Four-Wheelin’ Stone Pickers

Those of you who have read my Christian-agrarian memoir, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian may recall Chapter 30: “My Son and His Journal.” In the beginning of that chapter I explain that my son Robert really wanted a 4-wheeler of his own. The neighbor boys had 4-wheelers that their parents had bought them, but I would not buy one for my boys. They would have to work and save the money. I wrote about that back in 2005.

Here’s an updated report: Late last summer Robert did buy his own 4-wheeler. He worked and saved and looked long and hard for something halfway decent that he could afford. He ended ended up buying a used Yamaha Blaster from a friend of a friend. Robert and his two brothers blasted all over the countryside with that thing until it finally broke down in the fall.

We moved the 4-wheeler into Marlene’s mother’s garage for the winter and Robert set up shop. He studied the repair manual at length, took much of the vehicle apart, and replaced some basic parts that were worn. He bought the parts he needed on Ebay. But Robert was hesitant about getting into the engine, where the main problem was.

Earlier this spring, he took the 4-wheeler to a guy up the road who is an auto mechanic for a garage by day and does some part-time mechanic work on the side at his home. The guy did a great job of explaining and showing Robert what the problem was and the work that was needed, and he did the work for a reasonable fee. So, first thing this spring, Robert and his brothers are back riding the 4-wheeler.

I have to admit that getting the little vehicle has been a very good thing. Robert and James can now drive themselves to the nearby farm where they sometimes work. And Robert has learned a lot about small engines. He is always doing some maintenance task and is intimately familiar with every screw and part on the machine.

Last week Robert and his younger brother, James, picked stones for a diary farmer every afternoon for around four hours. They have done this for the past couple of years for three different farmers. They are experienced rock pickers. It was hot and dry here all last week and the rock pickers came home dirty but well-satisfied with themselves. Here’s a picture of James & Robert after picking rocks:


At 13-years-old James is going through a phase where he does not like to smile for the camera. Or, if he does, it is only for a split second. So we got the serious look. By the way, he’s drinking a root beer (personally, I never touch the stuff).

What do you suppose two hard-working country boys would want to do after a few hours of picking rocks in the hot sun?


Oh look.... there’s a little bit of a smile. What could be more fun that digging a few worms and going fishin' with your brother at a nearby farm pond? You can get there lickety split on your 4-wheeler. They went fishing every evening last week. The neighbor’s pond has some nice largemouth bass, as you can see.

James didn’t have a tape to measure the fish, so he held the critter along his arm to gauge the length before throwing it back in the pond.


We measured later and the fish was around 16” long. You can see a portion of the Blaster in the background.

I don’t know if they fully realize it, but my sons are blessed. To be boys, living in the country, in a Christian home, with farm work to do, a 4-wheeler to drive through the woods and fields, and fish to catch in a well-stocked pond, is about as good as it gets.

And I, for one, am very thankful to God for such blessings.


Marci said...

They are very blessed indeed. They are miles ahead of many their age. Thanks for sharing.

brierrabbit said...

Thems some mighty fine bass, from a farm pond. Just think. Some people have to drive a very long way to catch fish like that. Here in the Ozarks, theres a farm pond around every hill. I'd pick rocks to catch bass like that. There is a black and white picture of me, holding the first fish I ever caught, from the pond behind the house we lived in at the time. God does have a special place in his heart for fishermen, you know. His Son liked to hang out with them.

Duke said...

I would have loved to be reared the way you rear your sonsbim.

Unknown said...

Yes, what a blessing. The other day, I saw a wanted ad for a kiddie pool. Someone wanted a kiddie pool to entertain their children. The poor things lived in the country and needed something to do. (?) It is a blessing that your sons have chores and practical, constructive things to do, in addition to working for the fun that they have.

Anonymous said...

They are blessed indeed.

Kristi said...

They might not realize it now, but later they certainly will. Experiences and people matter not stuff.
Love your blog. I used your blog explanation of butchering chickens to butcher our first chickens ever. Thanks so much.

jayedee said...

i wish that we had all been so blessed as we were coming up!

Tovah said...

I'm buying a kiddie pool to house the baby chicks we'll be picking up monday. These chicks are the heart's desire of my 7 yo who paid for them with his own money (of course we'll be paying for the grain, but he's going to clean the coop).

Anonymous said...

my Dad use to make me pick rocks out of our corn fields, I used to ask, why can't I use the rake? (we had a couple ford tractors that would have speeded up the process), his answer... "then I wouldn't have work for you to do"
In my family the only people who didn't have a Job to do were visitors.