Fall is already into the calendar and fall weather has come into view. This morning the temperature was 48 degrees. Yesterday was a fall day for sure — high temperature at 74 and sunny all day with little wind. I love fall. The only bad thing about fall is that it precedes winters, which I have come to loathe in my old age.
I’m a personal fan of yellow and fall in the Flint Hills is an abundance of yellow. The entire gamut of yellow flowers includes many species of sunflowers and goldenrod in the ditches and throw-away spaces, broomweed in the pastures, and the yellow hedge balls, which, while they are a nuisance, are pretty to me because they make the hedge trees look like orange or grapefruit trees from a distance.
To add accent to the yellows in the rangeland is the abundance of purple Prairie Blazing Star — which is the common name for Prairie Gayfeather. It is a beautiful bloom from one of the ugliest plants during the growing season. A youthful Blazing Star looks like a scraggly long-needle pine seedling, but in bloom it morphs into an eye-catching purple rod from 6-12 inches long — like a purple Roman Candle.
The cooler weather has really improved the looks of the ponds and watersheds for fishing. I’m looking forward to fall fishing in October and maybe early November — starting with my ol’ New Mexico buddy, Albie Kirky and one of his sons, who are visiting the first week of October.
Most of the corn in Chase County has been shelled and binned or sold. Average to a bit better than average are the yields I’ve heard about.
The fall army worms have become a huge problem in the region. Hordes of the pests are invading soybean fields, alfalfa fields, bromegrass pastures, and even well-manicured lawns in some towns and cities.
A good friend told me just this morning that the armyworms about stripped one of his alfalfa fields in a single day before he could get them sprayed.
It just goes to show that in the farming/ranching community, it’s just one problem after another.
As for my own problem with a wanton chicken killer, I finally identified the hungry predator. It’s a chicken-killing hawk, as I suspected all along. I saw it trying to nab a chicken from the pen attached to the chicken house. It failed because it had the roosters on high alert and the hens and young chickens fled to the safety of the henhouse or under some low-hanging limbs.
So, that got me to thinking about ways to thwart the chicken killer. I might have hit on the solution. If possible, hawks like to swoop in low and fast to ambush their target. So, to make that harder, I took some old 16-gauge garden fencing that was unusable for fencing and some short pieces of large-opening woven wire and I crosshatched the chicken pen with it using temporary electric fence posts.
I kept the chickens in the pen for three days with no losses, nor did I see the hawk try. So, with fingers crossed, the last two days I’ve let the chickens out of the pen to free-range again. So far, so good. I’m hoping it was a migratory hawk that moved on.
Here’s a good story. Someone put this advertisement in a weekly farm publication:
For Sale: Top of the line Ford pickup. Loaded. Like new. Price — $1.
The price was so cheap that no one believed it could be true. However, just out of curiosity, finally a weathered old farmer came to look at the pickup and see what it was all about.
To his amazement, a nice lady showed him the pickup and everything was as advertised. Plus, the lady actually sold him the pickup for $1. She pocketed the buck and handed the new owner the papers and the truck keys. Done deal!
As he prepared to drive his new acquisition home, the old farmer just couldn’t control his curiosity. So, turning to the lady, he said, “Ma’am, I will die of suspense if you don’t tell me why you sold this truck for only $1.
The lady replied, “Well, I am just fulfilling the will of my deceased, philandering husband, who owned and operated a successful agribusiness. His will designated that his young traveling secretary is to receive the money from the sale of his fancy pickup.” Done deal!
Here’s a related kind of sad story that happened back in the 1950s, when older unmarried women were actually known as spinsters. A grief-stricken farm widow was sobbing over the ashes of her cremated husband — her fourth husband actually.
A spinster, who was attending the service, got up and left saying, “I’ve had enough of this. I’m leaving.”
Another bystander then asked the spinster, “What’s the matter?”
To which the spinster replied, “I can’t stand it any more. She’s got husbands to burn, and I can’t even find one,”
Words of wisdom for the week: “Live your senior years in an RV. Your kids won’t come live with you, or even pester you, if they can’t find you.” Have a good ‘un.