One of the most daunting challenges for me as I enter my first full year of farming is the need to embrace heavy machinery. I am now a proud owner (at least after 5 years of my payment plan) of a Kubota tractor with a cool front end loader. When my tractor arrived at the beginning of March I was extremely excited and rather terrified. Luckily many of my men friends have come to my aid to get me through the initial, awkward stages of bonding with the work horse of my farm. Thanks go to Gary Van Geyte, my farm partner at New Hampshire CSA who went with me to buy my used bush hog, Jay Gore the mechanical wizard who adjusted and tweaked by bush hog and tiller, Ethan Grundberg (formally the farm technician at New Entry Farming and now back to be a farmer himself) who drove out early on his day off from work to give me a 3 hour tractor lesson, and finally to Gus Harrington my machine mentor and knight with a socket wrench who is determined to make me comfortable and capable with maintaining my tractor and all its attachments. Gus has helped me when I needed to change my tractor attachments and figured out the springs that needed to be adjusted when one of my clutches started burning--to name just a few of his generous actions. I'm naming my first tomato after him.
So for the rest of March and through early April, when you drive by the farm you will have a good chance of seeing me riding Elvira (Old Gothic for alert, trustworthy) as I continue to till and then shape the raised beds in preparation for planting time.