20 February 2011

Spring - maybe

The weather has been excellent of recent with comfortable daytime highs and lows ranging from 30F to 47F. Its been dry though and there are a number of wild fires burning currently in Virginia. Our witch hazel has burst into bloom and attracted the very first bee of the season.

Although there will surely be some hard freezes yet, the Farm is heading rapidly into spring so Mr. Vest came out and spread lime on the large pasture to lower the acidity. The ground here is rather acid, enough to prevent many plants from absorbing the needed nutrients from the soil. It seems that many undesirable plants such as broom grow only in acid soil and by keeping the pH where the grasses grow well, so it also serves to suppress the weeds. The lime is best distributed before the grasses begin to green so the time was nigh.

Mr. Fuzzy gave Mrs. Fuzzy a Husqvarna roto-tiller for Christmas (boy was that hard to sneak into the house). So yesterday, with much anticipation, we filled the tank with its first swig of petrol, double-checked the oil leveland fired it up, walking it (it is self propelled) 300 feet or so from the barn to the garden. The muffler works extremely well - wish our chipper engine was so quiet. Mrs. Fuzzy did less than one garden row of tilling and the infernal labor-saving machine went on strike; the engine runs but the transmission will not engage. Perhaps we have a lot to learn about operating these machines but the tines also became completely wadded up with the grasses and their roots. Back to the local dealer with it tomorrow! We are not amused.

Dearest reader, we trust that the pleasant change of seasons has come to your house and brought the cheer of the renewal of growth all around you.

1 comment:

Lausanne said...

After reading of your adventures with the new tiller, I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth. We have an old Troy Bilt Tiller and it has offered relentless service over the years. Replacement parts and service are easy to come by around here. The tires are considerably beefier than on your "Husky", making it easy to maneuver on uneven ground and it truly can be managed with one hand when tilling. Any tiller will wrap weeds around it's tine axle. If you are breaking ground and the grasses are tall there's simply no avoiding that, but a good knife with a curved hook on the end cuts them off with a single motion.
I'm envious of your balmy weather...tomorrow's forecast is for 8-12 inches of snow. Spring seems a long ways off yet, but I'll start my various alliums sometime by the end of next week.