Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Garden Story

It's spring time in Augusta GA and that means there is much yard work and gardening to be done.  The warm weather hit 3 or 4 weeks earlier than normal, and I wasn't prepared for the earlier season. 

As I started into the work, I realized my 10 year old wheelbarrow was even less ready that I was!  After so many years of faithful service and shared memories, I finally admitted it couldn't be repaired.  It's not easy giving up an old friend, an old habit, a part of your life. 

We'd accomplished much together at 3 different houses over the decade or more.  We'd transformed neglected houses and boring yards into homes for me and my family, and gardens that connected us to creation, produced food, and attracted all sorts of beneficial insects and animals.  Oh, the stories we could tell! 

Now my old wheelbarrow couldn't hold much material, but we managed.  It just required more work from me.

For years I had a tire that had a slow leak, which meant I'd need to air it up every time I used it.  But I kept working with the same tool and got accustomed to the inconvenience.  It was a little tipsy, and didn't steer well, requiring constant attention.  Sometimes it was hard to tell which required more work- the wheelbarrow or the task at hand!

As you might expect, the old metal bucket had holes in it.  In the last year, I'd mixed some cement in it and left it in there a little too long, so that it dried and filled up the holes.  It gave my old friend, that I knew so well and was so comfortable with, lots of character.

When I recently tried to move "old faithful" one of the wooden handles broke off.  The somewhat inefficient tool became rather useless at this point.  If you can't visualize my friend, or don't have one in your own yard, here's a picture to show what will now eventually get stripped down and become an herb garden.   

This forced me to recently purchase a new wheelbarrow.  I resisted this for some time, thinking I could patch, or buy used, or do something to postpone the inevitable.  Once I took a test drive of a new wheelbarrow there was no turning back! 

My new wheelbarrow is a thing of beauty.  I hadn't realized there have been a few improvements in recent years that build on the knowledge of everyday work and of better design.  I honestly didn't realize how bad my old workhorse was until I pushed my first load of dirt in the new friend.

I expect my new tool will last me 15 years, or so, just like the last one did. I'm reminded that even well constructed tools don't last a generation.  There are a number of noticeable differences between my old wheelbarrow and this new and improved workhorse.

My new wheelbarrow is all metal- no wood at all.  The wheel is one of those airless tires that are tall and strong.  So far, there are no scratches and holes in this bucket, though I know we'll create new stories together in our shared work.  Check out my upgrade:

Great tire- check.
Sturdy metal frame- check.
Big bucket- check.

I admired the new wheelbarrow for a few minutes and then promptly put it to work.  I got more done in one day than I would have in 2 days with my old wheelbarrow!  I was reminded that the important thing isn't to keep repeating the same habits with the same familiar tool, but that the goal is for work to be accomplished and the task completed as efficiently as possible. 
The only problem I've noticed is that the wheelbarrow is using the same power source!

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