All The Girls Chit Chat

Friday, May 7, 2010

Uses for a shovel.

Uses of a Shovel

Consider the list of basic tools that have served mankind throughout history: (the ones we take for

granted, or return to in an emergency to sustain our lives) the knife, axe, rope, blanket, tent, table, shoe,

needle, awl, hat, backpack, money, writing tablet, bowl, bottle, basket, bag, cooking pot, compass, fishhook,

wheeled cart, fire-making implements, etc. To this list belongs that marvelous tool,

the shovel

. It is found

among the oldest artifacts of man, and yet is also found in the hands of millions of laborers today. Neither

its form nor basic uses have changed much in all the millennia of human civilization and technological

advance. The modern shovel is superior to its antecedents simply by virtue of its better steel and

economical mass production. Though often overlooked by modern collectors of gadgetry, it remains a

fundamental personal possession, simple in its strength, lifesaving in its capability. Those skilled in its use

are admired as they work, both for their feats of accomplishment and technique, and for the sculpting of

their bodies which the exercise provides.

Good form in shoveling, as in lifting, dancing, or martial arts, is to move from the hips, do most of

the work with your legs, not your back, and maintain good posture. This avoids fatigue and injury. A

skilled workman respects what a shovel can and cannot do, cares for his tools, and rarely breaks one.

Shovels are not all alike. Pick a good one. It should be full sized but not heavier than necessary.

Moderately curved blades are better than strongly curved ones, thicker steel better than thin, and not too

much angle between the handle and the blade. Stay away from fiberglass, rubberized handles, gimmicks,

and thin soft-iron oriental products. Hickory or similar hardwood handles remain the best, and it is essential

that the grain of the handle be perpendicular to the plane of the blade, else it will break. It should have a

comfortable, balanced feel to it. After choosing the style, always pick the straightest, strongest-looking

handle in the bunch. The cost of a good shovel is insignificant compared to its value, and is not a reliable

indicator of functionality, so do not look at price. It is no more extravagant to have several shovels than to

have several pair of shoes. The following categories of shovel usage are merely suggestive:

Normal Uses

Extracting a stuck vehicle from mud, sand, or snow. Spreading gravel on an icy road.

Lifting a spare tire onto lug bolts, when adequate brute force is not available. Clearing away cactus.

Digging a footing. Leveling a yard. Uncovering water or sewer lines for remedy, or digging new ones.

Marking, tilling, furrowing, weeding, or irrigating a garden. Removing weeds and shrubs too big to hoe.

Planting trees. Tamping dirt around a new post. Opening a gopher hole to set a trap.

Mixing cement or mortar in a wheel barrow. Reaching a peach or an apple on a high branch.

Killing a rattlesnake. (Smack it hard in the middle with the flat of the blade. This will momentarily stun the

snake so he can’t dodge. Then quickly turn the blade over and chop his head off. Bury the head,

which remains dangerous to pets and children.)

Killing packrats. (Dig them out, then same technique as snake.)


Clearing a spot for a tent or picnic blanket. ‘Ditching’ a tent. As a walking stick. Leveling camp table legs.

Prying up stubborn tent pegs. Burying large rocks to serve as tent anchors, (instead of tent pegs, which

don’t work well in sand.) Clearing a site for campfire, dig a fire pit, put out embers ejected from campfire.

Managing a cooking fire, distributing coals on and around a Dutch oven.

Harvesting squaw wood (dead lower limbs) for the campfire, and chopping it up into kindling.

Potential Emergency Uses

Cutting ramps in a stream bank to make passable a washed-out road. As an oar. Well padded, a crutch.

Digging a garbage pit, fire pit, well, solar still, expedient fallout shelter, snow cave, grave, or latrine.

Cleaning up fiberglass insulation, broken glass, contaminants and spilled garbage. As a leg splint.

Digging for grubs and tubers to eat. Personal defense against man or beast. Herding fish into a net.

An improvised tent pole or ridgepole. Putting out grass fires. To reach a floundering swimmer.

