Monday, 16 February 2009

Rotovators and donkey-dung

"It's time to play with boy's toys" said Lester as he wrestles the rotovator out from the campervan where it has been basking in laziness since being fetched from the rotovator-mending place several days ago. With great pride Lester manoeuvres it out into the front 'orchard'. With great effort as well, judging by the huffing and puffing that goes on as he tries to push it along. To be quite honest, they are not the most easiest things to move: one has to be bent over at a most awkward angle to keep the back bit (apparently called the 'stabiliser') from grinding itself into the ground and acting like a brake, not only that it leaves a nasty gash in the ground where perhaps one doesn't want a nasty gash. But a problem: one has to tilt the machine backwards to keep the front bits (apparently called the 'tines') from pushing themselves into the ground as well. And it all becomes a bit of a juggle: keep the machine from tilting backwards to avoid digging its backside into the ground, but not tilting so far forward that the front bits dig in as well.

The air is quite blue by the time it gets in position for its test run, which is on a bit of ground I have been digging up by the only tree left out front, which is a young oak. So time to start. A little bit of fiddling here, and a little bit of fiddling there, and off we go! We have action! And a swirly bit is done near where I have been digging. With face lit with joy, my man heads off towards an undug patch: up and down he goes, enthusing endlessly about how he almost feels like he is driving a horse and plough. The noise is humungous. Bools sits looking away in the other direction, not interested. I watch with interest, more so because the rotovator seems to be sliding over the surface rather than getting to grips with any deeper digging. Those wretched bramble roots are going to stay intactus, if the rotovator was going to have its way.

Silence. Bools looks round in surprise. I try to stifle a giggle. The rotovator has stopped. Lester is not pleased. Muttering words which are not for your ears, he slouches off to try and find something to mend it with. It is difficult to stay calm when under such conditions. When your man is having a bit of a moment because his equipment is not up to par – well it does make them a weeny bit tetchy and one must endeavour to remain calm and not collapse into heaps of laughter: it does not help the situation at all. It's hard though.

So it is back to fork and spade for the time being and the bramble roots are being done war with again. Lester meanwhile has a project, which is to start his Tree Planting Programme. To date he has sorted out his tree seeds, and planted 2 avocado in jam jars. Plus he spent the afternoon having an adventure with Bruno, the two of them being of the opinion that they needed manure. And where better to get it from, that at Ju Belloc village’s donkey farm. I kid you not, the two of them couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about a pile of donkey manure. I meanwhile carried on digging until I was required to suitably enthuse about the pile of manure now sitting beside the roof tiles and builder’s stuff. Bruno was glowing with pride about the quality of the dung, and Lester was the same. I excused myself and did a bit more digging. Hopefully there will be things to be planted soon. I will leave Lester to sort out the dung. And the seeds. He is good at that. And the avo kernels will grow because he has the patience of a saint. But not with rotovators that don't go. Methinks that it will be taken off to the menders again, or else 'forgotten' about and put on the list of 'things to do when I have time'. We all have such lists, do we not?

Meanwhile, out front, we have planted eight tiny silver birch tree grown from seed in our last house, and about thirty hibuscus bare root plants donated by our neighbour Daniel. They will have to do battle with the remaining blackberry roots if they are to survive. Now the rotovator is out of commission for the time being, and my fork and spade are actively engaged in the bramble-root war, they might stand a chance. Plus Lester might share some of the donkey-dung. And you know what? There was absolutely NO wiff of anything unsavoury about that heap of dung. I guess after all, it might be as good as the two men say it is - apparently as Bruno was digging up the dung he was enthusing about the buttery-ness of it. I'll take his word for that.

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