This week we got to try out two of our new tractor implements. The big excitement was the chipper/shredder. I’ve never had (or used) one of those before, but the brush pile at Ryan’s house was the perfect chance to try it out. We had a bit of a rocky start, until we learned about this particular tractor’s idiosyncrasy… when you run certain implements, you have to be sure the tractor isn’t in reverse, or it will actually run the PTO in reverse. That’s a problem with a chipper, as the blades face a specfiic direction, and when it’s spinning backwards, it rejects anything you try to put in it.
A call to the tech guys fixed that, though, and the next day we were actually chipping stuff. We ate through half of Ryan’s brush pile in about an hour, and learned a lot. The biggest lesson: THIS IS BY FAR THE SCARIEST AND MOST DANGEROUS TOOL WE OWN. The chipper part on the side is disturbing… you give it a 3″ diameter log, and it gnaws away at it, rapidly turning something the size of your arm into a little pile of wood chips. But the top hopper is even truly terrifying. When you stick a tree limb it in, it disappears so fast you can’t see it happen, and blasts out the bottom like pencil shavings. We learned that you have to “throw” the branches in, otherwise it rips them out of your grasp, twigs whacking you on the back of the hand as it passes. As Ryan said, “Who’d have thought that the log chipper on the side was the SAFE part?”
That said, it does a marvelous job at what it does. We just have to remember to use it with extreme caution, never alone, and only when well rested and not in a hurry. Yikes.
We also used the tiller for the first time this week. Until now, we’ve been using the rotary plow, mostly on other people’s gardens. In part because it digs deeper, but also because the tiller was missing the quick-connect coupling, and we were waiting for the tractor guys to ship us the replacement. It arrived last week, just about the time Emily was stressing out because we were behind on the beds and it was taking forever to do them with the broadfork. Enter: gasoline-powered solution! We took turns making quick work of our remaining digging. Here you see me tilling some beds. Wow, I didn’t realize I’d gotten that bald. I look like my grandpa Wildy more and more every year.
We’ve now used three of the four implements for our walking tractor. Maybe next week I’ll get to try the flail mower?