Will Spring Come?

We have had fun getting ready for spring here on the homestead. Though it has been a cold start, we’ve already done our spring cleaning, wardrobe changes, furniture rearranging, and putting away of the wood stove accessories. And yet – today we had a fair amount of snow and the temperatures were certainly in the low thirties.

Last weekend, we made our way to the Penn Yan greenhouses to take our pick of the various plants we want to grow this year. As much as I want to start things from seed, we aren’t set up to do that yet, but we always enjoy perusing the various greenhouses run, mostly by Mennonites, in the Penn Yan area. This year we came away with flats of tomatoes, peppers, Calla lillies, seed potatoes, and a bunch of other items. My order from Stark Bros. also arrived, consisting of two each of Peach trees, Plum trees, and Fig trees. The Fig trees already had little figs on them!

Some of our plants for 2020

Because the temperatures were somewhat cool, we picked up a small 6×8’ greenhouse from Runnings in Canandaigua. This unit went together pretty easily.

The handy greenhouse
Fig trees!

Now with 20 degree temps facing us, I’ll probably be moving all the plants into the porch tonight to keep them from freezing.

Aside from all this, we did have some excitement this week as the Grillo 2-Wheel tractor was delivered!

A hazardous place to park

Thursday afternoon, an eighteen wheeler with lift gate arrived and Moses moved the 650 pounds of equipment into the garage with ease. Of course I couldn’t resist opening things right away.

Can you believe what they can pack into a pallet?
The whole tractor folds down into a box.

I ordered a Grillo G110d tractor, along with a 27” Grillo rototiller and a 28” single stage snowblower attachment. The whole kit was sold and shipped from Dailey’s Farm & Walk Behind Tractors in Tennessee. Richard provided great service and answered all my questions, in spite of the complexities in this COVID-19 restricted time. As I need more implements for this machine, I’ll be ordering from him again.

In my usual fanatical fashion, I had the tractor checked and running very in time for a quick flashlight demo Thursday night. Friday morning at 6:30 I was out and tilling our existing beds. By Friday night I had also rolled five new beds – one for flowers, one for strawberries, and three for vegetable plants.

Lots of newly turned dirt.

The G110d is a joy to use. The 13HP Honda engine purrs quietly and has more than enough reserve powers to easily handle even hard virgin ground. I found three passes at increasingly deep settings provided great tillage with very little effort on my part. Doing a first pass at the deepest setting will result in this powerful and heavy tiller running away from you. Because Grillo has an active clutch, the moment you release your hand from the handlebar all motion stops.

Offset handlebars – no footprints when finished!

All the controls on the Grillo are on the handlebars, which is super convenient. The wheels operate independently, allowing for effortless turns – but you can lock the differential for great traction if needed. Independent brakes and controlled on the right side handlebar.

I also ordered a snowblower attachment for this. To use it, you turn the handlebars around 180 degrees and essentially make the back of the tractor the front. I don’t really need a snowblower yet, but when the weather is nicer I will put the quick hitch on the blower and connect everything to ensure it all works right.

I am so excited to have this machine.m – I really feel it’ll be a time saver year round. Maybe I can even hire out to till for other folks sometime!