With spring/lockdown projects fully underway here in Atlantic Canada, we wanted to salute the wheeled machinery, like the Kubota KX018, that helps make our landscape dreams become reality (or get rid of grubs in our lawns).
What has 17 horsepower, weighs almost 4000 pounds, and has a top speed of 4.1 km/h? If you’ve guessed your author, after another round of Covid-mandated lockdown, then that’s simply rude. But also approaching the truth.
It’s also the specs for a Kubota KX018 mini-excavator, the type of which helped to rehab a certain front lawn that had more weed growth in it than Willie Nelson’s tour bus.
Difference is, this type of weed was useless for anything other than making a suburban lawn look like a sorry state. There was also the issue of grubs and vile pests in the sod. This affliction seems to be spreading rapidly across our town, with brown lawns cropping up more frequently than green ones this year.
Kubota Mini-Excavator: small on size; big on utility
Best to start from scratch, then. Kubota’s mini-excavator might be small on size but it’s big on utility, armed with a bucket that can dig down the better part of eight feet and a four-foot wide blade on the front for more earthly duties. It was the latter that would be on duty during our rental, used to scrape off the top two or three inches of pathetic sod and pest-laden soil.
Plowed into a heap, the Kubota’s bucket could then be used to scoop the waste into a waiting pickup for a one-way trip to the municipal compost site.
It turns out that mini-excavator controls aren’t difficult to navigate after a few minutes of fumbling. Two long levers sprout from the cab floor like overgrown alders, each controlling a set of rubber tracks on their respective side.
Push forward to advance, backward to reverse. Easy. A deft touch using a combination of those directions will cause the Kubota to spin in place like Yeltsin used to after his grog ration of Smirnoff vodka.
Other levers present themselves for duty, including a pair of four-way joysticks that operate hydraulics for the bucket and its attendant arm. Anyone who’s played video games in the last 30 years will find them intuitive. The same goes for the small stick controlling the much-used blade.
With the old lawn now scraped up and carted off, now the real work of spreading a Kenworth-load of topsoil begins. Perhaps the Kubota will show up again next week.