by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
Neither of us leave tools out - our dry desert sunshine quickly splinters wood handles and destroys anything rubber or plastic. Besides, neither of us like having to hunt for a tool the other one was using last week. It just makes life easier when tools always get put back in their place after use. So we have a tool shed. Centrally located down among the chicken coop, orchard and garden, it was originally built as a small hay shed back when we still had the horses and goat. Now that they, and the corrals, are gone it's lined with hooks and shelves for garden tools, pots and planters, a mouse-proof plastic bin of frost-protection blankets, hoses in the winter, plus the chicken feed bins.
I love wandering in my garden - summer evenings especially. Or I might head out there with a gathering basket, planning to harvest something. No matter the reason, whenever I'm out there, I'll usually find a little something to be done: a bit of pruning, something that needs to be tied up, a leaking hose connection, weeds to be pulled. But I'd usually left my gloves in the house, plus then I hated having to go back and forth, in and out of the garden, to the tool shed and back every time I needed a little hand tool (and back again, putting everything away afterwards). I needed a hand-tool shed right there in the garden.
So, a few years ago, when I saw a huge rural-type mailbox at a neighbors' garage sale, I knew it was just what I was looking for - big enough to hold all sorts of useful little garden tools, small enough to be unobtrusive, and designed to provide weather-proof protection year-round. Perfect! I had just the place for it too! I have a cable spool just inside the garden gate - placing the mailbox out over the edge enough to open the door left plenty of room for my solar radio and a cold drink, seed packets, my gathering basket, or whatever else I might bring out while working in the garden.
Now, it's so nice having everything I might want close at hand, year-round. Besides a weather-proof place to keep my trowel, shears, hose washers, kneeling pad, and gloves, it's also a handy place to stash twist-ties, string, old pieces of pantyhose - all the little bits and pieces that can be re-purposed in the garden. I guess you could call it my garden version of a junk drawer, too.