Ploughing, Or Plowing?


Tuesday 04 March, 2014 by Uncle Spike

Now that’s the big question… does one plough or plow? As the vast majority of my readers and followers are either American or Canadian, I suppose you’d probably go with the “dubbl’ya” version; ‘plow’ as used in American or Canadian English. However, for obvious reasons, I’ll stick with ‘plough’ from that quaint little ancient language called English-English…

Whatever the spelling, the time has come to plough/plow the main orchard. The trees have been pruned, goat poo has been spread, and we’ve since had a nice dose of overnight rain to soften the earth.




Paying for a neighbour to pop over with his trusty Massey Ferguson 240S tractor makes life easier. I only do this every 2 years, but Mr & Mrs Clementine-Tree seem to enjoy the experience at any rate.




With high fuel costs and the hourly rate set around these parts for an experienced owner/driver, ploughing doesn’t come cheap at around US$140 a year for two ploughings (see below). To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to seven workdays net pay for a high-school teacher.




Expensive it might be… but purchasing even a 40 year old tractor and spring-loaded plough would set one back more than I’d pay some 50 times over!! (i.e. ploughing costs for over a hundred years). So it’s a no-brainer really.




Plus our guy is a skilled practitioner who I trust implicitly. He’s able to get his tractor into (and out of) all sorts of tight spots that I would really struggle with, he rarely breaks any low hanging branches, causes minimal tree root damage, and most importantly, misses the rolled-up irrigation pipes by just a few centimetres. If he were to rip one of those out, I’d have to spend perhaps 3 hours repairing the damage, minimum, to connect up a new pipe to the 10cm (3″) mother pipe which is buried over 70cm (27″) down.




In February the land is ploughed east-west and north-south. A couple of months later, just before summer kicks in, we’ll replough on the diagonal so as to ensure the topsoil distribution remains even.

Job done for now 🙂


21 thoughts on “Ploughing, Or Plowing?

  1. […] as a freshly plowed piece of land, hopeful as a calf standing up, promising as the first daffodils, these blog posts […]


  2. You have good taste in English 🙂 My husband sometimes jokes with this word and pronounces it as “ploff”, but then he comes from Birmingham!


  3. Ed says:

    When I was in High School getting plowed had a different meaning, that would explain why I don’t drink alot any more..:-)


  4. Gill McGrath says:

    You sound very organised Spike and its really lovely to look around your farm. But here’s a question:. As you know how ‘long’ it takes to ‘repair’ the irrigation pipes and that you know its better to trust someone else to wield the tractor around them is that good forward thinking on your part…… hiring the man…… or is it in the light of any particular experiences you have had? 🙂


  5. Cathy says:

    Have you heard the joke about the man on a long time married couple quiz show when asked which flower was his wife’s favourite replied ‘That would be plain wouldn’t it darling’. Flower – Flour. Easy mistake to make he said lol


  6. Whatever the spelling, it is certainly work. Good luck with the ploughing/plowing.


  7. Dragnfli says:

    Here in Texas we plow. When I see the word “plough”, my brain reads it “pluff” the way rough is said. And then I realize no, that’s the English way of spelling and I get it right.
    It’s such a quirky language especially since there are multiple nations putting their own spin on things.


  8. Nice to see you farm, Uncle Spike 🙂


  9. *sigh* True story: I was in an English class in my first year of college, and we were reading Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”. She says something about the “plough being in the field” and most of my class didn’t know what a “plough” was. Arrrrgh! I was just a student but this class made even me crazy; it often seemed like asking them questions was akin to throwing sludge at the wall and watching it splop down.

    Little did you know you’d hit on a pet peeve of mine, did you? Haha! 🙂


    • Uncle Spike says:

      Hehe… I also spend a lot of my time proof reading academic articles and post-grad theses (anything from engineering and mathematics, to social sciences or linguistics). That is generally required in either American English or British English (depending on where it will be published), so I have fun switching my brain over all the time 🙂


  10. Will you grow anything in the ploughed land or is it simply for the benefit of the fruit trees?


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