Yesterday while sitting in the house having lunch, I heard the sound of a tractor working steadily someplace nearby. When I went outside to investigate, I saw an old fellow on an old tractor bush-hogging the low corner of my property where two roads meet. He was, I assumed. from the highway department and was clearing the right-of-way.
But as I watched the man work, I noticed that his mowing path was veering off of the right-of-way and onto land which I should be clearing myself. (Over half of the farm remains in tall grass and brambles. I say that it is for wildlife cover, but in point of fact I don't have the time or the energy to keep it chopped down.) What the heck, I thought. If the county wants to do my work for me, more power to them.
The guy soon saw me watching him mow, and we exchanged waves. Then he drove his tractor up to where I was standing and turned it off. We were going to have a visit.
Are you from the highway department, I asked. No, he replied, I'm just a neighbor, and I have traditionally kept that corner bush-hogged so that drivers have a clear view. The county is supposed to do it, but it's rare that they do. I thanked him profusely.
I soon found out that the good Samaritan, Rex, was retired and just seemed to really enjoy sitting on his tractor and mowing. After a brief discussion we came to an agreement for him to keep the entire farm bush-hogged. Rex was happy with that arrangement - and so was I.
My birds have been roaming free during the daylight hours since Monday - and loving it. There had been no problems with that practice until this afternoon. This morning as I was heading into town for a few necessaries, I noticed my former part-time dog, Junior, sashaying down the roadway with a canine friend. Junior hadn't been by since my trip to the coast, and I assumed he had forgotten about me. The dogs trotted on past my place, so what the heck.
This afternoon I was again inside when I heard Rex outside bush-hogging. I stepped outside to acknowledge him, and then decided to take a stroll and check on the poultry. As I got to the open-air garage that sits next to the chicken coop, Junior came running out - looking guilty as hell. He kept running, spurred on by a few choice words from me.
Two of the four turkeys were in the garage being very still in a dark corner - along with four little red hens. All were scared. I made a wide sweep of the area and didn't find anything that made me think there had been any bloodshed - but I was still two turkeys short.
Soon Rex shut off the tractor and walked to the brush pile where he pulled one very frightened turkey to freedom. He said Junior had caught that one, but it had broken free and headed into the brush pile. Bird number four was still gone. It took about another half hour for me to find him, hiding the few tall weeds that were left behind the workshop - and gobbling nervously. I carried him back to the coop where he and his friends had a joyous reunion.
Junior, as Howard Wolowitz with his high-powered master's degree would say, you're dead to me. Stay home! The traffic may not get you, but Pa Rock damn sure will!