Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Using a Machete with a Gancho "hook"

First I’d like to thank my readers for their patience during this interlude, and especially those of you who were kind enough to send me emails asking why I had stopped posting. As you might have gathered, we live in a remote area in deep South Texas.  The ranch is nearly four miles from the nearest town—a hamlet actually of less than 300 people.  We pass through a number of locked gates before we get to our place and the isolation would be perhaps too much for some folks. We have no television nor do we want one. The Internet is our only connection to the outside world but over the past two months our link was slow to nonexistent. As of yesterday things improved and now I can get back to posting.

Despite the oppressive heat of the last four months we’re still putting in ten or twelve hour days working on various projects.  I wanted you to see how the ranch-hands use their machetes along with a gancho or hook to trim the underbrush and manipulate thorny plants and spine­-ridden cacti.  I’ve spent my life trying to save the South Texas Brushlands from indiscriminate clearing and I assure you that any manipulation of the monte comes with a degree of trepidation.

The video below was taken in the early stages of creating a cabin site. We left all the trees and larger woody plants intact and only removed the underbrush where rattlesnakes and other nefarious creatures might lay waiting. The cabin is now almost completed and I might add that the “birding” surrounding the place is spectacular. We’ve included water sources and the area is thickly foliaged. Deep South Texas is famous for outstanding bird watching and the area around the new cabin does not lessen those expectations.

South Texas is machete country and no one travels in these parts without one of the long blades. They’re used for everything from clearing underbrush to whacking rattlesnakes to cutting saplings for walking sticks and other projects to slicing one’s way through a stand of prickly pear cactus. I’ve made entire selfbows and primitive arrows with nothing more than a machete.

Here’s the video on using a machete in unison with a gancho to perform work.

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