A rainy morning last week, and the usual suspects gather for coffee and donuts. Difficult for an outsider to know where to look — Nutcakes, which has all those froofy latte-type drinks instead of just coffee? No, this morning, everyone seems to be at Eats and Treats. Gluten free. Go figure. This is a work of imagination, resemblance to actual people fairly intentional, but it’s mostly lies. Proceed, but don’t believe everything.
“Hey, Bud, how’d the shearing go this year?” a friend calls across to Mike. This friend labors under the weight of 50 plus years of good eating, most of it probably not gluten-free. He laughs.
“Went fine. Had a buck slip past the nutters and get penned in with all the girls and wethers. Guess somebody couldn’t count to two. Lively night.”
“How’d the new people treat you? Anybody faint at the sight of those poor little lambs getting beat up?”
“No, they were fine. Heard one of the boys admiring her shiny boots, though. Said she polishes them every night.”
“Shut up,” says one of the women in the group. “Nobody polishes barn boots, let alone every night.”
“Heard her say it myself. They were pretty shiny.” [Author’s note: She did say that she shined her boots every night in response to the shearer’s remark. It was a joke. Apparently unappreciated.]
“Saw them talking to you on the road the other day,” says someone else, unknown to the author.
“Yeah, they wanted to know if it’s time for plowing. Don’t know what they’re going to plow, though. Maybe that new little orchard they got going up top there.”
“Good luck with that,” snorts Friend. “I seen that so-called deer fence Shonnard’s build them. Not near high enough. Plus there’s this little gate. How’s a tractor gonna get through the fricking fence in the first place?
Joe speaks up. Being right is always sweet. “Could have told them they didn’t need to go drilling another well. Two gallons a minute’s just plenty for us ordinary folks. But guess they got some spare money lying around so they go and hire that fancy witch. “A ‘Sounder,’ he calls himself. They drill a new well where he points out and they find lots of water, all right. Salt water.
Smiles all around.
“I heard she’s an artist,” someone says. “Going around taking pictures all the time. Don’t know what he does, or did. Probably retired.”
“No, I heard she grew up on a farm somewhere. Sang with a band, or something. I think it was Minnesota. He’s a banker. Has his own airplane, so he wanted to locate near the airport. Drives that big old Lexus, and then he goes and gets a truck. But if he wants to throw money around, fine by me. Just so’s some of it comes my way.”
“You hear about that augur they rented to drill holes for their little orchard? Not saying Philomath did it on purpose, but I’d like to seen what happened when they found out the augur didn’t reverse.”
“They probably didn’t even know that it was supposed to reverse. Not sure city folk should be out wrestling heavy equipment, anyway. Lucky he didn’t get a heart attack.”
“Well, at least they’re tearing down that old eyesore house along the road. They do nothin’ else, we can thank ’em for that. But, gotta run, trench the drainage along the south field. Hope this rain keeps up; spring’s coming on too early this year.”
The muffins at Eats and Treats are really good. Next time you’re in Philomath, look them up. All gluten-free, and they serve gorgeous BBQ.
Friend was right about the deer fence. It’s probably high enough, but the fence was designed and built by Shonnard’s, and although we didn’t think to enquire if the proposed gate would be wide enough to admit farm equipment, we think maybe Shonnard’s should have taken that question into consideration. Nonetheless, we’re working on it, and in the meantime, let the neighbors have their fun.
The house comes down on Friday! And we’ve found a man who will till the orchard, mowing it first, on Friday as well. Lots going on! Photos will be taken.