Monday we were in the garden scuffing up the surface of one of the beds and removing weeds. Dave, Garden Manager, told me to grab a hoe. I went over to the pile of tools and saw no such thing and I inquired if I should go to the shed. He replied that there should be one in the pile. The problem was all I saw were two rakes and a thing that looked like a metal stirrup at the end of a long wooden handle. Dave pointed out that that was in fact a hoe. Puzzled, I told Dave I always thought hoes looked like a flat square blade set at an angle. Note, what I actually said was I thought it had a square thingy at the end, but for clarity sake I will provide you a more accurate depiction. I was then given a preliminary rundown on the variety of hoes. Apparently there is a garden hoe, the hoe I know, oscillating hoe, also known as stirrup hoe, diamond hoe, collinear hoe, and swan neck/half moon hoe. To find out what each one is useful for in the garden check out Garden Guides.
Yesterday, we took a break from weeding and had a little Bobcat 101 tutorial. Bobcats are pretty awesome. You basically sit in this chair strap yourself in with a seat belt and then a harness similar to what you use on a roller coaster ride. You have no breaks and the only way to control the movement is by using two Atari style looking controllers. The controllers move you backwards and forwards, or 360 degrees if you want, and you can move the bucket up and down and the angle of the bucket. There are also buttons on the controllers but I am told we don't use them. This may be wish full thinking, but secretly I think it could be used to shoot missiles or some other projectile equivalent at multiflora roses. But because of the economy they prefer that we clear them by hand.
It took me a while to get the hang of driving the Bobcat. I had a hard time turning because I instinctively pushed the controller to the right when I wanted to turn right. That had the effect of tilting the bucket instead. The key was to push one controller more than the other for the Bobcat to turn. After driving around a bit, I tried my hand at turning one of the compost piles. I was a little to gentle on my run up to the pile and would only fill half my bucket with compost. Whereas both Dana and Nicole drove straight into the pile full gear and scooped up a ton of compost. One thing is for sure is you are constantly thinking to yourself, do I push left to raise the bucket and then right to dump? or is it the other way around? I am sure it become second nature with more practice. I am more than willing to spend time practicing!