Friday, July 17, 2015

My Libyan Hoe

Actually, I've just found out, it's a heavy duty grubbing hoe. That's it back in Libya, on the left. It cost buttons in the hardware store, but a lot more when I decided to take it home because my luggage was overweight. Dad kept it in a cupboard for me pending the day when I got my own allotment again. And finally, yesterday, it got back into action.

At the bottom of Pig Sty Avenue (Glasgow), there are two great heaps of earth, covered in nettles. I dealt with the nettles, and tried first with a garden fork, and then with a spade to clear the mounds. But at some point there must have been something substantial planted on these mounds, fruit bushes probably, because they were wick with heavy roots. Enter the Libyan hoe. I must have had some kind of premonition when I brought it home back in 2008, because it is the perfect tool for the job. I can dig into the mound, through the roots, grub them out, and then use it to pull the soil forward.  I can finish the job in a couple of hours now - it would have taken weeks of heartbreak with a spade.

I tried out the hoe on the top end of the allotment, where there's two or three inches of earth (held together by (now dead, glyphosated) grass. Underneath there's all kinds of bricks, timbers, god knows what else - it's going to be like Time Team when I get started on it. But the Libyan HDGH is perfect for that, too, cutting through the earth, you can get in amongst the bricks and rotten timbers and gently lever them out.

Pig Sty Avenue (Glasgow) is becoming something of an obsession. I'm not reading books, watching telly, or practicing the piano. When I'm not there digging or hoeing, I'm staring out of the window, planning hedgerows, greenhouses, ponds, sheds, moving earth around.