Sometimes, the joy is better the longer the wait . . .

When my mower, aka Plough-poo-mulcher, bit the dust a month ago, I despaired. I could see that nobody here in the UK stocks a replacement part for the mowing deck any longer; it’s long been retired. But the John Deere brand is hugely popular stateside (apparently we can thank the invention of the mass-produced steel plough for both bread-basket America and environmental destruction on the scale of the 1930s Dust Bowl), so when I looked for a recovered used part, on the eBay.com site, I found a one that looked identical and matched the model and everything. I negotiated a fair price, paid for it in American dollars, and waited for the International Priority Shipping.

From the 19th of March to the 8th of April seemed like a long time to wait, and the anticipation was building. The dry days also disappeared in endless dreich and drizzle and lambing storms. On the other hand, the wait was not as long as the one I waited to fulfill a childhood dream of acquiring a riding mower. That took a lifetime and a pension pot to actually arrive so it’s no wonder that I love my ancient garden tractor. Anyway, finally, the long-anticipated package arrived.

With some friendly assistance, we got the spindle and housing fixed into place on the old deck. It was amazing to see how the right part fit into the same slots and fixings as the old one, with no juggling or coaxing. Perfect! It took me another hour to attach the deck back underneath the tractor, and then I brmmmed the motor and waited to see if the blades would rotate underneath.

It’s hard to describe the joy that transpired then, as the machine whirred into life. That joy was accentuated by a dramatically reduced vibration and chatter; the old housing must have been deteriorating for a very long time! And also finally, today is the second dry day in a row, and I may be able to finish mulching the potato patch, late this afternoon, if I’m very lucky.

If by some good fortune I do manage to cover the patch, top it with the recycled black mulch blanket, and insert the 200 seed potatoes through the pre-cut holes, by lunchtime tomorrow, I will be a very happy boy indeed. Just in time, I’d imagine, as the chitted spuds seem eager to sprout further.

And then, there’ll be nothing to do but wait for the harvest, probably the end of August at this rate. Pink Fir Apples are just one of the special varieties I’ll plant. Oh boy oh boy . . . it’s exciting to be anticipating the long wait!

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