Sadie was off work today, when I got home she had the shop door up and was messing around doing something I couldn’t wait to get into. I changed my britches, let the chickens out to pick and met her in the shop with a bucket of eggs.
“Show me how to work this tiller,” she said, dusting the hay off the bright orange machine we hadn’t used since last year.
With a full gas tank, the choke in the right position and the tines up, we couldn’t get it to start. We rolled the tiller down to the garden spot that Winston had dragged for us and Sadie called Joe Romine.
On her way home that day, Sadie bought a 50 pound grass sack full of potato sets. Her plan, before it got dark, was to till the spot, cut the eyes up and spread them over the soft earth, push them into the ground then cover it with straw.
Without the tiller, we were more than behind. Joe came right over and cleaned the fuel valve. Apparently, leaving gasoline in the tank then not using it for 9 months is bad for the engine. With a rusty can of starter fluid and a tiny gold safety pin, Joe had it purring like a kitten. Sadie took it for a few rows then I followed. We thanked Joe and as soon as he turned the corner, I popped the left tire. Casey and Zoe took off and I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner. Sometimes on the farm you make plans, and nothing goes accordingly.
Sadie said “Aw leave it!” and we started on the potatoes. We each sat over a 5 gallon bucket with a knife. The sets were already getting soft, roots had begun sprouting over several places. She showed me how to cut the potato so each piece had an eye on it, then we dropped them in the bucket.
The birds were still singing, and a good breeze was coming up over the front yard. It was perfect planting weather.
Typically, you want to sow your sets in early to mid-March, but we were only a few weeks off and it has been cool in the evenings. Sadie assured me that they would be fine. Once the buckets were full, and the grass sack empty, we carried the loot down to the garden spot and started slinging them out.
Let me tell you, just standing next to the spot, it smelled like the richest earth on the planet. Fresh tilled garden and cut potatoes – there is nothing quite like it.
Instead of walking over the potatoes to bury them in the soft earth, Sadie went and got the 4-wheeler and drove over them.
About that time, Uncle Rick came by and helped me haul hay up from the barn. We cut the strings and scattered the flakes over the sunk potatoes. As the sun reached the horizon, I drove over the hay a few times to settle it in and we leaned on his truck to admire our work.
After a while, I took the 4-wheeler down the road and found Casey trotting along. I chased her back to the house and went up the hill to find Zoe. Sure enough, she was on our neighbors front porch. He was skinning fish, surrounded by cats, and let me take home a bag. I told him I would bring him some potatoes whenever they were ready.
I put the cold bag of fish under my leg and Zoe hopped in my lap and we drove home. Rick offered us some shavings for the onion sets we plan to sow, we swapped stories over Sadie’s soup beans until after 9. I was tired, but it was that good tired, when your body tells you the day is done, your hands have fresh earth on them and your socks are full of hay.
We said goodnight to Rick, I put the chickens up and the 4-wheeler away, walking down the hill with the bucket of eggs. It was a full day, a wonderful day, and I’m thankful to be on the farm. I’m counting the days until that beautiful tilled field starts sprouting green.