Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Flannel Solution

Joe, one of the oil guys that works my property on the other side of the valley, came puttering up to the cabin on his ATV yesterday. Since I was the property owner he asked if I could join in on a meeting about the truck accident last week. All I knew up to that point was an oil truck had slid off the road and rolled over a hillside. Turns out the truck had cut a cut a pretty serious swath through the woods and had spilled a mixture of salt water and oil over a pretty wide area. The driver and passenger had time to get out and were not hurt (thank goodness). Since a hazardous spill was involved they wanted to assure me that an all-out clean-up was underway. I’m sure there must have been legal reasons for having me survey the site so I rode along and expressed appropriate amounts of concern to the officials at the meeting. I knew they were officials because they were wearing clean hardhats. By its nature, the clean-up will involve the removal and replacement of lots of dirt and will leave a scar on the mountainside. I told them I was fine with that as long as they replanted to prevent future erosion. I hate erosion.

Since I was already over on this side of the property (a rare thing), after the meeting I told Joe I would walk back so I could look things over.

 The accident happened very close to the NE border of my property so first I followed the frosty dirt road up the mountain to a gate that separates my farm from my neighbor, the “Cattle Baron”. I call him that because he lives in a big beautiful home down along the river road and because, obviously, he raises Holsteins. If I knew him better, I probably wouldn’t call him that.

Standing at the gate beside an old red pick-up truck with “farm use only” painted on the tailgate, smoking a Swisher Sweet Outlaw Double Barrel Rum cigar,( ok, that last part isn't true but I had to work the cigars in someplace) was slim young lady with truck matching red hair, jeans, flannel shirt and a waist length leather jacket (not that I was taking any particular notice, mind you). She was the cattle baron’s daughter.

She had been sent up to unlock the gate for the oils guys and to lock up when they left. Naturally I immediately introduced myself as her neighbor. I told her briefly about the truck accident and why I was wandering up this way on foot. For some reason (I think it had something to do with that flannel shirt) I prolonged the conversation as long as I could. Eventually I blurted out something about going to Disney World and the issues I was having getting care for my animals. She made a very interesting suggestion; Future Farmers of America. She had been a member growing up and was now an advisor for a nearby chapter. My first thought was I wouldn’t want a bunch of kids hanging out at my cabin but then she went on to tell me they would bring a truck to my cabin, load up the beasts and the fowl along with any feed or supplements I had and transport them to a secure place for care. She thought it would be a great project for the members. I would, of course have to pay for the animal’s room and board, but after discussing the details it seemed like an amazing deal.  I told her on the surface it sounded like a great idea, but I would have to go and look at where they would be kept, meet the kids and discuss it with my animals. I’m not sure why, but she laughed when I said “discuss it with my animals”.

We exchanged email addresses and she is going to send me a copy of the liability papers I would have to sign that would protect the club should something, heaven forbid, befall one of the animal.

I’m not sure if goats and chickens like vacations, but I hope they do.



langela said...

Sounds like a great deal! I'd do it if I didn't have such a wonderful aunt that comes over to care for our animals in our absence. It should make your trip easier knowing your friends are cared for.

Granny Sue said...

You know that oil company probably owes you damages for the damage to your land. I hope they mentioned something of the sort?

The FFA plan sounds great. My sons were in that program and I was impressed by both the kids and the teachers. And Roane county has some good kids.