Monday, September 23, 2013


This here distinguished gentleman is Clint. Clint is from the Bahamas by way of Knoxville. He is helping Yahwa develop Mahalah Farm over in Cuba. Clint is staying in my neighborhood during his time here so we hang out a bit. The conversation may cover many things but it always comes back to trees. Clint is an Arborist and I hope I spelled that right. Let Clint explain. (Please excuse my misinformed totally inappropriate and disrespectful interviewing style. I am trying out for Fox News or, failing that, MSNBC.)
When Clint gets to talking about trees and plant life it is beyond fascinating. He is like a tree whisperer. Approach any plot of land with him, anywhere anytime, and he will wade into whatever is growing there and begin the conversation.
More like stimulating lecture with some QandA. You know I got the Q's. Anyway, Clint and I took a little stroll up and down our little street and he pointed out some things I would never ever notice.

A whole grove of recently planted shade trees that are infested with bag worms. They're the little white bulbs on the tips of those leaves. Looks innocuous enough but bag worms are deadly.
That totally browned tree in the center of this group is because of the bag worm. It ain't dead yet but it ain't got much time neither.
The tour goes from micro to macro and back again. Clint points out some discrepancies in the York tree line that may be cause for concern. Some irregularities that may signal ill health.
Then over in the community garden we find these amazing-looking creatures. Why, obviously it is the Acanthocephala terminalis! Also known as the leaf-legged bug. It is a handsome bug, sculpted and streamlined. But it is a voracious little thing.
This alien sack of webbed goo apparently sprang up overnight and had Clint a little stumped. But our Fox News MSNBC reporter straightened out the situation.

I just had to drive Clint up to some property I'm thinking about buying. He surveyed it pretty well. It checked out nicely.
Except for this big old oak. I've always been worried about this tree and now I know I am correct in my worrying. It is sick and poised to fall on that wonderful old house. This is of immediate concern.
Clint did such a good job I decided to treat him to a chicken sandwich. But on our way to the chicken sandwich shop we got distracted by a brightly plummed herd of LIVE chickens and a tractor for sale on the same property. So we pulled over.
The proprietor greeted us politely and showed us around and engaged us in some of the best talk, demonstrating once again why I love the deep south so very much with the easy, friendly people and the natural kindness all around.
This fellow is known as Strawberry. It's for his bright red hair and freckled skin. He said an old black man called him that when he was a kid and it just stuck. Clint really liked that tractor and it came at a good cost.
Then there is Strawberry's most awesome dog. I immediately knew it was something different and kinda couldn't stop looking at it. She not only has a unique look but also a really special super intelligent character. Like an old person. Turns out this pooch is part Australian dingo and a master of cow herding. I would like to have one of these but they are rare and expensive. In fact the guy what sold her to Strawberry wants to buy her back.
The chickens had already scattered. I really wanted a photo of them all together but there was no way. I approached the few stragglers and they hightailed it for the tree where all the other chickens had fled. I did not know chickens climbed trees. They love to roost in trees and I did not know that. It is a strange sight to see chickens hiding in a tree. 

I love the pastoral life. I want the pastoral life for my whole life. 

And just know this: The grilled chicken sandwich at Kewanee 1 Stop is the best grilled chicken sandwich in all the land.