I first encountered the word trencherman about five years ago. The word “trencher” is so much more robust than “plate” or “bowl” and not nearly as uppity as “charger”. But if we think about trencher in its original form as a slab of stale bread, the term is even more evocative. Trencherman brings to mind a hale fellow attending to his meal with all seriousness, probably with a napkin tucked under his jowly chin. Even the false cognate of the trencherman a ditch digger still manages to communicate something about the workmanlike way a trencherman shovels food.
I enjoy sitting down to a full trencher, but the last two days I’ve been rushing through meals to do some less pleasant trenching. I got the phone call last week that Alan the excavating contractor would be available, so I scrambled to get the pipes and hardware together to install 1,500 feet of 1-1/4″ pipe. With his skillful operation of the excavator and my grunt work, we completed digging, laying pipe, and backfilling the entire run in two days. Now I just need to finish the connections to the pond sump at one end and to a hydrant and a water trough at the other end. We’ve never had frost-free water plumbed to these fields, so this will be a tremendous help to better manage grazing in the middle third of the farm.