John visits the gentleman farmer.
Bob Hicks is an very young eighty something years old with a tremendous love for the land. He is a recently retired Atlanta attorney and lives in Marietta with his lovely wife Micheline. He also has a wonderful 300 and more acre farm on the Chatooga River right outside the small town of Lyerly, Georgia. Bob is very well read in the classics and enjoys Conrad, George Elliot, and Proust among many others. He is working on developing a heard of Angus cattle.
I needed a rest. I had been working hard for a while and my knee was hurting. I figured that Dekie and I could visit the farm and I could relax, get my leg up, and read a book. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Bob is Dekie’s father and Dekie is my wonderful fiance. Anyway, we loaded up the coon dog and headed out.
We found Bob in his well equipped wood shop. He was making a walnut frame for a rather large map that he had recently purchased for his library at the farmhouse.
I really don’t know that Bob wanted a diversion from his project, but he greeted us warmly, and after a bit of conversation, he said, “Come over here, John, I have a question for you.” We walked with him over to the nice arbor which was covered with an old wisteria. He pointed and said, “would you study this and please tell me how far to prune it?” He went back to his shop project. Something in my mind told me that my plans for the day had changed.
Dekie got the lopping shears and made a cut or two while I studied the project.
Then, figuring that she wasn’t tall enough and that it would be easier for me to do the cutting than to hold a ladder for he, I went to work. The idea was to get inside and cut the vines high enough so that I wouldn’t have to duck when I walked into the arbor. I tried to cut everything that was lower than seven feet.
Don’t get me wrong, I think wisteria is a beautiful vine, and I admit that it has pretty flowers in the spring, but if it isn’t kept under control it will take over a kudzu patch. This particular wisteria planting was loaded with seed pods just getting ready to shoot seeds all over the place. Underground roots were putting up shoots all through the sitting area. It took a couple of hours to get things under control, but looking back it was worth the trouble.
With the hard part done, Dekie and I took care of the detail and stepped back to admire one of the gnarled trunks. Don’t get me wrong, though. I always advise my landscaping clients to avoid this plant like the plague.
The farm is really a big garden. A caretaker, Scott Kiger, sees that the major farm chores are provided. Scott is also a well known horse trainer. I asked Bob about his reasons for buying a farm and he told me that he had bought a 25 acre farm in Marietta in the late 50’s and moved there in 1962. He watched Atlanta and Marietta grow and to his dismay, in the early 80’s, fifteen acres of his farm were taken through eminent domain for a school building. He told me that he liked the farm in Lyerly because it was far enough out that he should be able to keep it. He bought this farm in ’89 at an auction. He said, “I was the only one there in a suit. I learned that one should never wear a suit to a country auction.”
One of the attractions of the farm is a gazebo built looking over a beautiful lake that Bob had made early on. After having finished the wisteria, I was delighted to see the table being set for lunch—pork loin, cous cous (“pearl” cous cous, not the cardboard looking kind), and a delightful salad that Bob referred to as “rabbit food”.
I wanted to take a picture of the hay barn on the other side of the lake, but about that time, Speck, the Walker coon hound decided to ask me if I would “please pass the pork loin.”
After dinner, I was given a good tour of Micheline’s Kindle. I had never spent much time looking at one and I was impressed. I guess I really must get my book, Requiem for a Redneckformatted for Kindle and other e/books quickly.
As we talked, I noticed that the horses were leaving their cool spots in the shady woods to come out and graze.
Micheline told me that Shingle was one of her favorites. She went out to say hello and Bob joined her. What a nice picture.
It had turned out to be a rather restful day after all. The sun was making its move to hide behind the foot hills to the west and it was time to go home. I wish to thank Bob and Micheline for the wonderful day.
As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?
Try “see inside the book”