The Telegram (St. John's)

Getting the job done

- Janice Wells Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at

Last weekend Daughter # 2, Grandson and I went on the Mystery Garden Tour.

We’ve been every year, so I took my trusty walking stick and managed to see more than I expected, (especially since we also couldn’t resist the annual Georgetown flea market).

The tour is spread over two days. I held my own for the first day, but faded fast the next. Seeing all the different things people grow and do in their gardens is always a wonderful experience, and this time I also got an idea for a new small business; not for me, not now, but for somebody with the entreprene­urial spirit I used to have in abundance.

I wish I had counted how many people admired my walking stick; asked me where I got it; if I cut it to size myself; what kind of wood is it?

It’s a plain unpeeled stick with the perfect curved grip on one end. I just picked it up off the ground to walk through the unknown footing in waist high grass the year I bought the land in Heart’s Content. It’s great for getting around uneven land if you are nervous about falling and indispensa­ble after dark for getting to and fro from the fire on the beach. The top is sawn, so maybe somebody years before me recognized a limb as a potential walking stick and I am not the first person to lean on it. I rather like the sound of that.

People with elegant canes, ski pole sticks and no sticks at all noticed my plain old stick. I reminded some people of Heidi’s grandfathe­r and others of Moses and one gardener remarked on how well it fit in with her rustic garden.

I have seen beautifull­y carved, polished and sometimes stained walking sticks locally, and I hope the artisans’ work is bought and appreciate­d, but I’m thinking there is also a market for a simpler more rustic version.

I bought the first, and only, walking stick I ever owned before this one while honeymooni­ng in Austria in another lifetime. When in Austria, doing what the Austrians do means walking the hills or climbing mountains. The stick was natural, with bark and a bit more finished on both ends. You could buy little curved badges to tack onto your stick to show which mountains you had climbed.

I ended up with only one badge, even though F.U. said I thought I was Julie Andrews the whole time we were there. Unfortunat­ely running around high meadows singing “the hills are alive” does not qualify for a badge.

On to another object(s) that I would not be without; a backhoe. Now you’re think, she’s gone to wing altogether, but I’m talking about Mark Cullen’s garden tools known as Backhoes. Last year I bought the long-handled one, which is a bit hard for me, so I was delighted when it came out in a mini version that I could use kneeling, or even sitting, on my garden seat.

The pointed end of the stainless steel head gets out more stubborn weed roots that anything I have ever tried. Even goutweed takes a while to lick its wounds when Newman and I attack with our backhoes. He goes at it first with the long handled one and then I finish the job with the short one. Of course I use the term ‘finish the job’ loosely; the goutweed is never gone, but in the totally overgrown beds where we attacked it weeks ago, it’s not nearly as brazen as it usually is, just starting to show its face here and there, nothing I can’t handle easily with my mini.

No I am not being reimbursed in any way by Mark Cullen or Home Hardware (I wish, haha). I’m just so pleased with these tools that I had to pass it on. Gardener or boomer or both, anything that helps get the job done easier needs to be shared.

 ?? JANICE WELLS PHOTO ?? My two best garden tools. The walking stick is gripped like a hammer, rather than leaned on like a cane.
JANICE WELLS PHOTO My two best garden tools. The walking stick is gripped like a hammer, rather than leaned on like a cane.
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