Providence… Again.

The bid came back and the decision is made.  The order came in at “only” 45 barrels.  This is hands down a princely sum, I remember how ecstatic I was when I sold my first six less than 2 years ago, but it is also 40 barrels short of getting the Grillo.  While quashing the dream of owning Italian crafted steel, I hope that it allow me to focus on letting the dream be the driver of the year, and not the worry about justifying (and paying for!) a very expensive piece of equipment.  Making 100 barrels in April, already a month overbooked, would have been very hectic.  Am I disappointed?  Yep.  Do I feel incredibly arrogant and spoiled for that?  Yep.  Am I human?  We all are.

Letting the Dream lead the year means getting back to basics.  My first hand tool order of the year came in today from Earth Tools, an 8″ scuffle hoe from Rogue Hoes, and two DeWitt tools: a very heavy duty 16″ garden rake with widely spaced tines thick enough to punch holes in concrete for clearing debris without moving soil, and a 4″ “half moon” hoe similar in use to Coleman’s Colinear Hoe (the Razor on a Stick) but with a bit more meat to handle thistles and other perennial weeds I am likely to encounter this summer.    Without the Grillo sucking up funds I will be placing orders soon for my other dream tools: I will finally have my Scythe!


I have wanted one of these for years and now it is time.  I still need to call for a consultation, but I am thinking a 22″ ditch blade will fit the bill handily, with perhaps a 18″ bush blade on hand for taking down corn and sunflowers.  I can’t wait to feel this piece of New History sliding almost effortlessly through a stand of Rye/Vetch or Sorghum/Sudan grass!  And I just happen to have 5#’s of seed for each sitting in the garage!

Also on deck will be a 727 Broadfork from Johnny’s Seeds.  I plan on making the beds about 32-34″ and the 727 is 27″ wide and will fit perfectly.  In year one it will most likely see most use as a potato and carrot harvester.


With these under my belt I am very close to having the complete hand tool arsenal at my disposal -hell I have just about bought Earth Tools’ entire catalogue!  I might also pick up a Vermont Cart or harvest wagon of some sort to help bring in the 600#’s of tomatoes, and come fall there will be various tools for drying the dozens of pounds of beans and such.  And I have my eye on a Hoop House that is twice as big (15×50′) as early Spinach is getting $8/lb right now, but time will tell.

With Scythe in hands I will be growing much more cover/mulch crop to cut and smother between the rows to keep my weeding chores down, and will be cutting down on the planting density to allow spacing for wheel hoes into the more sensitive crops like carrots.   This will hurt yields but save sanity and morale.

I have not given up on the Grillo and may be reinvesting much of April’s earnings into buying a truckload of Wine Barrels, renting some warehouse space, and taking an ad in the Sustainable Times to see if I can’t earn the money anyhow.   Just as likely I will let things take their own course and focus 2008 on the Market Garden and learning the ropes of marketing local produce to my neighbors and restaurants.

For now I am heading out to get cracking on barrels, I have 12 in the garage and my drill’s a callin…

4 Responses

  1. Customizable Snath! <– that’s a great word.

    I am envious of all of your great tools!

  2. Oh, excellent! I’ve been contemplating a scythe this year and will eagerly anticipate your reviews.🙂

  3. Just a small note on the ditch blade – It doesn’t cut grass very well. Fantastic for weeds and things with thicker or rounder stems, but for some reason, those flat grass blades just duck and cover. I bought a grass blade this winter, so we’ll see how that one works.

    It doesn’t sound like you’ll be using it much for that, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I thought my technique must be poor, but I’ve heard from another person who had a similar experience and recommended trying the grass blade.

    Other than that minor note, Scythe Supply sells an amazing product.

  4. Thanks for the tip E4 -I plan on quizzing Sycthe Supply to ensure I get the right blade. Reviews will be forthcoming to be sure!

    These tools are great and ones I have wanted far beyond the typical 6 month gracing period we often give ourselves on Big Purchases to ensure that they aren’t impulse buys: you have to REALLY want it for 6 months to get it. Both of these are in the 2+ year camp along with the walk behind tractor. With the LLC picking up I have relatively immense amounts of “free” income for tool acquisition, which was one of the main points of starting the business. One of the marks against the Grillo is I could buy EVERY SINGLE tool I could think of possible wanting needing, and still have about $1-2k left over since the hand tools all cost under $2-300 each.

    On the tractor front, things keep getting messier. The day after I posted this, I got my annual review and a nice little bonus. And wouldn’t you know… about the exact amount as the net profit from the missing 45 barrels. As Mia has chosen to hold her career to be the primary car provider for our children we always split any of my bonuses between us so we each have some Mad Money. This year will be no different, but my share gets me tantalizingly close…

    Still, if I can’t have it paid off by July, it ain’t getting bought. But by then the Bush Bribe may have shown up. Figure the Grillo will last long enough to hand over to my kids, and I would like to at least be able to show them what I bought with their money.

    E4 said it best “aaaah! too many variables!”


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