Soon to be renowned!

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Talking-To

I think I finally got through to that plum tree. Call it tough love if you like; I may have raised my voice a bit. Let the lazy bunch of barren sticks know I was—shall we say, underwhelmed—with its performance to date. Not a single fruit, not even a lone blossom to let me know it was trying—nothing.

I expect more of my fruit trees. See that nectarine over there? I scolded the dormant plum. Fought off peach leaf curl all last year … and it still bloomed its heart out. Came through in the clutch, too, followed up with a dozen of the sweetest, juiciest nectarines we ever tasted. That's commitment. You could learn a thing or two. What's your excuse?

Maybe I was a little harsh, they're all young trees after all. But sometimes, as a gardener, when a plant disappoints you, you're forced to make that loving, calculated decision—for the good of the plant, after all—to don your stern disciplinary vest and quietly assert the conditions of its continued membership in the garden. In the plum's case, this went something like:


Firm, but I think fair. And spoken with love. Question my tactics all you like, but the results speak for themselves:

The Plum, plumb scared

That lazy fig tree is next. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Gilded Trowel

That's right, it's awards season once again, and time to discuss the nominations for FPG's annual Tool of the Year Awards. We are excited to announce that, pending confirmation and/or acknowledgment of our existence, we have slated Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Chris Rock to host what will surely be an elegant, star-studded ceremony. Due to budgetary reticence, please do note however— should you find yourself lucky enough to receive an invitation—that we are asking guests to bring their own champagne/champagne flutes. Oh, and food. I am not cooking for everyone again. There are both McDonald's and Subway fine restaurants nearby, please avail yourselves of their reasonably-priced menus. Champagne can be procured at the Rite Aid.

Now that that's settled, on to the nominations!

The list is long, so I'll just hit some of the highlights here. (Let's face it, nobody really cares about minor technical awards like “Best Sharpening Performance” or “Best Rust-Proofing” anyway.)

First up, we have the nominees for Best New Tool. After some strong work in the Spring, many expected the Weed-Burner to be a shoo-in for this award. Judges will be forced, however, to consider Mr. Burner's over-the-top performance in last summer's regrettable Setting The Lawn on Fire, a gratuitous action piece which no one enjoyed. Simply a poor career choice, that, and a prime example of how even the most promising young tools can go awry without a competent agent at their control. Other newcomers include the Extendable Ladder, which played prominently in a tour-de-force of late season pruning. But look, instead, for Grandpa's Weeder, that dandelion-grabbing upstart which wowed Fencebroke's Queen, to steal this year's award.

In the Best Supporting Tool category, we see many familiar faces: Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool; Kneepads; Atlas Gloves; trusty old Carhartt Pants, and—the one newcomer out of the bunch—Coppertone Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen, which has always turned in stellar performances, but due to a long, hot Summer may finally have garnered the attention necessary to steal the spotlight from the incumbent and perennial winner of this category: Leatherman.

To be honored with a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award, the grizzled and inimitable Honda Civic Hatchback is expected to make one of its final public appearances at the ceremony. The Civic's truck-blood grit and versatility over two decades of service will long stand as inspiration to vehicles twice its size and half its age. With a check-engine light flashing, tires balding, and mushrooms growing on the floor, the car that never hesitated to fold its seats is not long for this world. The time is ripe for a curtain call.

Nominated for Most Innovative Use of a Tool we have the following:
-Hori-Hori Knife, in Cleaning the Gutters
-Hori-Hori Knife, in Scolding Crows II
-Pick-and-Mattock, in Breaking Open Daisy's Stubborn Christmas Geode
-Fireox the Beastbarrow, in Wheelbarrow Rides, a Daughter's Carriage
and, finally
-Hori-Hori Knife, in No, Officer, I Swear It's Not a Weapon
Look for Hori-Hori to run away with this one.

For Best Ensemble Performance, the nominees are:
-Half-Moon Edger, Digging Fork, Hori-Hori Knife, and Fireox the Beastbarrow, in Removing Even More Lawn Even Though You Promised We Were Done Last Year
-Extendable Ladder, Pruning Saw, and Loppers, in Maybe It's Time To Call The Arborist
-Yellow-Jacket Spray, Spray Foam, Lots of Wasp Traps, Two Big Rocks, and a Flashlight, in Failing To Thwart The Hive; A Summer Of Terror
It's anyone's guess who'll take the award, but Half-Moon et al certainly deserve the honor after having been lied to so many times before (seriously—this year, no more removing lawn, I swear).

And finally, we have the Big One, the Gilded Trowel, the Tool Of The Year.
-Hori-Hori Knife, looking to add to its already crowded trophy case.
-Felco Pruners, who, let's be honest, would probably garner a nomination just by sitting in a drawer somewhere.
-Collapsible Rake, here recognized perhaps more on the sheer volume and breadth of work over the last year than any one performance. Many in the industry think this could finally be the year we see a rake take home the big prize.
And, lastly,
-Fireox the Beastbarrow, whose strong back and puncture-proof tires have borne every last bit of sod, dirt, mulch, rocks, and woodchips dis- or relocated in the course of Fencebroke's transformation. The wheelbarrow is widely respected by peers for its unflinching resolve on the job and stolid grace when leaning against the shed between gigs.

That wraps up the nominations, be sure to check back for the exciting results! If, for some reason, you fail to receive an invitation to the ceremony, please do not be offended, it is due to one of several reasons:
a.) I don't like you
b.) I forgot to make invitations
c.) I got bored with this whole awards ceremony thing and moved onto something else

You never know, it might be all three!