Dr. Ferdinand Porsche – his friends call him Ferry, so it’s still Ferdinand for me – believed that a car’s brakes should be stronger than its engine.  That way, you could always slow yourself down if the engine was stuck at full throttle.

There are, however, some limits to that line of thinking.  There should be a balance between going and stopping, zooming and screeching.

This all goes back to the tilling I did on Saturday.  The tiller I used was borrowed from Bettie’s Dad.  It’s a big red MTD, from the second half of last century.  Can’t get much closer than that.  The other thing it has is Reverse Direction Tines.  The concept is a good one – the front wheels pull the tiller along, and the tines chew the ground backward.  Net effect, practically zero.  You can walk along beside the tiller, guiding it with the faintest touch of your hand, almost doing it unconsciously as if you were riding a bike and leaning into a corner.

Almost as if.

The reality is that the reverse tines are much stronger than the slipping front wheels.    I had to push, tilt, cajole, and muscle that thing to get it to move.  The concept is great, digging the top grass down into the dirt.  The reality doesn’t match up.  My leg is still bruised from bumping it to get it going where I wanted it to go.  It may be better the next time I till – and I expect it will: this new garden took three hours for the first pass and only an hour for the alternate-orientation second pass.  Until then, I’ll try to think of my injuries as being from a pinball game flashing TILT at me.

Before and after

The rock pile containing the non-cenotaph (one of six piles)

And some idea of the size

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