Toy, err, tool shopping

The last few weeks have had lots to write about and little time to do so. A late freeze threatened the early plantings, heavy rains delayed later planting, and just when things were starting to stabilize and all planting was done a series of storms brought heavy rain and 3 rounds of hail yesterday. It’s too early to tell the extent of the damage to the orchyard, but I think it is fair to say that the tree fruit will probably not be a bumper crop this year.

Since I wanted some time to see how things are progressing post-hail before writing more about the orchyard, I ran a couple of errands today. During one of them I happened to find a cleaver on clearance, and having thought about buying one a few times I decided to get it. In that last moment before the checkout, however, I felt a need to justify the purchase, and my justification was that I could use it to cut up pumpkins and winter squash. That got me thinking about other toys, um…. tools for the orchyard.

I figure there are three main types of tools involved. The first is the set of actual tools which are pretty much required to plant and maintain the orchyard – things like shovels, rakes, pruners, sprayers, , etc… The second is those devices which are not necessarily required but make it easier or more enjoyable to work with the plants, and the third are the specialty things used to deal with the produce of the orchyard.

The second category is fairly limited. I include such things as the tiller, the scythe, my “one manpower cultivator,” various special purpose pruning tools, grafting knives, and the chipper / shredder used to deal with pruning waste.

The third category is wide open. Today’s cleaver, for instance, fits neatly under this category (as well as a generally fun kitchen tool by itself). The cider press is another, as is the fruit picker, grape crusher, apple peeler, cherry pitter, food mill, apple butter pot, cherry jam kettle, canning tools, etc, not to mention the various other knives, pie plates, cake pans, etc… which owe their place in the kitchen largely due to dealing with produce.

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