Barrow blues

It’s hard to face.  Difficult to accept. But it’s time for a new wheelbarrow.

It’s astonishing, when I think about how much work my wheelbarrow has done over the last seventeen years.  With it I built that entire garden featured in ‘Michael McCoy’s Garden’, carting in mountains of compost and masses of gravel.

Without complaint, it transported great slabs of slate, being very roughly treated in the process.

It has done all the garden work around here ever since, along with carting untold quantities of firewood for the last decade.  In fact, it was a bit of redgum – thrown from the woodheap, and poorly aimed – that took off one of its arms about six years back.  It snapped like a toothpick.  All that sitting around in the weather was clearly starting to take its toll. I chucked on this hilariously poorly crafted ‘splint’, and kept it in service far longer than I imagined possible.

Early days of the wheelbarrow, though looking careworn before its time (Evangeline, aged 4 (now 19) and me in conference on the lawn)
Early days of the wheelbarrow, though looking careworn before its time (Evangeline, aged 4 (now 19) and me in conference on the lawn)

I think it was a huge piece of slate, way too heavy to lift, that started the crack about five years ago that ended up as a large hole a few weeks back.  Too often the barrow was on its side, the slate laid up against the tray, then the barrow forced upright again with slate – of tray-warping weight – attached.

As long as it has gone on in its ailing state, it’s time for an upgrade – time to retire it to firewood only.  While moving several cubic metres of gravel while constructing a path in the last few days, I’ve had to cover the hole in the tray with a piece of cement sheet (hopeless), or an old layer’s-pellet bag (better).  There comes a moment when it just doesn’t make sense to persist.

That moment has been a long time in the arrival. Seems that you can get very attached to your old gardening tools.


  1. Love that you’ve snuck in some lovely snowdrops in the background!

    1. Am I that transparent? I was hoping, like Sebastian Flyte, to be maintain an aura of mystery at all times.

  2. Oh no! A death in the McCoy family….. I feel for you. Such sterling service. Is the same brand still available for its replacement? I hope you don’t go and check out the newbies on offer and find yourself mightily disappointed.

    1. Thanks for the acknowledgement of my deep emotions at this time…
      And I want to replace it exactly. I want the same size tray, a metal wheel – not plastic, and timber arms/handles – none of this cold, unfeeling, unyielding steel for me.

  3. I too have a barrow damaged by lying it on its side and rolling dozens of heavy stones into it and then applying my entire body weight to get it upright again. The result for the barrow? It sort of staggers along in a sideways, crablike fashion. And the result for the operator? A permanently ‘ bad back’. (Still, it was so satisfying seeing the results of ‘our’ endeavours. I used the stones to encircle a huge mound of dirt left over from cleaning out a dam. There was a tangle of lantana and a couple of wattles but gradually I managed to establish tree ferns, other ferns, bromeliads and heliconias and lots of other warm climate lovelies and ended up with a really nice patch of garden and at little cost as most was self sown and transplanted or scavenged.)

    1. Love the idea that you can consider that a bad back may have been worth it..

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