Spring Hobbies and How To’s
Friendly Wheels, Issue 118
Getting back into gardening was important to Yvonne McKinsey. Learn how she and her husband found a way to better use her Amigo in the garden!
Keeping Hobbies with Your Amigo
Getting back into the garden was important to Yvonne McKinsey. Gardening is a hobby you can enjoy your entire life, but some of the tasks required to manage a garden can become harder as physical abilities change.
In 2014, Yvonne got her first Amigo, a red RT Express. She and her husband, Lee, chose an Amigo because they wanted a “good machine” and liked that it was made locally and, if needed, could be serviced locally, too.
“It’s been a great help,” Yvonne says. “My Amigo hasn’t had to be serviced yet.”
Yvonne and Lee are from Flushing, Michigan, and have been married nearly 60 years (60th anniversary happens in April!). They were married shortly after Lee returned from serving in the U.S. military.
As the decades have rolled by, Yvonne has had more time to dedicate to one of her favorite hobbies, gardening. Their garden is 100’ by 100’.
“Big enough to keep her out of trouble,” Lee jokes.
To help Yvonne stay active in the garden, Lee designed a gardening trailer for her Amigo.
“It was simple to make,” says Lee. “We got a plastic soda crate from the grocery store – just about any plastic or wood crate could work. I used ½” all-thread, two 6” wheels and flat stock for the tongue, and bag-tied everything.”
The small trailer attaches to the back of Yvonne’s Amigo. It’s just the right size to hold the five gallon pail she uses when gardening.
“It’s a much better solution than trying to fit my gardening pail on the platform between my feet,” Yvonne states.
Some of Yvonne’s favorite items to plant and grow in the garden are green beans, tomatoes, onions, corn and flowers. From Memorial Day through the end of summer, Yvonne can often be found tending to her garden.
Yvonne and Lee found a great way to keep an enjoyable activity in her life. For everyone, keeping hobbies is important for health to reduce stress, structure time and stay active.
A few additional tips on how to create an accessible garden are:
Raised garden beds are easier for planting, weed control and harvesting. Build gardening beds to a height of 28 – 30 inches (71 – 76 cm) so you can tend to the plants from any side.
Grow plants and vegetables in containers that you can easily move from the outside indoors.
Water conservative soaker hoses save time, labor and provide a very efficient way to irrigate plants without wasting water.
There is no longer a need to risk straining your neck, back or arms when pruning, raking or working the soil. Garden product makers like Fiskars, Corona, Gripworks, disABILITY Work Tools, Life With Ease and others offer extendable tools.
Do you have hobbies you enjoy doing with your Amigo? Share your story with us! Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amigo Owner Helpful Tips
Learn how to prevent your Amigo tiller from slipping in the service video below.
Amigo Celebrates 50 Years!
Al Thieme, Founder and Chairman of Amigo, has always put people first. Things can be created to assist with activities, but personality, style and attitude exist within a person.
For more than 50 years, Al has had the pleasure of getting to know thousands of Amigo owners. His memories are vast, and the stories he shares are inspiring.
Since the 1970s, Al saw the need to break down the barriers people with different abilities often encounter. Especially in the era from 1970 through the early 1990s, advertising did not feature much diversity. People using mobility aids weren’t captured in glossy advertisements or primetime television.
“People may have been shy about using a mobility aid, and we wanted to show them how fun using an Amigo could be and build up our Amigo family,” Thieme states.
His enthusiasm for putting people first and bringing Amigo owners together led to Amigo Owner Round Up events. Held in cities throughout the U.S., Al brought people together to participate in fun events.
To learn more about Amigo’s history, follow us on Facebook.