Getting Stoned

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…?

The Beast. (That’s our tilled garden in the middleground; with the original “soil” in the background still waiting to be attacked. Or to attack us.)

27 thoughts on “Getting Stoned

  1. That sounds like hard work, even WITH a heavy-duty rototiller. But by the time your husband is done, you’ll have plenty more rocks to build garden perimeters, stone fences, cairns, perhaps a castle . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • And battlements. And a lined moat. And a causeway to the mainland. And…well, never mind. The rest will work itself out. Or *someone* will, I’m sure.

      And with another rototiller or two–and all set on full-auto–your defenses would be fearsome indeed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we already have plans for an outdoor wood-fired oven that will incorporate the ornamental ironwork from several antique woodstoves we have, along with lots and LOTS of rocks. It won’t cost us anything except for the mortar; but we’re both gonna look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by the time we’re done. 😉


  2. I got nothin’. Most of our hard-core gardening was done when I was a kid on the farm and too little to contribute enough to matter much. Besides, dad did most of it with the same tractors he farmed with. Mom and Sis and I would stand back out of the way until he was through, then we’d water it, or Mom would. If Sis and I did, we usually did more harm than good. You know, kids and summer and a water hose.

    Rich, deep soil, no rocks at all. Just weeds, and, thus, lots of, er, weed removal. I’ll just leave it at that.

    And look at you go with Book 13! Fully plotted and ninety perthent done! Nicely done, sista!


  3. That is truly a “beast” of a rototiller that you have. Mine is about 15 years old and gets run about once a year — tilling the garden. It has always started on the first/second pull. We’ve replaced the gas tank because it got cracked which I don’t understand how that happened.

    Anyway we have good ole’ red clay here that also “grows” rocks. You would think that after 15 – 18 years of being turned we would have gotten all of them. Most of them are egg shaped and very smooth giving you the impression that they are very old. My tiller is a front tines machine so it doesn’t throw them at us as bad. I’ve also added and worked in many bags of peat over the years trying to enrich and loosen up the soil and it has worked. Just being able to enjoy our own fresh vegetables makes it all worth while.


    • The fresh veggies make it all worthwhile for us, too. You just can’t buy anything that tasty and nutritious in the store!

      Clay soil would be hard to deal with, especially here where we’ve had over three FEET of rain since November (and that’s normal-ish). Despite the rocks, I’m glad our sandy soil drains well. It isn’t anywhere near as fertile as your clay, but at least my veggies don’t have to learn the backstroke. 😉


  4. I’ll bet you thought, “scraping the surface with a hoe” was going to get me to say something a bit off color. The hoes I have on the farm are pretty hard working so I won’t disparage them.
    I once took a rototiller to the extremely dense clay that passes for dirt in these parts. It is much easier to raise horses and make my own “dirt” in which to grow things.


    • LOL! Who you callin’ a hoe? Our poor hoes are nearly worn out already – it’s a tough life.

      And you’re right, top-dressing the soil would be a much better solution. That had been our original plan; but after our construction costs came in at approximately twice what we’d been quoted, some projects got placed on long-term hold. Garden soil was one of them. Maybe next year…


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