Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Tilling, Summer Bounty?

The weekend began Friday afternoon with a late run to the "local" equipment rental store.  We'd decided this would be the weekend to do the first major tilling here at the old farmhouse.  A month ago, when we rented the "Merry Rough Terrain Mower," we'd inquired about renting a self propelled tiller.  As it turned out, there was not one in their inventory at the time, but the owner/operator assured us he was going to an equipment show the following week and intended to buy one then.  The new tiller was delivered to the rental store at 5:03 PM Friday.  As promised, the owner called us as soon as it arrived and, while he assembled the new unit, we made the 35 minute drive to pick it up.... not a bad deal, considering the shop normally closes at 5PM.

And with that, our weekend was defined.  We tilled in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening, until darkness fell.  Our first "test" run with the tiller was interesting, but Joe soon got the hang of it and by 8PM Sunday, he had tilled EIGHT new garden spots and two ponds.  The new gardens vary in size, with the smallest being about 12 feet by 40 feet, and the largest being about 25 feet by 125 feet.

Getting in touch with the new tiller
Large Garden Plot

Nice Soil Garden Spot
Back Garden Spot
Shady Garden Spot
Future Berry Patch
This will be a year of experimenting with the land, flowers, vegetables and fruit. We have big ideas about what we want to try, but realize we will be lucky if only a fraction of our experiments reward us with produce.  Still, it is just DELIGHTFUL to be able to work outside in the early spring sun and shape the dreams of summer bounty.

Of course, the weekend was not without mishap.  Nothing ever seems to go completely as planned.  I was doing the final till of one of the new gardens while Joe was scooping out the freshly tilled dirt from one of the pond sites.  When he'd finished scooping out that layer of loosened dirt, he headed back to the first pond site.  His intention was to scoop out the loosened dirt from that pond.  No, in the thirty minutes since we'd performed the last tilling of that pond site, the dirt had moistened sufficiently to make the tractor work treacherous.  By the time I took a break from tilling to go see what Joe was up to, he was literally up to his axles in MUD.  The poor tractor just could not get out of the pond site.

The pond started innocently enough
And the scooping was no trouble the first time
Nice dirt, easy to scoop
Time to start digging her out!
The next twenty minutes was spend extricating the tractor, hosing the mud out of the wheels and putting her away for drier times.  The time was late and Joe was determined to complete the final tilling of as many of the new garden spots as possible before nightfall.  I seriously heard him speculating that with the "Super Moon" he'd be able to continue tilling after dark!  Thankfully, a light rain put those ideas to rest (I hope!)
Moon 3/18/11
So tomorrow morning, the tiller will be returned to the rental shop.  It did a good job, but it was NOT fast.  The tiller has one forward speed, which the manual states is .7 mph.  I can assure you, walking for more than 8 hours at a time is tiring.... walking at .7 mph for 8 hours is maddening!  And Joe did that two days in a row!

What did I do?  (Besides taking photos of Joe working, of course.) Well, I tilled a little (very little) and I weeded existing flower gardens, and I mowed the lawn, and I gave Killian a much needed hair cut.  Of course, now she looks ridiculously naked and rather thin... guess I need to start feeding her more!  Benson, always an attention hog, insisted on trying to be part of the "sheering" operation.  Miah was smart enough to steer clear of the "excitement."

Taking pictures
(anything will do)
Killian, desperately needing a haircut
Sheering Killian
(Might have considered cutting the "lawn" first?)
Hahaha... Killian looks, ummm, hacked?
Benson, guarding the Killian fur
Mowing the weeds
Weeded flower bed
Plum blossoms opening
Daffodils Blooming


Sharon said...

Those gardens add up to a lot of gardening!I suppose you have every thing planned that you are going to plant. Oh boy, what a mess getting stuck!You planning on some big gold fishes? My cousin has them in the pond during the warm weather and then they go into big aquariums in the basement when it's cold, as the water freezes solid. That moon is still so bright, Jill thinks she needs to go in and out and she's been pacing, and pacing. The whole house seems lit up, that's why I am up at this ungodly hour.

Happy Spring!

Chris said...

You two always amaze me. Most of my married life I've had a garden tiller and felt I'd done a bunch of that, but Joe puts me to shame. He must be in good shape to run two solid days! Are you putting in any fruit trees?

mixednut555 said...

I'm soo envious! Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be doing our own tilling and planting. House is supposed to close March 31. Still hoping to beat Cellllllllman! Lovely post, Judy.