The last of the trees are in. Granted, it took us a week to re-direct ourselves after the unfortunate incident on the stairs. I was getting ready to hand-dig the remaining 38 holes for the last batch of hazelnut trees. After all, before this year, almost all the trees were hand planted.

After last year, when we planted 36 orchard trees by hand, we bought an auger for the tractor. The auger is awesome. We’ve used it for concrete piers, for tree holes, and we’re having visions of new fencing. When the first batch of trees went in last month, we augured and planted 56 trees in a day. Not bad for two old farts.

But Rick is the guy skilled in tractor work; I can drive it, but I’ve never operated any of the implements. The power-take-off (PTO) on the tractor is at the back—meaning that any and all implements require that you use them with your body regularly turning around to watch your work. Rick does this with grace—he uses the snow blower and the brush hog like a pro—watching, forwards and back, like a ballerina. But this isn’t something I’d expect from someone with four broken ribs.

So I was surprised the other morning when he said we’d finish the planting that day. “But, but…” He shook his head. “I’m not dead—I’ll just be sitting on the tractor…you’re the one doing the actual planting.”

I was not convinced. I made him promise that if it was too painful, he could teach me to use the auger and I’d finish it. That wasn’t necessary. He dug all the holes and I finished putting in the trees. Then he helped me with the watering. I can hardly believe he did it—but we are both really pleased. Me, that the trees are all in. Him, that he could rally and be productive, despite his injuries. Win, win. It was mostly a matter of working deliberately, and carefully. (A good habit, which if we’d used it the week before, could have avoided the injuries in the first place. Sigh.)

Now we’re just waiting until he’s healed enough so that we can return to the concrete work needed for the new shed.