A couple of years ago, I was in back doing some yard work when the spouse of one of my children came over. The in-law entered our house and expressed some concern to other family members: “There’s some weird looking hobo farmer guy in the woods behind your house.”
It was just me, dressed as I usually am for yard word—old straw hat, old blue jeans, messy work gloves.
And now I’m spiffed up even more. I’m not just a hobo farmer. I’m NINJA hobo farmer.
First of all, I’ve got special ninja shoes. My sneakers tend to go through an evolution. When new, they are either “walking” shoes if I keep and use them at home, or “good” shoes for office wear if I keep them at work.
When the shoes start to break down, as shoes will, they get converted into other uses before being tossed. I have a pair of shoes, for instance, that is just for bicycling. Too worn for walking, not good enough for class, but comfortable, broken in, made for pedals. In fact, I think this pair of biking shoes has been around for some time—at least the last two RAGBRAIs and possibly all four that I’ve ridden. Just as bicycling doesn’t wear on the body too badly, it apparently is polite to the shoes, too.
When “Team Joe” formed for RAGBRAI for the first time in 2013, Eldon gave us all plastic shoelace replacers that I put on my special biking shoes. I haven’t been able to find them again after a few of them broke, but I also really liked not having laces on my biking shoes. So, I replaced them with elastic laces that clip and aren’t meant to tie.
If old sneakers don’t become biking shoes, they might become gardening shoes. I’ve had the same pair of those for several years (I’m not exactly a frequent shoe shopper), but the laces were getting all broken up.
So, again, I bought a set of elastic laces. Now I can put on my comfy garden shoes and quickly escape into the garden. They slip on fast and silently. They are either meant for old men who don’t want to tie shoes anymore, or, as I like to think of them, they are the fast, comfortable shoes such as a ninja would wear.
My new garden persona is not just new laces. I also have a deadly new ninja gardening weapon.
My wife was shopping at Theisen’s the other day, when she saw a fancy trowel on clearance. It looked sturdier then the trowels I usually buy and quickly break, so she got it for me.
It came with its own belt holster. Clearly, if worn like The Duke wears a six shooter, this is a special trowel. It has a forked tongue for snipping off things, and two different sharpened edges—one straight, one serrated. The back “hook” of the trowel on side is also sharpened, as a small branch cutter.
This is no ordinary trowel. This is a gardening ninja trowel.
I spent a little time on this cool fall Saturday raking in front and clearing away branches in back. And while I did it, I felt dangerous, powerful and catlike in my poise and energy. I had the shoes and the Trowel of Power and the hobo farmer outfit.
Clearly, I was Hobo-Farmer-Ninja-Gardener. And while clearing away the branches, I noted a root sapper at the base of one of my apple trees.
This was not to be! How dare that sapper destroy the delicate harmony of Hobo-Farmer-Ninja-Gardener’s yard! So I un-holstered the Death Trowel, paused to take a photo (don’t all ninja’s do that before a kill?) and snipped the sapper off.
Fear me nefarious weeds of the backyard!