I tried to go out into the garden today, but it was just too gloomy, the ground was way too soggy after we received another dumping of rain overnight. This was most annoying as the ground had almost dried out since the last burst of rain and was almost workable again. The only up side of this is the normally difficult tap rooted weeds like dock and dandelion just slipped out of the sodden soil. So I began with a spot of weeding and hunting down these thugs in their vulnerable state. But no matter how enthusiastic I was the clouds above me released rain drops in spits and spots, leaving me to wonder if this was the next big downpour the boffins had been warning about and last night was just a warm up.
I’m not in a hurry to get wet and catch cold from non-urgent jobs about the garden so I decided to tackle some chores that I could do in the warm and dry and to be honest were long overdue. I cleaned my tools. I have to be the first to confess, my poor tools get a hard life. I work them hard – occasionally with tasks they weren’t designed for, but they do the job. In the craziness of summer, they often get left in the garden, where after a long day I wander away weary from the effort, knowing I’ll only be out there again the next day to do it all over again. If I was to grade myself on care of my tools, I’d end up with “Must try harder on” on my report card. This wouldn’t shock me too much though as I saw it often enough on my school reports when I was a child.
I took my cutters and pruners and gave them a good scrub in a bleachy solution. I do give them a bit of cursory wipe after use, but a build-up of gunk had lodged in nooks and crannies and make the whole thing stick when trying to open and close the blades. Then I gave them an oil in the moving parts and sharpened the blades and we were back in business.
Bouyed by the success of the cutting tools I turned my attentions to my forks and spades. Hubby the Un-Gardener gave me a lovely stainless steel fork for Christmas with a wooden handle. I love using it, it goes through the soil like a dream. But in order to keep the handle in good order I gave it a liberal wipe down with linseed oil. This will stop it from cracking and splintering and it now it smells really lovely.
Knowing there is a lot of digging to be done in the next season, that isn’t too far away I had a good look at my spade. I think it maybe on its last legs. Where the handle bit meets the blade bit, it’s come loose and delivers a nasty pinch if you forget in the heat of the moment while doing the digging. However there isn’t much that can be done to tighten it as it appears to be secured by a rivet. Well – it was cheap and has lasted ages.
There is also a weakness in the blade itself where the shafts flattens out. A bit of duct tape on the handle should limp it along for a bit longer and if that’s the case then it’s dull cutting edge was long overdue for a sharpening. I grabbed a file and worked away at the edge, appreciating the rasping sound, that strangely made me feel productive as an sharpness appeared across the entire edge. Not razor sharp, but will make it so much easier for Hubby the Un-Gardener as I have some digging for him to do soon enough. I must remember to warn him about that pinchy handle.
Come again soon – it can’t possibly rain forever.
Sarah the Gardener : o)