Meet Mike Trial

I was born in Kansas City but grew up in an oil town in Saudi Arabia where my father worked for ARAMCO.

For their retirement residence, my parents bought a small farm near Columbia, Missouri where I attended high school and the University of Missouri. After military service I went to work with the Corps of Engineers, a US government agency which contracts for construction of military and civil infrastructure. I worked in a number of places during my thirty-year career, including eight years in Saudi Arabia (it was rather interesting to see Dhahran after twenty years.)

When my sister and I were kids, my parents took us with them as they explored the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Visiting other cultures when I was very young was a great gift. It provided me with insight into peoples different from me and sparked my lifelong interest in travel. After I retired I lived in Japan for four years before moving back to the family farm in 2007.

The Farm

My parents bought the farm where I now live in 1957. They converted the farm from a standard 1940s cows-and-corn farm to a tree farm by planting several thousand black walnut trees on a portion of the acreage. Some of the earliest planted trees are now reaching maturity, so I have a few cut down each year and sawed into lumber that woodworkers can use to make furniture.

Walnut is a dark, beautiful wood, excellent for furniture making. I don’t harvest the walnuts that fall from the trees, just the wood. But a few of the fallen walnuts sprout and some of them I let grow into the next generation of trees. In addition to the enjoyment of managing the walnut plantation, the open fields and natural woods are wonderful places to walk and enjoy the silence and beauty of the outdoors.  

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