Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Is It Time to Replace a Tool?

I hit myself in the face on Saturday.  Oh it wasn't because I had annoyed myself, or that maybe I had insulted myself.  I rarely get that annoyed with me. Me, myself and I have really great discussions together...but as usual, I digress.

No, the reason I socked myself is...well, I was using my pruner on a big tough branch and it snapped - not the branch, the pruner  (seen above) causing one hand to come up and rather forcefully smack me in the jaw.  Don't worry, no bruises. But I was pretty ticked off. Having a tool break like that in the middle of a job can really get to you. The job doesn't get done, I'm standing there shocked at the loss of an old friend and hurling epithets while I try and figure out what caused the break! (First, of course, I had to glance around to make sure no one saw the aforementioned Fist-To-Face Fiasco.) 

Y'see, it's those holes.  See them there in the hardwood handles? That's what caused the breakage.  Those are from when I hung up the pruner in the open air carport. No, I didn't cut the hole to hang the thing.  The holes were created by Carpenter Bees.  Xylocopa Latreille (if you want to get specific)  are found on every continent on the  planet and at first glance are about the same size as small flying SUV.  Ok, so maybe they aren't THAT big, but they are bigger than your average bee.  Nice thing is that they are fairly docile.  Except for that digging holes in wood thing they got going on.  The females dig the holes to lay eggs and sort of hibernate during the winters. Each year they return using ready made holes (whether they made them or not).  

The hole merely weakened the hardwood handles of my favorite pruner - ok, my ONLY pruner.  The pressure on the hole made it break.  It's like losing an old friend.  I've had this particular pruner for longer than I care to admit. I got it when the need got too great, the untrimmed trees and bushes calling out to be cut.  The paint has worn off the grips and the handles had to be tightened with a couple of wood screws, but it got the job done.  Now it looks like I'm going to be looking for a new one.  

I can't seem to throw out old tools like this. It will probably sit in the shed in a box until I come upon it in a few years and will toss it then, asking myself "What was I thinking keeping this old rusty thing??" 

The fact of the matter is, really, I can't go long without one.  Life in the south requires, no - DEMANDS that you keep trees and bushes from encroaching on your house, shed and walkways.  The only way to do this is with the right tools, and a pruner with as big an opening as possible is at the top of the list.  

This time, however, I'm getting the neigh-indestructible-non-wood handles. 
Dang bees can go mate elsewhere!  

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