Laugh tracks in the dust

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I’m having an out-and-out war with the coyotes killing my chickens. A coyote pair and their two-thirds grown pups are playing havoc with my chicken flock. To date, they’ve helped themselves to 8-10 chickens from the Milo Yield poultry smorgasbord.

So, far I’ve missed three good rifle shots at the thieving varmints — the misses, I conclude, caused by (take your pick) old age, eye-glasses/rifle scope incompatibility, coyote “fever,” or faulty ammo — because I missed a duck-soup shot when the 25-06 misfired for the first time in 43 years.

However, I think the tide of war has turned a bit in my favor. A few days ago I won a minor battle. In early evening I spied a coyote catch a chicken and head out across the pond dam with it. I scurried to get my rifle, but the thief got over the dam before I could get off a well-aimed shot. However, I went ahead and made a safe shot into the bank where he disappeared.

I figgered I’d gotten close enuf with the shot that the coyote (having been shot at previously) probably dropped its fowl booty. And, when I drove to the spot with the UTV, sure enuf, there lay the dying young rooster. No big loss because I’d planned on making chicken & noodles with that rooster anyway. So, I dressed it out and put it in the freezer. That wuz one chicken the coyote went to the trouble to catch and kill, but didn’t get to eat. I got a lot of satisfaction out of that situation.

The next day I resolved to make it tougher for the coyotes, so I used the temporary fencing I’d taken down from around my gardens and greatly expanded the size of my chicken pen. It’s not a tall fence and the coyote could jump over and the chickens could fly out, but so far none of that’s happened. Sort of semi-free range, I guess.

Now I’ve got my Long Tom 12-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot and I’ve been waiting a few minutes each evening around dusk for any coyote to appear at the temporary fence licking its chops. When it does, ol’ Long Tom will chop it into coyote mincemeat.

If all else fails, I’ll have to resort to traps, but that’s always the last option because a little coyote war keeps me on my toes.

***

When I wuz in Iowa recently, my ol’ buddy Nick deHyde told me a one of those Mental Home Video cattle stories.

Seems one evening Nick returned from work to discover a wayward Angus bull temporarily residing in the small pasture next to his sheep flock. A little investigating discovered that the bull had escaped a pen about a half-mile away and the owner and his son would soon arrive to retrieve the bull.

They arrived in a fancy pickup truck, pulling a not-so-fancy horse trailer. After a discussion on loading tactics, they backed the trailer at an angle next to the end of Nick’s sheep barn and prepared for the roundup.

Nick cautioned that the best tactic would be patience and no crowding and let the bull sort of work himself into position for loading. The owner swore that the bull wuz gentle and would follow a feed bucket into the trailer. Well, that didn’t happen and the bull got back on the crew and got a little agitated.

About that time, the owner’s son determined that crowding and yelling might be a better tactical plan.  So, he crowded the bull when it got near the trailer and the bull knocked over a wrecked cattle panel leaned against the barn and got his head through a hole in the panel, got scared and leaped into the trailer with the wrecked cattle panel draped over his neck like a stiff, holey metal scarf.

Alas, there wuz no way to close the trailer door, so Mr. Bully extricated himself from the trailer like he wuz spring loaded and, in addition,. got his feet entwined in the panel.

As you can imagine, all hell broke loose and the bull finally got himself loose from the cattle panel, ran through an open gate into the sheep pen, ran through another hurriedly-opened gate onto the road, and then shot through another open gate into the son’s pasture across the road.

Nick sez that bull luckily ran through open gates rather than crash through fences on his way home. The bull’s owner vowed to put the critter into a Bull Tight Pen.

***

Here’s a beauty of a true story, if you like stories, as I do, about official comeuppances. It happened in a bucolic little Missouri community on the banks of the Missouri River.

A self-reliant double-amputee had a towing business on his acreage in town and also owned several vintage 1940s and 1950s cars that he parked on his property. Well, some busy-body informed city officials that the unlicensed cars violated some obscure city ordinance. So, the city served a citation for violation of the ordinance, which required a court appearance to either pay a fine or fight the charges.

The tow-truck, car owner complied to the summons two ways. First, he licensed all his vintage cars as antique cars. Second, he wheeled his wheel-chair, with some minor difficulty, into the city offices and, without so much as a peep of protest, paid the fine of several hundred dollars.

On his way out, he wheeled about and told the city officials, “Oh, by the way, your city building is not handicapped accessible and I’m gonna inform the proper authorities about the non-compliance.”

It only cost the city a few thousand dollars to get their city building handicapped accessible. Guess that proves it sometimes doesn’t pay to throw your authority around just because you can.

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That’s the wisdom for the week. Have a good ‘un.

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