Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

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June 16, 2014
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Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-16-14

I’m writing this column a few days before the Belmont Stakes — the third leg in horse racing’s Triple Crown — is to be run in New York. Therefore, the results of the race will be know long before you read this column.

But, as an enthusiast of horse racing, I want to say that I’ve enjoyed the first two races of the Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in Maryland — more than any I can remember.

The reason? The horse who won those two races, California Chrome, and his two owners, both blue-collar guys, contrast favorably, in my humble opinion, to the aristocratic, aloof, blue-blood owners who usually rule the Thoroughbred world, including the sheiks and emirs of the Middle East.

The fact that the two owners and California Chrome all have humble beginnings adds spice to the story. After all, “Chrome” is the improbable progeny of an $8,000 mare and a $2.500 stud-fee stallion (cheap, cheap in TB circles) and the owners are most comfortable in cowboy hats and boots and open collars.

And, the fact that the owners are so self-effacing as to name their horse racing entity Dumb Ass Partners and to put the DAP logo on their racing colors is hilarious — and a rather not-so-subtle put-down to the “properness” that dominates Thoroughbred racing.

The entire California Chrome entourage has pumped a breath of fresh air into the stagnant, elitist air of the horse racing industry and millions of Americans just like me have enjoyed going along on the joyous, vicarious ride with them.

Regardless of the outcome of the Belmont Stakes, California Chrome has become “America’s Horse.” It will be altogether fitting and not-so-proper if the flashy “Chrome” becomes the first Triple Crown winner in almost four decades.

The recent rains and stretch of humid, mid-80s days have turned the Flint Hills into Green Country — at least temporarily. Everything is green and growing. It’s such a pleasant contrast to the persistent drought of just three weeks ago. Last night it rained again and my pond is once again full to the brim.

Just to prove the point that aggies can never be satisfied with the weather, now we need a stretch of dry weather so folks can get their early hay baling done.

This week marks a milestone for ol’ Nevah and I. It wuz a decade ago that we moved from the center of Iowa to the Flint Hills. Sure doesn’t seem that long, looking back.

We still miss our good Iowegian friends, but we’d have missed out on our new good Kansas friends if we hadn’t moved.

The local Chase County High School Lady Bulldogs recently completed an improbable run to their third straight Class 2A state championship in softball.

What’s more — they were undefeated this year and their three year undefeated string totals 72, which ties the all-time Kansas winning streak in girl’s softball.

Few things boost small town community pride more than success on the athletic field and Chase Countians are taking great pride in their THREE-PEATERS.

I’m probably going to have to grin and bear it in a couple of weeks when my newest “garden” sprouts and begins to grow.

Let me preface this story with the fact that I had three years worth of mixed up, some-outdated, garden seed. I also had about a 50 foot square of unplanted garden space.

So, just to see what will happen, before the rain last night, I mixed all the seed together, spread it on top of the ground, and set the tiller at about 1.5 inches, and tilled the seed in. Now all I have to do it watch and hope the chickens have fun eating in that garden.

I probably can’t remember all the kinds of seed in that mishmash planting, but I can remember these: sweet corn, okra, ornamental corn, peas, several kinds of bush beans, pole beans, domesticated sunflowers, radishes, lettuce, carrots, kale, acorn squash, zucchini squash, several varieties of pumpkins, and kohlrabi.

As an extra bonus, I know I’ve forced myself to buy all-new garden seed next year. No more being tempted to give year-old seed a try next spring!

A friend of mine sent pictures of two semi-loads of mature cows being loaded in droughty western Kansas near Leoti and being unloaded a few hours later in a now-verdant Flint Hills pasture.

My friend speculated as to what must go through a cow’s mind when she starts her day semi-starving in one place, then ends up by nightfall in a totally foreign place where all she has to do is lower her head and graze to her heart’s content. I hope the cows have enuf of a thought process to simply appreciate the reward after a long, stressful trip.

Ol’ Nevah has great flower gardens. So, I’m gonna quit for the week with these wise words about flowers from Louis Burbank, the famous plant breeder: “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” Well said.

Have a good ’un. ❖

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