To say Jack and I are getting on well is a massive understatement but there is one area where confusion reigns. His expressions date from another era, and as much of a student of linguistics as I am, there are times when he might as well be speaking Swahili.
He saw TJ for all of an hour, from the other side of the electric fence but he had no trouble in sizing him up. "That youngun's a mess a trouble", he said "Too big fer his britches, needs his backside warmed." I looked puzzled. "Whut I mean is, he needs to be taken out behind the woodpile ta get his hide tanned some". I grew even more perplexed. "Spare the rod, spoil the child. That boy needs a good whuppin'. If I was younger I'd do it muhself." I gave up trying to decipher his colourful imagery, but I don't see why TJ should benefit from warming and tanning while the rest of us are locked in a cold barn in the winter. I'm still trying to fathom what "whuppin" is, though my best guess is that it's some sort of sport where an older donkey chases a younger one around the paddock and they both holler "whup. whup, whup". Fortunately, just then a load of hay went by and Jack flared his nostrils to take in the sweet smell and said "Them fellas has drawed out a good load there." I gave up. Now I just nod in agreement and smile.
Jack and the dog have worked out a slow-motion game of tag that they both find highly amusing. One of them makes eye contact with the other and then they begin to walk briskly around the tree. They take turns being "it" and after a few circles, they reverse positions. Frankly I don't see the point in burning all those calories in such a juvenile way, but it seems that seniors sometimes revert to childhood. Jack is able to communicate to the dog when he has had enough and she lolls her tongue at him and wags her tail and darts off at high speed, which is her preferred pace. Jack has also spoken politely to the cat who of course said "Pffft", but she allowed him to ruffle her fur before she stalked off. His inter-species communications skills are obviously highly developped.
We were told today that the first potatoes should be harvested in about three weeks. The combine that sweeps through the corn and wheat crops like an avenging fury is my favourite large machine but the potato harvester is a close second. It's the modern version of a Heath-Robinson invention - an amalgam of gears and levers and television screens and on-board computers (that modern curse). It's the size of our sand ring and I lean as far through the fence as possible to get the best view of it's inner workings. I told Jack about it and how I enjoy counting potatoes and he said "Izzat so, well, I might have a gander at the field machine, but I think countin spuds might be a tad like watchin paint dry." I'm sure he'll be pleasantly surprised by the high level of excitement when the time comes.