I love old tools, machines and devices from our agrarian past. That allure drew me and my two youngest sons yesterday to the 47th annual Pageant of Steam in Canandaigua, N.Y. It was a sunny, hot, Wednesday in August, and the first day of the four day event.In short, we had a really good time. It was so good, in fact, that we all decided we should go again next year.
There were several different attractions at the pageant. First, there was the flea market and I felt it was an exceptionally good one. I went hoping to find some old but still useful agrarian tools, and I wasn’t disappointed. As always, I was on the lookout for another garden hoe to add to the small but useful selection I already have. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: A gardener can never have too many good garden hoes. They are a fundamental and essential agrarian tool.
As Providence would have it, I found the exact hoe I hoped I would find. It was the hoe of my dreams... a Planet Jr. wheel hoe... For 15 dollars... in decent working condition. If you are familiar with the Planet Jr. low-wheel hoe, you know it is probably the handiest, most efficient, and easy to use garden hoe ever invented. It is indispensable if you are a market gardener or just growing a big garden for your family.
The Planet Jr. company went out of business but Lehmans Hardware sells a modern reproduction of the tool for a mere $389. Here’s the link: Lehman’s Wheel Hoe
Another tool I went to the flea market hoping to find was a good old buck saw. There were many to choose from, ranging in price from $12 to $32, but I found a very nice one for $5. The guy I bought it from actually had three alike for $5 each. I wish I had bought them all. I have three sons and each of them needs a buck saw. They may not think so but I do. I could give them as Christmas gifts. But I have plans for this saw before Christmas arrives. By the way, Lehmans sells a good buck saw for $47.95. Here’s the link: Lehmans Buck Saw
Amongst all the tables and tents of old tools, parts, books, and other assorted stuff, I also discovered a lot of wonderful mystery implements. Things like this:
The S-shaped blade on this long-handled tool is hand-forged. I asked the vendor what it was and he told me. I never would have guessed it. But it made sense when I heard it. This was a tool used by farmers in the 1800’s. Before I tell you what it is, I’m going to see if anyone reading this can guess what it is.
I could have bought this tool for $26. The guy would have taken less. I came close to getting it. But as much as I appreciate and enjoy old wood-and-iron farm tools, I need to restrict my acquisitions to tools that I can actually use or, at least, utilize as inspirational “investments” for new Whizbang Book projects. Collecting only for the sake of collecting is a pastime for people with money to spare and the room to store their collection. I have neither.
So how about it? Can anyone tell me what the old agrarian tool shown above was used for? Post your answer here and when (if) someone gets it right, I’ll let you know. If no one guesses after a couple weeks, I’ll reveal what it is.
I haven’t yet told you about the steam part of the Steam Pageant. That’ll be my next blog installment. Stay tuned for Part 2
Bristol Caverns picnic - [image: Bristol caverns] The view from a picnic table at Bristol Caverns.
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