PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
How time flies! It seems like yesterday that I compiled a list of five tools that I’m thankful for in celebration of Thanksgiving Day 2016, and here we are a year later with Thanksgiving coming up. At the time, I wrote that hobby farmers should have no trouble compiling a lengthy “I’m thankful for” list, so allow me to expand on my own list and add five more tools that I’m thankful for.
1. Yard Carts
It’s hard to beat a good yard cart for convenience and ease of use. No need to hook it up to the tractor or ATV—you can just grab on to the handle and haul pretty hefty loads wherever you need to go. I have a couple of yard carts and use them for transporting things as different as hay, water, bricks, debris and other tools.
2. Ratcheting Straps
I was given a set of ratcheting straps as a Christmas gift last year and put them to good use over the summer, using them to tie down large loads of tree trimmings piled on my trusty red wagon. They also proved perfect for securing corral panels for transport across the farm on a large hay wagon. They’re easy to use, strong and effective—all traits to be thankful for.
3. Apple Pickers
A huge number of apples would go to waste each year if it weren’t for apple pickers. Reaching the tops of tall apple trees can be difficult (if not dangerous or impossible) with ordinary ladders, so having an apple picker is the key to helping you harvest the full extent of your annual apple crop. Just make sure it’s extra long—I find that the finest apples often grow at the very tops of trees.
4. Bolt & Wire Cutters
How could we get along without bolt and wire cutters? I’m a frequent user of both these tools, particularly my large bolt cutters, which are perfect for cutting through old wire fencing (my farm has plenty, installed decades ago). Wire cutters—which are smaller and can be used with one hand—are equally useful and a great tool to slip into a pocket or tool chest when working anywhere on a farm.
5. Digging Bars
From a versatility standpoint, a digging bar is an essential tool that every hobby farmer should be thankful for. In addition to being perfect for loosening fence posts and digging up rocks and tree stumps, a digging bar can also be used for breaking up and chipping away ice patches during the winter. Just be sure to wear safety goggles!
Now it’s your turn! Which tools are you thankful to have?