PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
The question of holiday gifts for hobby farmers can be challenging. The short answer is, give the gift of tools and equipment that will help them with their farming projects. The long answer is: Coming up with items they don’t already own (and items that are within a reasonable budget) can be a little tricky.
Because it’s not possible (or, at least, practical) to wrap up an ATV or tractor and place it under the Christmas tree (even if such a purchase would be within your budget), here are a few simpler, stocking stuffer-ish ideas to help you in your shopping.
1. Gardening Tools
For the farmer with a green thumb, you’ll never run out of gift ideas. From various shovels, spades and hoes of all sizes and types to soaker hoses, spraying hose nozzles, gardening pots and trellises, you can find something useful for a gardener. Or, if you’re less inclined to go the tools and equipment route, consider ordering a special selection of heirloom seeds.
2. Staple Gun
Is the farmer in your life planning some construction projects for the coming year? Then make sure he or she has a staple gun on hand. I’ve been using mine with increasing frequency, because it’s simple to use and perfect for attaching hardware cloth, netting and similar types of screens to items such as garden beds or chicken runs.
3. Rubber Boots
Farmers can never have too many rubber boots, particularly if the farm in question features areas of low ground where water tends to gather. Whether dealing with spring mud or standing water in lowland areas, rubber boots allow farmers to stay dry while plunging through deep puddles, and if the boots get caked with mud, it’s simple to rinse them off and clean them up again.
4. Ratcheting Straps
I received a set of ratcheting straps as a gift last Christmas and mentioned at the time how helpful I thought they would be. After using them all summer to tie down large loads of tree debris for transportation across the farm, I’m not sure how I ever got along without them. They’re simple to use, plus strong enough and long enough to handle substantial loads.
5. Extra Batteries for Power Tools
Portable electric drills and circular saws are tools that receive a lot of use, but the batteries that make them so portable and useful seem to often run dry at inopportune times. Consider buying extra batteries for tools like these so that you can always have a fully charged battery waiting in the wings.