I love my disk! 2

I realize this is the third post in a row that ends in an exclamation point. Yet I am unbowed and unapologetic. All three have been good news, and we know that optimistic people (or at least optimistic women) live longer, so here you have it: another optimistic post from Longleaf Breeze, this one about the disk my brother Dave Gray persuaded me to buy.

A disk is an implement that chops the very top layer of soil to loosen it and break it up so that water and seed can penetrate it. Dave Gray talked me into buying it several months ago. I proudly took delivery of it, attached it to Tractor, and took off across the hardpan.

What a disappointment! The result was a bunch of little nicks, hardly prominent enough to see, much less enough to do any good in helping new growth get started. Dave Gray had been so sure it was a good idea, so I was reluctant even to tell him of my frustration. And Amanda and I have been so busy getting the apartment ready to serve as our home (and getting our house in Birmingham ready to serve as somebody else’s) that I really haven’t given it much thought, other than to decide that Dave Gray has given me great advice in so many ways that I can easily forgive him one misstep. Since then my new disk has sat, ignored and forlorn, on the house site.

In the wake of the septic tank installation, Amanda and I have been trying to get some kind of reliable ground cover started around the pole barn. Those of you living in the city may assume this is our bringing our city sensibilities to our little piece of the country, but it’s more about holding onto our little piece of the country. As everyone knows, this has been an unremittingly wet spring, and we have struggled with washing everywhere. We need to get something started growing to hold the soil.

As we were talking about how to break up the hard crust of the area to the west of the pole barn that has become the “back yard” of our new little home, I remembered that disk. Maybe there’s something I can do to it, I thought, that would make it work better. So I got out my two biggest wrenches and loosened the bolts that allow the movement of the axes of the disk shafts. After a couple of false starts, I now have two shafts that are turned outward as they travel and two shafts that are turned inward as they travel. The result is that the disk actually does some cutting now, enough for me to be glad I’m using it.

As the disk disturbs the soil, particularly when Tractor has built up a little speed, the top 1-2 inches of soil get scattered and redistributed. When the soil comes back down, high spots are lower and low spots are higher. The result is a wonderful smoothing effect wherever I use the disk.

Not only has it loosened those areas where we want to plant grass seed; it’s also proving to be a wonderful way to smooth the trails that we have cut throughout the property. Now that I have it working, I’m trying to get it on all the key trails to smooth them, except that I’m holding off disking the trail sections that are prone to washing. The last thing I want to do in wet weather is to dislodge more soil and send it cascading down the hill during the next rain!

One little issue: I’m finding it difficult to make the adjustments I need to make to the attitude of the shafts on the disk. This first time I adjusted it I had to tap it into the right angle with the hammer. My hope is that I’ll discover an easier way to do that.

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