Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Name That Tool

My favorite garden hand tool
More than a decade ago I bought a galvanized bucket and the garden tools it contained at a yard sale. I asked the husband babysitting the sale if he would throw in a small Igloo cooler and give me a reduced price for the whole assortment. I even mentioned a ridiculously low price.

I think I embarrassed my husband, but starting at a low price, delivered with a cheerful, humble smile is always worth a try at yard sales. Bargaining is entertaining. Some folks are ready to get rid of stuff. Others want to get rid of stuff, too; but they set their yard sale prices much higher based on what they paid for an item new or the value they unconsciously place on the item’s ability to invoke treasured memories.

This gentleman didn’t blink at my offer. He said, “Sure!” I promptly hauled my purchases to our van before the wife could return and throw a fit. I still use the galvanized bucket to hold my gardening hand tools, and several that were in that bucket are among the ones I use regularly. And the little cooler continues serving us well for his and her picnics and day trips.

My haul also included a tool I hadn’t seen before but which quickly became my favorite garden hand tool. It has a wonderful wooden handle and a single long metal shaft that ends in a flat triangle with a “V” notch in the business end. I love how I can poke it deep into the ground next to a stubborn weed and loosen the unwelcome offender from its grip in my garden. Ha! Take that!

But I can’t very well sing my favorite tool’s praises without knowing its name. It would be like leaving the hospital with your newborn, lovingly addressing him or her only as “Hey, You.”

The trouble with me and Google searches, however, is that I turn the search into a major expedition as one intriguing fact, at least intriguing to me, leads to another jewel of information and another and another.

The tool I finally found most like mine was an asparagas knife. I had never heard of an asparagas knife but enjoyed the description on the Red Pig Tool’s site:

“Asparagus harvesting knives . . . became America's favorite weed pry by default -- they're vastly more effective than either a screwdriver or a table knife, the usual alternatives.”

I googled the words “weed pry” from the same product description and wound up back at Red Pig again. I was rather charmed by the text that asserted that my beloved weed fighter was either a “dandelion weeder” or not a weeder at all but an “asparagas harvesting knife under an assumed identity.”

The "dandelion weeder" reference gave me another term for googling. Bingo! Among the sales sites that popped up were several that included images. Definitely just like my favorite tool. Although it has yet to encounter either a dandelion or asparagas, now I can choose to refer to my “dandelion weeder” or if I want to embellish my meager gardening skills, my “asparagas harvesting knife.”


  1. which ever one you decide to call it, dandelion or asparagus it is cool and i have never seen one before, plus you are way brave to Deal with the owner of this wonderful tool. I always look at the price and leave if it is to much. i am a big chicken on dickering

  2. What a cool story!! I guess the common weed digger is now given the dignity it deserves!!!

  3. I am so glad you found out the name of your favorite gardening tool. So much better than the watchamacallit!!

  4. I don't believe I've ever seen one of those dandelion weeders, but we sure could use one here! We have lots of dandelions :(

    Ed loves yard sales, and he doesn't mind asking for a cheaper price either! I'm not brave enough to wheel and deal.

    I appreciate the recent sweet comments that you left on my blog. I'll keep you posted on the gardening adventures of Ed and Kathy :)

  5. I have one of those and use it all the time in hand to weed combat. Now I know what to call it. Thanks. However with my bad back, I now mostly use a long handled, triangle shaped hoe that I can use standing up. Not as precise but works marvelously.
    I am embarrassment to all who love to dicker.I willingly pay sticker price even at yard sales. Sad, I know.

  6. yes, I, too, hate to bargain -- even in foreign countries where it expected!