Long-term readers of this blog may recall that Clay Hill Farm is actually a little less than half of a bigger, shared farm that we call Thistledew Farm. The name came about when Melissa and I were joking about names for the farm - Melissa and her husband had picked Thistledew as a name many years ago, and I pointed out the big clay mound where our building site had been cleared. "I have to name this side Clay Hill!" And, it's been Clay Hill and Thistledew ever since.
So, many of the things we do around here are joint ventures. Melissa and I garden together, care for the horses and chickens together, and generally collaborate on all manner of things. I made it through anesthesia school, in part, due to the support of everyone here at Thistledew.
And my standing joke during my senior year in anesthesia school involved a tractor as a graduation present to myself, and to everyone else for putting up with me during those long years. It wasn't entirely a joke, though - we really do need a tractor around here. And now we have one! We went to the local Kubota dealership and debated the merits of the various tractors. Here's Melissa, trying one on for size:
Everybody had different priorities for the tractor - the guys wanted a backhoe for some of the heavy work, and Melissa and I wanted a tiller. We needed a tractor that was big enough to handle the heavy work but not so big that we couldn't maneuver it in tight spaces around the farm.
We finally settled on a tractor that fit everyone's needs. We hope! And here we are at tractor school, with the perfect specimen! Isn't she gorgeous?
Melissa and I wanted to name her Bunny, because she came to us at Easter Weekend. But the boys vetoed that, and suggested an alternative - Smokey. This isn't a bad name - we live on the edge of the Smokey Mountains, after all. And I went to anesthesia school (and now work part-time) at The University of Tennessee, where the mascot is Smokey and the school color is bright orange.
Here's the real Smokey in his regalia:
And our own Smokey has already been hard at work, tilling the ground for our spring garden. But I haven't had the nerve to drive her yet!