Farm Journal Part 8: Ode to the Hoe

Ruth Burke / Heavy Table

University of Minnesota Agriculture student Ruth Burke is spending this summer interning at a CSA farm called Cramer Organics of Delano, MN. Throughout the growing season, she’ll share weekly updates about the experience with readers of the Heavy Table.

With all the rain we’ve had lately, the weeds are positively stifling our crops. And it is a constant, uphill battle to keep them relatively under control. Because of this, I have had plenty of time (entire days, really) to become closely acquainted with the various types of hoes that exist. For every bed, for every crop, there is a particular hoe that works best. Some of us have found one hoe in particular that resonates with our being (Francesca the diamond hoe happens to be my favorite). Whether it matches our personality, or speaks to us in a more spiritual way, we have had the opportunity to really connect with our hoes on a level that is deeper than that which we form with other garden tools and implements (tractors aside). Given all the quality time we farm workers have had with our hoes, I have composed a little tribute to our wood and steel friends that I would like to dedicate to all the farmers and gardeners out there who may have their own, special hoe:

Ruth Burke / Heavy Table

Ode to the Hoe

Whether noon’s burning sun hot on our backs
Or the early morning with gentle breeze
Though we might prefer the thought of an axe
You, oh Hoe, perform with dignified ease
A job, thankless, yet so material
Endless, delicate, needing skill too
Humbly, we tire in its ruthless dust
We, with our thoughts of rest ethereal
But, resolute with strength, oh no, not you
Steadfast, weed, vine, and root are felled with lust
Your might obliges my often weak hand,
A partnership, unmatched, I am in awe
Toiling together, we work the land
No better matched couple I ever saw
I, my desire and patience provide
You, trustworthy vigor and brawn do lend
As one we work, quite seamless I am sure
Apart, we could not quell the rising tide
Of foxtail and bindweed that never end
Only joined do we, exultant, endure.

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