[Not long ago, a reader asked me to write about homesteading and give squirrel stories a break. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Not only was my head deeply embedded in… Abba… but I was out of ideas on the homestead front. Nothing stupid had happened recently. How was I to have any stories if nothing ridiculous happened? Fortunately, the universe provided…]
No shit there I was; it was Sunday morning. I was sipping coffee and mentally listing the things I’d rather do than deal with taxes. Suddenly I noticed a truck driving on one of my fields! Someone was putting out survey stakes.
Oh. Hell. No!
Dropping everything, I marched out there to act deplorably. I’d chase whomever was trespassing to my property line (or the county line if I got pissed enough). However, as I stomped across the field, the truck started pulling away. Asshole!
I moved to intercept. As soon as the truck was well out of reach it stopped. A woman got out and started crawling around on her hands and knees doing something. I hollered “what the hell do you think you’re doing?” No response. Whatever she was up to must be fascinating. And she was brave too. I have an attitude about trespassing that can freeze ice at twenty paces. Virtually anyone in my path usually senses it and acts accordingly; yet she was totally unconcerned. I regretted failing to grab my shotgun. Perhaps a visual demonstration of how goddamn uptight I can get would’ve helped? She shoved a survey stake in the ground and (in no hurry at all) sauntered back to the truck. By then I was no more than a hundred feet away. Even so, the truck rolled on; leaving me trotting behind like a dumbass.
Having been ignored once I was ignored again. Then again. Then again! The truck frustratingly circled around with the driver randomly hopping out; always just beyond reach. She’d plant survey stakes (using no visible measuring equipment and not in any obvious pattern) and she was fast. She’d jump back in the truck before I caught up. She always left just as I was tantalizingly close to their location.
This was going all wrong. I was behind the OODA loop and impromptu jogging is not my style! I considered a change of tactics. Perhaps going back and hopping on my ATV? Would a truck versus ATV rodeo liven up the day? Or I could watch through my spotting scope on the porch. Would that clue me into the pattern behind the survey stakes? But maybe they’d slip away while I was regrouping? I didn’t want to risk it.
If I hadn’t forgotten my phone I might have called back to the house and asked Mrs. Curmudgeon to release the dog. Hindsight is 20/20.
Finally, the truck broke in my direction. It lazily circled around and began heading right for me! I stood my ground. Excellent! Whether I wound up bouncing off a truck grill or not I was going to get to the bottom of this. It’s a true fact that I’m willing to duke it out with an F150 if it’s uninvited and on my field. I mentally prepared for whatever would happen next.
A man needs values to live by. “Brave enough to be stupid”, is one of mine.
Even though I was directly in it’s path, the truck’s driver wasn’t in a hurry. She was creeping along very slowly. I got a good look through the windshield and realized there were two women in the cab. One driver and one passenger. They were a matched set. Both were roughly retirement age and dressed in dirt smeared sweatshirts. Neither was looking anywhere near the direction the truck was going; which was odd.
The driver was looking left. The passenger was looking right. Neither was looking forward at the angry redneck who was fixing to get mowed down at a sedate 5 mph. When the truck was only 40 feet away it eased to a halt. Whew! The driver hopped out with a trowel in one hand and a survey stake in the other. “Hey!” I shouted. “What in Sam Hill are you doing?”
She didn’t acknowledge me at all. Meanwhile the passenger had jumped out of the truck and disappeared. Where was she? So much for my situational awareness! I was suddenly more worried by the person I couldn’t see than the one I could.
A shouted again and the passenger popped her head over the truck’s hood. If she pointed anything my direction I’d start zig zag running like a rabbit. Instead she broke into a grin.
“Hello” she said.
That was far less threatening than I’d expected.
Meanwhile, the driver kept ignoring me. She was already on her way back to the truck; no doubt planning on driving me over very slowly while looking the other direction. Her colleague tapped her on her shoulder and pointed in my direction. The driver finally focused on the glowering bearded speed bump angrily tromping across the mud in their direction. She smiled too.
That’s how I met Florence and Jane.
(Stay tuned for the rest of the story…)