PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
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December 17, 2019

Time flies! If you’re like many busy hobby farmers, you’re probably shaking your head in amazement at how Christmas has managed to sneak up on you again. How can it be less than two weeks away?

If you’re still shopping and need gift ideas for the hobby farmer(s) on your list (and you didn’t find the exact right thing in the 10 suggestions we provided last week), we have you covered! If there’s anything hobby farmers almost universally adore, it’s tools and machines. These six ideas will get you thinking outside the box (but inside the toolbox) and help guide you toward the perfect tool gifts:

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1. Snap Ring Pliers

Snap ring pliers make a great addition to any farmer’s toolbox. They’re something of a specialty tool, but as I learned when removing a lawn mower tire a couple springs ago they can’t be beat for the specific purpose of removing tricky snap rings from machinery. I suggest investing in a reversible pair that can both squeeze and widen snap rings, depending on how they’re installed.

2. Post and Pipe Level

Inexpensive enough to be a stocking stuffer, but useful enough to warrant a permanent place in any fencing toolkit, a post and pipe level is exactly what its name implies. Strap it to any post or pipe, whether horizontal or vertical, and you can instantly gauge if it’s level or plumb. The key here is an ability to view air bubbles on multiple sides of the post or pipe, allowing you to gauge its orientation from two perspectives at once. Talk about a timesaver! It’s one of the best tool gifts I can imagine.

3. Hay Moisture Tester

For the farmer baling his or her own hay, a hay moisture tester can make the process a lot simpler. Eliminate the guesswork from gauging moisture content and measure it scientifically—you’ll quickly know if the hay is dry enough to bale or if any given bale requires special attention.

4. Old Machinery Instruction Manuals

This might seem obscure, but it’s not uncommon for hobby farmers to own an abundance of antique farming equipment without any of the instruction manuals to match. Some machines are straightforward enough to use, but others (tractors, hay balers, etc.) can be significantly more complicated, particularly when it comes to performing routine maintenance.

If you’re able to track down the instruction manual for a favored but finicky machine, you’ll score major Christmas bonus points from the grateful recipient.

5. LED Flashlights

If you know a farmer still using old-fashioned incandescent flashlights, give them the gift of an LED flashlight. In my experience, even small and lightweight LED flashlights produce dramatically brighter beams of light than equivalent incandescent ones. Even better, they use less power (so batteries last longer) and essentially never burn out. Take care of an LED flashlight, and it will last for years.

6. A Subscription to Hobby Farms Magazine

The editors didn’t ask me to say this—it really is the gift that keeps on giving! For equipment reviews, tips and tricks, inspiration, innovative ideas, farming news, instructional projects and much more, a subscription to Hobby Farms magazine will bring joy to any hobby farmer all year long.

Merry Christmas!

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