Rrrrrrrrrrrr. Rrrrrrrrrrr. Vrooom -- rrrrrrrrrr. Here comes Bulldozer Pete. When I was a child we read about Joe and The Busy Bulldozer (1952). And of course, there's the old classic, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (1939). Both of those stories served to show children what men can accomplish with a machine.
Mike and I live here at the homestead without farming equipment. We have a 4-wheeler and a trailer, but that's it. If a big job comes up, we have to find a man with a machine. Thank goodness for our neighbor, Pete, and his old bulldozer. Pete loves old machines and is as skilled as Joe or Mike in the old stories.
During this wet spring, a section of "June's" field sloughed into our lane. A correction was needed, so Mike approached Pete for the job. They agreed that Pete would move some of the dirt to the tire that Farmer Kyle brought to us for a raised bed. Oh, and by the way, said Pete, he had a tire we could have, too.
It took a few days to coordinate schedules -- so funny when we're all retired and no one really has a schedule. But on Monday when Pete first showed for work, bringing the tire with him, Mike was off to Orofino for some geocaching off Well's Bench Road.
So, Pete left the big old tire, which he had used as a feeder when he had cows, but we agreed that it would be better if some prep work was done before we loaded the tires with dirt. Finally on Tuesday we made a good start. I think he and his bulldozer hauled five loads of dirt to my tires.
Pete, who is about Mike's age, grew up here in the Gilbert community where his grandfather homesteaded. When we see him, he never fails to tell us something interesting about his family, my family, the community. Noticing the fading poppies in the yard, Pete recounted how his dad had said that Aunt Bertha used to like to grow poppies and eat the poppy seeds. Sometimes she was "loopy" from all those poppy seeds, he said. Interesting. Last year when Hallie was here we wondered if these poppy seeds were edible and if one could get "high" by eating them. Hallie dissected a poppy pod but no, we didn't try the seeds. (Never put anything in your mouth unless you know it's edible, goes the old rule.) Online research on the issue of poppy seeds seems inconclusive.
Anyway, much of the soil Pete transported contained clay. Mike and I spent some time removing clods. Now it remains to enrich the soil with some organic matter -- compost, grass clippings, and the like. We're getting a late start on the growing season, but I can probably grow something and the beds will be ready next year.
We have a nice crop of spinach in the rectangular raised bed. I made spinach crostata for dinner the other night. The peas are coming along slowly.