I had thought it was a completely rational idea to have the horses keep the grass “mowed” on the state right-of-way. It would save gas, give the horses extra grazing they needed and, in the long run, save me time. So I put up a temporary extension fence down by the highway. I attached it to the permanent electric fence with gap connectors that would allow easy access to the area for utility workers. I kept the posts at least twenty feet from the edge of the highway. As an extra measure, we would only turn the horses into that section when we were at home. That way, I figured, we could take the horses completely out of the way if needed. Besides, I thought, if it turns out that I have to take the fence back down, at least the horses will get in a month or two of extra nutrition.
Two days later I got a call from the area highway supervisor telling me I had to take the fence down right away. He also didn’t like that I had my tractor for sale that close to the road. I was pretty sure that it was not sitting on the state right-of-way. Just to be sure, I went out with a tape measure and checked. The tractor was several feet behind the line but I did have to move my sign… fifteen inches.
Randa and I took down the fence and pulled up the posts. Then we took to watching the grass grow. The tractor was inoperable and I wasn’t about to go out with a weed-eater and trim a quarter-acre of grass. Boy Howdy, did the grass grow! With all the rain we’ve had, perfectly spaced out, the Johnson Grass grew to over seven feet tall. Not only did the state not want me putting up a temporary fence or displaying merchandise on their right-of-way, apparently, they didn’t want to keep it mowed, either.
Well, at least I had the satisfaction of letting the drivers and passengers of forty thousand vehicles a day pass by and see what happens when the Kansas Department of Transportation messes with me, yessir! The neighbors to either side kept wasting their time and money, keeping their right-of-ways neatly mowed while mine turned into a strip of wild prairie. I sure showed that state guy a thing or two. Kind of like how we sure show God when we refuse to follow his teachings.
So… yesterday I borrowed a tractor and a big slashing rotary mower. And this morning, our strip along US 36 looks nearly as good as the neighbors’. Sometimes repentance is a bit more obvious than others. But whether it is obvious or not, it is always liberating.