time for tools when the weather’s turned ..

a little digger ..

now here’s a young island lad who knows something about tools .. when this picture was taken at the community garden .. this wheelbarrow seemed to be his favourite tool .. i know how he feels .. there are times when i just can’t do without mine ..

hi ho .. hi ho ..

hi ho .. hi ho ..

i don’t suppose we generally think of a wheelbarrow as a tool .. be assured .. it’s a tool no gardener would want to be without .. i love mine .. frank gave it to me as a gift about 15 years ago .. it replaced a secondhand small red metal wheelbarrow that had had its day .. the new one easily took on the job .. it’s as sturdy and usefull now as it was when it was new .. all those years ago .. and it’s not like it hasn’t had much use .. being that it’s lovely and light .. and extremely durable .. it’s carried more earth .. stones .. manure .. seaweed .. mulch .. chips .. and groceries .. than i’d ever imagined it would .. and we’re not finished yet .. it’s my mixing bowl when i make soil .. and it’s my means of transporting my other tools when i set off for another day’s gardening .. and on town days it carries my groceries home from the ferry .. i can’t imagine my life without a good wheelbarrow .. or any of my other gardening tools ..

a 'barrowfull of seaweed ..

a ‘barrowfull of seaweed ..

if you think about it .. tools are a gardener’s best friend .. well, that might be carrying it a bit far .. a little cliche-ish .. but truly .. without tools we’d have a pretty different experience in the garden .. right .. ? .. one or two of the tools we use may even have earned the distinction of being our favourites .. i recently heard a question posed .. it went something like .. “when you head out to the garden what tool do you automatically reach for” .. ? .. without a thought “gloves and snips” came to mind .. it’s true .. can’t leave home without them .. i even take them when i head out for a wander around the island .. just in case .. the gloves tuck nicely into my jeans’ left hand pocket .. the snips attached to the right one with a clip-on holster .. relatively clean and sharp .. always at the ready .. ! .. i take them just on the off chance i might wander in to check on a garden and see a broken branch .. or stalk .. or .. in case i’m moving along a park trail and a piece of blackberry threatens to twhack! me in the face .. you just never know .. fortunately, i suppose .. i haven’t taken them across to town with me yet .. not since i stopped working over there years ago .. but you never know .. one day as i’m heading out the door on my way to town to get groceries .. i just might unconsciously grab my garden gloves and snips ..

favourites ..

favourites ..

 

seventeen years ago i bought my very first snips .. i was living in victoria .. working with holly .. she’d hired me to help her with her maintenance gardening business .. my toolbox was limited, so holly graciously lent me a pair of snips until i could get my own .. i wanted a worthy pair .. theĀ  workhorse of snips .. to add to my growing assortment of tools .. most of which came to me from garage sales .. not snips, though .. i already decided i’d buy a new pair of snips .. i was encouraged by something i’d read .. or heard .. that “well taken care of tools can last for a lifetime of gardening” .. so i eventually bought my own brand new pair felco 2s .. i headed to the library and took out a book on how to look after garden tools .. i googled ‘garden tool maintenance’ .. and i reached back twenty years .. to my welding days .. to recall lessons about tools .. and eventually .. with practice .. and a good bastard file .. i learned to look after my own ..

 

at the ready ..

at the ready ..

seventeen years later .. how time flies .. i still have the same pair of snips i bought when i started this gardening journey with holly .. for the most part, i still have all the tools i gathered around me over the years .. tools i like .. the ones work for me .. i think the only tool i’ve had to replace is the small headed shovel .. next to my snips it’s my most used tool .. so i’ve broken the handles prying rocks .. or i’ve cracked the shovel heads prying rocks .. oh .. and brooms .. i’ve gone through so many brooms .. seventeen at least .. corn have been my favourites .. i tried plastic but didn’t much like the feel of them .. a few months ago i was looking at brooms in a local home hardware .. and a woman clerk handed me an original garden broom .. (http://theoriginalgardenbroom.com/..) oh, and my eldest sister gave me a second pair of snips about five years ago .. i haven’t used them for a lifetime of gardening yet .. i’ve got a ways to go on that score .. wonder of wonders .. as the years roll by i notice my tools become even more an extension of me when i’m in the garden .. like old friends .. i don’t use all of them all the time of course .. but they all get the same care and attention .. so they’re always ready to come with me to the next garden .. and that’s really it .. isn’t it .. ? .. we need our tools to be ready to do the job we want them to do .. and if they’re dull .. or rusty .. or broken .. or covered in last day’s muck .. or the handle’s ready to snap .. or the shovel head has fallen off .. what’s the use of them .. ? .. the mindful respect i hold for my tools .. and the care i’ve taught my self to give them .. keeps me moving more smoothly along the gardening path .. ( .. ooo .. that last bit’s a little much .. ) ..

 

translucent in cold weather ..

translucent in cold weather ..

besides .. when the weather’s cold enough to turn the petals of the cyclamen coum translucent .. cleaning and sharpening tools is a way to keep something going in the garden ..

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