Rumford Gardener mini-rake

March 21st, 2008
I’m No Hoe

…though I’m known to be a bit rakish.

Heidegger says that one way being asserts itself is when we notice the absence of something. Presence is being ready to hand, handy. Absence is being missing. When my hand rake went missing about a month ago, I felt its absence keenly. I didn’t know how much I relied on, how handy it was, it until I lost it. I’ve been using various tools in its stead; I even bought a hand cultivator but nothing has worked as well for me as my old hand rake.

I’ve shopped around town for a replacement and finally found one today at Breed and Co ($9). It is from The Rumford Gardener, their Oxford Series Mini-Rake. (How could I go wrong with a tool named after AJM’s university?)

Now some of you, (Carol!) may find it inconceivable that I do not use a hoe. I’m more of a hands-and-knees gardener. I don’t feel comfortable gardening at a distance, standing up. I’m really in it for the dirt.

I find this mini-rake perfect for getting in between the annuals in the meadow and breaking up the crust in the mulch after a hard rain, for uprooting small weeds and pulling out leaves (especially those stuck in the agaves). I don’t know if it is my favorite tool, for I could not do without my Fiskars pruners or my trowel either. But I really missed it and I’m happy I found a replacement.

Dramm Revolver

February 24th, 2007
Dramm Revolver

One of the garden chores I hate is watering. I hate having to use up a precious resource (our local lake reservoirs are currently at half their capacity) and I hate the time it takes. I have a drip system in the vegetable garden but everything else I water by hand with either the hose or a watering can.

Around Christmas I dropped by The Great Outdoors and bought myself a little present, the Dramm Revolver. I had used one when volunteering at the Green Classroom and fell in love with it.

The nozzle revolves to spray water nine different ways. The mist setting produces a cloud of mist fine enough to water seedlings. The sprinkle setting is like the fine head on my watering can. Then there are various harder sprays of different shapes, cone, center, flat, angle which make it possible to water in beds of different shapes. There is also a hard jet spray for washing out the bird bath and cleaning off rocks and a bubbly soaker to leave on the ground next to tree or large bush while I’m doing other chores.

This week temperatures soared into the 80s and I decided to use my new toy. I had so much fun. I was delighted with two other features. First, I can shut the water off at the nozzle end instead of running back to turn it off at the faucet. That makes it so much easier to stop and move the hose around without wasting water or soaking myself. I feel that I must be dealing with the some monstrous descendent of the same hose Karel Capek describes in The Gardener’s Year.

“One would think that watering a little garden is quite a simple thing, especially if one has a hose. It will soon be clear that until it has been tamed a hose is an extraordinarily evasive and dangerous beast, for it contorts itself, it jumps, it wriggles, it makes puddles of water, and dives with delight into the mess it has made; then it goes for the man who is going to use it and coils itself round his legs…”

Second, the Dramm Revolver has a little widget that flips to keep nozzle open (like at a gas pump) so that my hand doesn’t get tired squeezing the lever. It’s solid and sturdy. This was $10 very well spent.