Breaking out a window in house or car, to rescue or escape. Enlarge a spring or seep to fill water containers.

In an emergency a shovel could break through most light-weight doors and walls. Probing for hazards.

Noise maker: bang on a rock to frighten an animal or signal for help. A flagpole. Air rescue marker maker.

Clean up after a flood, or make a levee to mitigate one. Source of steel for flint-and-steel fire-making.

Lifting a live power line off an electrocution victim. A probe and steadying pole for crossing swift streams.

Opening a barrel cactus to access its moisture.

Gee, not one mention of the ingenious mind that would use the shovel as a trophy, or accolade, on a highly esteemed place, as above a mantle. A tool used for such heroic measures as saving a life, or building a latrine, should have more honour bestowed upon such a humble instument.

We should take all of these acolades bestowed on a humble shovel and give way, show our gratitude by placing it in our homes, above mantles , just as our dear friend Blossom has done. Blossom you are an example to us all. We are honoured to have you as our esteemed leader in home decor. BRAVO.


  1. OK GIRLS, am I the cat? Are you the mice? I see you've been playing while I was away!

    Now I'm off to read this post too!


    back to snorting...I mean reading

  3. That will take awhile. squeak squeak!

  4. Opening a gopher hole? Move over girls make room for the male following that is sure to come along with this post...

    PS) I'm skilled in a shovels uses...don't you think?

  5. Must remember the the leg splint thing...and try to forget the grub worm thing.

  6. As your esteemed leader in home decor I say...

    We're in trouble.

  7. She's baaaack! 6 comments and 5 are Blossom's. Make that 5 out of 7 now.

  8. PS)

    Ok, this is my weird side showing... that I try to keep under wraps.... but I'm letting it out because, gosh darn it...y'all are pretty weird too...

    I have an extremely DIFFICULT time "decorating".
    I just feel like EVERYTHING must have a function to be truly beautiful and so that I don't feel silly. Well, I've been feeling pretty darn silly for hanging a shovel on my wall...NO MORE, in fact, now I feel pretty darn smug...The function of that baby surpasses any other sit-about in my home, and this way I will always know exactly where it's located in case I need to break through a door or chop off the head of an attacker and/or snake. And then bury it of course.

  9. Or packrat... now I'm scared

  10. So funny Dawn...I was going to say the same thing and wag my finger at you...

  11. I saw myself in that statement. I need to remember I'm hanging out with a bunch of minimalists and watch my head.

  12. Berries, that was just the best. For some reason I was reading some of you old posts, and I remembered the few posts I read that made me want to keep coming back. Frank was one of them and so is this. You just took an idea to another level, it make my birdbath seem so much lighter upon comparison. My hat off to you.

  13. I agree. This was fantastic. Except for the killing the packrat part...

  14. Anybody goes after you Dawn...
    and they'll have a whole herd of us Horsey Housewives after THEM with shovels.

  15. I'm so glad you've got my back. Can horses hold shovels?

    Obviously neither of us gets much sleep. So go post on Wit already, I want to hear all about your trip.

  16. Do you girls think I wrote that whole thing???? ha? NO no, hauling in the birdbath that was work. I only added my two cents in on the last paragraph. It was copy and paste all the way. Thanks for the thought but I have to bow out of that now.

    You people went farther than I ever could because, ahem, I have no mantle. I had to do something.....

  17. Berries, really it does not matter that you copied something and put it up there, it is what you chose to put up there that just makes it great. Take the compliment, you do deserve it.

  18. AH SHUCKS, you guys are so nice....
    i have a question on my berries blog how come the comments dont show up unless i click,the sidebar post....

  19. LOL, I have used one to kill me a gopher, but there is only one person that I know that uses dem things as art. hmm

  20. Who's using Art???
    Have shovel...will swing.

  21. Good one Blossom. Whatever happened to that tool you were thinking of hanging in the bedroom. Wasn't that a sickle? Now you weren't thinking of pulling a Loraina Bobbit?

  22. Loraina Bobbit....haven't herd that name for years....


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