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New Tools – Oh Yeah!

My SO is excellent at keeping the electronics of the home in fine, updated and efficient order. My computer is fast, fast, fast, and my software is the latest and greatest. But when it comes to repair and maintenance of household things, well, let’s just say that I’m the handyperson of the house. So if you find yourself in a similar position, I know you will rejoice with me when you see my new tools!

The first one is a belated (backordered) Christmas gift. It’s a wonderful, swiss-army-type of Garden tool from Leatherman for walking around the yard. It comes with a pouch and belt clip that I forgot to take a photo of.

First, it’s tucked away nice and neatly.

Leatherman Tool

Leatherman Tool

Then the first thing you have as you open it up is a pruning tool for those quick cleanups as I stroll around and see a flower to bring indoors or deadhead.

Leatherman snips

Leatherman snips

Continuing to open it, you can see the best part…a sprinkler head tool! I am forever walking around and looking at the spray on my heads in my efforts not to waste water, and never have the right tool at the right time to adjust it. This will be a major frustration saver. This side of the handle also has a small saw blade for those tougher twigs and a bottle opener for that refreshing pause with a tasty beverage.

Leatherman sprinkler tool and saw

Leatherman sprinkler tool and saw

The other side of the handle contains a Phillips head screwdriver (for those stupid screws that are constantly backing themselves out of my deck and then I trip on them and stub my toe and cuss a lot), a tiny weed puller with a ruler on the other side of the blade, and a knife edge for opening bags of mulch and stabbing mosquitos that attack.

Leatherman knife edge and weed puller

Leatherman knife edge and weed puller

Here it is in all its glory!

Leatherman MultiTool

Leatherman MultiTool

Last weekend, I went to the Austin Home and Garden Show at the convention center. I normally don’t bother going, because as much as I love my home town, this has always been the lamest Home and Garden show I’ve ever seen in my life. I grew up in the DFW area, and I suppose I got spoiled attending the Dallas Home shows, which are fabulous and huge. However, I’m about to embark on a kitchen remodel (don’t worry, you’ll see pics soon), and I thought I might learn one small thing at the show that could help.

I didn’t learn anything about my kitchen, but I did find….PINK POWER TOOLS! Here’s what I especially love about them, besides the great pink color. They are sized for smaller hands, and weigh less than manly tools. Oh yes, there is a Goddess!

The stand-out of the bunch is this light weight, yet very powerful, impact drill/driver. For those of you that aren’t familiar with them, let me tell you, it puts you right up there on the same level as those hairy men when it comes to screwing things into wood. Here’s a description from the Tomboy website: “It works just like a drill/driver – until it encounters resistance. At that point the “impact” feature kicks in. In other words, a spring in the impact driver starts “bumping” the bit rather than continuously turning it. It would be similar to taking a hammer and repeatedly tapping the side of a tight nut. Note that the driver doesn’t tap the screw into the work. It taps the screw to the side, for tightening or loosening. This lessens the chance of it splitting the wood, and the tool does the hard work for you so you just hold it. I love my impact driver because (1) it is smaller and lighter than ordinary drills, (2) it has far more torque, so the driver does the work without your having to push it, (3) because of the spring-based operation, it is easier on batteries and they last longer.”

Tomboy Tools impact driver

Tomboy Tools impact driver

When the saleslady asked me “Do you ever find yourself, when measuring something, having to count those little tiny lines to figure out if it’s an eighth, a sixteenth, or whatever?” Oh my god, Yes, and it’s so annoying! Well, obviously I’m not alone. Here’s their solution, that I snapped up instantly.

Tomboy tape measure

Tomboy tape measure

And if I want to have just one tool in my pouch as I walk around the yard, or one tool in the kitchen for quick repairs, here’s an excellent, lightweight but powerful ratchet with 10 different heads for small repairs. All the heads store inside the handle of the tool so I won’t lose them.

