Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas loot!

I had a lot of good gardening stuff on my Christmas list, and Santa came through with some good goodies. Now if the sky would just stop raining and spitting bits of snow long enough for me to get outside, I could go play with my new toys. I'll borrow a few images from the source websites until I can get some good pictures of my own.

The biggest item that I'd hoped for was this Rubbermaid Storage Bench, ordered via our local Ace Hardware:

I assembled the bench this afternoon, and all but the last side panel went together easily. It took two people, though, and several tries to get the last side panel on. The seat is a lid for the storage box underneath. It now has a spot in the new garden, where it will store some tools so I don't have to run down behind the house every time I want a tool.

Territorial Seed Company was the source for this very nice cold frame kit made by Sunshine Garden House:

That, too, I assembled this afternoon. It wasn't too difficult, but I found it was much easier if I pre-drilled the holes for the screws. Otherwise I was afraid of splitting the wood. I also gave the wood a coat of tung oil. The frame is redwood, so it should be fairly impervious to rot for a very long time, but some extra care will help it last even longer. Right now the cats think it's a nice thing to climb on and to get inside, so the cover already has little paw prints all over it.

This automatic cold frame opener, however, may prove to be a bust:

The scanty instructions in multiple languages were accompanied by tiny, blurry sketches, and were only somewhat comprehensible in any language. Without an illustrated parts list I could only guess at which part was being asked for in each step and exactly where each part was supposed to go. The spring-loaded jaws snapped shut like a mousetrap several times, twice catching my fingers and leaving a bruise on one finger. Even after I got it assembled, I couldn't figure out if it was assembled correctly, nor could I figure out how to make it work with the cold frame. With the temperature-sensitive cylinder in place, the device stays open, as seen in the photo. How is the cold frame lid supposed to shut? I've never liked post-Christmas returns, especially for things that I asked for in the first place, but this evil little finger-eating device may be transformed into seeds and plants instead.

But returning to the fun toys, this Wheeleasy collapsible wheel barrow was simple to put together and should be extremely useful:

It's big enough that it will be a real help when raking fall leaves, and will be good for small hauling jobs. You have to pull out two little pins in front to make it fold up, and there are clips on the front to put the pins in when they're not in use. I was hoping to store this in the garden bench, but the bench is shorter and the Wheeleasy longer than I'd pictured either of them. It'll fit in the storage shed I have, though.

In addition to the toys I got several books, which I'll highlight in upcoming reviews.

One good "gift" that wasn't on my list was the pathology report from a biopsy of a pigmented patch on my face. The thing went from flat to rounded a few months ago. My doctor looked at it and referred me to a plastic surgeon to have it looked at, and by the time I saw the plastic surgeon, it had gone flat again. The plastic surgeon took a biopsy last week, and pulled the stitches this week. While there were a few slightly abnormal cells in the report, there wasn't anything to be worried about, and if the thing does anything weird now, the biopsy itself took out so much of it that the remainder can be frozen off. We gardeners spend a lot of time in the sun, so be sure to use sunscreen, wear a hat, and check your moles!

Everyone else get their Christmas wishes this year?

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