We left Kansas City under dark and threatening clouds. The forecast called for high temperatures and high humidity. There was even a chance of thundershowers. But we went anyway.
The forecasted high for the day was only 89 degrees. When we passed the big truck stop not too far from Roundrock, the visible-for-miles sign told us it was already 94 degrees. Mind you, this was 8:30 in the morning!
I had a day’s worth of hard labor on the agenda (yes, #1 Son Seth was with us), but it became clear as soon as I rolled down the window on the truck that we were going to have to modify our plans. (In all but the bitterest cold, we roll down the windows and get accustomed to the weather of the day as soon as we turn off the paved road — still two miles from our forest.) Even this prudence didn’t prepare us for what we were going to face though.
We met with a bit of a surprise after we passed through the valley and reached to top of the ridge beyond. A Toyota Prius was parked at the corner of Good Neighbor Brian’s property. It was parked in the tall grass beside the road. Parked right next to it — and thus in the middle of the road — was someone’s Volvo sedan, pointing the other direction. The road appeared blocked. No one was around.
Because of all of the rain in recent weeks. the grass in the meadow on the ridgetop was as tall as the windows on my truck. There was plenty of grass on the other side of the two cars, and I might creep past them there, but somewhere in there was an old, wooden food trough left over from the cattle ranch days. Not only is it a sort of relic that we all have a respect and fondness for, but if I ran over it accidentally, it might have some substantial nails in it to make the acquaintance of my truck tires.
But creep I did. I managed to spot the old trough, and I only had inches of space between it, my truck, and the Volvo. When we turned the corner it appeared that someone had recently mowed the verge of the road, and as we came upon our easement road, we saw what you see in the photo above. That is our road across the meadow, and somewhere under there is a pretty good base of gravel.
This is why we call him Good Neighbor Brian!
Oddly, when we passed into the trees of Roundrock, we saw that though the mowing had continued in there, only one side of our road through the trees had been cut. We soon found out why.
As we drove toward the pine plantation, we saw Good Neighbor Brian approaching us on his big red tractor with the brush hog attachment hard at work on the back. He had mowed all the way to the dam, turned around, and came back, finishing the side of the road still to be cut.
We had a nice visit with Brian. We’ve gotten to know each other’s families a bit, and we shared gossip about our other neighbors. (Brian had found that the tank-riding interlopers had not only plowed down some of his trees as well but had continued onto another neighbor’s property. Still, no one knows who was responsible.) Brian mows for us a couple of times during the growing season, and every time we offer to pay him for his trouble and his fuel. Every time he refuses. He says the only way we can repay him is to be his friend. Neighbors like him are to be cherished.
Brian identified the Prius at the corner of the property as his own car. (#1 Son Seth has just bought himself a Prius, but I had assured him he could never ever even remotely get such a dainty car down the rocky hill, across the wet valley, and up the opposite rocky hill. We all had a good chuckle about that.) Brian didn’t know who owned the Volvo, but he was headed that way on his tractor, so he said he might be able to find out. I don’t suppose it really matters whose it is, but I suspect it is owned by an outsider who doesn’t understand courteous woodland etiquette.
After we visited with Good Neighbor Brian, we each departed in opposite directions: he to his other mowing destinations; we deeper into Roundrock
- Coyote pups begin emerging from dens.
Today in Missouri history:
- A massive tornado ripped through St. Louis on this date in 1896.
- Actor Vincent Price is born in St. Louis on this date in 1911.