The Tractor

If you were to tell me when I was nine years old that in 25 years I would own a house with a wood stove, and enjoy stacking wood, I would have rolled my eyes so far back in my head I’d be blind.  I remember my parents pleading, yelling at my brother and I to get up off our asses and go attend to the pile of wood in the driveway and haul it up by the house.  It was, without a question my least favourite chore.  However, this week our first two bush cords of wood arrived, and I took immense satisfaction in the procurement of my wood pile.  Maybe I just needed better scenery.

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I spent most of my life not knowing what I wanted to do, and now that I’m finally here, I feel like I’ve known all along and would have realized sooner if I looked to the things I valued when I was younger, wood stacking aside, of course.

I love nature; Animals, plants, soil, even bugs.  My favourite days are ones spent outside, and I’m fascinated by the quest a seed takes to become a beautiful sprout.  Everyday I’m thinking about the spring, and the growing season next year.  However, I’m also thinking about the colossal amount of work that needs to be done before that.

Day by day we are scratching something off the list, but it’s starting to feel like for everything we take off we accumulate much more.  Today I felt like I was 2 millimetres tall in comparison to the current agenda.

The pressure has be building for a little while, but while I was watching the meteor shower I had a blatantly great idea.  Sometimes the most obvious solution can be the simplest one.  I decided we needed to buy a tractor, and it was such a relief!

Initially, we decided we didn’t need one because of the soil conservation methods we will practice in the future.  If we were to buy a tractor it wouldn’t be much use to us for the style of farming we want to do, but we need to prepare the soil now, and that means our field needs to mowed and ploughed.  Cue my brilliant idea!  We needed something that could work in the future on our 30” wide rows, and do the job of preparing the field now.  The answer is a small, two-wheel tractor.  They are very popular in Europe, and I had read about them in a book by the Canadian market gardening guru, Jean-Martin Fortier.  He swears by these tractors, particularly the Italian made, BCS.  They have a Honda engine, and have a huge variety of attachments for different tasks.

I watched YouTube videos, I researched prices and became familiar with the implements.  I found a dealer and Kenny was completely on board with the idea.  Just to be sure I checked Kijiji, and found one for sale an hour away.  I looked to compare prices on used models, and could not find another one for sale in Canada. It must be a sign, that tractor was meant for me!

It came with three attachments: a brush hog for mowing, a tiller, and a snowblower.  We already have a snowblower, but this just means that this is another activity my husband and I can do together, because we are together all the time, everyday.

We brought our new baby home, and were feeling like pros about our savvy purchase, until we fired it up.  My positive outlook soon became overcast.  We had a brief lesson from the farmer we bought it from, and he was a really nice fellow who gave us all kinds of tips on farming.  At home, we just didn’t have the same cadence with the machine.  At first I told myself it’s just a learning curve, and truthfully it probably still is, but it was really frustrating.  The mower doesn’t work how we need it to to tackle the current golden rod explosion on the field.  We already have a snowblower, so did we just buy a crazy expensive rototiller?

My common form of economics works by either equating something to the time I could spend in Cuba for that price or the cost of pints of beer.   I had to walk away from the tractor today with Cuba on my mind.

Kenny spent much more time with it, he serviced the engine, and got it to work a little better, but we’re still not sure that it’s going to do the job we initially bought it for.  Hopefully, it will serve its purpose in the future, if not now.

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In terms of field preparation I’m feeling a little defeated, but tomorrow’s a new day, and I’m grateful that Kenny’s feeling positive.  We stood in the middle of the field tonight and said, one day we’ll look back on this and laugh… If for nothing else, this golden rod makes a really beautiful backdrop.

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