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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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tool Care

Not the sharpest tool in the shed - we use this to subtly subject our less-witted friends to torment. And we are equally tormented on a small holding, like ours, when a tool doesn't quite do its job.

John Seymour places tool maintenance firmly in these Winter months. Around here, we choose to do our thorough sharpening sometime around February 24th - The Feast of St. Matthias. Characterized by an ax, St. Matthias day seems an appropriate time to tend to saw, and ax, and knifes, and the cutting tools of shovels and hoe.

The Self-Sufficient Life runs a listing of the most practical tools for each job - from "Making use of Woodlands" to "Making Wine". The illustrations and descriptions keep it simple. A jumping off spot for experimentation and moving from novice to expert with the given tool.

We all have dreams of the best of tools - the $60 hoe or the $200 Swedish, hand-crafted ax. But, just as likely our tools come as hand-me-downs and thrift and rummage sale finds.

I like to run a rag soaked in linseed oil over the wood handles a couple times a year. And I soak the heads of tools in a sand and used oil mixture (contained in a five gallon bucket) at the same times. Some of our tools are used almost daily - ax in the Fall and Winter - hoe in the Summer.

Now is the time to get them into working shape - using a grinder and whetstone to take out nicks and bends.

The hope is that I'll never get labeled for having less than sharp tools in my shed - figurative or otherwise.