“a progressive agriculturist”

Laugh Tracks in the Dust

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Okay, here’s a story from way back when that I had to chuckle at. Hope you do to.
The story goes: Back in the Great Depression a “progressive agriculturist” survived the economic challenge of keeping his diversified farm from going under financially by providing his own reliable cheap labor source. He had 20 sons.
One year when the state fair began, the farmer loaded up all 20 of his sons onto the bed of his old farm truck and headed for the fair. He and the sons enmasse toured all the machinery displays, sat in on a few free Extension meetings and company sales pitches, and then headed to the livestock barns.
In the midst of walking the alleyways in the beef cattle exhibit barn, they met a prominent out-of-state cattleman who had his prize-winning grand champion bull on display. But, seeing the bull wuzn’t free. The cattleman was charging 25-cents per person for the privilege of examining the prize bull.
The farmer and the sons thought long and hard about spending so much money to look at the prize bull, but finally decided it might be worth the investment. So, the farmer goes up to the bull owner and says with an expansive wave of his arm at his boys, “I’ll buy 21 tickets for me and all my sons.”
The bull owner’s jaw dropped and he exclaimed, “You have 20 sons, sir?”
“Yep, I do,” the farmer replied proudly.
“Well, then,” the bull owner replied, “Here’s a $20 bill for you. I want my bull to see you!”
***
While I’m discussing old farmers, how about the 90-year-old farmer who was clearly near his end, slipping in and out of consciousness for the last several days. His faithful wife never left his side during the whole time in the hospice.
One day as she sat next to him, her husband roused and rallied and began to speak, “You know what, dear? You’ve been with me through all the bad times. When I got fired from my winter job, you were there to support me. When our crops failed, you stuck with me. When the tornado ruined our home, you stayed on. When I got injured in that tractor accident, you never faltered. And, now, with my health failing, you are still by my side and supporting me.”
“Now, I’ve come to realize,” he continued, “I think you bring me bad luck.”
***
It seems you can’t live in the country for a week without having some encounter with wildlife. Well, last week here at Damphewmore Acres we have wildlife encounters ranging from the tiny to the iconic national bird.
The tiniest wildlife encounter wuz the most serious. Ol’ Nevah spotted a little mouse in “her” home — and that is a minor crisis, of the first rank. One way or the other, the invading rodent had to go.
So, the first evening, I put out a chunk of mouse bar bait in hopes the critter would gnaw itself to death. That didn’t happen. But, the second evening, Nevah spotted the critter diving under a closet door. So, I suggested that we put the bar bait in the closet, and then make exiting the closet impossible by tightly stuffing a towel into the crack under the door.
And, that’s what we did. Then we waited for two days and cautiously opened the closet door. Initially we were disappointed. No dead mouse on the floor. But, the bait had been nibbled on so our hopes went up.
When Nevah pulled the stored linens from the second shelf, her hopes were finalized. The tiny rodent had croaked. It would invade “her” home no more.
***
But, that’s not the only mouse encounter. When I wuz turning one of my compost piles, one old hen who follows the tractor everywhere in hopes it will scare up a free meal for her stood by the tractor and when a mouse bailed out and headed for the tall grass, that ol’ hen was on it in a flash. She pecked it dead, and then engulfed the rodent whole — head first and tail last. It was proof that chickens are carniverous.
***
Then one evening when I went out to gather eggs and shut up the chicken flock for the night, I spied a skunk crossing the gravel road from our neighbor’s home. I stopped the stinker with my ATV and it reversed course and went back to the neighbors. I’m sure it returned later in the night.
***
The most interesting wildlife encounter wuz with a mature bald eagle. It showed up four days in a row at our pond. The first day it wuz just sitting on the fishing jetty. The second day, it wuz eating something and when I investigated that evening, it looked like rabbit fur. But the third and fourth day, I could see the eagle wuz eating something bigger. Then when it left, four buzzards and a gaggle of crows fought over the leftovers.
When I took a look last evening, there were two big channel catfish heads and skeletons on the pond bank. The eagle must have caught them near the bank. They were big catfish — probably 5-6 pounds each. Eagles are efficient predators.
***
Words of wisdom for the week: “When I was a kid I wanted to be older … this is not what I expected.” Have a good ‘un.

 

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