I have a professional cooking background, so you can imagine how attached I am to my kitchen tools. I have had the same chef knife for 25 years. It is perfectly balanced and the right size for my hand. I have a flexible spatula that is probably 40 years old. It is irreplaceable. The right tool can make a task a pleasure. The wrong tool can make you doubt that the job is worth doing.
The same goes for work around the coops. I have a straw broom that is a pleasure to use. When I sweep the barn with it, the job is done quickly, and I have a sense of accomplishment. When I use the cheap-o plastic broom, I hurry through the work and am not as thorough.
Tools don’t have to be expensive to be a joy to use. I have a hand weeder that cost less than $10. It’s a simple wooden handle with a straight spike for digging out roots, like dandelions. It’s getting old and I’ve tried to find another. None fits in my hand the same way. None give me the same leverage.
Collecting eggs is probably the favorite task for most chicken keepers, but even that requires a tool – a basket. I’ve had baskets that, if set down a tad roughly, the eggs would break. I’ve had baskets that tipped over. I’ve had baskets too big for the number of eggs that I collect, so that they rolled into each other and smashed.
This is my perfect basket. I found it an an antique shop, but it cost no more than a new one in a catalog. It has small feet, so the eggs don’t break when put it down. The opening curves in so the eggs don’t fall out (and the dogs can’t reach their noses in if I leave it too long on the back porch.) It is exactly the right size for the number of eggs that I collect (these are from yesterday.) The icing on the cake is that the basket is beautiful. But, aren’t all well-loved tools?