We went to Mamie’s to beat the rain. Richard was going to really zip through those tilled areas, turning the soil and manure into a rich, smooth palette for our vegetable garden. I was going to follow along with the nifty rolling seed planter that Mountaintop Mary had offered to lend me after seeing the Mennonite farmers planting with a similar device. We were geared up to go -- and the tractor wouldn’t start.
I could bemoan the use of technology, waxing poetic about the reliability of horse-drawn plows and harrows, but I’d be willing to bet there are days that horses don’t feel up to their tasks of plow pulling and such. Here we were, ready to finish getting the garden in, and big clods of horse poop were impeding our progress.
Mamie informed me that it was time to hoe the weeds from between the potatoes, while creating the mounds that help potatoes to thrive. As I went down each row with Mamie’s special weeding hoe, I realized that Richard had insisted that the rows be spaced for running a walk-behind tiller between them. What the heck was I doing with this hoe in my hand?
On one of Richard’s visits to my area to let me know that he was leaving to retrieve tools and other needed tractor repair items from our house, I asked him about the possibility of simplifying my task with Mamie’s tiller. Since Mamie’s tiller is as old as the tractor, it also has seen better days. After complimenting me on the fine job I was doing, Richard let me know that I’m much too delicate to try to wrestle that tiller into submission. I kept hoeing while Richard went to Wal Mart to have the tractor battery tested.
By the time Richard returned, the rain had begun, which was okay because the tractor still couldn’t be used. The battery was still dead -- so dead, in fact, that Richard had been advised by Charlie that it would probably take two days to finish bringing it back to life. What’s a farmer to do? I took a nap while warming up the chili for the second-Monday Ruritan supper meeting.
I was jealous when Dave told me that he and his wife had spent the day sowing sixteen rows of corn. We only want about a fourth of that, but not a seed is yet in the ground. The ground is now too wet to run a tractor over; it will be a few more days of waiting. At this rate we won’t be harvesting until Labor Day. Now, I know Jack planted corn four different times last year. Maybe we’ll get early corn from him and we’ll be able to share our late corn at community suppers.
The plants I bought from the Future Farmers of America, meanwhile, are waiting to be placed in their rows. Mountaintop Mary has found a new source of FFOA seedlings in close-in Tellico Plains. My best bet may be to go to their greenhouse rather than attempting to sprout our own seeds.