CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush, in grimy bluejeans and sweaty T-shirt, wielded his chain saw against a dead hackberry tree Saturday, determined to make his beloved ranch less "jungle-y" for a wife who had problems with the place at first.

No ax for this presidential wood chopper. "That was Abraham Lincoln," Bush cracked.

Bush said it was love at first sight for him with the dusty 1,600 acres he bought two years ago, before the White House became his second home. But Laura Bush had worried that the prettiest parts of the property they now call Prairie Chapel Ranch — seven canyons, with their creeks, waterfalls and wildlife — were too overgrown for all but hardiest of hikers to reach.

"It's a little jungle-y, as they say. ... I told her I would build the roads necessary," Bush recalled with some swagger.

And so he spends hours at a time, in punishing heat, clearing trails to the clifftop hideaways and creek beds he has identified as good picnic spots. Bush said he wanted to show them to Russian President Vladimir Putin when he visits in mid-November.

The president led a tour for White House reporters Saturday, saying he wanted to give them a better idea of who he is by showing them what he loves. He also planned to give "Beth, the barber from Austin" a look around when she came later to give him a haircut for his Sunday trip to Pennsylvania.

Lacey oak, burr oak, cica pin oak, pecan, sycamore and ash trees dot the property.

Bush pointed out each of them, dubbing himself "tree man" and showing off what he said he had learned partly from books and partly from a Texas A&M University horticulturist who visited Thursday.

"When you see the same type of tree growing close together, it's called a mott, M-O-T-T," Bush said, adding how grateful he was that the Secret Service discreetly constructed its new command center, which is a stone's throw from the family residence, behind one such mott.

He called himself a homebody who relishes busting free of the White House security bubble. Here, the Secret Service allows him to drive his pickup truck. But agents are posted all over the property in phone booth-size wooden huts with air conditioners jammed into their sides.

And the only thing that possibly made Bush's chain saw work seem solitary was a pair of safety ear plugs. Standing around and watching were three Secret Service agents, a doctor and nurse and a military aide who always keeps the nuclear-weapon codes within reach.

Bush said he relishes coming here:

"It's one of the few places where I can actually walk outside my front door and say, 'I think I'm going to go walk two hours.' And although I'm not totally alone, I can walk wherever I want to walk. And I can't do that in Washington. I guess I could. I could walk around a circle."

Bush wouldn't say how much he paid for the property but the price hovered over several observations: The lake? "I made it. I paid for it." The miles of dirt roads? "I should measure 'em. I paid for 'em."

He hasn't seen a rattlesnake yet, but there here. He has come face to face with poisonous cottonmouths.

The president gets a kick out of watching his Scottish terrier puppy, Barney, chase armadillos and wild turkeys, who are safe from Bush's shotgun. He only hunts doves.

"I don't want to shoot the turkeys because I like them. I like turkeys," he said, adding that he permits other hunters on his property to "thin out" the deer.

His single-story ranch house was built with meticulous attention to detail and conservation, the president said. Its situation takes advantage of southerly breezes and the lakeside porch faces east so he can sit there in the afternoons without having the sun in his eyes.

One of Mrs. Bush's projects, her husband said, is to restore native grasses to the land closest to the house.

Out back is the swimming pool that Bush has nicknamed his "whining pool," because he installed it to appease his twin, 19-year-old daughters after they complained about a lack of recreation on the middle-of-nowhere ranch.

By coincidence, he said, he has the same of energy-efficient thermal heating and cooling system that former rival Al Gore had installed at the vice presidential mansion in Washington.

Conveniently, the laundry machines are just off the porch, Bush informed his visitors as he eyed his clothes and boots, with their mess of sweat, dust and wood slivers.

"I'm not saying I strip down outside on the porch or anything," he said with a wink. "But I am saying I don't traipse this stuff into the house, either."