I am seldom surprised with the quickly-changeable Flint Hills of Kansas weather, but I still wuzn’t ready for the four hours of snow on October 18. It didn’t accumulate, but it wuz still a very early snow for us. And, I don’t understand the heavy frost on the morning of the 19th that didn’t kill my tomatoes and okra plants, the only veggies remaining in the 2013 garden. Oh well, thanks — I guess.
You’ll recall last week I recounted the visit of four very vivacious “Mainers” — the grandchildren of an old family friend who lives now in Texas. I mentioned that these youngsters are very bright and also homeschooled.
That point wuz driven home when the 14-year-old grandson saw a combine augering grain from the bin into a waiting truck. He looked at his grandfather and said matter-of-factly, “That’s interesting. He’s using the principle of the Archimedes’ screw to unload the grain.”
He’s very correct, but I’ll bet not many grain farmers describe their combine auger in that manner.
After my last July vacation with Canby Handy to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, a Washington friend gave me a gift subscription to The Capital Press, an agricultural weekly newspaper similar to the one you’re reading — very similar except for one very obvious [to me] exception.
That exception is that the news content of TCP is necessarily-filled with reports of the endless conflicts the farmers of the Pacific Northwest have with a plethora of federal and state government entities and regulators.
The reasons, I surmise, is the bountiful number of labor intensive crops that region produces, the high percentage of those crops that are transported and exported from those state’s sea ports, and the vast acreage of federal and state owned lands. Crops produced numbers close to a hundred as compared to the wheat, corn, soybean, grain sorghum, and various types of hay that comprise the bulk of the commercial crops grown in the midwest and high plains region of the country.
Here’s a sampling of the headlines from a recent issue of TCP: “Barge company, NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) go to court over boat pickets;” “Blueberry assessment increase improves;” “New state law aims to cultivate urban agriculture;” “Farmers concerned over 1972 dust law;” “Survey shows Oregonians broadly support land use principles;” “Ferry ride adds to cost of feed and hay;” “Ag coalition still working for immigration reform;” “State laws that undermine federal policy are preempted;” “Checkoff program takes aim at cow emissions;” “Labor contractor ruling questioned;” “Irrigators seek seat at water supply treaty talk table;” “Resource managers seek unity on wolf problem;” “Groups appeal cleanup ruling;” “Labeling bills raises modified food debate.”
And those headlines are from a single issue of the paper. It all makes me all-the-more-happier to be retired in Kansas.
After my recent episode of computer problems, a kindly Colorado reader sent me “The Three Laws of Secure Computing.” They are: (1) Don’t buy a computer. (2) If you do buy a computer, don’t plug it in. and (3) If you do plug it in, sell it and return to step 1.” That sounds like wise computing advice, except that I have no desire to return to a Big Chief tablet and the U.S. mail.
And, still another Ole and Lena funny. Government surveyors came to Ole’s farm in the fall and asked if they could do some surveying. Ole agreed, and Lena even served them a nice meal at noon time.
The next spring, the two surveyors stopped by and told Ole, “Because you were so kind to us, we wanted to give you this bad news in person instead of by letter.”
Ole replied, “What’s the bad news?”
The surveyors stated, “Well, after our work here, we discovered your farm is not in Minnesota but is actually in Wisconsin!”
Ole looked at Lea and said, “That’s the best news I have heard in a long time. I just told Lena this morning that I don’t think I can take another winter in Minnesota.”
And, for this week, the final words of wisdom come straight from my e-mail box.
We are always hearing about how Social Security is going to run out of money. How come we never hear about welfare running out of money? What’s interesting, the first group worked for their money. The second didn’t.
Gun owners should consider converting to Islam so the government will quit branding them as terrorists and anarchists.
And, finally, “I don’t know how to act my age because I’ve never been this old before.”
Have a good ’un. ❖