We were settling in to our routine in our new old home. Things had found their places and furniture was placed after many, many, many sessions of rearranging. Our energy was spent and so was our cash, so we made do with what we had accomplished and just started living in the house.
After a few months, probably late June or so, Bob decided it was time to start cleaning up the property. The Back 40 was overgrown with briar and blackberry vines, poison ivy and just your basic weedy plants and trees. Some of the briar patches were as tall as 12 feet so we couldn’t even see the meadows.
It was time to mow! Bob rented a tractor and brush hog. For those of you who don’t know what a brush hog is – it is a large, flat implement that you attach to the back of a tractor. It has a blade , just like a big lawn mower blade, that is run by the tractor’s transmission. So as long as the tractor is running, the blade is turning.
He begins mowing directly behind the house in the tree lot. A few hidden rocks were hit and, except for several stops to untangle stray barbed wire in the mower, it went well. Our land was coming into focus. Vistas opened to the large trees on the ridge and a tree ringed meadow began to make itself known. I could tell were our walking paths would take us as the mower made its way across the ground.
Then Bob moved to the open meadow to the south and east. This was mostly a tangled mess of blackberry and wild roses. Beautiful but inpenetrable.
As he was creeping down the ridge, I heard the mower hit something and it didn’t sound like a rock or more wire. This time it was an old iron bedstead! Bob dragged it out from under the mower and down the hill to the house. All we could find was the headboard and one side rail, not enough to put together for use as a bed. But later – Bob being the creative and resourceful man that he is- made the headboard into my garden gate! It was perfect!
But back to mowing! The tractor made swift work of the briar roses and blackberry vines. We did keep these along the fenceline, so every year we could pick wild blackberries to make the best cobblers in the world! And arrangements of the pale pink wild roses would grace many tables in our home, both spring flowers and autumn rose hips.
Bob was making a final pass going up the ridge and through the shallow hollow between our two meadows. That is when he made the biggest error one can make on a large piece of equipment. As he explains “I was looking where I had been, instead of where I was going!” He turned around just in time to be smacked by a large sycamore tree branch that had hung up on the exhaust in the front of the tractor! It landed directly under his nose and just above his lip! And whacked the heck out of him!
He barely hung on to the steering wheel. And because the tractor was heading up hill, when he was knocked back, it began to roll backwards down the driveway!
By this time, he is bleeding profusely, but is able to get back in the seat and stop the mower. This is when I hear ” Noney, Noney! I tink I boke mah nose!” I ran to the drive to be met with the sight of my husband literally covered in blood! I helped him into the house and into the bathtub. We finally got the bleeding to stop with ice packs and got him washed up. Miraculously, his nose was not broken and he still had all his teeth!
But his poor face swelled up and bloomed into a pretty ugly bruise! It took a week or so for the swelling to go down and for his lips to look normal – bless his heart!
He did get the property cleaned up and we were able to enjoy discovering all the wonders of our little piece of heaven.
And the man at the rental yard had the last word on this incident. When Bob turned the tractor and mower in, the man exclaimed “Did someone butcher a hog on this thing!”
Until next time……