I wouldn’t normally have another Farm Report ready until at least the weekend. But I ended up shifting part of my weekend to the workweek.
On Tuesday morning, I drove to the office as usual. “As usual” these days means heading to Nashville after dropping the girls off at their middle school around 7:00 AM. Yes, you read that correctly: I’m awake and in the car and ready to go at 6:45 AM. After all those years as a night person who could rarely fall asleep before midnight, my body clock seems to have shifted.
Some weeks ago, I began waking up at 6:00 AM for no apparent reason. Then I started going to bed at 10:30 PM instead of midnight and actually falling asleep. Well, usually. Since Chareva is busy trying to get all the cartoons for the book done, I told her I’d drive the girls to school. That’s a morning trip she doesn’t have to make, which gives her more drawing time. The early start also means I can leave the office around 3:45 PM, which gives me more writing time when I get home.
Anyway, I drove to the office on Tuesday, booted up my computer and … nothing. That is, nothing but a Windows startup screen that wouldn’t go away. I took it to the company PC lab where, after running an analysis, one of the techs told me they’d have to rebuild the thing. He said it would take at least five hours.
I told my supervisor he probably didn’t need me to just sit around all day, and offered to take the day off and work on Saturday. He agreed. I went home and spent a chunk of the day working on the film version of the book.
I drove to the office again on Wednesday morning. The PC had been raised from the dead, but the long list of programming tools required for my work hadn’t been installed. One of the techs told me it would take at least five hours. (I sometimes wonder if “at least five hours” is the standard estimate.) So once again, I told my supervisor I was willing to sit and watch the Olympics all day, but it probably wasn’t a good use of my time. He agreed and sent me home.
With Saturday already set aside for programming work, I told Chareva if there was any weekend farm work she wanted me to accomplish, the weekend was happening now, in the middle of the week. Turns out she did have a project in mind. Half her garden is played out for the summer, and she wanted me to till the soil to prepare it for cool-weather plants. Kale is one of those plants. That’s all she had to say. Just picture me with a big cardboard sign: WILL WORK FOR KALE.
I pushed the tiller up our back hill and wondered why the heck my thigh muscles were burning. I mean, it’s a heavy enough machine, but come on.
Geez, I would have sworn I was in better shape than this! Did I become a weenie during my programming marathon? Too much sitting in a chair?
Then I remembered: I had stopped at the gym for my workout after dropping the girls off at school. I was doing manual farm labor two-and-a-half hours after lifting weights.
Okay, no worries. You didn’t become a weenie. Just consider this an extra set with weights.
As you can see, weeds had invaded the garden after attempting to disguise themselves as plants deserving of water and other care. The tiller is tough and will take down weeds, but then the weeds wrap themselves around the blades like little ropes. So I decided it would be best to run The Beast through the area first.
Weeds had also taken over the chicken moats. They were so thick, the chickens lost interest in running around looking for bugs. So as long as I was feeding The Beast, I decided I may as well hack my way through the moats as well. I’m bent over like an old man in the photos below because we haven’t raised the nets with cattle panels in that moat.
There’s no room to turn The Beast around in the moats, so once I reach the end, I finish cutting by walking The Beast backwards. Glad that thing has a reverse gear.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m impressed with how well The Beast is built. I’ve also mentioned that I’m not impressed with the Toro lawnmower. That goes double now. Last weekend, the Toro shook itself into breaking down. There are parts that have sprung loose in the engine, a crack in the base of the engine, and an oil leak I can’t locate – but I can see the oil. So I had to quit mowing with this much left to go:
Yes, we’re on bumpy land, but it’s not as if I drive the Toro over boulders. Apparently it’s only tough enough for a suburban lawn. Guess I should see if the makers of The Beast produce lawnmowers as well.
After feeding The Beast, I took the tiller into the garden and turned up enough rocks to fill all the heads in Congress. Despite knocking down the tall weeds with The Beast, the tiller still found some weeds and vines and wrapped them around the blades. The Master Gardener/Farm Lady took on the chore of snipping away the mess to free the blades. She had to do this twice.
The tiller bucks like a bronco, and I have to manhandle the thing to keep it on track. But I managed to turn the soil in the garden.
Chareva is now threatening to get out there and plant those fall crops. Man, I’m looking forward to the kale. It’ll be a nice change from okra.
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