It all started with that forsythia bush. Collin had barely gotten started pruning out the thickest branches for me, when the blade of the lopper snapped off. I had purchased these loppers from Lee Valley a while ago, but I thought it was worth contacting them to see if the loppers had a lifetime warranty. Many of Lee Valley’s tools do, but not this one.
They did have a replacement blade, however. It had never even occurred to me that I could replace the blade on my lopper. (Frankly, it had never occurred to me to sharpen the blade, either, which was probably why it snapped in the first place–too dull to cut well.) It was only $3.50 plus shipping.
Decreasing the per-item shipping cost
But shipping was $7.95 for orders up to $20, and $9.95 for orders up to $120. It just wouldn’t do to pay more for shipping than for the blade. It was clear I needed to spread the cost of shipping over more items. A consultation with my wish list was in order. (Did you know Lee Valley has a wish list function?)
One great shovel
I won’t bore you with an itemized list of everything I bought. I just want to tell you that I am really, really happy with the stainless steel border shovel that I purchased. It’s one thing to dig holes for plants in a brand new perennial bed. It’s quite another thing to dig a hole for one new plant in an already established perennial bed. Quite often it’s a little bit of something from a friend that you’re planting, and besides being awkward and heavy to manipulate in close quarters, a standard shovel makes a bigger hole than needed.
I used to make do with what we call “the little kids’ shovel,” the one at the bottom of the photo. The head was the right size, but the handle was too short. If there’s not enough room for a standard shovel, there’s not enough room to kneel and use the little shovel, so that solution created its own problems. But as you can see, the new shovel has a head just slightly larger than the little shovel, and a handle mid-way in length between the two, handily overcoming the drawbacks of the other tools.
Tool size matched to body size
And if I had truly understood how much difference a tool of the proper size and weight for a specific gardener would make, I would have bought this shovel much sooner. I do everything with it I used to do with the standard shovel, and even though I am moving less material with each shovelful, I am less wobbly and move more efficiently. I am not sure if it takes more total time, but it feels much more natural, and therefore satisfying. I no longer dread shoveling tasks!
Out of the (ahem!) thirteen items in the order, only one was backordered–the replacement blades for the loppers. It took six weeks to get here. Go figure.
Shortly after the lopper blade snapped, the head of my narrow trowel broke off in a similar fashion. I still haven’t replaced this, so I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. I have a wider trowel, and there are a couple of narrow dollar-store trowels that I bought for the kids banging around, so I’ve been waiting to find the perfect replacement.
In the meantime, that broken trowel has found a new life as a prop in all sorts of dramatic play. Death by trowel: who’d a thunk it?