Pink Ratchet

Pink Ratchet

Then, lastly, I picked up this sweet little apron for wearing in the garden or in the house when working on repairs; lightweight with tons of pockets, and short enough not to get in the way when I bend over. Unfortunately, she didn’t have it in pink except in a gardening kit (which I didn’t need the tools in it), so I had to get blue.
pinktools6

And because every girl likes to have a nice bag, the drill/driver comes with this cute case. There were other carrying cases I could have purchased, but I had already spent my budget and then some, so I had to stop. Next Christmas, maybe?

Storage Bag

Storage Bag

Tomboy Tools is a company I was previously unfamiliar with, but it is apparently sold through home parties, kinda like Tupperware, Mary Kay Cosmetics, or Avon. I love how we’ve progressed, ladies!

You know, I neglect to mention, that my MOST favorite tool is a strong man who loves lifting things, but I digress. What are your favorite tools?

A year of nature in 40 seconds

This amazing video was created by Erik Solheim by taking one picture every single day of the year in the identical location, then editing it into this video. He is sharing this with those who find it interesting, as I do. I think you will, too.

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

I tried to embed the video in my blog, but WordPress isn’t allowing me to do that. Please visit this, it’s a beautiful scene of the woods through all the seasons in less than a minute. An impressive edit.

Rosemary and Thyme

Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme

Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme

A  guilty pleasure that I enjoy every Saturday night is watching the BBC Gardening/Mystery Series, Rosemary and Thyme. If you have Austin Time Warner cable, it’s on KLRU, channel 9, at 9:00 p.m. It’s quite reminiscent of the simplistic plots of the old show Murder, She Wrote, and written for a similar audience, I’m sure (read: women of a certain age). But the enjoyable part of the show is the beautiful English Gardens that these two ladies, Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme, visit each week. And unerringly, every week they end up with a dead body or two in the garden they have been hired to work on.

As I said, its a silly show if you are looking for deep plot, but it is a delight I look forward to every Saturday night (okay, yes, my life is dull and boring and I don’t get out a lot!). They often shoot on location at these beautiful gardens, and it’s a lovely sight for those of us either under drought, under snow, or under-entertained.

Right now, I’m watching this show, feet propped up on my ottoman, computer in my lap, kitty asleep by my side. Life is good.

Merry Christmas!

12-08poinsettia

Many years ago, I realized that it was silly for me to decorate at Christmas. With no children around, it was only for myself, and it became more bother than it was worth. With my champagne taste and beer budget, I realized that the type of decor I like just wasn’t possible, so I chose to do none at all. There are plenty of decorations everywhere else for me to enjoy, and I partake of those opportunities all over town, and neighboring towns.

Be that as it may, my S.O. decided he wanted to have a little decor in the house this year. So I opted to buy a live plant of some sort, along with some poinsettias, and do a small scene. I liked the Rosemary plants available shaped in the conical tree shape, but I thought they were a bit pricey. I found some poinsettias and  this lovely Norfolk Pine tree on sale, so I snagged that instead. (I’ll put it outdoors most of the year in some shade in a container, and water it as often as I can remember. Most likely it won’t make it, but it will be fun for a while. It will give an unusual shape in my yard of natives and tropicals.) I ran to Garden Ridge and grabbed a few sale decorations, and I was done.

So here’s my holiday decor, in its entirety. Merry Christmas and more importantly, peace and inner prosperity to all!

20081220norfolktree

Exceptional Drought to persist

Disappointingly, the weather service indicates that our drought in Central Texas will persist at least through next March. The Farmer’s Almanac tells me it will continue all the way through next summer, though we might get some relief through the remnants of a hurricane or two.

The Weather Service has currently given Central Texas an “exceptional” drought rating, which is the most severe rating they offer. Central Texas is currently the only location in the entire country that has such a severe designation. We gardeners could have told you that already, but it is nice to have verification. What isn’t nice, though, is that it is going to persist for many more months. My new plants may never flourish in the manner in which they could have in a normal year; the roots may be permanently affected. Oh well, life in the Texas outdoors is nothing if not unpredictable.