reference to maintaining their high paramilitary presence at key locations within their nation.

    Why do I say this in this blog within the Continental United States? We are a nation that likes our wars to be short, and decisive. Maintaining security is…boring and not much thought is given over to it especially in peacetime. Security services within this nation is a divisive topic and they have always had to fight for their funding.

  17. To Ken and NHM:

    I think I know about what kind of pine trees you have up there:
    Too big and ugly to be used as Christmas tree.
    The wood burns too fast to be used as firewood. (no coals.).
    They stand in your way to prevent you from accessing the “good wood” like oak or madrone.
    The wood is soft, pitchy and is not suitable for construction or useful projects around the homestead.

    In California, we had Chapparral. generally referred to as “brush”. It is a lot of work to clear it out.

    1. Calirefugee pine trees make poor firewood in “Airtight” Smoldering Wood Heaters. However in Russia and Scandinavia Pine is an well respected firewood for Russian Mass Heaters. Sometimes called Tile Stoves for the tiles decorating that masonry bulk.

      You build a massive one ton or so masonry stove with a NO Damper serpentine chimney to extract heat from that fast HOT burn and heat up the Masonry. That heats your home for a day or two. Most have a smaller firebox-chimney to cook meals, brew tea, heat up the Bread Oven and generate hot water.

      I have seen folks turn boxwood stoves into masonry stoves and they work well enough but built with High Temperature Firebrick cores they last forever. I visited a Finnish Home what proudly showed me one over a 100 years old that they REPAIRED damage from a Russian Tank shell during WW2.

      Pitchy pine charred makes excellent long lasting posts for building 50.00 and up underground houses and greenhouses. Covered with heavy duty plastic sheeting the original was in service for decades before being abandoned for a decade or so then refitted and folks are still living there in Idaho. Cheap, plenty of sunshine and easy to heat and cool.

      A Voles Home or maybe a Hobbits :-)

      Bad mouthing Pines….. Vit C from needles, sap and fat wood for fire starting, sap and charcoal for glues, sealing leaks.

      Pray for the Republic

  18. When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about what happens if you become sedentary. The longer you lay down or sit down the harder it is to get up and get moving. The healthiest people I work with are constantly on the move and many 80 yr olds still working because they love it.

    We’ve all experienced being sick or injured and you just have to go to bed to rest and recover. But, the sooner you get up and get moving the quicker you’ll recover. My Dad, who passed a long time ago, still whispers in my head, “get up or you’ll get stuck”. Luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Beach’n,
      Good words and so true. Stand still and you may run over .

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