Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

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June 9, 2014
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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-9-14

My “vast” network of true story sources keeps filtering stories to me about more control burns this spring that happened to get out of control.

My good ol’ buddy, Turner Sharplee, became involved in two burning mishaps that, thankfully, turned out to be just embarrassing and costly, not injurious.

First, he and his missus and his brother-in-law were burning some rank CRP land one evening and just barely kept the fire within its intended confines. But, with dusk closing in, Turner recalled a spot near one of his ponds that had flared up during the fire the year before, so he decided to brave the heavy smoke in his ATV to make sure the fire wuz out.

Whoops! Up and over the pond dam he drove ... and immediately found himself standing knee-deep in the pond with his ATV overturned at his feet, with his near-empty spray tank and the propane tank on his fire-torch floating nearby.

He yelled for his brother-in-law who came to the rescue. After reinforcements arrived, due to the steepness of the pond dam it took two pickups and a lot of strategically-placed chains to drag the soggy/muddy ATV to dry land.

Much to Turner’s surprise, his ATV started right up and, other than its outward appearance, seems non the worse for wear and tear. The fire crew made sure all the fire wuz out and retired for the night.

However, a couple of days later, Turner again found himself involved in a controlled burn. His job wuz to ignite the back-fire around the perimeter of the pasture.

Using his trusty ATV and his fire-torch, Turner wuz driving slowly along igniting the fire and assuring that the backfire headed in the right direction. Slowly it dawned in him that he smelled something burning that wasn’t prairie grass. It smelled like plastic burning. A quick look over his shoulder told the story. The bottom of his ATV had somehow gotten afire and now he was astride a four-wheeled fire torch that wuz getting bigger by the moment.

He finally realized that the flames were getting close to the ATV’s plastic fuel tank so he abandoned ship (so to speak) and tried to put the flame out with his sprayer. All to no avail. He backed away to watch the ATV cremation from a safe distance.

Then, like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, two neighbors rode in to the rescue with a fire-fighting rig with clout. They quickly extinguished the ATV fire before the gas tank ruptured, but, alas, not before extensive damage had incurred.

This time, Turner’s ATV couldn’t be resuscitated except by his insurance company.

To top those mishaps, a few days later Turner barely rescued his top-of-the-line deer blind from incineration. He said a fire crossed a flowing creek to set the grass afire near his deer stand.

I’m thankful that Turner emerged from his spring control burns with his health intact and I know he’ll be grateful that I’ve told my little world all about it.

Holy moly! I got a little runoff in my pond last week. We got a 2-inch rain that put more than a foot of fresh water in the pond.

Ol’ Nevah and I spent a goodly amount of time this week getting the garden weeds under control and getting the tomatoes “caged.” I also had to actually mow the grass and weeds in the lawn. And, ol’ Nevah’s flower beds are repaying her by thriving under the tender love and care she’s given them.

Sometime over the weekend, I’ve got to get the brooder house prepared for this year’s new batch of chicks. I had to wait until this late in the season to get (in the same shipment) the two breeds of laying hen chicks I wanted. One will be Anconas, which is the only breed my great-grandmother Ballard would raise, and the other half will be Blue Andalusians, which I’m ordering because I simply like the color. I’m also getting 10 genetically-modified, “industrialized-stupid” broiler meat chicks to please my taste buds in about six weeks.

Thanks to an e-mail for this one: “Today I swung my front door wide open and placed my Savage 25.06 right in the doorway. I left six shells beside it, then left it alone and went about my business.

“While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign near the front of our house.

“After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there, right where I had left it. It hadn’t moved itself outside. It certainly hadn’t killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do so. In fact, it hadn’t even loaded itself.

“Well, you can imagine my surprise, with all the media hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people. Either the media is wrong or I’m in possession of the laziest gun in the world.

“Well, I’m off to check on my spoons. I hear they’re making people fat.”

I’ve discovered a new word that applies to me. The word is “apocaloptimist.”

It means “someone who knows the world’s in deep trouble, but thinks it will all turn out OK.”

Have a good ’un. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Jun 6, 2014 02:48PM Published Jun 23, 2014 02:02PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.