25 years ago, my friend CKG gave me an inconel machete as an unexpected gift. Made by Incolma S.A. in Manizales Colombia, I did not know what to do with such an implement at the time. As I was a sort of rude and singularly focused teenage boy back then, I was not as grateful to her as I should have been in retrospect. The machete and it's decorative sheath sat in closets and moving boxes for decades. Then, in 2007, we moved to Arizona, and I saw Mexican landscapers using their machetes all the time on my neighbors' palm trees. So when my Mexican fence post cactus (MFPC) suffered frost damage in January 2008 from a record cold spell, I recalled I had this handy blade, and used it to amputate the blackened, moldy arms. It sliced through the meaty cactus like a hot knife through butter, much to my delight.
Near the end of 2009, I reconnected with my old friend CKG on a social networking site. She and I had not spoken to since before the internet was publicly available and people used to write actual pen and ink letters to each other =P I mentioned to her that I'd been using this handy blade extensively here. Not only on the MFPC, but I eviscerated a mammoth prickly pear cactus when I installed my solar pool heater in March 2009 - the prickly pear was nearly the size of the heater, so there was a great deal of hacking, with machete and shovel (nearer to the gravel). After hearing the usefulness of her gift, and my recent extreme hike in the SW Phoenix Mountains earlier this month, she shared with me the origin of said blade. Her grandparents (abuelitos) had/have a remote ranch in Colombia (the country, not the city) called La Estrella - the same name as the mountains I was hiking upon. The ancestral cattle & fruit ranch was accessible via car, then jeep, then horseback over mountains and river crossings. In CKG's words, my "machete was worn on hip of every man who worked and lived there". Very cool. I had no idea that this long shelved tool had such a rich origin, and it's quite useful here in this desert clime. The inconel will never rust, and it's hardness is nearly twice that of stainless steel. I clean it with Chlorox-wipes, after each usage to disinfect it, and thoroughly dry it (about 10 minutes in 10% RH here in AZ) before re-sheathing. Like my Finnish Fiskars pruners which have proven extremely useful in the garden and yard, this Incolma machete is now an invaluable part of my tool arsenal - and useful in home defense against zombies as well, if it comes to that. I hope I can hand it down to a grand child someday, many many years from now when I am too feeble to wield it properly.
1 year ago