Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Glove Love

My gloves are shot.  The seasons have not been kind to them.  Nor have I.  They’ve sloshed through mud in May and scraped up clay in July.  After countless fencing matches with thistle, barberry and roses, they’ve succumbed to a well-deserved retirement.  If there were such a thing as a spa resort for gardening equipment, I would give them an all-expenses paid trip.  They’ve earned it.

Hand-eye coordination not being one of my strengths, these gloves have saved 10 precious appendages from many a misdirected slice of the soil knife.  They braved interior demolition zones as well.  As if they had a choice.  My wardrobe doesn’t differentiate between gardening and remodeling; overachieving accessories do double duty.  They’ve kept my hands splinter and tetanus shot free after hours of hauling lath, plaster, glass and drywall. 

I’m not sure which job is more treacherous, frankly.  This isn’t, as I’ve said before, a botanical oasis.  Our garden dirt surrounds a 95-year-old home.  An afternoon cultivating vegetables is synonymous with ‘archeological dig’.  Apparently, burying your garbage was the thing to do some years ago.  Every pull of the tiller, dig of the shovel and spring thaw unearths new treasures: mostly broken glass and slate, but we do stumble upon the occasional vintage pop can, rusted metal tool, and broken ceramic bowl.  Gloves and boots earn their keep around here in a hurry.  One of these days I’ll dig up an old Folgers can with a fortune in it and buy 10 unblemished acres.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep my safety gear handy.

When I first received these - my favorite gardening gloves in the universe - I set them aside in a drawer.  Compared to my heavy-duty leather and canvas sets, they seemed ridiculously thin and impractical.  Smooth, white goat leather with a flimsy woven green hem.  They looked like something Martha Stewart might display on a shelf.  I don’t know how long they languished in the drawer.  I can’t remember the first time I decided to use them, but I do know that no glove ever matched up afterwards.  Like a person who needs bifocals, I needed two sets of hand protection.  I was constantly taking my bulky gloves off to handle the intricate plucking necessary in weeding.  The au natural manicure was staining my fingers and clogging my nails with Illinois topsoil.  I’m no princess, but I can do without the green fingers.  These gloves changed all that.  The thin goatskin allowed me to pinch and needle into the dirt like I’d never been able to do before. 

Years of watching nature videos and visiting petting zoos have taught me that goats are tough old biddies, even the young ones.  However, I mistakenly thought their brawn was concentrated in their rock-hard craniums.  Apparently other goat parts are tough too.  Their leather may be thin, but it’s like a forcefield for fingers.  It stood up to the aforementioned thorns, sharp tools and hazardous ‘discoveries’ like a champ.  When the seams finally started popping, I doctored them with duct tape sutures.  No way was I tossing these on account of a few holes.  They were irreplaceable. 

Last week, we were killing time at Menards while our gallon of satin latex was tinted ‘Sheet Metal’ gray (old houses = endless projects).  On a whim, I swung past the glove department to contemplate the next generation of hand protection.  The duct tape was beginning to give up and I knew the inevitable end was in sight.  Hanging beneath a $10 price tag was a glowing white pair of goat gloves with a flimsy green woven hem.  I blinked.  Was I dreaming?  The sound of my children arguing over cart-pushing privileges confirmed that this was indeed reality.  I swooped my ten dollar prize into the cart and broke up the squabbling offspring.  There was no time for arguing.  There was barely enough time to pick up the paint.  The archeological dig was calling and I was ready for it.  


RondasBlogs said...

Hi! OMG what a *wonderful* writer you are!!

I saw your column in the Journal and shared it on my FB page.

Not only interesting but exceptionally well written. I wanted to e-mail you, but this is better!

I will keep up with your blog. I so want to 'get into' gardening (my father was incredible w/veggies) but do not know where to start.

I will start with your blog.

Design to Grow said...

Ronda, Thanks so much! Looking forward to becoming a better gardener with you. :) You can also contact me on my Design to Grow facebook page.

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