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Friday Favorite: The Ringer

March 15th, 2019

It’s been a bit of a crazy week around here, I don’t know if you’ve noticed the blog has been down, Seeds & Sundries has been down, facebook and instagram were down for me, there’s something going on in the great interwebs. Anyway, back to our scheduled posts. I’ve been wanting to post about this fantastic tool for a while. My mom bought one years ago and would tell me how great it was every time I was visiting. I got one for myself and LOVE it. It’s called ‘The Ringer’ and it’s a chainmail type scrubber for cast iron.

I use this tool combined with Castile soap from Vermont Soap Company for my cast iron. Lots of people say not to use soap, but I find that this type of soap doesn’t ruin the finish (grease busting soaps like Dawn will). For me, this is the perfect way to clean my vintage cast iron pans and keep them going for the next generation of cooks that will use them when I’m gone.

There are cheap knockoffs out there, so if you want to get one for yourself, make sure you find the Made in North America one.

I’ve always used copper or stainless steel scrubbers on my cast iron in the past, but they wear out and need replacing. One of the best features of this is that it lasts and lasts. My parents have had theirs for 6-7 years at least if not longer. It looks just like it did new.

Have you found any great long lasting tools lately?

My Vintage Edger

May 21st, 2015

Last week I talked about edging my flowerbeds and a few of you were interested in seeing my vintage edger. I bought this beauty at the vintage tool shop in town, I think I only paid $4 for it.
Vintage Edger 1
I love that it’s like a small rounded shovel, with the folded over pieces on top of the blade to make pushing on it more comfortable. The short blade is the perfect depth for an edge.
Vintage Edger 2
The handle is also the perfect length, it come up to the bottom of my sternum. That’s the perfect height for an edger if you ask me, but then I’ve tried using a longer shovel and have been hit in the face with the handle when I hit a rock while trying to drive it into the ground.
Vintage Edger 3
I’ve used a few different edgers and shovels before, this is absolutely the perfect tool. I’ll definitely be going back to the store frequently hoping to find another. Another thing I love about using vintage tools is the history behind them. While edging my gardens I wonder how many other gardeners have used it and how many different gardens it has been used in.

Do you have any vintage garden tools? Any that are your favorite?

Friday Favorite: Hand Hoe

August 1st, 2014

I used to have hand trowels that I loved, then I got this hand hoe from Johnny’s Seeds. It’s now my favorite tool, pretty much the only one I use. It works for pretty much any gardening task and I love that it has a sharp blade that can be used for cutting roots and hoeing. It can also be used as a trowel to dig planting holes.
hand hoe 3
hand hoe 4
I find myself always reaching for this tool and finally decided that with the size of my garden I needed to purchase a few more. Last week two shiny new ones arrived. I now have one to keep up by the main garden behind the garage, one to keep by the back door, and one to keep by the front door as well.

Do you have a favorite hand tool?

Friday Favorite: Vintage Garden Tools

April 11th, 2014

I’m a huge fan of old tools, they’re just so much better than newer ones. You can still buy good quality garden tools but they’re pricy. The ones you get at the local home improvement store are generally not that great. I buy garden tools when I see them in good condition at yard sale and antique store.
vintage tools 1
I’m amassing quite a collection. I have purchased a few new tools, when I need a specific tool and don’t haven’t found a good vintage one.  You can certainly spot the new tool in the group above!
vintage tools 2
potager walkway 2
One thing I love about vintage tools is the old wood handles. These handles are made of wonderful hardwood, they don’t bend and they rarely break and they do it while being beautiful and quite comfortable to use.  I also love that old garden tool handles are not the same width all the way down, this makes them super comfortable to use.  You can tell they were made for people who used their garden tools a lot!
vintage tools 3
Earlier this week I spent some time sanding down all the handles to my tools and giving them a protective coating of wax that I make up (recipe to come next week). Many gardeners do this in the fall, I prefer to do it in the spring. I know the hour or so this takes will protect these tools and make them last for another generation.
vintage tools 1 (1)
vintage tools 2 (1)
When the weather warms up I scrub them with steel wool and give the metal parts a protective coating of organic boiled linseed oil (the real stuff, no cheap stuff with petroleum additives).
vintage tools 4
The best part of vintage tools is the price. Generally, I spend between $3-$8 for each one. You certainly can’t beat that price. I also love knowing that these tools work on when they come to my home. They are doing what they were made to be doing and what the gardener before me did with them. I think perhaps they bring a little bit of the previous gardeners spirit to my garden as well!

Do you have any vintage garden tools?

Farmer Chiots

February 5th, 2013

Ever since we moved to our new place in Maine, Mr Chiots has been looking for tractors on Craig’s List. Luckily, our new neighbor Matt is well versed in the tractor world and has been helping.
Kubota LA481 4
A week ago Sunday, they headed up to look at one that looked promising. When he returned, Mr Chiots had the manual and big smile on his face. He had purchased his chariot. Luckily we found a great deal on a used one.
Kubota LA481 2
Kubota LA481 6
Kubota LA481 3
This past Saturday, they rented a trailer from a friend, and made two trips to bring home the tractor and all the implements.
Kubota LA481 5
Kubota LA481 7
Kubota LA481 1
Lucky me, now I can have Mr Chiots dig holes for trees in a snap with a tractor. It will sure come in handy when it comes to tending the driveway and squirreling away firewood to stay warm in the winter.

What’s your favorite garden tool or machine?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.