It’s hard to believe, but I have spent a part of everyday this week on a tractor. If I haven’t been driving a tractor, I’ve been tinkering on a tractor. I knew this day would come. Each year I’ve used a tractor more and more on the farm. Sometimes it’s been a great help. Sometimes it’s been a great source of misery.
Yet I haven’t spent much time tinkering, since I share the equipment with other farmers. I’ve always gotten away with minimal futzing around on the tractor. Well, that ended this week. If I wasn’t tilling or weeding or laying black plastic mulch with a tractor, I was tinkering on it. I have the bruised hands and scrapped knuckles to prove it. The biggest feat this week was getting all the plastic mulch laid down for the peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Hats off and high fives to my crew who helped me over the last two days! We had a lot of problems to work through. The machine, that was supposed to make this task easy, has so many adjustable parts that it took a day to figure out a workable set up. Lots of tinkering. Lots. At one point I had had enough and I called it quits. I needed to move onto another task (turns out I just moved over to another tractor and tinkered on that while the crew did some weeding)
We eventually got the mulch layer working and we finished laying the mulch down today. This is probably going to turn into one of the epic tales of the season. My crew did a great job. They got to hear my Yosemite Sam impression when the machine wasn’t working and we discovered an integral part of the hitching system had fallen into the field, lost to us forever. But we also got to dance a jig for joy together when finally we got the machine to work. I’m serious. We were all so excited it finally worked we had a little dance party right there in the field.
The beds we mulched are now awaiting their peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Looking back at our work I have to laugh. Some of the beds are quite wobbly. I’m calling them my “drunken sailor beds”. No straight lines here. Someone’s tractor driving skills are seriously in question (mine. and no, I wasn’t drinking). I will say this in my defense, I’m still a newbie at this. This was the first time I had to adjust a machine on my own. I’m actually pretty proud of my work. It’s good enough. Not good, but good enough. And I’m chalking that up to success!