When my ol’ Iowa pheasant hunting buddy who moved to near Miami, Okla., several years ago, ol’ Limpy Neese, saw my killdeer story in last week’s column, he sent me an e-mail with a killdeer story that tops mine. It seems that before he left Iowa, he wuz part of a crew who had the job cutting the grass around a Iowa casino. Here’s his story: “One day while I was mowing, I spied a killdeer nesting out in the middle of about 20 acres we mowed as the casino’s front lawn. I spotted the momma on one round and when I came back again I paid attention to where she jumped up. I found the nest and had a golf ball that I had found in the garbage, so I put the golf ball close to the nest and told the other guys to watch for it when they mowed back there so we wouldn’t bust up the nest.
“The following week when we mowed again we found that the momma had rolled the golf ball into her nest with her other eggs. It was easy to spot and we never messed up her nest, but the funny thing is she sat on that golf ball for at least a week after all her other eggs had hatched until she finally gave up and left it.”
Speaking of the birds at Damphewmore Acres, two mornings ago I had a mockingbird serenade me while I drank coffee on the deck. I’ll bet it’s the same one who has been a resident for the past three years. I love mockingbird songs.
After the purple martins settled their apartment dispute with the starlings and sparrows, two pair of the martins moved into one of their birdhouses. They’re busy setting up housekeeping.
About the only birds that hasn’t arrived this spring are the hummingbirds. I’m expecting them to arrive any day. They announce their arrival by hovering right in front of the glass door to the deck. They seem to be saying, “Hey, buddy, we’ve traveled all the way from Central America and were mighty hungry. Where’s the grub?”
Corporations are playing us consumers for dummies. I’ve noted that while the price of some stuff remains the same, the amount of “stuff” in the container is less or watered down.
For example, when beef wuz cheap and plentiful, the canned dog food that I buy for my bird dogs wuz filled to the top and there wuzn’t much gravy in the can. But, for the past two years, I’ve noticed that now that there’s a half-inch empty space at the top of the cans and the dog food has lots of watery gravy. I figger I’m paying the same for about 4/5ths of the same amount of dog food I used to buy.
Another example, toilet paper rolls now have noticeably fewer sheets on a roll than before. But the price is still the same.
Same goes for bags of potato chips. The bags are huge, but they are only about half full of potato chips.
I’m not dumb enuf not to notice the shortcomings and watering down. But I am dumb enuf to keep buying, so I guess the corporations are winning.
My ol’ buddy, Jay Esse, from Lakewood, Colo., grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and he recently sent me a story from his childhood — decades ago. Here’s Jay’s story:
“Milo, it happened in 1948 when my friend, Henry, and I were 14 and my brother Orlin was 12. We lived on a small Wisconsin dairy farm. One day Henry came to our house after the evening milking was finished and he had a gunny sack with him. He asked my brother and me if we wanted to go ‘raccooning’ apples.
“We did, of course, so Orlin and I got gunny sacks for ourselves and we walked about four miles to where there were four apple trees still producing at a long-abandoned farmstead. By the time we walked there, the only light we had was from the stars. But the trees were loaded with ripe apples and we put many into our sacks. Plus, we each ate our fill of apples while we worked.
“We had a heck of a time carrying those apples back to our homes in the dark. But, the next morning when Orlin and I checked our apples closer, we discovered that every apple had at least three big juicy worms inside. Us ignorant boys wondered how we were so lucky to have eaten the only apples that didn’t have worms in them. Maybe in retrospect, we were lucky it was dark when we ate them.”
I’m excited. Tomorrow my Iowa sheep-shearing friend, ol’ Nick deHyde, and his lovely wife, Tanna, are coming to visit us. Ol’ Nevah and I ain’t seen them since last August, so we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Plus, if we don’t get too busy shooting the bull, we plan on getting in a little fishing time, too. Either way, we’ll have a good time.
Then, for the weekend, the deHyde’s and us will travel back to Platte City, Mo., for the 50th wedding celebration of our mutual friends, the Canby and May Bea Handys. That promises to be a good time, too.
Well, since we’re all still enduring the political primary elections, I’m gonna close with some well-chosen words of wisdom about politics and voting. American icon Mark Twain once said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it!” The illusion of freedom to vote is best demonstrated by a cow looking a two loading chutes. One is marked Republican. The other is Democrat. But, whichever loading chute she chooses leads to the same slaughterhouse.
Enuf from my old rickety soapbox. Have a good ‘un.