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Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Great Day

Today was a great day.  My friend Rae of Blissful in the Boonies invited me to go with her and her soon-to-be mother-in-law to the Spring Garden Fair in Canby, Oregon.  Unfortunately, her STB MIL had a bad cold and couldn't come, so it was just us two.  I won't bore you with the plants I bought (mostly herbs), but I got some swell hand tools that I want to tell you about.

Just look at these! They are super solid, well riveted and welded, and comfortable.  I've never seen such a  plethora of different kinds of gardening hand tools! I was a little worried about getting in trouble when I got home because they were kind of expensive compared to the crap you find in the Big Box store, but Steve took one look at them and said, "Oh yeah- take care of those and they'll last forever."  Then he said, "well, you might have to replace the handles some day," and I said, "not if I keep them oiled I won't."  They are made by hand by Red Pig Tools in Boring, Oregon. Left to right they are the hole about, the fulcrum weeder, the crows foot cultivator, and that one on top is the Cape Cod weeder (which was bought for Steve and his hops bed)(but which doesn't preclude my borrowing it). The Cape Cod weeder comes in a right hand and left hand version. They look and feel like lifetime tools, and once I actually try them, I'll report back.

I also got us a couple garden hats (Rae bought some swell baskets).  These were ten bucks apiece and were made by hand in Ghana.  What was cool was that the girls selling them had a hand-held credit card reading device that you swiped, and then they punched up the signing line, which you accomplished with your fingertip, and then she emailed the receipt to me. No paper, no wires.  I was struck by the dichotomy of the hand-made products from the third world and the high-tech hardware and software for completing their sales transaction.

Okay, last but not least were the gifts that Rae brought from her property: some of the soap she won from Miriam at Mucky Boots Farm (which is really cool because I entered and didn't win, but this means I got to share), two dozen chicken eggs, a couple of goose eggs, and the best gift of all was this:

Meet Goethe, our new garter snake!  Isn't he pretty?  I've never seen one with yellow and orange stripes; I've only seen yellow stripes.  He was let loose immediately upon my return home, and he was quite lively even though today was a bit on the cool side.  I hope he finds the holes in the planter boxes as hospitable as Gus did.  Our new modus operandi for mowing the lawn will be to completely walk the grass (both of us) to look for Goethe and see if we can find where he is before even starting up the mower.  I sure don't want to lose such a pretty and welcome snake.  Thanks Rae!


Rae said...

So glad you were able to come to the garden fair again this year, and that you didn't get in trouble... I had so much fun! (except for the extreme idiot drivers). :)

I hope Goethe sticks around for a long time. I once saw a garter like him at the big park in your town, so they're around there. I think they're more common at my elevation, though.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Oh, and great pics! :)

Susan said...

The tools and the hats look lovely, but Goethe is gorgeous! I am going to the Malvern Garden Show (it's in the UK) next week and I hope I find something good to buy myself.

Oxray Farm said...

Those tools are fabulous!! I think I might have to get some, sooner rather than later!!

Ok question about Goethe, do you us release him and he stays outside forever? I know garter snakes are wild too so it makes sense if that's so.

I live in eastern Washington so I'd be worried about the colder winters I know they hibernate but still. I would consider getting a garter snake for slug, grasshopper and eventually vole patrol.

Oxray Farm said...

Oh and another question about garter snakes, I know Goethe came from Rae's property but I don't recall where you got Gus from.

Anonymous said...

I don’t like snakes, but they sure do love my property! They love my patio, porch, and they climb in my flower pots. I think the black racers even have a den under my patio! I could go on, but I know I usually bore people with my snake stories. I always dread the spring and summer. The only saving grace is people tell me the racers and the chicken snakes will keep the poisonous snakes away. Who knows? I sure don’t. I enjoy your reading your blog.


Leigh said...

Great finds! I would absolutely love to find some sturdy tools like that and a hat is a must. Never seen a garter snake that color. Very nice. :)

Miriam said...

This is so funny - in my veggie garden the other day I saw not the usual one garter snake slithering away, but two! I briefly wondered how to send a garter snake alive across an international border, then decided mine probably liked the company, and I should leave well enough alone! So I'm very glad Rae gave you one of hers...and some soap!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Beautiful tools! Beautiful snake (and a great name, too)! May they all contribute to a fine gardening season.

Paula said...

I hope he sticks around too, Rae, and thank you again!

I hope you find something swell to buy Susan- enjoy the show.

Gus just showed up one day. I think he came after we moved in and started making places to live. The planter boxes I made from the plastic decking I pulled off the deck are constructed such that the corners have holes that are perfect for a snake to slide into. The beds warm up before everything else in the yard does, and since that's where the leafy greens are grown, that's where the slugs are, so the beds are a great place for a snake to live. Speaking of living in the pantry, when I moved my first compost pile I found a mole in the very middle of it. As far as Goethe goes, I'm only hoping that he sticks around. Don't worry about having a garter snake in cold regions- they range naturally from Alaska to Central America. If you will build a rock wall in a place that gets sun year 'round, you might attract one naturally.

Thanks Wanda! I was not as calm about snakes when I lived in Florida, because in California, not much else besides a rattler is poisonous, and they'll usually let you know when you're getting too near them. In Florida all kinds of snakes are poisonous, and they don't have rattles!