Squirrel's Garden

Blogging the highs and lows of my attempts at allotment gardening

Location: Sherwood Forest, United Kingdom

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Taming of the Beast

Today I decided to overcome my fear of the machine that sat lurking in my shed. It had sat leering at me for several weeks like a beast waiting to pounce at the first opportunity. I recalled taking possession of it with pride but then it growled its deep throated growl when its 5hp engine was kicked into life and fear gripped my heart. Questions of doubt swiftly entered my mind; would I be able to control it, would it be to wild a beast for me to tame, how did I start and stop it and would it turn and attack me for daring to try?
It was reluctant to spark into life as if sulking for being left in the cold dark shed. Eventually if coughed and sputtered before gaining it steady pulsating growl. Left hand forward, right hand reverse, I fixed the instructions in my head. Gently squeezing the left hand trigger the tines began to spin and it bounced wildly across the ground causing my heart to pound. I swiftly let go of the handle and it sat motionlessly groaning at me. Slowly but surely we learned to work together. Both hands down and it bit deeply into the soil, both hands slowly raised and it inched forwards ready to till the next few inches of the row. Growing in confidence I tamed the length of my allotment. It was only a narrow strip, but it was tamed. Now I had to work out how to turn it. I squeezed the right trigger, damn that was the throttle, the growl died and the machine sat lifeless with its tines embedded deeply into the earth. This time it started on the first pull as if eager to get on with the job. There was a lot of forward and reverse before I mastered the art of turning the beast but we were at last making our way back down the plot. Up and down we went for several minutes until I eventually turned and looked at our efforts. A sense of pride and achievement filled me with joy. It didn’t seem to matter that the lines looked like they had been drawn by someone in a drunken stupor; I was slowly gaining the art of using a rotavator. When I had finished one half of my plot my arms ached and my hands tingled. I was so weary that it was an effort to wheel the darned thing back to its resting place.
This for me was a real achievement. Not only had I turned more than half of my 750 square yard but I had faced my fear and overcome it. Mind you I still have a great respect for that beast in much the same way as a lion tamer has to maintain respect for the power of the lion.


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