Karen Cambre, Sharpe, Kenneth W.
It is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I am getting a little anxious that Christmas is coming faster than I am preparing. I am sure you are much more organized.
There are always those last minute gifts to get and then there are those who we perceive, to have everything they want.
I have some tips for the outdoor lovers on your list. This would include gardeners and those who are taking care of lawn and maintenance at their own home. There are so many possibilities and you do not have to get the big items, some of the smallest items are the most enjoyed.
Let’s start with extension cords. You can never have enough and especially at Christmas. Extension cords come in several gauges (sizes) and the bigger the item you plug in, the larger wire size you will need. Remember the smaller the gauge number, the larger the wire. There are extension cords that come with their on roll up carrying case. There are also inexpensive cord organizers for storage cords so they do not get tangled. Consider a new power strip, for outdoors or the shop look for a heavy duty 2 foot multi-outlet extension cord that will accommodate more than one electrical input.
Clean gutters are a problem if you have trees and falling leaves. Look at blowers with extension arms that can blow out gutters from ground level. Also look at screens that can be installed over gutters to let water in and out but designed to exclude leaves and other tree debris.A new blower is always a good choice. Gasoline powered are powerful and easy to move around unencumbered, but electric blowers are lighter to carry and crank every time. They are good for blowing off the patio, driveway and can be a way to “rake” leaves into a pile.
Rakes are very handy to move leaves and other yard debris or to level out a flower bed. There are yard brooms, lawn rakes and bow rakes. Wheel barrels are a compliment to rakes. Make it easy and get a wheel barrow with dual front wheels and it will not tip over as easily as one with a single wheel. (I have found that an inexpensive tarp makes moving leaves to a burn pile easiest of all.) Lawn carts are another alternative to moving bulky materials. There are carts that can be pushed or ones that are pulled by a riding lawn mower or ATV are even easier.
Pruning in the winter will require cutting tools. Simple bow saws can cut limbs but it easier with a chain saw. Chain saws can be gas powered or electric. They can be mounted on pruning poles for limb removal in trees. In addition to chain saws, you will want to get safety equipment, such as chaps, hard hats, ear plugs and safety glasses.
Shrubs and smaller plants will need more precise cutting. A good pair of lopping shears are a must. For larger jobs I like those with long handles, some even telescope, and they are those engineered as easy cut that require less physical strength to operate.
Cultivating tools, tillers, weed cloth, hoes, row makers, black plastic mulch and a drip irrigation system make for easier vegetable gardening. And do not forget a good pair of leather work gloves or the more flexible versions make it easier to do detailed work. A tape measure could help to lay out the garden and even measure for those DIY projects. Nail aprons can help keep seeds moving up the row as they plant and can help keep up a utility knife to open those “childproof” seed packages.
That should give you some food for thought. Merry Christmas!