Every time Farmer Brock offers to teach us how to do something with the tractor, I volunteer. Partly because I think the tractor is super cool, but also because I'm kind of terrified of it and I want to get over that terror. (Just like my fear of power tools.) I'd taken the orange Kubota for a few jaunts around the farm, but this week I did me some real tractoring.
1) Here's me spading in the fields for the first time. I'm concentrating so hard on keeping my lines straight that I didn't even notice how fake the sky is looking.
2) Here's what the tractor spader attachment looks like. It sort of reminds me of a crouching spider that's about to jump on me.
3) These are the spader blades. They pulverize and dig into the soil so it's soft and loose for transplanting soil blocks into the fields. Sometimes the blades run over a big, buried rock and for 15 terrifying seconds, there's a horrible clanging noise and I think I've irreparably damaged Farmer Brock's tractor.
4) Here are some of my first spaded beds. Not too shabby for a cardigan-wearing librarian! These beds are now ready for transplanting.
5) Next I learned how to till. Tilling usually comes before spading and is much easier to do. Basically, you're just preparing the soil by turning it over and uprooting cover crops and weeds. You're also not worrying much about keeping perfectly straight lines. You might till the soil several times before it's ready to be spaded and planted. The tiller attachment has runners on the side like Santa's sled. I doubt Santa's sled, however, has terrifying, soil-encrusted blades beneath it.
6) My first tilling job made things look like this. When looking at this picture, imagine that the air smells very earthy and that if you look closely, you see the occasional writhing, chopped up piece of worm.
7) In case you hadn't notice, I'm all about this tractor. Seriously. This tractor is the shit.