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Back of Beyond Farm is a small, family run operation in Rist Canyon, Colorado. We work closely with natural rhythms to create wellness teas from indigenous and naturalized plants. 2013 marks our 4th year of supporting our community through tasty teas. In the year ahead, we hope to continue our work of not only producing healthful teas, but also exploring the edges of what it means to farm and be a part of a place.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tools - Ax

In exploring some of the things I am most thankful for in 2011, I couldn't help but keep thinking of the basic tools that make my daily life easier - or at the least - more enjoyable. Over the next few weeks, I would like to pay tribute to a few of these "extensions of hand". My apologies if you are looking for wizarding tools that will preform magic. These are tools of "appropriate technology" (see post on 1/5/11 ).  And as a means of dialogue, please feel free to share your favorites with me as well.

My ax is a daily part of my life from September through April (most years). Keeping the fire burning at the right times of day allows us to use minimal heat from other sources. Axes have an appeal that, similar to the hammer and knife, go back to our earliest experiences in a craft - hammer and nails in scrap pieces of lumber, a knife peeling ribbons from a marshmallow roasting stick, and the ax on an early camping trip.

My ax is onto it's second handle in 8 years. My ax is nothing special - just a tool that came with the forest, left behind by the previous owner. And though every year there is a renewed commitment to better tending my tools, it generally gets one or two sharpenings with a stone (St. Mathias day in February is a good time, as is early September in preparation for the Winter of chopping) and a periodic oiling of head and handle. I am no Dick Proenneke with an ax, but I get by.

Some day, I imagine a Gransfors Bruks ax in my hand, deftly making "little from big", but till then, my freebie ax is most appreciated in making a home in these woods.