My Amish furrowing hoe arrived in the mail the day before a big planting event in a community garden just down the hill from my house in the country. I woke up that morning, did my rabbit and sheep chores, made my breakfast of greens and a couple fried eggs, and brought my breakfast, a fork, some seeds, and the hoe down to the bottom of the road. I sat on a gravel pile and ate my breakfast while I waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. Conor showed up before the others; the first words out of his mouth were “You look like Walt Whitman.” The second statement was, “That hoe is calling out to me.”
The hoe spent the rest of the morning doing fabulous things like making furrows for soybeans and then covering them up. It’s really lovely what a sharp tool will do—a girl can just drag a furrowing hoe through freshly tilled soil as if she’s a tractor or something, opening up a nice even furrow. And if the soil
isn’t newly tilled, a sharp tool like this one can cut through weeds easily. We used it that morning for weeding too, even though wider hoes might have more intuitive shapes for weeding. For small weeds, you can scrape the surface of the soil with the long sides, and for bigger weeds, you can jab in with the point. But where this hoe really shines is in furrow making, hence its name.
After the work day, I made sure to clean my tools so that they’d retain their gleam as well as their sharp edges—I’m learning and learning as I go that quality tools only remain their wondrous selves with good care from their users. So I try to be conscious not to leave them out in the field, and to keep them clean and rust-free, as much out of gratitude for their good craftsmanship as for the practicality of it all.
The soybeans are up and flourishing now, despite some aggressive deer pressure. I’m glad we had the Amish furrowing hoe to ease our planting, and I am grateful that we will have such a good tool for years to come.