my 4 mowers, and mower deck repair

I have 4 mowers.  I use a scythe (21" blade)  to clear the growth under  fruit trees for which it is ideal.  Extend the blade to the near side of the trunk and pull sharply toward you and the weeds are leveled, all while standing a distance away without worries of snagging branches or snakes (I refer to the venomous ones - copperheads or occasional rattler).  It is also useful on a hillside where riding a mower is iffy. For how I peen my scythe and hand sickle, search "peen" on this site. Next Read more [...]

the Takeuchi bobcat saga (part 3)

Caution - this is a long tale and will only be of interest to those who have similarly suffered from malfunctioning engines! In my November 25 post I described how I replaced the starter and that the bobcat started fine but then would not switch off.  Sporadically during the subsequent months I tried diagnosing the problem but it was only with the return of spring and serious bobcat chores awaiting, that I focused on the issue.   The immediate bobcat task was turning and consolidating  my Read more [...]

a lucky save – rescuing my bobcat

Luck shouldn't factor into daily events - maybe it has a role in investing, or coincidental meetings, but surely not when it comes to my tracked Takeuchi bobcat.  The way I am feeling right now is lucky and this is probably because I acted carelessly and was able to extricate myself from a sticky jam, actually muddy patch, without much loss. I mentioned previously a trail I cut through the woods which ran close to a spring.  The spring fills a small pool from which it saunters down the hill, Read more [...]

trail through the woods

The past few weeks I have been preoccupied with cutting a new trail through the woods.  The northwest part of the property slopes down a hill and its face is creased with contour ditches and berms installed I know not by whom or when.  There is a small spring which forms a stream which slides off the property.  My new trail is designed to give me access to the spring and to meander among the fast growing tulip poplars.  Since this is the north facing slope, which is sheltered from the sun and Read more [...]

wildflower seeding

Last fall I collected a large quantity of wildflower seed and stored it in a cloth shopping bag.  Now that I have planted out my tomatoes and with rain in the offing, I decided to sow the seed - cosmos, sunflower, marigold and zinnia.  I was gifted two old cultivators - they are 5 feet wide and connect to the three point hitch at the back of the tractor.  The tines are spring tensioned.  I have a 60hp tractor which typically would pull a larger cultivator and so I had to make some adjustments Read more [...]

contour ditch construction

My land slopes and since I rely entirely on rainwater for irrigation, I catch the rain however I can - in storage tanks or directly into the ground with contour ditches.  Contour ditches are similar to swales - built on contour or dead level survey lines to intercept and hold water and to let it infiltrate the ground, therefore they are not compacted or sealed.  While a ditch is narrow, a swale can be broader like a basin and, according to the permaculture bible by Bill Mollison, trees are essential Read more [...]

TGFI – tractor top link

"TGFI" - you may have thought this was a typo and should be "TGIF" - Thank God its Friday, but for me it is Thank God for Internet. Most tractors have a three hitch system, which means the heavy implements at the back are hitched or connected to the tractor at three points, two horizontal at the bottom and one at the top. The top point is connected to the tractor with a top link. I damaged my top link and needed a replacement - one of the arms of the top link was bent, which meant I could not Read more [...]

new growing area and contour ditch

In a previous post I mentioned the repercussions experienced from locating my muscadine grape plantings too close to my vegetable beds.  Just as the vines of the muscadine grow interminably so do their roots and the raised beds, tomato planting sites and other vegetable sites were mined by muscadine roots.  I relocated half (6) of the muscadines earlier in November and have now prepared a site for relocating the remainder. The site is on the slope of a small hill which has blueberries at Read more [...]

transplanting muscadine and fixing a mistake

Muscadine grapes (vitis rotundifolia) grow in the wild throughout the Southeastern United States. There are well known varieties and my favorite is the Scuppernong. When I established my vegetable garden 3 years ago I had a small growing area and, in my wisdom, ignored the instructions to "set the plants 20 feet apart in 10 foot rows". Instead, I set up 3 horizontal wires, 5 ft high, 1 ft apart, and ran this down the middle of my vegetable garden. I figured the horizontal wires would give the Read more [...]

cutting a ramp with Takeuchi

Last year I bought a Takeuchi TL26 track loader.  This machine was made in the 90's and because it has tracks rather than wheels is ideal for grading or re-shaping the ground surface.  It has 61hp, which makes it a mid-size loader and just right for my limited needs. In the article on the fading battery I mention some of the repairs I have made to it. Since the temperature tomorrow is expected to be back in the 90's and today we are only in the 80's, I decided to cut a ramp down to the lower Read more [...]