Farm Adventures—They Just Keep Coming
Over the years I’ve told you stories about the farm project, most of which involve me ending up somewhere out of my comfort zone as a result of interaction with large and small creatures and machines.
Please be assured that silence doesn’t indicate the absence of thrilling (at least at the time) stories. Like the autumn mouse invasion or the three day effort to get the neighbor’s cow off our property after it snuck through a gate.
But in the past couple of weeks we’ve had a new adventure that no one saw coming. After a rainstorm of Biblical proportions, a section of the neighbor’s hill let go taking the boundary fence and a couple of thousand trees that we’d planted in 2015. The laws of physics were working overtime and the landslide kept going across a service road and out onto flat ground in the wetlands.
And here is the “road.”
Fortunately no one was around (although it might have been cool to watch it from a safe distance if only to find out what kind of noise it made).
Our amazing volunteers have already offered to come out to replant the area, and we will do that next year once the area has dried out. The more urgent problem was the blocked road. The mud was waist deep and that’s about how far you would sink if you tried to walk across. So what was a short walk/drive before, was now a big detour by another road.
Getting the road fixed was a priority so we called Peter, the guy who does our roadworks to see what it would take to fix.
One of the things we’ve really enjoyed about this project is the fascinating people we have met and Peter is one of the most interesting. His resume is a bunch of cool jobs that I didn’t even know existed but which have involved interaction with hammerhead and great white sharks and all sorts of other menacing four and two legged creatures. He’s now got this earthmoving business and in addition to the roadwork at our place he’s always been happy to help out with advice on maintenance problems since he also has a lot of experience as a mechanic.
It should come as no surprise that Peter is a veritable font of hilarious stories about everything. And he has the most colorful way of expressing himself both with rich vocabulary and amazing phrases filled with impossible grammatical constructions to describe impossible anatomical rearrangements or juxtapositions to which he would like to subject government officials, politicians, neighbors or anyone else who disrupts the logical flow of life.
We called Peter and he agreed to come out the next day to have a look at the situation. He decided that it was still too dangerous to go into the slip area but he would be able to clear the road and also improve the drainage (an impromptu lake had formed) in a few days.
We met Peter early morning one day last week and he went to work to clear the mud blocking the road. At midday he joined us for lunch at the cottage and it was a nice winter day so we were sitting at the tables outside. He regaled us with stories about land slips and some of his adventures. I didn’t think it was possible for a tracked vehicle like a digger to lose traction but he described slaloming down the side of a hill for about 100 feet one time.
Needless to say, it was a fascinating and hilarious story with gravity, physics, the digger, Isaac Newton, the digger manufacturer, and the landowner and a few other people and organizations all being subjected to a tirade of amazing length and lots of subordinate clauses as he described his thought process about how long it would take to stop and what condition he would be in when he did come to rest.
He interrupted the story for a minute (not to take a breath–he usually doesn’t do that when he’s on a roll) but because a car was roaring down the public road with a highly modified exhaust system that made it sound like the startup of the Indianapolis 500.
Once the roar had subsided, Peter didn’t continue his narrative. Instead shook his head and said with a tone of professional authority, “There’s a man with SPS.”
Now, because Peter worked as a mechanic, I assumed that an SPS was some sort of esoteric vehicle or vehicle modification that enabled his car to sound like an A360 taking off.
So I said, “SPS? How does it work?” He laughed and said, “No. SPS is ‘small penis syndrome.’ You show me a guy with wheels like that and I’ll show you a guy worried about the size of his willy.”
I’d never thought of it before but it made perfect sense. And even though we were paying Peter by the hour, we had an extended lunch in which we talked about the applicability of the SPS theory to other walks of life besides cars. And believe me, there are a lot of examples!