Laugh Tracks in the Dust 4-19-10 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 4-19-10

Spring probably has come for good in the Flint Hills because one day this week I went from wearing long johns in the morning to being comfortable in a flannel shirt about noon, to wearing working shorts and a T-shirt by mid-afternoon.

Plus, the purple martins, the Jenny wrens and the turkey buzzards all arrived this week. It even got dry enuf for ol Nevah and me to plant some garden – radishes, lettuce, peas, kale, spinach, potatoes and two rows of sweet corn. I forgot to plant the onion sets that I’d bought. Have to plant them with the next batch of stuff we put in the garden.

My reckless disregard for common sense cost me 45 minutes of miserable labor, too. I wanted to till up my wildlife plots early this year to get them dried out better. So, I pulled the tractor and the 5-foot rotary tiller into a plot of last year’s stalks from forage sorghum. The stalks were laying flat on the ground from the snow.

Well, before I knew what wuz happening, I’d wound the left side of the tiller absolutely full of long, damp sorghum stalks. I’m talking wound up TIGHT! It took me (with some help from Nevah) 45 minutes carefully cutting stalks with an old electric chainsaw, then twisting, pulling and tugging bits and pieces of compacted stalks with pliers, hay hook and hands to get the tiller tines free again.

Before I pull into that plot again, I guarantee you that I’ll either disk it or mow up those stalks before I begin rotary tilling.


I’ve mentioned before that I play cards regularly – usually five or seven point pitch – with three other old geezers like me. We’re gettin’ so physically decrepit and mentally deficient that we have a tough time remembering whose turn it is to deal next.

The other day I thought of a solution. I asked the waitress at the Longhorn Lounge to please bring us a couple of big paper clips. After she did, I fastened the two clips together to form a “jingle-bob” and clipped it onto the bill of the cap of the guy whose turn it wuz to deal next. 

We got a good laugh out of that plan, but it soon fell through, too, becuz we couldn’t remember to move the “jingle-bob” from one guy to the next. So, we went back to our old ways of good-naturedly arguing about whose turn it wuz to deal.

It’s hell to get old, but it doesn’t eliminate the fun in life.


A few days ago, my friend ol’ Lon G. Horner asked me to ride with him down to Kingman, Kan., to the Hartley Fish Farm to buy a load of 750 crappie fingerlings to stock in some of area ponds.

I wuz pleasantly surprised when the owner of the place told me that he regularly reads – and even enjoys – my columns.

Lon and I spent a pleasant day identifying all the world’s and America’s problems and expounding on our solutions. Believe me, everything would be better if ol’ Lon and I wuz in charge!


Phil Tanks, an old friend of mine who runs a farm fuel delivery truck, recently ran afoul with the law – again – and got sent to jail. When I talked to Phil, his wife wuz trying to hold their little acreage together until Phil could get out of the slammer. 

I might add, Phil’s wife is a city gal and not very good at doing all the tasks and chores around the place that need to be done.

So, Phil told me she wrote this short letter to him in jail: 

“Dear sweetheart, I want to plant the potatoes. When is the best time to do it?”

Phil said he wrote back: “Honey, don’t go near that garden plot. That’s where all my guns and the rare coins are buried.” 

Well, you guessed it. Because he is in jail, all of Phil’s mail is censored. So when the sheriff and his deputies read the letter, they all ran out to the farm and dug up the entire garden plot looking for guns and coins. After two full days of digging, they din’t find one darned thing.

That’s when Phil says he wrote back to his wife: “Honey, now is when you should plant the potatoes.”


I’ll close with these words of wisdom about gardening from Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” Have a good ‘un.


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