Letting Tractor Play on Veg Hill Again

When we finished the deer fence we agreed that Tractor shouldn’t enter the Veg Hill fence line, because we needed to avoid compacting the soil. But one of our three core principles is that we don’t make allness statements.

The four muscadines on the south end of Row #12 have been growing well since we planted them in early April, growing so well that they are almost visibly wandering around looking for something to climb on. We need to get a trellis in place if we don’t want them to take over Veg Hill.

Rightly or wrongly, we didn’t leave room when we planted the muscadines for a dead man at the end of the row to use for tightening the trellis lines, so the trellis I’ve designed gets its strength from treated 6 x 6 posts sunk in concrete. The way to do that is to dig nine three-foot-deep holes in a line from the north end of Row #12 to the south end. Probably would have built my character to do that with the hole diggers, but I wasn’t looking forward to it eagerly.

Saturday morning the farmer-in-chief and I were lying in bed where we do our best planning, and we hatched a harebrained scheme to get Tractor and his auger on Veg Hill for one last frolic. We realized that, purely by happenstance, we hadn’t planted any row all the way to the south end. And that meant we had left a narrow path on which Tractor could travel all the way around the Veg Hill perimeter and reach Row #12 to punch those holes.

Slowly, carefully, Tractor crept along the east fence perimeter outside Row #1, then along the south end of the rows, and then in a scary tight turn in the southwest corner with bucket lifted high to hang over the fence line. We tied each muscadine gently together and staked it down so Tractor could straddle it without endangering any of the tender shoots.

We used the measuring twins to place flags where each hole needed to be, not just for the four muscadines already planted but also for the four more we hope to add next year. Actually drilling the holes, of course, was trivial. Amanda is a seasoned hand at manhandling the 250-pound auger into position, coaching me on how to reposition to make sure the bit is plumb, and then standing clear for the actual drilling. We slowly worked our way from south to north on row #12 (careful of those freshly-planted strawberries on Row #11!) and finished drilling all nine holes needed in about 45 minutes.

Then Tractor and I began our slow, careful creep to extricate ourselves, using the same path we used to get in and following the same tracks all the way back around to the gate. Tractor is now safely off Veg Hill again, but he will always have this delightful memory. We’re glad we could provide it for him.

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