My little scythe, which evidently is called a grass hook, has broken. I inherited this implement with the bach some 40 years ago, and it has done many years of trusty service. It’s perfect for cutting the tough grass that grows along the pathways and steps, and around the garden. You know how it is, when you’ve been using a good implement for many years, somehow your body makes friends with it.
I learned how to take care of garden tools from my father. He would oil his spade and slide it into a bucket of sand to keep it shiny and rust-free. He taught me how to tie knots, stack wood, and later, to sharpen tools.
He would approve of my wood pile, and the way I’ve crawled in to the wood box, and started pulling out the back row, ready for a new lot of wood to be cut for the winter. Here we are still in summer drought, but my father taught me how to prepare for the next season.
In my forties, spurred on by feminism and the slogan, ‘Girls can do anything’, I asked for tools for my birthdays. Here I am with one tier of the compost bin my father gave me one year. Another time he gave me a fine carpenter’s saw, and my man friend of the time gave me a yellow crow-bar.
And so, when one shop after the other informed me that they no longer stock grass hooks (because everyone uses those horrid weed eaters), you can imagine my disappointment. The grass was growing while I went from one shop to another, and in the end I had to buy this Chinese-made machete. I knew it was not well-made: the handle is not at all hand-friendly, the studs attaching the blade don’t look very secure, and worst of all, I discovered that it was quite blunt. Even though I’ve tried sharpening it, I’ve had no luck. A blade made of poor metal won’t sharpen well.
And so, I’m putting out a call for a good, old-fashioned little scythe. My kingdom for a grass hook!