It’s a standing joke that residents of British Columbia are more or less permanently blissed out on the marijuana that reputedly flourishes here. But since Hubby and I aren’t into ‘herbal’ remedies, we never guessed that we’d end up getting stoned.
Sadly, it wasn’t as pleasant as we had hoped. We didn’t realize it would involve actual stones.
I’ve mentioned before that our yard is basically a gravel pit: The rocks range from the size of a breadbox down to pebbles, and it’s all so tightly interlocked that the only way to “dig” is by scraping the surface with a hoe so the larger rocks can be hooked out and tossed aside. A shovel won’t travel more than half an inch without stopping dead.
So with that in mind, consider this: We have a rototiller.
It’s an ancient Honda that we bought second-hand years ago. The original owner assured us that it was only a few years old, and we didn’t discover that he’d lied through his teeth until we attempted repairs for the first time.
The Honda turned out to be much older than advertised; but other than the difficulty of finding drive belts in a size that’s no longer manufactured, that turned out to be a good thing. Unlike today’s flimsy machines, this one’s mechanical parts were made to last forever. It has gotten uglier as superfluous parts rust and/or fall off, but it still works. Hard.
That tiller has chewed through everything from prairie sod to half-rotted stumps to our current rock collection, aided by the fact that Hubby replaced the worn-out 8 HP engine with a 13 HP model a couple of years ago. The clutch doesn’t work anymore but it’s still possible to engage and disengage the drive wheels and tines with a lever, so it’s all good.
Or, to be more precise, it’s grossly over-powered and positively lethal in rocky soil.
The first time Hubby attempted to till our newly-created veggie garden last year, he came indoors looking as though he’d received a persuasive visit from Guido and Luigi with their baseball bats. His shins were black and blue where they weren’t oozing red. Turns out those heavy-duty tines can unearth rocks larger than softballs and hurl them with such force that they crash right through the protective shroud and into whatever is immediately behind the tiller… AKA the operator’s legs.
Hubby’s a quick learner: Now he wears knee-high neoprene boots with kneepads and shin guards strapped over top. I wandered over to the garden a few days ago as he was girding his shins for battle. He looked up, spotted me about ten feet away, and said, “You’d better stand back.”
When he started tilling, it was like those science-fiction movies where giant malevolent critters attack from below the earth’s surface. The tiller bucked and kicked and actually took air once or twice while rocks and sticks flew everywhere, accompanied by a deafening clatter. At one point a rock the size of my head bounced out from behind the machine, but fortunately it was too heavy to fly very far.
So all in all, this ‘getting stoned’ thing has turned out to be a more, um… energetic process than we’d anticipated.
Are we having fun yet…?