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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It is rare that I get off on a piece of machinery. I view most of these accessories as serving a purpose, more utilitarian than being a showpiece. Sure, I "love" my blue New Holland tractor. And when I'm home up north I miss it as I drive around the yard cutting grass on a lil' Craftsman 10 horse. And when I'm tilling the garden in New England it takes me an hour or 2 using my Troy-bilt tiller, where it would take maybe 5 minutes with my New Holland with the tilling attachment.

But here is my new In & Out Tiller, still at the shop getting its hydraulics hooked up, shining bright yellow in the sun waiting to be put to good use. Looking at it all you see are the bones. There isn't a piece of wasted metal or iron on this machine. Bare skeleton doing the bare essentials. No glistening fenders or armor put on just for show. If it wasn't for the traditional slowness of hydraulic action, I'd swear the thing could fly with all the moving parts it has.

Vineyards tend to be planer. There are some that are on slopes, but as you drive a tractor between the rows, the tractor sits exactly 90 degrees from the land it is driving over. Knowing this comfortable fact, you realize that the accessories attached to the back will be in-line with the tractor, and move parallel to the ground surface too. I go into all this to help you understand that even though the new In & Out Tiller can twist this way and that, it is unlikely I will ever need some of the designed-in movements it is capable of doing. Set its height using the 3-point mechanism on the tractor, determine the starting point away from the wire, and go.

I purchased the tiller from Italy. When one thinks of wine, or at least the years of wine experience within the industry, you think of either France or Italy. Napa may be doing well in the wine business domestically, but they aren't known for their ground-breaking advances in hard core vineyard machinery (and no, NAPA auto parts didn't start in that part of California). It was shipped over via container during the winter and just saw the light of day a week ago as the local distributor unpacked it and sent it over to eastern Virginia. The better news was that even though the manual was written in Italian, it has great pictures !

The staking is almost done now, and it appears the timing will work out well as I finish that hammering job and start my tilling trials. Look for a video in the future.

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