Farm 20

Farm 20

A Story by Tim

Just another day working at the nursery.


        “15 to 22”


        “15 to 22”


 It was an early fall morning when my radio crackled. I was checking on a hand digging crews, which were digging yews for shipment, when the call came in.


      “ This is 22, go ahead Ernesto,” I radio backed.


     “ Boss come to Farm 20 you have to come see something” he said excitedly.


     “What is it a big buck or some turkeys” I radioed.


    “ No! No! Come quickly you have to see this,” he replied.


     “Ok I will be there in about 5 minutes,” I radioed back.

  I jumped into my truck and wondered what was so getting Ernesto so excited. Well I will see when I get there.


 Farm 20 was a farm that was shared between the nursery and a shade tobacco grower. It was one of my favorite farms to work on and to just drive through. There was always plenty of wildlife there to see from deer to wild turkeys.  The excellent engineering skills of beavers had made the irrigation pond five times its original size. Now the pond was full of life.


  The pond was an excellent place to bird watch. There was the Blue Heron rookery during the summer. Every year the rookery grew until a storm blew over a number of the old trees. The wood ducks were always fun to watch especially the day when I watched the baby wood ducks jumping from a nest high in a tree and landing in the water. Different songbirds were numerous there also.


  Occasionally you would see other wildlife near the pond, a deer getting a drink or the turkeys wandering by. On rare occasions you would see the beavers swim by or if early enough in the morning catch them working on the dam or gnawing away at a tree. Foxes and coyotes would pass by in search of food.


 Farm 20 was also an area were kids like to sneak in and party on the weekends. On Mondays there would always be signs of the weekend events. There would be old campfires, beer bottles, and usually items of women’s underclothing.  It got to a point that the workers decorated a couple of spruce trees with the bras and panties that were left behind.


  There had also been some tragedies in Farm 20. One year a husband and wife pulled into the field. They proceeded to have an argument. In the end the husband shot the wife and then himself.


  Farm 20 was also a place where stolen cars were abandoned from time to time. The police would be called and the car would be towed away.  On day I was driving through the farm when I saw a car parked way in the back by the wood line. The car was either a stolen car or a hunter in there hunting with out permission.


 I pulled up in front of the car to check it out and to see if the police need to be called. I didn’t see anyone as I approached the car. I walked to the passenger side of the car and looked in. You can image my surprise when there was a girl lay on the seat pleasing her self with her finger and another girl leaning over fondling her breasts. Well I just turned around and walked away to leave them to their fun. As I got back into my truck to drive away one of them looked up and waved as I drove off.


  As I pulled into Farm 20 I wondered what I would be seeing today.  As I drove down the dirt road I noticed that the tobacco grower was changing the wires on the shade tents. The wires hold up the shade cloth that shades the tobacco as it grows. The wires were hanging down waiting to be rolled up. As I rounded the corner I saw my crew leader up ahead having to me.


 As I pulled up to him I could see what he was excited about. A young bull moose had wandered into the field during the night or early morning and had become entangled it the wires that were hanging down. The moose was about seven feet tall at the shoulder and had a small rack on him. Moose are not common to this area but they do wander in from time to time for a visit.


 The moose was standing there quietly. Two of his legs were entangled in the wire as was his antlers.  He was watching the crowd that was building and getting a little skittish. I sent my crews off to work so that the moose would remain calm. Shortly after the local police arrived they called the game warden to inform him of the situation.  Roughly a half an hour later the game wardens arrived.


  “ Hi, Roy, how are you today,” I greeted the game warden as he walked up.


 “ Doing good. Looks like we have a bit of a problem here today.” He replied.


 “What is going to happen with the moose?” I asked.


 “Well I am going to get close and check him out. If he is in good shape then we will tranquilize him and transport him to another area. If his hooves and ankles are damaged from the wire then we will have to put him down.” He replied.


 Roy Champlain is a legend when it comes to game wardens in this area. He was originally from Vermont and moved to Connecticut. I knew Roy from checking deer at the check station and talking to him from time to time when we ran into each other in town. Most people know that when Roy is a chasing you just stay put. Because if you ran he would out run you and by time you made to your vehicle he would be there waiting for you. They say it was the Indian in him that gave him the ability to run like that and to track the lawbreakers that he was after. Roy was always fair and was good for a few good stories.


  We watched as Roy loaded the gun with the tranquilizer. He then slowly and carefully made is way towards the moose. He took his time as not to startle the moose or to get it thrashing around. When he had reached the right distance he aimed, fired and hit the moose in the hindquarters. About a minute later the moose stumbled a little then lay down. Roy approach the moose carefully to make sure that it was out. He then signaled the other game wardens to come over. They began to cut the wire that the moose had become entangled in.  After freeing the moose from the wire they carefully examined him to see if the wire had caused any damage.  None was found so it was decide that the moose would be transported to up state NY and released there.


 Since the tranquilizer was not that strong they had to call in the wildlife biologist to administer a stronger dose of sedative.  While they waited they readied the trailer for transport. Shortly there after the biologist arrived and sedated the moose with a stronger sedative. Then the process began of loading the moose into the horse trailer. Once in the trailer they took the moose’s vital signs to ensure that he was doing fine.


    “Do you have any burlap and rope,”Roy asked, “ We want to cover his eyes so the if he wakes up he will stay calm.”


   “Yes, let me go get some,” I replied.


 I went over to the digging crews supply truck and return with the burlap and the rope.


  “ Here you go,” I said handing Roy the burlap and rope.


  “ One other thing do you have a knife,” Roy asked.


  “ A knife!” I exclaimed, “ What kind of game warden are you that doesn’t carry a knife with him?”


   “ Shut up smart a*s and give me your knife,” Roy said laughingly.


 Soon everything was done and the moose was heading for NY.  The moose arrived in the Adirondacks with not compilations and was released.  A radio color was place on the moose and his movements were tracked for a number of years.


 I would run into Roy from time to time after that. Every time I would ask Roy if he had a knife with him. He would just shake his head and laugh. Roy finally retired a couple years back and is missed for his humor and stories.


   Seeing the moose and all that took place that day was just one more interesting tale of working at the nursery. Things have changed now and we done work most of those fields now. Those field days are missed, but they provided many memories and stories.



















© 2009 Tim

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And I thought the life of a nursery workwer would be boring! A great story, Tim. I really did expect the moose's eyes to get covered by some article of female clothing, though. Maybe next time.

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Added on April 4, 2009
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