As I start working in the garden I find that one of my favorite garden tools is an old butcher knife that I got at a second hand store for 50¢. It works much better than the forked weed diggers for getting the weeds out root and all, and I also use it to loosen the soil when I am planting something not too large. With its long thin blade I just plunge it into the soil, give it a twist and the weeds come right out, or I use the same motion to loosen up the soil in a planting hole. If a large planting hole is needed I still rely on my shovel, but the knife is great for smaller jobs.
Last week we had to relocate a snake that was having its lunch at the edge of a small plastic pond we have near our deck. It seems the snakes find this a fine place to pick up a frog dinner. I don't mind having snakes around, but once they discover the pond I toss them into a pillow case and take them some distance away to release them. We have drained the pond, cleaned it and refilled it, so we are ready for the season. There are at least two frogs living in it right now. One year we had a population explosion of small frogs, and at one point I counted 27 in and around the pond. It reminded me of a Biblical plague, though they were well behaved and caused no problems. I wonder how many of them became a meal for a snake.
It will soon be time to treat the plants that are deer favorites with Repellex. More about that next time.