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Grandfather's and daddy's garden tools, now mine

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:31 pm

We have all the needed garden tools, and a few that we bought on impulse and are still trying to figure out why! It seemed like a good idea at the time, but time has proven us wrong in several instances. Some are flimsier than we thought; some just don’t do the job intended; and some are just for those who garden in an 8” pot.

Our most-used and most-beloved tools are the old ones. Our hoe was used by my grandfather, and by my daddy. When I sharpen the edge, or feel the smooth wood under my hand, I feel connected to family. I can imagine my grandfather’s calloused hands on that hoe. He was a farmer who, when he retired, moved to town to a corner lot of about three acres. He immediately started a big vegetable garden. Daddy spent many an hour hoeing out weeds with that smooth handled hoe. Now I hoe weeds, make rows for planting, and think about grandfather and daddy.

Our hedge clips came down in the family also. I don’t know who bought them originally, but they have held up for over 60 years. I remember daddy clipping the spirea hedge along the driveway, using these clips. I used them as a teenager to shape the same hedge, and later a yew hedge in our upstate NY home. After we moved to Texas, the clips encountered plants they had never heard of, and the bolt holding the cutting edges together had to be replaced. That replacement, and the occasional sharpening, is all they have received over the years. The wooden handles fit my hands perfectly, and I can almost feel daddy’s hands on them.

Our garden rake is a relic of my grandfather’s, also. It is so sturdy it stands up to our “gumbo” soil, and makes a lovely planting row for vegetables. It also has raked up the bedding in the chicken coop and the residue of a hay bale in the pasture. It has a wooden handle (all of these tools were made before the invention of fiberglass) and the tines are still very “toothy” after all these years.

We have a shovel that came from my grandfather, and that daddy used. It has dug so many holes, moved so many perennials, and pried up so many large weeds! It gets sharpened on occasion, and is probably a good four inches shorter than it was originally due to the sharpening. It will still outlast me.

I care for these tools by cleaning, giving them an occasional sharpening, and rubbing some linseed oil into the wooden handles. That’s what grandfather did, what daddy did, and what I do. I also treasure them.

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Netty wrote on Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:32 pm:

Some of my favorite garden tools are those old ones I found hidden in the back of my parents shed, or up in the barn at work. They just don't make them like they did in the old days!

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