Laugh tracks in the dust


I’ve mentioned before that living at Damphewmore Acres for nearly 11 years has been like living smack dab in the middle of a minor league archaeological dig. Between my tilling the soil for gardens and wildlife food plots and the chickens’ vigorously scratching the soil, constant wind and the occasional downpour, a steady stream of “days-of-yore stuff” has emerged from the ground.

Mostly I find laying on the soil surface only rusty nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Also, pretty frequently I unearth mowing machine sickle sections and guards, abandoned spark plugs and oil filters, and door hinges.

And, on occasion, I find rusty tools like hay hooks, assorted pliers, scythe blades, pitchfork tines, shovel handles, lengths of log chain and roller chain, silverware, pocketknives and brass and metal snaps.

A year ago I even unearthed most of the hood of a vintage car of some sort. And, I’ve a growing collection of old-timey bottles that once held various medical and grooming concoctions for man and beast.

The folks who farmed with  horses also left their marks. I’ve found horseshoes of various sizes, bits of weather-hardened leather harness, bridle bits, and all sorts and sizes of harness rings and buckles.

And, then last week, I looked down while I wuz walking around my garden plots and saw a small metal buckle with a heart embossed on it. It wasn’t heavily made, but it also wasn’t very rusty. My best guess would be that the heart once adorned a small pony bridle, halter, or harness.  However, it could just as easily be a belt buckle from a small girl’s belt — or even a doll.

I’ll never know for sure what that metal heart adorned, but I do know where it’s going next. I’m sending it to my granddaughters in Tennessee to let them know how much my heart aches to see them again. They are such creative little gals that I’ll bet one of them will find a new use for that heart-embossed buckle that emerged out of the soil on their grandpa’s farm.


Kaput! Just like that winter turned to spring here in the Flint Hills. A week ago, we got 4 inches of snow and 4 degrees above zero. Every day since then has seen temps from the upper 60s to 80 degree. Our men’s cow pasture pool league started play March 11 and I played in short pants, rather than long johns.

It even got so warm that ol’ Claude Hopper, my good friend from Pratt drove up for a couple days fishing. The bass and crappie were cooperative in the three ponds we fished and ol’ Claude went home with four quart bags of fresh fillets.

I’ve also got all my gardens and plots tilled up and ready to plant. It’s been so dry that all I’ve planted to date is some radishes and lettuce in raised beds and some Dutch white clover and fescue for the chickens.


The quarter-mile fence on my south border has been in bad shape for a long time … but it’s worked just fine for me as a “chicken sieve” and “deer exercise hurdle.” Recently, the adjacent landowner, who runs a cow herd in the pasture in the summer, decided he wanted to splurge and replace the fence. I agreed to pay for my half of the fence, but asserted that I’m too old and decrepit to do any of the fencing myself.

So, the fencing crew arrived in force and well-mechanized with a Cat skid-steer with a brush grapple hook, chain saws, wire winders and unwinders, augers and post pounders.

It took one day for the crew to side-trim the ancient hedge trees, shove out and pile the hedge limbs, the stumps and cedar trees, pull the old posts, wind up the old barbed wire, and generally clear a path through the brush for the new fence. In less than another day the crew set the corner posts and water gap posts in concrete, then returned the third day to string, tighten, and clip the new wire to the new posts, and build a new wire gate with a fancy new leveraged latch to make opening and closing the gate easy for an old geezer like me.

Presto! Just like that we have a new fence. And, I’m not going to break a sweat getting it done — although I might when I write the check to pay for it.


Last night was the John Anderson concert at the Grenada Theater in Emporia. Nevah and I and nine other kinfolk and close friends ate Mexican before the concert and enjoyed “Big John” singing most of his signature country-western hits during the 90-minute concert. I really enjoyed him singing my favorite song of his — “I’m the Black Sheep of the Family.” It’s a good thing Mr. Anderson wrote that song back in the 1980s.


Recently saw a rusty old stock trailer on the road ahead of me. As I got closer, I could read the message painted on the back tailgate. It read: “This trailer floor is covered in political promises.” Who wouldn’t agree with that statement?


I’m gonna mention that while traveling recently in eastern Lyon County, I saw an absolutely huge flock of wild turkeys — had to be more than 200 turkeys that just about covered an 80 acre field. When I first saw the flock from a distance, I thought it was a huge flock of sheep grazing. Folks near there ought not to have a problem bagging “Big Tom” this spring. In closing, consider these wise words from Tom Whately: “I relax … enjoying the scenery and the wildlife.” Have a good ‘un.


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