Friday, June 4, 2010
This is not some namby-pamby little pronged garden trowel, made for scraping the surface. Neither is it a stand-up farmer's sort of agrarian long-handled device, meant for working at length, distance. It's more of a get-down-on-your-hand-and-knees and hack it out kind of thing, my new tool. It's got teeth, it's got fangs.
I wasn't sure about this one, mainly because of the cost, and also because I couldn't find anyone online who had one, probably because of the cost. But something about this thing told me I had to have it.
I brought it along to my folks' last weekend, in anticipation of getting the beds dug in. Turned out, between the weather (bloody hot on Saturday) and the distractions (many), we only got as far as turning the front garden turned over with the broadforks and roughing out paths, and didn't get around to actual bed preparation, although the few weeds there were are mostly gone now, and a few things got planted (datura, nicotiana, artichoke) and transplanted (chervil, borage, strays of various sorts...). Thanks to all for pitching in, by the way. Anyway, at one point Mom caught a glimpse of it, lying around somewhere, and said what's that? It's my indulgent new thing. That looks like an awesome tool, she said.
And it is. I found this out working the beds around my patio, breaking up compacted clods of soil and mixing in the fresh sift from the sod, along with some compost. It took a good while--not least because of all the iridescent coral glass cabachons that emerged from the dirt with each turn (such a simple pleasure, to uncover these strange jewels...)--but it didn't take me long to understand that the tool in my hands was the real deal, worth the price. It's got groove, it's got meaning... I mean the tines on this thing are five inches long, and pointed, and the angle on the fine wood handle is such that when you swing it, it can't help but find a hold...like wielding an ice-axe, almost. It means business. Sure, it takes a little--shall we say?--aggression to use it well, but for the task of clod-busting that's probably a good thing. And once the dirt's all nice and soft, it cuts through just like butta...
I believe, in the realm of the body of tools I shall have known throughout my lifetime, this one might outlast me.
Anyhoo... in other news, I finally got my peach tree planted, over the holiday, and must say it pleased me more than a little to wake the next morning and see it peeking in at me through the kitchen window. I found a spot for my currant, made some progress on the fencerows, and stumbled onto a plan for the garden-to-be under the tarp (which I was hoping to take off this weekend, should the weather cooperate) while doodling plans at my sister's, where we ended up with a drawing of a variation on a keyhole design that looked something like a smiling antlered creature and female reproductive system, not that anyone was trying... So I'm aiming to put in some kind of heart-shaped ram's-horn yoni-type thing back there under the cover, maybe with a bee watering hole at the center. It'll be fun to start working the interior rather than securing the perimeter, if I ever make it that far... We shall see. More in the days to come.
(Oh, yeah. It's a hand tiller, Eliot Coleman design, if you must know.)