Strike it Rich with a Bovine Lightening Rod

Laugh Tracks in the Dust

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Br-r-r-r-r! Winter finally arrived a week late. Usually the coldest days of winter are centered around my birthday, Jan. 30. But this year, a week after I turned 78 years old, Old Man Winter decided to give me a reminder of how cold the winters were when we lived in Iowa.

The temperatures have dropped to the single digits at night, into the lower teens for a daytime high, the snow flurries have given us a couple of inches of snow, and the wind hasn’t quit blowing from the northwest and the northeast.

I’ve been gathering eggs around noon since the cold snap hit to keep the eggs from freezing in the nests. However, today, when I gathered eggs around 11:30 a.m., I found two eggs already frozen enuf to crack the shells. So, I took them into the kitchen and hard-boiled them.

And, this kind of weather is forecast for the next couple of weeks and the windchill is forecast to 30-below zero for this weekend. Dang it!

I’m ready for spring, although I figger that this extended cold snap might prove beneficial for crop growers because the cold might keep many insect pests from overwintering successfully.

Now, I’m sure ranchers with cow-calf enterprises can see nuthin’ good at all in this extreme cold weather. It’s definitely not good for new born calves.
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I’ve written about the rabbit hunting with the beagle hounds owned by my ol’ retired buddy, Avery Ware. Well, I’ve got some bad news and good news to report.

A couple of weeks ago, Avery and I went into some big country in the south part of Chase County. We turned his two Beagles, Casper and Mistletoe, loose around a semi-abandoned homestead. They struck a trail on something and we got to hear a good chase for a few minutes, but then they circled around and then headed straight north and we lost them. Most likely they scared up a deer and took the trail to who-knows where.

Well, both dogs were gone for four days. And, on the 4th day, the older dog Casper straggled back to the place we started the hunt. But, sadly, the pup, Mistletoe, never returned. We don’t know what happened to her. But she’s a goner.

In typical hound-man fashion, Avery wuz philosophical about the loss. “If you’re gonna run ‘em, you’re gonna lose some of ‘em,” he said.

And, a few days later, he visited a friend of his who raises good hunting Beagles and brought back a 4-year-old female names Patsy. Avery plans to raise a litter of pups as soon as possible.

The weather turned so cold that he and I haven’t gone hunting again. But, we plan to as soon as the weather breaks.
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I got me a new play-toy for my computer. It’s a Optical Character Reading scanner. It can also copy line art. So, since it’s been a long time since readers have seen some of my primo, avant garde agricultural inventions, I’m gonna re-run some of them from time to time.

Since spring is just around the corner and it will be time to cull the open or unproductive cows from the herd, I want to introduce my:

STRIKE-IT-RICH BOVINE LIGHTNING ROD

Here’s how it works. I know that tough old experienced cattlemen will never admit to being sentimental about their cows. After all, it is a business. But they’re lying. They all have favorite cows that they recall had a special calf, or she’s gentle, or she wuz the kid’s 4-H heifer years ago before her obvious cancer eye, spoiled udder, no teeth, and emaciated condition.

So, when you run ol’ Betsy into the squeeze chute and the vet declares her open, you just can’t find the heart to send her to the packer for hamburger. And, you know she can’t live another year and will be a total financial loss if you turn her back into the pasture. A real heart-rending business paradox!

But not with the Strike It Rich Bovine Lightning Rod. Sentimental old you straps the Bovine Lightning Rod under her chin and lets her out to pasture again. But, Betsy is not a total loss. The first thunderstorm that crosses the pasture — ZAM! KERBANG! — Betsy goes to the great ranch in the sky in a puff of lightning smoke. And, wise ol’ you, head straight to your livestock insurance agent to collect your insurance payment.
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Words of wisdom for the week: You’re not fat. You’re just easier to see. Have a good ‘un.

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