According to the artist who handcrafted it, it's most commonly used for gathering, storing and transporting eggs as the depressed centre is useful for carrying the basket on the hip or on the backbone of a horse or mule.
While we own both of these animals (well, two donkeys rather than a mule, which is the offspring of a horse and a donkey) truth be told, I'm not sure if I'd risk carrying eggs on either one of them... crazy creatures, they be.
But I know someone else who is more than willing to step up to the job.
I highly recommend checking out the artist's other work at Smallbones.ca -- it's gorgeous stuff, that. (Yes, the picture in the top right-hand corner is one of my daughter collecting eggs. And yes, she's wearing her pyjamas.)
My dad and step-mother also gave me this. It's a rather unflattering picture of a U-bar digger or broad fork.
With its 10" tines, it digs down deep but without disturbing the soil strata. Studies have shown that turning the soil over completely can cause soil compaction, upset the balance of microorganisms and causes layers of organic matter to be buried too deep, below where beneficial insects can break it down.
I've got this romantic notion of one day raising sheep for their wool (though the owner of the "local" knitting shop -- it's a few villages east of here -- is trying to talk me into raising alpacas.)
I think we've got our hands full right now with the goats, donkeys and horse but one day, I hope to see woolies munching their way through our barnyard.
In the meantime, I'll practice my knitting (I'm great at hats, scarves and basic sweaters using simple stitches-- gloves, socks and cabling, not so much) while I try to find someone who can teach me spinning.
And last, but never least, Lucas gave me this.
He lovingly and carefully carved it by hand -- giving new life to an old post that might otherwise been cast away. It's meant to be out in the garden but I've placed it beside an armoire in the living room. It exudes wisdom and timeless contemplation, two qualities that are desperately needed in this crazy world of ours.
The common theme of these gifts that I hold dear is they were all made by hand or facilitate work by hand. In these days of mechanization and mass production, I find there is something satisfying with going back to the basics and simply experiencing the world through one's fingertips.