Worked on the farm all afternoon today, and, yes, I finally learned how to drive a tractor! The Massey tractor is one of the workhorses on the farm. It isn’t a big tractor, but it doesn’t have to be in order to do what it does best, which is dig dirt. Seemed to be a good tractor to learn on, too.

So today we hooked up something — I believe they called it a middle digger — to the back of the Massey. It has one fork right in the middle, so hence the name, I guess. Anyway, the new rows had already been laid out and staked on each end. The idea was to drive the tractor down each row pulling the middle digger behind. The weight and angle of the digger fork would cause it to dig down into the ground as the tractor moved along and the fork would break up and loosen the dirt. Four passes were needed on each row to allow the digger to dig a little deeper on each pass.

What was the reason for doing this?  Well, raised beds will be put in directly over the top of each one of these rows. Since the ground out here is pretty hard, had we not loosened the soil with the digger, the roots of the plants would have hit that hard, compacted dirt right at the bottom of the beds. Then they would have taken the path of least resistance, which means the roots would have started growing sideways instead of straight down. So the soil that was loosened by the middle digger will allow the plants to put down deeper root systems so they will be better anchored against high winds. And here in West Texas, we have a lot of days with really high winds.

So once Sam showed me how to operate all the handles, knobs, and peddles on the Massey, I lined up on the stakes and took off! Sam and Josh were on opposite ends of the rows to help keep me lined up and make certain I didn’t dig up half the county. I can’t believe those guys didn’t trust me. 😉

Afterward, we dressed up the ends of some of the rows that already had raised beds, did some hand watering, and the day was done.

The only down-side to the day — I think I have ten pounds of dust in my lungs. But what a great feeling it was to be back outside in the fresh air and sunshine… and working in the dirt!

Just call me, Digger! 🙂

The Massey tractor with the middle digger hooked up

Line up on a stake and take off... nothing to it!

Sam driving the tractor so I could get some pics

The digger doing what it does best -- digging!

When it was all said and done... hey, I think I did a pretty good job. Okay, so I dug up a little on the edge of the parking lot. Picky. Picky. And look how straight those rows are... well, mostly straight, anyway! 😉

Sam dressing up the end of a bed and wondering why I'm not helping him.