June 29, 2014

Sunday afternoon. After finishing brush hogging the front pasture, I built a sandwich and went out to sit under the pecan tree by the swimming pool only to discover most of the tree had fallen into the pool. The patio table was only partially covered with branches and leaves, so I munched the sandwich while I considered what to do. My first thought was about the difference in city and country living. In the city, as a home owner, I would be helpless - my only option would be to hire a contractor to come when his crew was available ( I can imagine the conversation: "We might be able to get there next week, let me get back to you then.") to remove and carry away the debris, I will not even guess what it would cost.

 But this is the country and I have tools and am not helpless, so the first thing was to turn off the Polaris so that it does no get tangled in the leaves and branches. Next, I went back inside the house where Vicky was fuming because Mexico had just lost to the Netherlands in soccer. "Want to get rid of your frustrations? Come help me in the back yard." Next, I fetch the electric chain saw, not the gas chain saw, as there will be lots of starting and stopping in the cutting and removal process. Working together I cut and we both lug the large branches to and over the hedge and fence and into the pasture. The cows will eventually discover and eat all the leaves.  In a few weeks I can use the front end loader on the tractor to pile the limbs for burning in the fall. Once all debris was out of the pool the emergency was over. I went for a swim.  At my leisure, I will cut the pecan wood into two foot lengths and stack to season for fire wood this winter. Also, pecan is excellent for smoking meat, another option.

Once I saw a  TV news item about a cow falling into a swimming pool somewhere. All I remember was that removing the cow was a major endeavor, then the local news commentators laughing and joking after the clip concluded. That once happened to us.  One cold February afternoon, I was home from work with flu symptoms when  Vicky announced, "There is a cow in the pool."  I grumbled, "What is this the Book Job?"  then dressed, went out started the tractor, backed it to the pool, placed a lariat around the cow's neck, hitched the lariat to the tractor and pulled her out. Five minutes later, she was back in the pasture grazing with the other cows - the episode forgotten. The only thing remarkable to me was that while I was getting all the equipment read, Vicky went to the barn and got some range cubes. When I was dragging the cow from the pool, Vicky offered the beast tidbits and to my amazement, while being pulled by the neck from the water the cow ate the range cubes.


Of course, with Google I was able to find an image of a cow being removed from a pool; in this case a pool in England.  I have no idea what crane and crew cost, but certainly more than a handful of range cubes. Notice the green water.

The tomatoes are ripening.  The window ledges in the kitchen are lined with red orbs. Tomorrow I shall pay a visit to a lady who lives alone and I'll fill her larder with tomatoes and her freezer with catfish fillets. The catfish was a gift from a neighbor who had been angling to fish in my large pond. I caught two six pound bass there and gave them to him to place in his own pond. In return he gave a mess of catfish caught on the Saline river. Also in our freezer is mess of crappie someone presented us with. Maybe I'll take those along too. In the 19th century South, providing widow women was a community duty. Today it is a courtesy.

June 30

This morning I drove down the gravel road just north of the farm to the trailer home where Gollum the painter lives alone. That is not his real name, but the resemblance is there.  I blew the car horn and soon the door slowly opened and a bald head and bulging eyes peeked out. When he recognized me he fully emerged and stood barefoot on the porch. I got out of the car and we chatted for a while and he agreed to paint the building by the pool on Wednesday. The chances of him showing up are fairly good, a bit later in the week when he starts on the beer would be iffy.  One of my friends who was the county sheriff years ago related an incident about Gollum, who was driving drunk but slowly down the highway. The sheriff in his car with lights on and siren blaring could not get Gollum to pull over and stop. The sheriff was about to radio the next town and request them to intercept and shoot out the tires, when the tiny painter finally pulled over.

Sheriff, "Why didn't you stop!"

Gollum, "I wasn't finished with my beer."

July 3, 2014

Gollum showed up yesterday and painted for about an hour then the weather clabbered up and commenced to get serious (Ozark lingo for dark clouds and lightening).  He said he would return today, but that did not happen. I don't expect him on the 4th or on Saturday or Sunday. Perhaps Monday.

July 6, 2014

The  painter showed up on the morning of 4th of July with a helper named Jimmy, about 6'2" and 120 pounds with crack-user teeth. Gollum gave him the job of painting the top of the two story building and when he reached the top of the ladder the guys legs were shaking so badly I had to hold the ladder to prevent him from vibrating off the wall.

Once he calmed down the helper did good work, but Gollum spent most of his time smoking and repairing to his truck for a swig. Keeping him painting at all was a chore in itself. And of course when the job was finished he wanted to renegotiated the original agreement. I handed him a check for the agreed amount and advised him to take his beef to the sheriff's office. He grumbled,  took the check, and the two painters drove off in a cloud exhaust fumes.