Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Rake Handle

Not ever beautiful, it remained useful even after its metal tines broke off.  We would grab it when herding reluctant geese, knocking pine cones down out of the tree, propping things open, poking into the bushes to shoo out chickens, and so on.  It stayed close at hand;  leaned up against the outside wall of the barn or chicken coop.  For years it was rained on in the winter and sun-baked all summer until the wood was parchment dry, beginning to crack and the ends were rough and broken.

Mama was up visiting one day this spring and needed a bit of steadying as we walked down the slope of the road to the pond.  The old rake handle proved perfect for that job too.  Appreciating its sturdiness, Mama liked leaning on it.  An idea was born.

I wrote my brother, Michael (who lives in Austria), about this project and discovered that he had actually made a walking stick of his own.  Through sketches, photos and descriptions over the internet he guided me on how to transform an old rake handle into a walking stick.  With his coaching, the wood was sanded, conditioned and waxed.  He taught me how to wrap leather tightly to make a hand grip and suggested the rubber foot to give it traction.  It was a team effort across two continents.

The leather hand grip

The rubber foot

The finished walking stick
It wasn't ready by Mother's Day, but Michael reminded me that it was better to get it right than try to meet a deadline.  Of course he was correct.

It was finally finished and I presented it to Mama a few weeks ago.
She was delighted and I was happy to have been able to work on a project with a brother who lives so far away.  

And I believe that the stick, in its own fashion, was also pleased.


  1. What a wonderful story and an even more wonderful gift! We mama's love our kids homemade gifts, no matter how old they (or we!) are. Well done you.

  2. Thank you, Donna -- and I totally agree about the homemade gifts!

  3. What a great way to repurpose something that has put in much time in your life and to share it with someone who has always been part of your life! So nice that your mom can use it to aid her mobility.