Last weekend I told you all about my Red Pig tools and that I'd report on them after some use. They are pretty awesome. The crow's foot is great for weeding out grass rhizomes and raking a fine seed bed in a small space; it is far, far superior to the three-pronged cultivator that will shortly be finding a home in the Goodwill box. Steve tried the Cape Cod weeder last weekend for its intended purpose but found that it was clumping the wet ground, which was obviously too wet to be worked. However, I found it to be the bomb for digging up onions; it loosened the ground around them easily and I was able to pull them out more successfully, so I still like this tool and can't wait to try it on other root vegetables. I imagine it will do its intended job just fine in dryer ground. I can't report on the fulcrum weeder because I haven't used it yet. I can report on the Hole About and boy, do I love this tool. To the right are pictures of the Hole About, and the last one shows why I bought it.
It does a great job standing in as a trowel when I need one but it really shines at digging small holes. Which sounds, odd, I know, but sometimes you need to dig a really small hole. It is super sturdy and I am not worried in the least about bending it. I also think that I'll be using it for many years. I would hazard the guess that if you were looking for a truly awesome gift for a gardening buddy, you would do well to get them some Red Pig garden tools. I would also not waste any time; the guy who makes them is a retired tool designer for Corona, and he is not getting any younger. He's incredibly knowledgeable about tools. Well, I'm getting ahead of my story.
Last weekend when I bought these things, the deal was that if you spent over $65, you could have a free trench clean out shovel; all you had to do was drive out to Red Pig Tools in Boring, Oregon and pick it up. So yesterday, Steve and I drove out to Boring in truly gorgeous spring weather to fetch my free shovel. We spent about thirty minutes chatting with Bob. He told about the Abbot weeder, which oddly enough, was not used for weeding out abbots. He makes a berry hook, which is actually a medieval tool, but it works by cutting part way through the cane with the end, and then you hook it back toward you which makes the cane fall away from you. This is a great tool for getting rid of blackberries which seem to plague the entire state of Oregon. Goats work really well too, but a berry hook won't eat the young orchard you just planted.
long bed first, and maybe in retrospect we should have built the big bed first, because the long bed kind of looks like ass. It's not the prettiest planter box. It also doesn't sit particularly straight in its setting. I will say that I learned an important lesson building it- actually a couple of lessons. We had to cut our own stakes from two by twos, and the first few (critical few, it turns out) I left with one angle cut. It turns out that a single angle will make the stake go in screwy; stakes with two angles cut to a point will go in much straighter. The other thing I learned was to not set your stakes so permanently until you have the bed where you want it. So the first bed is a little wonky, but the big bed will be much better, which is actually a good thing. Because if I manage to get it done, that will be the bed that gets the hoops for the hoop house and winter gardening.
One of the high points of the day (next to quitting and coming in for a glass of wine and a shower) was the snake that showed up. It wasn't Goethe, because he was much bigger and he didn't have that racy orange stripe down his back. He was moving really slowly, so slowly that he didn't startle me and I was able to calmly tell Steve that Goethe has company. I would like to think it's Gus but Gus had very definite yellow stripes, and this guy's were harder to see, possibly because he was bigger so he was older. They were there, just kind of muddy. He didn't have a rattle, so I'm not worried because a rattler is the only kind of poisonous snake in Oregon, and they tend to be down in the desert areas. But yeah! We have two garter snakes, thanks to Rae and her gift last week.
Maybe this year I'll get a leg up on the slug and mole populations.
My dreams are pretty simple, really.