Although we've yet to use it to fork manure, the day is coming when we will put our Clarington Forge forged strapped manure fork to the use it was designed for. We have indeed used the Clarington Forge manure fork for purposes that were most likely not intended and it withstood the abuse without a single complaint. Since we received our strapped manure fork late last fall, we hung it on the barn wall until I misplaced the metal rod that I had been using to break ice that formed overnight on the stock tanks in the corral. Chopping ice on stock water in the dark is not the most pleasant of winter time tasks and it certainly is made even less pleasant when you can't locate the ice chopping tool, even with your headlamp on high. With daylight fast approaching and animals waiting more or less patiently for water, I spied the manure fork and decided it would have to do that fateful day.
I love well made tools -- especially hand tools -- so I cringed as I drove the strapped manure fork into the ice to chip it into small enough pieces that I could pull them out. As it turned out, I needn't have cringed and in actuality, the fork pierced the ice with my first attempt. And after breaking the ice into chunks, the manure fork was quite effective at removing them. The tool was so effective at this chore that I adopted it as my ice removal tool for the remaining months of winter. Since the Clarington Forge manure fork has an ash handle, my hands stayed much warmer than they did with the misplaced ice breaking bar too. Some mornings no less than three inches of new ice had formed atop the tanks and the fork still performed perfectly.
Since that initial use of the manure fork, I have also made use of it to pitch loose hay to the sheep and to move packed hay from around the hay bale feeding area. I'm not sure that the folks who designed this fork would recommend using it as an ice breaking tool or as an efficient hay moving tool, but that it is up to those tasks and much more make me know that it is an incredibly high-quality manure fork, worth every penny of its roughly $85 price.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.