Farmer H has been loading up rock in the back of his Gator. That's not a euphemism for constipation or anything. He's trying to fix his road (he calls it) aka trail (I call it) down to his creekside cabin. T do this, he drives that Gator down the blacktop county road to where our creek has widened to almost river status, where it runs under (and OVER in times of heavy rain) the concrete low-water bridge. Or so I thought.
He lost Juno on the way down there a couple of weeks ago. He even told about asking the people lounging and fishing there if they'd seen her. So I just assumed that's where he was getting all of his rock. I thought by "rock" he meant that pile of sandy stuff that gets bulldozed off the bridge after every flood. People are always down there with shovels, chucking it in the back of their trucks and whatnot.
This morning, Farmer H huffed into the Mansion and declared that he HAD to have some lunch before he passed out. He went straight to Frig and slapped together a baloney sandwich. That's his main food group when we're out of hot dogs. "Whew! I hauled four loads of rock this morning!" I refrained from cautioning him about breaking his arm patting himself on the back.
"You have two boys here to help you with that stuff. I don't think it's healthy for you to do all that shoveling. And you never tell anybody where you are until you come back. This morning you left saying that you were going to town for lawnmower gas. That's a little different from driving that Gator out on the road and shoveling rock." Farmer H just huffed, tossed the crust of his Nutty Oat bread down his neck, and exited through the front door. As he rode out of sight, I saw him tilting his head back swigging the dregs of his Diet Coke. Good thing he was only driving through the front field.
When I next saw Farmer H, it was after 1:00. He drove up while I was on the front porch talking to The Pony about minding the goats. "I'm going up to my buddy's house. He says he can load my rock with his backhoe."
"All that trouble for a Gator-load of rock?"
"Yeah. From his creek up by his house, where his backhoe is already."
"I thought you meant down by the creek."
"Huh. I was on my fifth load, and a guy came up and said, 'You know, this is my property.' I told him I knew. That I knew his dad and where his land was, and how I live out here, and I was getting rock from the creek."
"Down at the low-water bridge? The owner came down there? People load that all the time."
"No. Not there. Before you get there. Down on the curve where that barn house lady ran her purple car off in the snow and we gave her a ride."
"Oh! That's somebody's property! You can't load that! He dug it out with a backhoe after the last flood."
"No, that's the guy we bought our rental property from. I left his pile alone."
"No. He's farther down. This guy dug his out, too. You'd better not go back."
"I won't. But after I talked to him, he said, 'Well, go ahead and get you a load. But we've been having trouble.' I didn't say anything to him, but I know I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was digging my rock out of the side of the creek. Not his pile. Nobody owns the creek."
"Yeah, they do. You can only float down the middle. You can't get on the banks. That's private property. You've been stealing."
"Well, I don't think so. But I won't go back."
I might have to bail Farmer H out of the slammer. Here in Missouri, you are only entitled to float on the waterways. You have no claim to the bottom or the sides. I suppose somebody could live in a raft in the middle, on your property, as long as they didn't touch the sides or bottom but remained afloat. Laws are funny like that.
Farmer H is probably on somebody's Facebook page, a mug shot taken from a game camera. I swear. It's a full-time job making an honest man of him.