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Saturday, December 27, 2008

A New Old Hoe

Oh, the gifts we gardeners get for Christmas and birthdays!

We love pruners and pots and plants. Gardening books and calendars. And tools!

And they don’t even have to be new tools. They can be old, like this hoe.
It’s an old Asian hoe that my brother got me for Christmas.

As hoes go, it’s fairly heavy and has an interesting bend to it. You can tell by the way the blade is worn that it was used and sharpened quite a bit by someone, somewhere, for some time.

I can just imagine that perhaps it was used on a terraced slope in some far off place called Asia. Or maybe it was used in the rice fields of China?

Through this hoe, and others like it, we can connect with other gardeners from other times and imagine gardening in other places, even other centuries.

That’s what I like best about old gardening tools like this. They remind us that gardening has been going on since the beginning of time, and though we have many new fangled tools to use in our gardens, the basic tools like hoes, shovels, rakes and trowels have remained mostly unchanged over the centuries.

They are timeless, just like gardening.

19 comments:

The Garden Faerie said...

My friend Carole gave me an old trowel once, just because. It's the coolest green metal 9fading to rust), with a "nub" of wood at the end of the handle. Today I also discovered a good use for the long handle part of what used to be a rake--a stick for stirring my bonfire from a safe distance!
~ Monica

Katie said...

I love this gift of yours. Getting something that means something, has character, and is/was well-loved is quite special.

Karen said...

That is one of the coolest gifts I have ever heard of! I have bought antique tools before but they were usually for decoration. I am not a hoe person (no rude jokes please) but that one is way cool.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Congrats on another hoe. Brothers are special people aren't they? This hoe will also remind you of him in the future.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I like your new hoe. It looks like such a classic, and you're right, it's fun to imagine who might have used it so long ago.~~Dee

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Sounds like you got the perfect gift. Reminds me of the 1st Dibs mantra: "Do the planet a favor: Buy antiques and vintage design." So that means you got two gifts in one."

Kathy said...

In the first picture, it almost looked like it was bent out of shape, but in the second photo it was clear that the bend was an intentional part of the design. It does make you wonder if it had a special use or if the owner used the tool in a different way, squatting perhaps?

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

So true, the basics are the basics because they work. What a very thoughtful gift from your brother. You'll have to get him something special for his birthday.

Pam/Digging said...

I like a hoe with a history, Carol. It's fun imagining the gardener(s) who used it before it came to you.

Sue said...

That really is a good looking hoe. Your brother did a great job choosing a gift for you.

EAL said...

I love these antique hoes, even though I don't even own a modern one. I hope you are displaying them so they can be admired by all.

garden girl said...

Carol, I think you should contact Guiness - I'm betting you have the largest hoe collection in the world! ;)

Mary said...

Another hoe for your collection - a very special hoe, indeed. Whenever you use it, you'll be wondering who cared for it before you...

Perfect gift for you, Carol. Your brother did good.

Mary

Matron said...

What a wonderful gift! I love using old tools, I use the ones that my Father used and they never seem to break or bend like the new ones do. The wooden handles are beautifully worn and smooth and the steel is hard and well made.

Rose said...

Your family certainly knows what to get you for Christmas, Carol! You know I'm not a collector of old gardening tools, but my husband still has the hoe that belonged to his grandfather. Every time he picks it up, he thinks of working alongside his grandfather and the stories he used to tell. Timeless and priceless.

Pat Leuchtman said...

One of the aspects of gardening I love is the feeling of being connected through time and cultures to all those who have gone before - tending their gardens, having the same concerns for the sustenance of their families and communities, and a desire for some measure of beauty. I also inherited tools from other gardeners, and I like holding their histories and talents in my hand as I use them.

Scott said...

I dig my garden by hand, per Steve Solomon's Gardening When it Counts, so have a number of great tools. Each time I go out and work the earth with them I am reminded of the efforts of my forefathers as they brought agriculture to the lands. But this connection is more than symbolic. My father, grand-father, my great-grand-father, and further, were all farmers back to the Reconstruction period post-civil war. The first immigrant from my family used his pay as a Union soldier to buy acerage in southern Maryland.

Thank you for this post.

Annie in Austin said...

Old kitchen tools are cool, too - I have my mom's wooden-handled potato masher and my father-in-law's boning knife.

But Carol, the real gift wasn't the wonderful hoe, it was having a brother that understands you.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Patsi said...

Now that's a smart brother !
Had to put your link on my side bar...
otherwise I forget to visit :(