Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-17-09 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-17-09

It’s been anything but dull for the past couple of weeks down around my poultry barns and pens.

For one thing, I’ve apparently got an overly-ambitious snake prowling my hen house at night. Two separate mornings I’ve found a dead young pullet about 3 months old. The ambitious snake has swallowed her head and neck, but then had to regurgitate the chicken when it couldn’t swallow the entire chicken.

Now both of these chickens were bigger than a big pigeon and I’m surprised that any snake would even attempt to eat them. I suspect a big bull snake or big black snake is the culprit. I will say I’ve been more careful about gathering my eggs lately.

I’m just waiting for that snake to make a mistake and let me see it. I usually catch snakes and release them several miles away. However, if I catch this one, I’m gonna put him out of my misery. There are plenty of rats and mice around for it to eat and it should have stuck to a rodent diet, not tried to switch to chicken.

Speaking of rats and mice. En-masse they have discovered the free meals laying on the ground in my “quail condos,” where I’m raising some bobwhites. In fact, the meadow rat infestation got so bad that I dusted off my old pump 22-caliber rifle – the one with all the riflings shot out of the barrel – bought several boxes of bird shot for it, and conducted a rat and mouse massacre.

If I set still during the morning or evening when I’m doing my chores, the meadow rats and mice sneak out of the weeds for a quick meal, but I make sure all they eat is hot lead. I killed more than 20 before they got thinned out to a more manageable population.

Yep, it wuz a massacre of not-so-innocent animals. Put that into your pipe and smoke it PETA and Humane Society.

Not all has been blood and guts down at the chicken facilities. I have enjoyed a young cardinal who has also been helping himself to the feed on the ground. He’s welcome.

What’s funny about this young bird is his attempt to grow his first crest. It’s tall enuf, but the feathers are still thin and I can see the light through it. And, it’s bright orange, not red.

I call him “Mohawk,” because he looks just like a punk, way-ward teenager sporting an orange mohawk haircut.

I got a good reader response to my “overheard” conversations that I used a week or so ago. Well, I’ve been at my “listening post” again and here’s some of what I heard.

• Overheard at a supermarket beef counter when a customer accused the butcher of putting soy protein in the store’s homemade bologna sticks. Butcher: “I can explain. Beef is so high priced these days that I can’t make both ends meat.”

Comment: If grocers are having a hard time making money on beef, feel a lot sorrier for the beef producer. He’s the one who has it tough.

• Overheard: A conversation about why Hillary Clinton would have made a better president that Barack Obama: “We’d be much better off with a woman president. Every morning by the time she got out of the bathroom fully dressed and fully made up, many problems would have had time to solve themselves.”

Comment: Especially true if the lady president had a passel of grandkids running around the White House that she needed to entertain.

• Overheard: A rural grandpa giving advice to a grandchild heading off to college for her senior year: “Remember, kid, a college education never hurt anyone who is willing to learn something after graduation.”

Comment: That’s sure the way it worked out for me. The stuff I learned in college opened doors, but the meaningful stuff I learned living life.

• Overheard in a coffee shop about the sparsity of people living in the parts of the Flint Hills: “The ranches are so far apart, every one has to have its own personal tom cat.”

Comment: “And, the jackrabbits deliver the mail, too.”

• Overheard: Conversation about the real possibility of the U.S. Post Office closing many small rural post offices in an attempt to save money: “If they do, it will be another nail in the coffin of rural communities.”

Comment: Since we have so much unemployment in rural America, maybe they’ll consider forming a modern-day Pony Express and hire a bunch of cowboys to deliver the mail a’horseback.

• Overheard: Conversation about the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” vehicle sales program: “The government can’t print money fast enough to get all the clunker pickups off the road in rural America.”

Comment: I’ve got a 1990 Ford F-250 rust-bucket pickup that qualifies for the program, but I’m too emotionally attached to it to ever get rid of if. It’ll die of old age and decrepitation right here at Damphewmore Acres.

I doubt seriously if you’re very emotionally attached to this column. In fact, I’ll oblige your thoughts about it and end for this week with these patriotic words of wisdom from former president Herbert Hoover: “It is just as important that business keep out of government as that government keep out of business … Prosperity cannot be restored by raids upon the public Treasury … When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned.”

Have a good ‘un.

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