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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Saturday, May 03, 2008

May Dreams Hoe Down

May Dreams Carol is having a Hoe Down and my hoes were invited. I didn't dress them up, but they did get splashed with the garden hose before their photo was taken.

A trio of hoes lean against the door of the shed, dazed at being out in the sunlight... they're semi-retired hoes now, once called upon to take care of some nasty, weedy characters in Illinois, but having few assignments in Texas. The vegetable garden here is hardly large enough to swing a cat, let alone a tall, skinny hoe, whether the one at right with a rectangular shape or a the pointed triangular one at left. That third, flat hoe in the middle is for chopping ice - not a specialty much in demand around Austin.

The hand-hoes, however, lead an active life - they're called upon almost daily to dig out weeds and grass. The Cape Cod weeder in the center once had some shine and varnish, but is worn and grimy now, although a few swipes with a ceramic sharpener results in renewed edginess. The yellow-handled Cobrahead has been around for a while, brought home after a lucky encounter at a Park festival. Philo kept this one reserved for his own use while I preferred the Cape Cod weeder. Once I brought home the blue version of the Cobrahead, however, I could understand the attraction and began to experiment with the newest hand hoe myself. We're now inseparable.

Howdy to all you hoes and rakes - sure hope the turnout was good! It will be fun to see all the posts at May Dreams Garden after I get back to Austin next week.


  1. Well I certainly learned something new today. I never knew that there was a hoe designed especially for chopping ice! Interesting.

  2. How funny you guys are with your hoes. LOL I'm afraid the only one I have is a wobbly old dull one that my parents made me use 33 years ago in the butter bean patch.

  3. "Dazed at being out in the sunlight". That's true of some of my hoes, too. There are too many to take them all out at once, so they go on little adventures every once in a while.

    And I agree with you on the hand hoes. They actually see more action in my garden, too!

    Thanks for coming to the Hoe Down!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. They look like well-used and well-loved hoes. I wonder if the ice-breaker one could stand in for an edger?

  5. Those Cobra head weeders sound so useful. Our older hoe rarely sees the light of day either. I can just see you swinging a cat in your veggie garden. tee hee...

  6. Annie, the title of this post made me laugh before I began reading. Carol's Hoes are famous.

    I have one hoe and it's broken. Until I get a new one, I'm using a small shovel which is a real annoyance.

    Your small hoes look deadly. I have a few cat-claw types like that for weeding.

    Now I'm off to see the Hoe Down. LOL!


  7. Surely I'm not the only person who's going to ask about the string tag still on the new Cobrahead..?

  8. Loved your post Annie. My hoes took over my computer to kvetch.

    Happy Hoe Down!~~Dee

  9. I didn't know there was a hoe for chopping ice, but being from Illinois, I can see why.
    I'm enjoying all these Hoe-down posts; thanks for sharing.

  10. I also bought a cobrahead hand weeder because it looked useful. It rapidly became my tool of choice for numerous tasks and we are also almost inseparable. I use it for transplanting and setting out plants as well as weeding. It is invaluable for scratching out weeds in the interstices of my flagstone path.

    My hoes do not ever get blinded by sunlight since they live out on a rack by the vegetable garden, where they are used on an almost daily basis. The only time they come inside is in the winter, when Jim sharpens their edges and oils their handles.

  11. I've never needed a hoe in Austin, but I can definitely see potential in that blue Cobrahead. It would definitely help uproot some enthusiastic vinca. :)

  12. I imagine the ice chopping hoe would make a nice edger. I'm looking for a very skinny bladed hoe which had a head of about 2" wide x 4-5" deep our old neighbor had in Iowa. Haven't come across one but I bet Carol has one.

  13. I like MSS's suggestion of trying the ice breaker as an edger.
    I'm afraid I only have one lonely hoe in our collection - an ordinary rectangular shaped one. Ross uses it often in the veggie garden but I rarely use it, since he does the veggies now, and I concentrate more on flowers.
    I'm more inclined to use my spading fork and shovel, but my hand trowels are my most used tools.
    Your hoes look well loved, and well used.

  14. The Hand Hoes sure are more Handy than the big ones, even with a big garden these are indispensable.
    As usual dear Annie, beautiful way of presenting things, I wish I could learn a thing or two!

  15. We had one of those ice breakers when we lived in WI, MN and IA. We left it behind--along with our humidifiers when we moved out here to WA. We too love the cobra head. --Curmudgeon

  16. What? No "weeder with a wiggle?" My favorite tool is the lovely Hula Hoe.

  17. Blackswamp Kim, if you can get by without using an ice chopper, consider yourself lucky!

    Hello Randy and Jamie - we can't help it - if Carol thinks up something no one wants to be left out!

    I had to wash cobwebs off them Carol! I think Philo has used them more often for mixing hypertufa than for weeding. This was a fun idea!

    MSS and Ki - I don't think the ice chopper would work as an edger because it's not tapered and sharp for cutting through soil, but rather thick and with a flat edge for delivering blows. We used it on the ice patches on our old front sidewalk. The narrow hoe sounds useful but not familiar.

    At the risk of shocking all you cat bloggers, there are times when I'd like to swing one of the wandering neighborhood cats, Lisa at Greenbow! The wrens and jays shriek to tell me to come out and stop the cats from eating my birds.

    You're right, Mary! Carol comes up number one if you google Hoe Collection!
    I know you're not primarily a gardener, but you should have a couple of decent tools - check into the cobraheads...they really are cool.

    Guess you are the only one, Chuck! I originally left it on for the Divas to see and try out and then forgot to cut the tag off... go look up Minnie Pearl and her tags may give you a "chuck"le.

    Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings, your Hoe Down post was wonderful!! It was fun to listen to them complain about you ;-]

    Welcome Prairie Rose - central Illinois was famous for ice storms! Your blog looks like fun!

    Hello Healing Magic Hands - my husband bought his Cobrahead a few years ago and now covets the long-handled version. The rack makes sense for your large vegetable garden!

    Your soil probably has rocks, too -doesn't it Good & Evil Lori? The Cobrahead can get under them, so it might work for you, too.

    Kerri and Green Thumb, I've been thinking about it, and maybe we like our hand hoes because #1, we can see what we're doing and #2, we use one hand for the hand hoe and the other to pick up the weed and deposit it into a bag, compost bucket, tote basket, etc. so the unwanted stuff permanently leaves the flower bed. It just seems more efficient.

    You've really had a lot of varied garden experience, Weed Whackin' Wenches! And bet you don't miss the ice breaker, either ;-]

    Hello Garden Wise Guy - they look interesting in the commercials but I've never tried one - think I'm too nearsighted!

    Thanks for all the comments,


  18. Annie: I'm getting fairly convinced I might need to try the Cobrahead hand hoe... it does look crafty. I tend to use the tips of my pruning shears to dig out weeds while walking about my garden. Afterall they are always in my back pocket ... I hadn't stop to think they might not be happy with my plunging their tips in the dirt all the time.
    Meems @ Hoe&Shovel

  19. Yikes! That description of you stalking the weeds and stabbing with pruning shears brings up a mental image, Meems - the scissor scene from "Dial M for Murder"!
    You definitely need a hand hoe ;-]



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