My wife is fixated on getting the rototiller fixed.
I promised to do it over the winter. Before that I promised to do it last summer and before that I promised to do it last spring.
You get the picture.
So now, the little guy is slumped against my shed wall, weeping pools of oil and begging to be repaired.
I don’t know why I made those promises because the tiller is not even ours. It is just one of the many things that my buddy Stan dropped off in the shed and pronounced mine. He does that a lot. He constantly borrows things then returns them to the wrong person.
I doubt if the owner will miss it because the transmission is shot. Whenever you put it in gear, it grinds its teeth. So I need to crack open the case and replace a few parts.
It is a simple job but around here nothing is simple. In this case, the bolt that holds the transmission together is stripped. I need a bolt-cutter to remove it and I highly suspect Stan has borrowed the cutter.
But the real question is: why do I need a rototiller?
Every year I churn up a huge piece of ground to put in a garden and every year after spending a fortune on seeds and a couple of days wallowing in the mud – the rabbits eat everything that comes up.
Except for the weeds. They leave the weeds.
So last year I actually got to one of my many projects and ringed the garden with a fence.
Unfortunately, it was not strong enough. We have very aggressive rabbits and they bent a hole in the fence and helped themselves. So I repaired the hole and wove in a grid of rebar to keep the little thugs from bullying their way through.
To appreciate how tough our rabbits are, you must understand what they are up against.
This is coyote country and our coyotes are so mean and so bold that they will eat the food out of a Rottweiler’s dish then threaten you if they don’t like the brand. The only thing the coyotes are scared of is what lurks in our drainage ditches. I have seen packs of coyotes spill into a ditch and only half scamper out the other side.
The terror that prowls the algae stained waters of our ditches – is snapping turtles. They weight up to fifty pounds and have jaws that can crush an engine block.
And the only thing that intimidates a snapping turtle is – you guessed it, a rabbit. Our little bunnies are wily, tough and resourceful They are also as ill-tempered as a crocodile with a mouth full of rotten teeth.
So to avoid the entire cascade of difficulties, I steer clear of anything having to do with gardens.
Until she asks, “Did you fix the rototiller?”
“No,” I tell her.
“You promised you would.”
“I can’t fix the transmission until I find my bolt-cutter,” I explain.
“What does it look like?”
“Its like a big scissors with long yellow handles and shears the size of your fist.”
“Oh that thing, it’s in the garden.”
I remember using it when I fortified the fence.
“It’s lying next to that hole you cut through the fence,” she says, “and I don’t understand why you did that, it just lets the rabbits through.”
“I never cut a hole…. oh my.”