As the person who sharpened the tool shown, I feel it is my duty to warn you of a particular situation that may result in a wound like the one in the photo. It is important to remember that when yanking on plant material, that when that material comes loose, the grasping arm may suddenly fly backwards. If your other hand is holding a sharp object, that object may come into contact with said arm, resulting in skin penetration and a leaking of bodily fluids. To that end, please use extra caution when using one of the tools I have so thoroughly honed. It would ease my mind if you would create a first aide station in your back yard that would include a lot of bandages and perhaps a tourniquet.
Here, unfortunately, is an example of “Do as I say, and not as I have done”. Moderation is a goal to which most of us aspire—whether it is diet, sun exposure, exercise routines, or mountain climbing. Gardening should especially fall into this category. For instance, I was barking in the front yard today. (“Barking” is the technical term for applying bark to your landscape.) It was 90 degrees out. It wasn’t too long before I was tired. So rather than pushing it, I went into the house and relaxed on my recliner. And, of course, fell asleep. I was proud of myself because I quit before I became exhausted, which has been the usual outcome of my gardening activities. (For your information the way you determine whether you are just tired, or truly exhausted is by the length of your tongue hanging out of your mouth.) This pause was just the first of many that occurred through the day. The motivation to overdo activities is to finish the job, and it is a very difficult goal to resist. But I implore you to consider your physical well being over your mental wellbeing (be it as it may). Give your body a break and take a break. The weeds will be willing to wait until you return. Besides, they will be easier to find. The mess of leaves will remain—perhaps not in the same location—but they will be somewhere. Water those potted plants and put them into the ground tomorrow. I think you get the idea. Be sensible in your gardening activities—save some of the fun until tomorrow . . or next week.
Have you recently been frustrated by having more garden refuse than your bin can hold? This has been my case in recent weeks as fall approaches and I have increasing amount of debris to get rid of. I have found that by climbing into my bin, and jumping up and down, I can compress the plant material into a much smaller volume. Now although this activity is a lot of fun, there are several dangers of which you must be aware. The plant material itself can be a threat if there are sharp pokey things that might penetrate your legs. Then too, the act of climbing into or out of a bin creates the possibility of a tumble. Then too, if you compress the plant material too low, you may not be able to escape. But I guess that’s OK since it’s an organic bin, and you are definitely organic. Sounds like a gruesome episode you might watch on TV about a missing person. Yuck.
I hope that you don’t have to face the weekly volume problem of garden refuse like I do. The City of Davis doesn’t do street pickups for 6 straight months! In any case, perhaps you should leave dumpster stomping to a local neighborhood child. They would probably love it.
Sooner or later you will injure yourself while working in the garden. This possibility is actually increased by the fact that if you are using a tool I have sharpened, it will be razor sharp. Your tender skin simply cannot resist the blade of a properly sharpened tool. If there is any consolation, you will be surprised at how painless the cut will be. You see, the sharper the cutting edge, the less nerve tissue damage there it. And it’s not just the tools that can hurt you. The garden is like a battle ground–with enemy thorns, rough bark, splinters, rock and concrete surfaces and just plain pokey branches just waiting for you to make just one careless move. You might win the war, but sooner to later you will lose a battle.
Now most of you will probably ignore the wound and continue your gardening chores. I, however, cannot. Any tiny skin puncture results a blood flow that simply won’t stop because of the blood thinner I take. So I have to go inside and apply a bandage. Here is where my advice comes in: Use Nexcare clear waterproof bandages. After washing the wound area thoroughly (do as I say, not as I do) and drying, apply antibacterial cream or ointment to the gauze pad, and stick on the bandage. Now you are literally covered for days. These bandages are unobtrusive and will remain stuck to you skin until you get around to finally removing it days later. And voila, the wound is completely healed. Now I realize that severe wounds are not treated just with a bandage, and although one of my sons swears by super glue to stick open wounds back together, you are going to have to use a certain amount of common sense in dealing with accidents in the garden. In any case, stock up your medicine cabinet with Nexcare clear waterproof bandages and a tube of antibacterial cream or ointment. You want to be prepared for that next accident that will occur.
Not all of us are comfortable kneeling, but playing in the garden often requires it. My kneeling days are numbered, even though I’ve been protecting my knees with knee pads for years. In fact, I have a set for indoors and a set for outdoors. I wear knee pads so much that I just keep them on when I nap in the recliner between play sessions.
An alternative to wearing knee pads is using kneeling pads—one inch thick pads of soft material that you place between you and the ground. We must have 3 or 4 around here. I’ll grab one for LaVille when I catch her kneeling on a hard surface. These pads are fine to use, but when you move around a lot, like when I’m chasing weeds around the yard, it’s a nuisance to carry the pad with you.
Here, for you persistent kneelers, is a device that you may wish to purchase and use. It’s a seat bench that can b e turned up-side-down and then used as a kneeling pad. Look at the attached picture to see what I mean. You can work while bending over from the bench, or you can kneel when it’s flipped over. Perhaps the best feature is the fact that you have 2 supports on the sides that will help you get up—which is the hard part. Do you remember that the main reason for using a rigid plastic bucket when weeding was that you could use it to help you get up? An additional feature is that the legs can folded in for storage.
There is a variety of kneeler benches at Amazon for less that $40.
If your knees could talk, they would thank you. The side supports may just be the feature that will save you from taking a face plant into the garden—and nobody likes to grow face plants.