Wednesday, July 12, 2017

In Praise of Good Neighbors

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Summer

Basically I live alone on a ten-acre farm in rural Missouri, and my responsibilities include mowing slightly more than half of the acreage with a rough-and-tumble riding mower, and taking care of small drabs of livestock:  dogs, cats, guineas, chickens, peacocks, and geese.  It's all that I can do to keep up with things during the best of times, and when something unexpected arises, such as the sprawling maple tree outside of my front window suddenly decides to start dying - or two peahens get viciously killed by predators, the emergencies take all of my available energy and the necessaries get pushed aside.

Last week things had piled up to the point that I was actively planning on getting rid of most of the livestock and placing the farm up for sale.  But that was then . . .

Toward the end of the week my neighbor from across the street, a man who grew up in the house where I now reside, came over and offered to mow a few strips of the yard that borders the paved road between our houses.  That land is on a slant, and I mow it with a push mower because I don't trust my rider not to turn over or involuntarily careen out into the road.  It takes me about an hour, and the neighbor said he could do it in ten minutes with his rider.  (He is a braver soul than I am.)  The neighbor said he felt sorry seeing me push my way up and down the edge of the road, particularly on the hot days like those currently bearing down on us.  After a bit of playing hesitant, I finally agreed to his request - and I will do something for him in the near future to repay the kindness.

Then I began mowing.  It took three days of about three hours a day to get the rest of it under control.  I mow more of the land than any previous owners because I want to keep the snakes at a safe distance - and even with that caution, one four-foot charmer kept popping up to watch as I mowed the area around the pond.  It would have been easy to mow over him, but that's not the way I roll!

About the time I finished the every-two-weeks mowing chore, another neighbor who lives a couple of miles down the road showed up to bush-hog the rest of the property - a task which he completes twice a year.  I pay that neighbor, though he charges me well below market rate.  After he finished a morning of mowing, I took him out by the new storage buildings to point out a very high limb that was interfering with the wiring going to the buildings.  I was seeking his advice on how to remove that particular limb, and he said not to worry about it - he could take care of the problem in just a few minutes with his pole saw.

That neighbor came back the next morning to finish the bush-hogging, and while he was here he took out the bothersome limb, cut down a large dead tree and cut it up, and even moved a brush pile with his tractor.

Now, with all of that done, the place looks amazing!  I may be able to last another year - and much of that change in attitude is due to good neighbors!

Thanks Doug and Rex.    You are the best neighbors ever!

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