This year I had the bright idea of making some extra money by tilling gardens. It seemed to make sense, we have tillers and people need gardens tilled.

The first obstacle was how to get the tiller from point A, being our place to point B, or the tilling location.

Choice one is to use ramps to drive the tiller into the back of the pickup truck but we have a full sized bed with a big cap and taking the cap on and off is a bit of a pain. The tiller would not fit with the cap on.

The other idea was to use a trailer. We have 2 boat trailers but they have boats and since they are boat trailers the whole idea of trying to figure that out was out of the question. We would have to find a trailer.

My brother has a rather large extended group of friends who always seem to have this and that for sale and he is on the road quite a bit so I called him to see if he had any leads. As it turned out he has a small trailer that he does not need and was willing to sell it for $25.00. What a deal. Right?
When we picked the trailer up we noticed the hubs did not have grease caps and the bearings were very tight and full of stones and grit. Oh well for $25.00 how could I complain. A quick stop at the tractor store and we could have new bearings and caps right?

Turns out the hubs are metric. 52mm to be exact and there are no 52mm parts anywhere in town.
Oh yeah, I had an ad and people were calling to have their gardens tilled. All the warm weather has folks champing at the bit. This just added to the urgency.

Anyway after a 1 1/2 hour web search I was able to locate the bearings which came as a kit with and inside and outside bearing and matching races with dust seals and grease caps. All for about $60.00 including shipping. Still not bad.

Oh and I forgot another thing. The trailer hitch for this trailer is 1 7/8″ and all my boat trailers are 2″. Reese makes a quick change trailer hitch with both sizes for about $40.00. So we now have a quick change ball for the trailers.

After we got the trailer home, after the registration and license, $25.00, we noticed the deck was rotted and the hardware was mismatched and rusted. A piece of plywood would be about $20.00. I cut the bolts off with the torch and decided to clean up the rust with the angle grinder and repaint the frame as long as it was exposed.

Funny thing about angle grinders with wire cups, when they grab hold of trailer light wiring they rip the leads out of the lights. Maybe that can be fixed? I am sure I can find them for sale if they can’t be fixed.

All the time customers are patiently waiting for me to show up with the tiller. Oh yeah the tiller.
We do not have an equipment shed yet so equipment is covered with tarps and can get wet. The throttle cable was rusted solid and a new one was bought for the sum of $25.00.

It’s and easy fix to replace the throttle cable, especially since it it OEM and should fit perfectly. This is where I should mention that our tiller is a deluxe model troy bilt horse with a big steel frame that protects the motor from damage. I thought it would be easier to do maintenance with out the frame it so I took it off. When I was replacing the throttle cable I noticed the carburetor adjustment screw seemed to be in an odd position. I could not understand this because I have adjusted the carb lots of time. It was at such a weird angle that I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to adjust it. I could not understand at all.

Turns out the mower deck to the lawn tractor, yes it’s really a tractor, small but tractor non the less, fell against the carb and broke the tube that connects the carb to the engine. Tom at the Saw Barn had one and it was only $20.00.

I tore the carb down, cleaned it out and replaced the float valve seat and adjusted the float. One pull and it runs like a champ. I was encouraged and I went out and tilled a row just to make sure everything was working.

Meanwhile it’s time to replace the trailer deck but before that I had Metal Man cut me some 2 by 4 pieces of box steel so that I could build racks for the trailer sides. I can weld tolerably well but it seems like every time I do I have to get back into the swing. I guess it took me 3 sockets before my welds looked half way like a real one. They are strong and should hold. I guess the steel was about $24.00 including tax.

I needed wood for the rack and in my book nothing works as well as larch, or tamarack as it is also known. It is full of resin and does not poison the environment or me. The only drawback is the saw mill is 25 miles away and they are the closes source for larch. I can’t lay my hands on the bill for the wood but 6 1by8s and 2 10′ 2by4s cost about $30.00.

Now that I have everything except the plywood and hardware it looks like rain for the next few days so we elected to take the trailer and wood down to Black River where I can finish the job in the nice dry garage. We backed the trailer into the garage and unloaded the larch and finished with the tools when Phyllis mentioned the truck seemed to be sitting at a strange angle.

Oh, I scoffed, I bet one of the air shocks is low and we can level it up when we get back home. I installed air bags because the stupid springs on this Dodge pickup have backward eyes on the ends. It is a really bad design and as a matter of fact we had one break on us with about 600 pounds of clay in the back.

I let some air out of the high side and the truck did not level. At least the flash light works! Naturally when I looked under the truck I discover the leaf spring is broken at the eye and wedged against the bottom of the bed.
Perfect.
$269.00 for parts and that is not even hardware or the stupid broken spring.

If the hardware comes to $20.00 and the spring is $180.00 like the last time that would bring the total to about $469.00 not including my time.

At this rate I will need to till 15.64 gardens to break even.

I believe it would have been less expensive to simply give a 20 dollar bill to anyone who called me for a tilling job.

On a positive note. The popcorn tonight is exceptional and believe it or not that just about evens it out in my book. Life is good!

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