This is a refrain often said by The Old Girl when I'm out and about shopping, travelling (getting lost) or visiting government departments.
Today I decided to tackle the ferns and flax that have taken over the garden at the side of the house to the point that the path is closed off.
The last time I did this was about three years ago before we went to Canada and the UK. The tenants were good about everything else to do with house maintenance but obviously never used the path that runs along the side of the house.
I began with the tools in the toolshed. Actually I just made that up to impress 'Two Sheds Robert'.
I don't have a toolshed. I have tools scattered about :
- In the laundry
- In the woodshed
- Under the house
- In the gas bottle box on the deck
- In the garden (sadly all rusted now).
I'm not very good at DIY, home maintenance and looking after equipment.
The clippers, shears and other things were all bloody hopeless and couldn't see to the ferns let alone the flax.
I looked up my mate Google and checked out hedge clippers and trimmers and everything electrical and seemingly labour-saving. Google told me that The Bosch ISIO III was the man so off I went to town. I called in to Mitre 10 Mega first and found a Bosch ISIO III at the handsome price of $119. The young salesperson who came along to advise me said that it could definitely cut through ferns and probably cut through flax but he didn't exactly inspire me with confidence in his gardening abilities so I thanked him and headed off the Bunnings. I found a Bosch ISIO III there as well for $124 but before acting on their price-matching promise I asked the older German gentleman whether it could cut through flax. He was horrified and told me that goodness no, that just wouldn't happen. He said that the only thing to deal with flax was a curved Japanese tool that Bunnings didn't stock but which could be found at the Stihl store.
I thanked him and went out to find the Stihl store which he had vaguely indicated as 'out there somewhere' and I couldn't find it. I should have asked him.
I decided to go to the farm goods store named Our Place which is a big warehouse type shop dedicated to supplying everything that a farmer needs ( or more likely the amateur lifestyle block ex-city people). On entering the store I was about to do my usual of wandering around trying to find what I want, not finding it and wandering out but I was greeted by three women at the counters. They asked me (not quite in unison or I would have suspected that they were Sirens) what I was looking for.
I confessed on the spot that I was looking for a curved hand-tool for cutting flax. One of the women said that she knew exactly what I was looking for. It was a Niwashi. I looked at her and said that she had to be kidding. No she said and wrote the name down on a bit of paper and even drew a little picture of what it looked like!
At this stage I thought that I'd slipped into a scene from Bob Dylan's Highlands song where the waitress knew what he wanted before he ordered and suggested that he wanted a hard-boiled egg.
I, like old Bob in the song said good, give me one but like the waitress in Bob's song, my salesperson said that they didn't have any Niwashis. She did however suggest that Mitre 10 Mega Store might have some.
Off I went (back) to Mitre 10 Mega Store armed with my little piece of paper with the name Niwashi written on it along with the cute drawing.
I avoided the helpful young chap and went straight to the garden tools section....and.... asked someone. An older woman this time. I asked her if they stocked the Niwashi to which she said yes and, surprising myself, I asked her if it was good for cutting flax. She replied that it went through flax like cutting butter and that she had been using one for four years.
All good and on returning home (by this time it was about 4PM) I got stuck in. The little tool sliced through the invasive flax, ferns and other pesky vegetation like that proverbial butter.
I hacked away for a while until 5PM called heralding the distinct possibility of a cold Chardonnay.
Looking at the work of less than an hour I was pleased and now know that I'll be able to do this over a few days.
I've learned something today.
If in doubt - Ask someone!