Ralph came into the house this morning and said, "The good news is the rototiller fired up when I put fuel in the engine. The bad news is the rototiller fired up when I put fuel in the engine." Yes, yes, you know how some guys are about their gadgets. Actually, the rototiller was my gadget until Ralph discovered gardening back in Ojai.
I first used the Sears & Roebuck tiller when I moved to the Ojai Valley in 1988. My riding pal, Joyce Lathan, lent it to me so I could till up the yard at my cute little house on Riverside Road. I grew a variety of tomatoes, peppers, greens and herbs that year. Every year following that (and at all my subsequent domestiles) I hauled Joyce's rototiller over to the house in my pick-up truck and turned my soil for the coming year.
When Joyced moved out of the Ojai Valley, the rototiller became mine. Again, it chewed up virgin ground for a new garden at the trailer in the orchard on Foothill Road until BANG! The engine blew up. By then, Ralph & I were together and you know how he's loathe to let anything go to waste. "All it needs is a little Briggs & Straton engine and it will be good as new," he said.
That evening, the local newspaper advertised that the city was having an auction of all it's old equipment. "I bet there's going to be lots of engines there," said Ralph and we were at the city garage at the appointed auction time later that week.
Sure enough, there sat two landscaping edgers, their blades chewed beyond repair. "Those are the exact same engine that was on the rototiller," pointed out Ralph. Withour bidder number in hand, we were the only people to want the edgers. The city sold them both to us for $5. Back to the orchard we went where Ralph promptly dismantled the equipment, saving only the useful parts. By the next day, the tines on the tiller were again turning.
That's been over ten years ago. The same engine is still on the tiller and it's broken ground for four new gardens here at the farm and continued to power through the soil year after year. And there's still a spare engine tucked away in the barn for the day that this engine gives out.
2 months ago