...et on recommence. In this case, les mêmes are the rototiller, the lawnmower, and the two guys who walk behind them and keep them on course. This is the rototiller's 15th season in the vegetable garden plot — mine too, of course — but the lawnmower is the second one we've had since we moved here in 2003. It gets used not just in the spring but all summer and into the fall.
Above was what faced me on Tuesday. That was the day when the weather suddenly changed for the better. The photo shows the vegetable garden plot, of course. Last fall we had raked up dead leaves that fell out of the maple trees and spread them over a lot of the plot. Then Walt burned some downed branches and other yard trimmings there in the middle.
And here is the plot as it looked yesterday afternoon. I didn't do a deep tilling, but I did what I call a désherbage pass. In other words, I ran the tiller over the surface to uproot and pull out the weeds, and to turn all the dead leaves over. The ground was muddy in places, because the leaves and the weeds' roots hold in a lot of moisture. And it has been so rainy for months. I'll till it again tomorrow or next week.
Here's the rototiller. It's a heavy, awkward piece of machinery that's not easy to handle. The wheel with the tire folds up when you run the tiller, so that the blades and disks dig into the ground and turn the soil over — in theory. Sticky mud and tenacious roots make the job harder than it would be in dry, loose soil. This morning, I woke up with a backache, but that's not surprising. At this point, the ground is drying out because of our sunny, warm weather.
Meanwhile, Walt dealt with the mess shown above. We don't know why the grass grew so tall and thick in that spot by the real fake well outside the greenhouse and back door, but it did. Maybe it got better light than did other parts of the yard.
Anyway, he got the grass back under control once it dried out enough to be mowed. He uses a self-propelled mower — the motor turns the wheels as well as the blade — but it's not a riding mower. It's not as heavy as the rototiller, but it's still a lot of work to follow it around, tilt it up to get it to go through tall grass, and to turn it around dozens of times when he comes to the edges of the yard and path. Yesterday he mowed the grass all around the section of the yard where the vegetable garden plot is located.