First off, just forget what I said last week about storing away your longjohns because summer is coming. Scratch that. The temps dove down to 2 degrees with north winds and a little flurry of snow soon after I gave that advice. So, while summer is definitely on the way, your longjohns probably will still get a workout.
The start of the new year 2022 is a good time to pick a column theme for this week. And the theme is “Aggie Tall Tales.”
Here’s the first such tall tale. It’s about soil conservation, water quality and crop irrigation. It wuz submitted several weeks ago from a kindly reader from western Missouri, ol’ Terry Aces.
“Back in the early forties my dad and grandpa decided to put in some water diversion structures to make the water run down the hills slower and keep it from washing gullies in their fields. They surveyed the layout of the diversions themselves, using a string and a gun scope.
“After weeks of work with the horses, plows and a horse-drawn road grader, they built a series of water diversions from the hilltop to the bottom. Now, they sat back and waited for the first good rain to see if all their hard work would pay off.
“When the rain came a few days later, they were surprised to see the ground at the bottom of the hill dry as could be, but when they got to the top of the hill that top terrace was holding about 10-foot of water.
“Well every time it rained that top terrace filled up even more. Finally, they got a team from the county ASCS office to come survey their diversions.
“After a few hours of surveying the men were scratching their heads in amazement and came to the conclusion that the terraces had been laid out backwards, and were actually running the water slowly up the hill.
“Well, by that time, the early corn crop had been planted so nothing could be done to fix the problem until the fall. So all during the spring and early summer that lake at the top of the hill kept getting bigger and bigger until one day when my dad was out hunting and accidentally shot into the back of the terrace with his shotgun. The water came shooting out of the BB holes so hard that it sprayed the corn clear to the bottom of the hill. Later that day the holes plugged themselves up and the water stopped.
“Seeing that they had a good system going, Gramps and Dad took to shooting shotguns into the terrace when the corn needed watering. They had the best crop in the county for 10 years running until the diversion finally silted up. No one has ever been able to duplicate their conservation and irrigation effort since then.”
Now, here’s the second tall tale. It’s about baling hay and the weather. It came to me from ol’ Ray Ken Balitt from North Platte, Neb. Here goes:
“Did you ever wonder why a distant rainstorm will turn and come directly to where you’re baling hay? Here’s the scientific explanation for such a weather phenomenon. Each plunger stroke by the baler draws in air as well as hay. This air is compressed, along with the hay in the bale chamber, which sets up a vortex action — just like water going down a drain.
“The vortex action and air circulation extends upward into atmosphere, thus, drawing the air from everywhere towards the hay baler. This in turn causes clouds and rainstorms to follow directly towards your hay baler.
“I used to be superstitious and think all the Hay Gods were having fun with me. But, having a good knowledge of science helped me realize that, in truth, getting rained on had nothing to do with me or what I had done. It is just nature working naturally!
The television series “Yellowstone” — a series about a modern Montana ranch family, and a tribe of Native Americans, and all the trials and tribulations they go through trying to stave off urban development of their ranch and reservation land.
The show is now all the rage in the entertainment field. It’s the #1 rated show on TV. The fourth year of Yellowstone concluded last weekend. I won’t get into the plot of the series, but I will make a few comments.
First, I’ll admit that ol’ Nevah and I watch the show. I’m impressed by the beautiful Yellowstone Ranch headquarters and the mountainous scenery. I’m impressed by the quality acting of the principle characters.
I’m impressed by how close the show gets to real ranching — from the exquisite Quarter Horse cutting horses, the quality of the cattle shown, the usage of ropes, and the ranching terminology about worming, diseases, implants, etc.
I’m not impressed by the gratuitous usage of profane language that diminishes the impact of the show. And, the violence of the show goes to extremes.
But, what surprises me most about Yellowstone is the fact that ANY kind of modern cowboy and Indian plot attracts watchers from every segment of the population and from every geographic region. I thought the days of westerns had gone the way of the passenger pigeon — extinct.
Words of wisdom for the week: “Gangster chickens live in Chickago.” Have a good ‘un.