My favorite passage so far from Harlan Hubbard’s Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society:
I have found no one who sympathizes with my insistence on gardening by hand, without the use of any machine. So many times have the advantages of a garden tractor or tiller been pointed out to me that I half believe the argument myself and am apologetic and evasive in my replies. That is my weakness. My strength returns when I am alone in the garden, working with some beloved tool, the birds whistling overhead. Even on a sultry July morning, when not a breath of air stirs, when the sun’s heat is magnified by the encircling trees, and weeds are sprouting everywhere, not even then could I welcome one of those nondescript, unlovable gadgets, brightly painted and streamlined, which make an intolerable noise and smell bad. They get the work done, you say? I say they are expensive and insidiously destructive. I will get the work done in my own way. Save time? The best use of time is to enjoy it, as I do when working in peaceful silence. I am surprised that anyone with a love for growing things will take up with artificial contrivances that come between him and nature, which break the spell woven by all the delicate garden influences, the songs of birds and insects, the sound of rustling leaves, the smell of freshly turned soil, the direct contact with the earth. What is he in the garden for?
Hubbard is wrong, however, in one point. It is not true that he has found no one who sympathizes with his insistence on gardening by hand. If no one else, today, forty years after the publication of his book, he has found me.
For other posts on gardening solely with hand tools, see: