Just Tilling in the Rain

 

Ah, sunny Florida!

Ah, sunny Florida!

I’m trying something a little different this year; actually tilling the garden. With a power tiller!

The weather report claimed that light thunder showers would begin about ten this morning and last all day. It’s Sunday and my neighbors prefer quiet before 9 AM; I headed over to Home Depot about 8:30. HD’s smallest rental tiller is a Mantis XD – thirty-seven dollars for four hours.

After waiting in line – and waiting in line – at 9:30 I was finally ready to load the tiller in my car. Just as the heavens opened. This was not a light shower! But I couldn’t wait to see if the weather improved – I only had four hours.

Halfway done (on the right)

Halfway done (on the right)

The Mantis owner’s manual euphemistically refers to it as a “traditional tiller.” That means it is operated by brute force. The manual also waxes enthusiastic about how efficient their tiller is at chopping up grass and weeds. The reality was somewhat different.

I carefully followed the instructions – walking backwards through the garden as the little Honda motor tried its best to wrench my arms from their sockets. Fortunately I got a break about every 5 to 10 feet. That’s how often I had to stop, turn the tiller on its side, and unclog the tines. I estimate that the motor was actually running about fifteen minutes out of two hours.

Tines? What tines?

Tines? What tines?

But the job was eventually done and it was much quicker and more thorough than using a shovel. The rain, by the way, never let up once while I was working. But it stopped, for good, at 11:30. The rest of the day has been clear and sunny. Why do I even look at weather forecasts?