Sunday, 31 July 2016

11:52 – Excellent dinner last night, most of it from LTS or our garden. Barbara picked some of the Blue Lake bush green beans and cooked them up in bacon fat with onion. We also had corn bread and boneless pork chops. The bacon and pork came from Costco, but everything else was from our LTS pantry and garden.

Back when we first started to look at properties in the NC mountains, I told Barbara that I wanted at least a bit of land, more than a typical suburban lot. (We ended up with 1.5 acres, which is fine.) I also told her that when we bought a place I intended to buy her a Green Acres tractor to keep in the barn so she could plow the back 40. She basically said NFW, that she was through with yard work and didn’t intend to become a farmess. Fast forward to now, where she’s having a great time in the garden and announced yesterday that she wanted to put in potatoes and some other crops next year.

Friday and yesterday was the 400-mile yard sale, with people out along US-21 from its northern terminus in Wytheville, Virginia–about 40 miles dead north of us–to its southern terminus at Hunting Island State Park, at the far southeastern tip of South Carolina. Locally, so many people were set up along US-21 (the main N-S drag in Alleghany County, which is also the main drag of the city of Sparta) that traffic was a mess, particularly in town.

Our neighbors James and Jackie Bryan were set up right at the intersection of 21 with our road. Barbara walked up to say hello. When she came back, she said James was talking to a guy who was interested in James’s rototiller. I told Barbara we should both walk up there and express an interest in the rototiller, if only to help James sell it to the guy. When we got up there, the guy had already left, so Barbara and I looked at the rototiller ourselves. We ended up buying it for $400 and rolling it back down to the house.

It’s an older Troy-Bilt model, and it’s a serious tiller. When Al brought theirs up to till our garden, I was surprised that it only did an 8-inch path. I think of it more as a cultivator than a tiller. This Troy-Bilt does a path about twice as wide. When I saw that it was a Troy-Bilt, I almost walked away without looking further. Back years ago, Troy-Bilt was an excellent name in rototillers, maybe the best. Then they were bought out by MTM in Cleveland around 2000. They shifted production from Troy, NY to Cleveland, OH and started using trash engines in them. Troy-Bilt’s reputation went downhill fast. But this tiller pre-dates the MTM acquisition and has a Tecumseh engine, which is well-known for being rock solid. So Barbara now has, if not a Green Acres tractor, at least a competent rototiller that should be more than enough to do a garden much larger than our current 0.007-acre test garden. This fall, we’ll mark out a good size plot–big enough to add several more crops, including potatoes, corn, amaranth, and more beans–and she’ll start tilling it. She’ll probably want to use her MP3 player while she does, so I’ll put a copy of the Green Acres theme song on it for her.

More science kit stuff today, mostly filling bottles.