In Praise of the Single Track Wheelbarrow

I have two wheelbarrows. One is a newer huge capacity, two wheeled monster with metal frame and handles; the other is an old wooden handled, single tire, shallow pan model that I have had since the 1980’s.

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Guess which one this is above………

This weekend I was reaquainted with the beauty and utility of this simple tool. I had about 2 yards of dirt to put pack into the trench I dug to bury pipe for our gray water system. I started with my big two wheeler and quickly discovered that maneuvering between the azaleas uphill and over edger stone was too difficult for me. These big two wheelers are made to allow twenty-year-olds to move large volumes of wet concrete and pour into forms. Heavy, awkward and hard to guide on anything but flat level ground.

The old single track above was originally yellow  and tagged in rattle can silver “Happy Anniversary” around the interior of the bowl. Although it still rolls on the original wheel and tire, I have replaced the wooden parts at least twice over the last thirty-five years. When I use this tool, I am reminded of all the work we have done together and the countless days it has endured outdoors in the rain, the heat, and the freezing cold. I am grateful for its reliability and durability. Like a simple hammer, it’s use is obvious and immediate. A lever and a wheel.

I noticed this weekend that the wood of the handles holding the front strap had deteriorated. Time for new handles and a repaint this fall.