Thursday, September 3, 2009

Allow Me To Introduce Bob Thomas

...affectionately known by Joe and me as Mountain-Man Bob. We count it a privilege to have made his acquaintance and now deem him a friend.

Bob grew up here in this beautiful region of the country, as did several generations before him, and he is a wealth of invaluable knowledge and information.

When Joe and I were reeling from the car-struck wild turkey episode (remember that one?!), Bob is the one who wisely advised us it's not a good idea to eat meat that's been hit... "at least he never does," he said. You see, when Joe went out front to see whether he could save the turkey or have to put it out of it's misery, several trucks came by asking if Joe was going to keep it because they wanted it. Most passed it up claiming they didn't have time to clean it, but the last guy... the one who ended up with the turkey, again asked Joe if he wanted it and, of course, Joe said no. The guy then said, "Well, wring his neck and toss him in back." Joe said, "I'll toss him back - you wring his neck!" And off the guy went with what we supposed would be the evening's meal. We were dumbfounded.

It was also Bob who told me that anti-perspirant is the best thing to clear up poison-ivy. Just spray it on and "it'll dry it up right quick." Well, remember those awful pictures of my blistering, weeping, poison-ivy-ridden arm? I was skeptical then, but I later learned that I tried it too late. You need to use it right away, when the red, itchy bumps first appear. Ohhh! I have since done it numerous times...and I'll be darned if he's not right! Immediately the itch disappears, and within a couple of hours the bumps are gone as well! No kidding.

Of course, in the Cherries and Berries post, you know he's the one that advised me on the cherry-picking. He also told me the tree isn't producing like it should because it doesn't get enough morning sun. Well, nothing I can do about that...

Recently, he brought me a huge tomato from his garden. It's called a Big George and when you slice it for a sandwich, it's bigger than the slice of bread! Oooh, it was tasty. He told me how to keep the seeds so I can plant them next spring and have Big George tomato plants of my own. The plants he's enjoying these days came from plants of his father's decades ago! And where did his dad get his seeds? Get this! From the wife of the man who rode the last horse and buggy mail route in the United States (which was right here, of course... Bob's family was on the route)! 1940s. Seriously. And now I have some.

Last week he brought me a handful of buckeyes. I thought they were chestnuts... they look just like them. But he said, "No, these aren't edible. They say you just keep one in your pocket and they're supposed to bring you good luck."

Joe, too, highly esteems him. As newcomers to this area, we have so much to learn about our surroundings, and I can't tell you how much Joe appreciates all he has learned from Bob. For example, he was helping Joe identify the myriad trees on the mountain; not from their leaves, but from their bark. Joe was so impressed.

Joe knows his way around an engine pretty well, and Bob's knowledge of the engines on his heavy equipment fascinates Joe. He says there isn't anything Bob can't fix himself. He also enjoys how quick Bob is with a story or a joke... has a new one to tell every day!

His fame is stretching far and wide! The other day Kristiina and I were discussing a peculiar vine in her yard. She's not sure what it is and bottom-lined it by exclaiming, "I could just take a picture and send it to you to show Mountain-Man Bob." {grin} Yes, and he'd probably know what it is. As a matter of fact, Kristiina, I mentioned it to him and he says it sounds like gherkins.

There is a short biography written about Bob Thomas in this book, published in 2000.

In it, the author quotes Bob on the history and the future of the logging business. That was interesting! It speaks of his sons and grandsons, and how the business is a "family affair" that also includes his brother and cousins. (It astounds Joe that even the little guys, his grandsons, know how to use, and use well, the big, heavy equipment!) It tells the story of how Bob met Billie Sue, his wife of 45 years. We so enjoyed reading it... of course, we know the "cast of characters" and that made it all the more pleasurable.

Bob and his crew (family) are the ones who planned and cut in all the roads in the mountain development across the street that I keep referring to. Goodness! It takes such skill to do it right and not just hack it up... of course, they take such care because they respect and appreciate the land and trees. They're over there now working on the third phase of the development and it looks beautiful.

Here, Bob is busy pulling pork at our recent "Pig Roast Picnic" for the property owners, while Rick, our Construction Manager, looks on.

And here, he's discussing our home models with one of the owners.

Almost daily, I enjoy the pleasure of a laugh or a lesson... or both ...from Mountain-Man Bob. And sometimes they're accompanied by those precious little gifts; like the tomatoes, buckeyes and the gourd (yes, Mary, I got to keep it). He's a treasure... so interesting, and completely humble and unassuming.

He's quite a guy, that Mountain-Man Bob!


The Farmer's Wife said...

Thank you for the introduction to Mountain Man Bob! I've been so curious....although, I must tell you, I anticipated a beard and a flannel shirt. At least now I have a face in my head, to put with the stories you tell, and he is just the most interesting person.

What a blessing, to count him as a friends.

Cris said...

Very interesting post, Pammy! Having met and spoken to Mountain Man Bob so briefly,it was great to learn some of the history behind this fascinating individual!! Perhaps I'll see him next week. ;-)

Ginnie said...

Mountain Man Bob sounds like a wealth of knowledge and a good friend.

It's also said that as long as you have a buckeye in your pocket you will always have money in your pocket

Brenda said...

What a wonderful story...Mountain man Bob is the coolest ever!! It kind of reminds me of my could walk through the woods with her and she could name every type of bush, plant, tree and used to amaze me and I often wished that I could record everything she knew from her brain into mine...wouldn't that be neat?
(I have a whole bowl full of case you ever need a spare ;-)

About Me

My photo
I'm a wife, mom, and grandma living in rural Vermont. I spend 40 hours of my week working outside my home and away from my garden, but am nevertheless passionate about healthy eating and sustainable living. By sourcing nutrient-dense food from local farms and avoiding processed foods, we are realizing how our over health is being impacted for the better. I’m excited to have you join me as I share what we’re learning and invite you to offer your insights in the comments. “…giving thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thess 5:16-18