Little Garden Tip: Repurposed Treasure

I had this shirt made several years ago.

Mom and Dad had been married 17 years when I was adopted. It was obvious that they/he wanted a child. He was a prof at Texas A&M, but he was home by 5:10 every day to hit flyballs to me in the park or to do woodworking or gardening alongside me. He was always alongside me.

I achieved mediocrity in baseball. I worked my way up to “Fair” in woodworking. And you could call me perhaps passable in horticulture.

It’s in that last category that I present my Little Garden Tip for today.

Here’s an heirloom from the Sperry family.

Meet my dad’s linoleum knife. Omer Sperry was a fixer-upper. Primarily of our house. We had linoleum floors and linoleum countertops. I guess Formica® was out there, but we surely didn’t have it.

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I met this little knife 70 years ago. My job, while dad was rehabbing the house, was to get rid of the weeds. I saw this little thing sitting in his toolbox, and it looked like just what I needed.

If you have weeds with a taproot, this is your pal. You can reach in just below ground line and slice through the stems. It takes weeds out one quick move at a time.

This little knife is especially great in reaching between bricks and stones where weeds like to hide. Back when my knees worked a lot better, I spent hours going through my landscape cleaning things up. This knife and I were best friends. We still are. I polished it up for its photo this morning. Wish I could do the same for my knees. 😀

I noticed something unusual as I put my fingers around its handle this morning and grabbed my old knife for some photos. I could feel my dad’s hand holding mine, as if to reassure “young” Neil that things were going to be alright. I was at his bedside 49 years ago next week as he was slipping away. I think about him every day. That reassurance brought tears to my eyes.

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Little treasures have a way of bringing back those memories. My dad was my hero, and some of the tools he allowed me to share are my constant reminder.

Want to have a weed-cutting party? Get the whole family involved? Give ‘em as gifts? Someone had a collection of linoleum knives on eBay this week. That sale has ended, but there are more than 250 other knives up for grabs.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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