Along about now, Rick and I decided it might be a good idea to save our aging bodies and hire some youthful energy. Through a representative of the Employment Security Commission, we looked for farm help. The young man he connected us to said he grew up on a farm and he could drive a tractor with a bucket on the front real good. We thought that if somebody told you he knew how to drive a tractor with a bucket on the front, we could take him at his word. WRONG!!
Rick had installed the pump, put lines in from the pump to all the rows and done all the work himself. He did a great job, too, but he won't be doing it ever again. It is back breaking work digging those trenches and connecting all that pipe on your knees. The only thing we didn't do ourselves was build the pump. GraMac Irrigation in Mocksville, NC http://www.gramacirrigation.com/ drew up the plan for the irrigation layout, advised us on the parts and supplies list (pipe, connectors, valves and all that) and built the pump. They are very helpful guys.
We thought the job looked pretty straightforward. We had ditches with irrigation pipe in them, we just wanted someone to push dirt into the ditches with the bucket of the tractor and cover them up. Well, he covered them up, alright. He broke almost every connector and valve across the entire orchard. Rick could have done a better job himself even though his tractor driving resume isn't that long. That's why we hired a tractor driving "expert." If he had wanted to bash the whole thing up with the bucket, he would have done it himself. I could have done as good a job as that young man who called himself a tractor driving farm hand. A conservative estimate of the damage was $1,000 worth of labor and material. Then he wanted to get paid!! I thought Rick was going to have a stroke.
After we recovered partial sanity, I helped Rick put things back together. It works just as well as if we had never had the destruction. Someday we'll laugh about it -- but not yet.
I told you we were going to have some fun. OK. It's time to start training a truffle dog. We need a truffle hunting dog. A Border Collie sounded just about right. They're smart and like to have a job. Enter Friday (aka Detective [Joe] Friday). He was a shy little thing when we rescued him from a young couple who had clearly bitten off more than they could chew. He was ADORABLE!! 11 weeks old and 7.5 pounds of black and white fur and personality. Our little Boston Terrier, Rosie, had her hands full raising that Border Collie. She was tough on him and he grew up to be a real winner. You've seen his picture below. He got into his share of mischief but he really turned out to be a wonderful dog. He's had his ups and downs, (disappearing once for 48 hours which was an absolute nightmare) http://www.wxii12.com/pets/24523318/detail.html but he sticks like glue to his acreage now. We were soooooooo very grateful to WXII-12 News for running a special plea for his return and the neighbor who gave him safe harbor until we could retrieve him. There are a lot of dog lovers in this world and we love them all. We don't know where he was but we don't think he left of his own accord.
Training him to find truffles was a piece of cake. He has taught me a thing or two along the way. More about it next week.