carla beemer

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since Jun 14, 2017
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hugelkultur forest garden bee
Port Angeles, WA, United States
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Recent posts by carla beemer

Any permies out there in the Port Angeles or Sequim area who would have fun helping me pile more sticks and lots of soil onto my hugel bed?
I'm running into some back issues, but would love to get it planted this summer.

Here's a thread I posted on it earlier :

I'll make you a great lunch, and we could also spend as much time as you'd like touring the place and talking about how I'm implementing permaculture here.

I also have some red alder, pacific crabapple and nootka roses that I potted up three years ago after the Clallam Count native plant sale, and could give you a couple of each.

We have all tools required. The yard is big enough to practice safe social distancing. Thanks!
1 day ago
Lyda-yes, ratcheting tools are terrific! I received this ratcheting lopper with telescoping handles as a gift from hubby: it applies a lot of force with little work, and it allows me to cut large standing willow and cedar without bending. Dawn- this is a good lopper for cutting thick branches at ground level without having to bend or kneel. Expensive, though. Definitely a splurge!
1 week ago
I love all the tips for soothing salves and creams for pain relief, but I'd like to gently steer back toward the tool question.

I think the idea of lighter weight tools can have some merit. However, the more weight a tool has, the more 'work' it can do with less applied force. Moving/using a heavier tool is more often about body mechanics and body positioning than it is about raw strength. I think I am still looking for heavy-duty tools that can move a lot of dirt while digging swales and ditches, or chop through heavy stems...but with mechanical advantages that relieve stress on the joints.

I like the design of the Fokin hoe featured this week. It seems a good, solid weight, but with the various bends it looks like a person could move it through the soil with the hand held in whatever position is most comfortable. I think I might buy the medium-sized one and try out a forearm-length handle.

I don't usually by new tools, so this would be a departure for me.
1 week ago
I really appreciate your comments Anne, and also am so happy for you that your PT is working, and your hard work is resulting in more strength and less pain.

Years ago I saw a pysical therapist for several months over the winter for crippling back pain. I was afraid I'd never get back to work on trails again. He had a truism that he said all the time, and I still repeat it to myself quite often: "When you stop moivng, you start dying."

Yes, I have been strong and active my entire life: lots of strength training, PT, yoga, physical labor, sports, climbing, etc....but when arthritis hits, and there are many kinds, at some point a person has to go looking for different tools and/or ways of doing things that mkae it possible to keep doing the things we enjoy. I'm juts now getting to that point-where all my training and pt and stretching etc have gotten me to so far, and still it hurts, and still the joints don't want to move. I'm not complaining, at all! I feel very fortunate to have the mobility that I do. But I am also eager to hear what tools others are using that might make life in the garden a bit easier!
1 week ago
Thank you Anne! I like that all your handles aren't too large. Who makes the crows foot cultivator? I can't read the handle. It has more tines than the ones I have at home.
I had a bout of carpel-tunnel syndrome in my hands about a dozen years ago. Things would just slip out of my grasp without warning sometimes-not a good thing on a job site!
1 week ago
Here is a shortened tool handle similar to how I am imagining the Fokin hoe could be used:

I am thinking of making some of these semi-short handles, perhaps with a bit of a curve to match my forearm, and with a padded strap to transfer the digging force from my hand and wrist to the entire forearm.
1 week ago
Thanks for the input Trace! You are right about strength training: as a retired trail crew worker, I have always followed a regular strength and flexibility regimen. Given my genetic markers, I have been able to fend off the most heinous symptoms of the type of arthritis I have...but at this point, "the tool's the thing!"

Levers, pulleys, fulcrums: all of these strategies make the lifting work of farming and gardening much easier. I can bend, straighten and lift. But the wear and tear, plus the disease influences, take a heavy toll on the hands, shoulders and elbows. Sometimes I wear padded mechanic's gloves, and those can give me extra time in the garden... but basically, I have been using the same old tools for years. The new hori knife made me think there could be newer tools out there, meant to ease the forces applied to hands and arms. That Fokin blade is new to me, and I am wondering what else is out there!
1 week ago
Welcome Yury! Have you ever used the Fokin hoe with a short handle, so it could be used while kneeling!
1 week ago
Adding to my initial post: I've read the Fokin hoe reviews, and have been wondering if any of you who have one have made a short handle for it instead of a lobg hoe handle? I've also thought about making a handle for it that reaches to my elbow....any thoughts.
1 week ago
What hand tools do you use that accomplish serious digging, surface tilling, weeding and chop/drop power without transferring that energy into painful hand and shoulders? I have been using a new hori knife this year, an expensive ($45) one from Japan with a bigger grip and longer blade, but I still find my shoulders are sore after a session. Has anyone tried the Fokin hoe? With the bent blade, it looks like looks like it would offer some mechanical advantage and leveraging that could dissapate the forces, but I wonder about the size of the grip ... it looks large in Sepp's hands.

Like many other gardeners, I am dealing with the painful reality of painful body parts just when I finally have the time to really 'dig deeper' and get my permaculture food forest/vegetable gardens producing year round. At nearly-60 years, I never thought I'd be slowing down this soon!

Remember the old joke: "Doctor, it hurts whenever I do this...." And the doc says, "Then don't do that!" My doc basically said that to me for real the other day, and my response was "Hell no!" But I will need some better tools to keep going...any suggestions welcomed (for hand tools. I have read a lot of good info here on permies about back-saving tools and tips. In this thread I'd like to focus on effective hand tools that reduce hand, elbow and shoulder discomfort.) Thanks!
1 week ago