On Fridays we find out what’s been happening in gardens around the region. Send your updates and photos by clicking on the email link at the right.
A couple of years ago I bought an old Ariens Rocket rototiller from a friend for $200. I believe it dates from the 60’s, with a 7 hp Tecumseh cast iron engine that uses dual shafts to go in forward and reverse. It weighs a ton, and could break into fresh sod without jumping around the way lighter rototillers do. When it worked.
Alas, it tills no longer. My spouse applied his ingenuity to keeping it going for two years by, for example, replacing the head, welding the counterweight, fixing the starter motor, re-gluing the flywheel weights and rebuilding and reattaching the carburetor.
Despite his attentions, the Beast had been in declining health all spring. Yesterday, I steered it confidently into the lower part of the garden where it putted uneventfully for about 10 minutes before abruptly choking up and going silent, leaving wisps of steam or smoke curling from the air baffle. The engine had seized.
While it sits motionless in the field, I ponder whether it is now time to commit unflinchingly to the Ruth-Stout-No-Work-Garden route, or whether I need to find another rototiller. Let’s just say that I’m in the market, if anyone wants to pass along some leads.