Where’s The Empathy?

What are your thoughts when you hack at a weed with a hoe?  How about when you plunge a weeder into the soil and penetrate the tape root of a plant you don’t appreciate.  Have you ever paused when you were about to grab a plant by the neck and yank it out of the soil it depends on for life?  When you use a propane torch to cook and then scorch a solitary weed and hear the popping of the seeds that would otherwise provide future generations of that plant, how are you feeling?  Have you ever stopped to think that these plants that you so fervently pursue and torture with Roundup are simply trying to survive—to survive and continue the lifeline of their existence?

I ask you, “Where’s the empathy?” . . . Not here . . . But sometimes . . . . . . .

Is My Weed Your Weed?

Generally it is a pleasant experience being on a gardening team.  I know Daisy would back me up on this concept.  But there are times when disagreements can arise—specifically, what plants need to be eradicated, and which are left to survive—what’s a weed and what’s not.  You have heard the saying that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.  I have found that this axiom doesn’t work well when weeding in the garden.  You see, once a plant is extracted, survival upon replacement is seldom successful.  I have found that saying “You should have been watching what I was doing!” does not go over well.  Or “It looked like a weed to me” doesn’t fare well either.  I have found that frequent asking of permission has proven to the least painful option when weeding.  I’m just sayin’.


This Rake’s For You!

I don’t know if you remember, but several times I have emphasized the importance buying tools that are as light as possible—as long as it doesn’t affect the quality or effectiveness of the tool.  This would apply particularly to shovels and brooms.  This fact was brought to mind when I recently received a birthday gift from one of my sons.  This shovel arrived in a box from Lowes that was so mangled and mashed, that you wouldn’t think anything inside could have survived, but survived it did.  Now, this 48 inch Cobalt steel digging shovel is really substantial—no wonder it survived.  The handle is steel and the step flange is wide which is advertised to not hurt your foot (like I’m going to be out digging barefoot or in flipflops—come on!).  Anyway, the point is that this shovel is heavy.  Every time I heft the shovel, I am lifting the weight of the shovel as well as its load—wasted energy.  This shovel is so substantial that it comes with a lifetime warrantee.  If I didn’t know this son better, I would suspect that he has sights on this tool in the end, if you know what I mean.  In the meantime, the shovel is awaiting a significant sharpening as the shovel blade is really thick.

 Boy!  When I digress, I don’t go halfway.  I am trying the make the point that several tools are better when they are light.  This is particularly true with leaf rakes, which you use by constantly swinging them back and forth.  I am in love (not really) with a rake I found at a garage sale.  It is the Blue Hawk 24 inch leaf rake.  The Blue Hawk series of products are entry level tools from Lowes.  The handle is made of light wood.  The rake head is light plastic, and only the tines are metal.  I found by accident that you can actually improve this rake.  One day I was too lazy to pick up the rake from the lawn and thought I could pass over it without harm.  The mower ripped off 4 of the tines on one side.  (I never did find the tines.)  I used this lopsided rake for many months until I came up with the idea of removing 4 tines from the other side by sawing through the plastic head.  Now, through serendipity (stupidity) I have a long handled, narrow headed rake with long tines that is able to remove leaves from tight confines.  Since then, I was able to buy another Blue Hawk at another garage sale, so I have a full-size rake as well.  So, my suggestion to you is that, if you need a rake, go to Lowes and pick up one of these light-weight beauties for about $10.  Then, if you want to improve your raking capability, buy a second one and cut off tines from each side.  You can skip the mower part.

            Happy raking! Stan The Tool Man

Rhonda Doesn’t Like House Plants

Today I asked Rhonda to clean the house floors while I worked out in the garden.  When I returned inside, I could not find her anywhere.  What I did discover was several pots of plants that were knocked over.  The leaves of the swiss cheese plants had been beat up so that the isolated leaf holes now extended to the mauled leaf margins.  Rather miffed, I found Rhonda hiding under our bed entrapped in electrical wires.  So I extracted her, dusted her off, and took her to her corner so she could recharge her system and hopefully be a more trustworthy worker in the future.  Oh . . did I forget to tell you Rhonda is our Rhumba?