How do you like my new spade?
I got tired of my wooden-handled model breaking in winter, usually around the compost heap or digging up carrots or wherever the earth was a little bit frozen. So I ordered this one from Lee Valley Tools. It's stainless steel with a plastic cover and grip, guaranteed never to fail. It set me back a bit, but I figure it's worth investing a little extra in a tool that will probably last a lifetime. Along with my stirrup hoe, I use the forked spade around our kitchen garden more than any other tool.
I thought I'd baptise the new spade in our compost heap. It was frozen almost solid on top and around the sides, but the stainless spade made quick work of turning the pile into a neighboring bin. Not much decomposition going on this time of year with temperatures steadily below freezing. But you'd be surprised at the number of earthworms still active at the bottom of the pile. I'll bet they don't like me turning their home upside-down in the middle of winter, but I'm sure they'll find a warm spot to hang out.
While I was at it, I tossed a year's worth of shredded personal documents into the bottom of the pile. It's nice to know that our bank statements will soon be feeding the tomato plants.