Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-21-11
November 21, 2011
Had an experience a week or so ago here at Damphewmore Acres that provided a little natural surprise to my life and should bring a smile to all you folks who see humor in another person’s trials and tribulations in life.
It all happened on a fine fall day when my good friend, ol’ Rollin Birdz, came to help me put new shutters on the windows of our home. That little job went so well and fast in the morning that we had a few hours in the afternoon for another kind of diversion.
To set the stage, the water level in the 4-acre pond on our place is down 6- to 7-feet, which has turned the northern half of the impoundment into a a mudflat. Most of the upper end is dry, but some of it still has a few inches of water covering the mud.
A few years ago during another dry spell that wuzn’t nearly as bad as the current one, I took the opportunity of the low water level to improve the fish habitat in the pond. I used the tractor and front-end loader to move lots and lots of limestone rocks to the pond where I stacked them up for the fish to live in.
I also had three old tractor tires that I inherited when I bought the place, so I rolled them into the pond thinking they would sink where I rolled them in to provide additional habitat. Two of the tires did sink in place, but the third floated away to the upper end of the pond before it sank.
That third tire wuz never to be seen again until this summer when the dropping water level began to expose it. Each week more and more of the tire came out of the water, until finally it lay in only about 2-inches of water and 6-inches of sticky clay mud.
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So, I told Rollin that I’d like to fetch that “roving” tractor tire and move it to where the water will be deeper when (if ever) the pond refills. So, we grabbed a couple of log chains, got on my utility vehicle and down to the pond we went.
I backed the ATV as close to the tire as I dared because of the mud and told Rollin that I’d wade out and hook the log chains to the tire and he could then pull it to higher and drier ground.
So, out into the mud I waded and got a huge surprise when I looked into the tire. Over the weeks that the water level had gone lower and lower, that tire had become a turtle trap. There must have been 30-40 small painted water turtles trapped in that tire. They ranged from a couple of inches across the shell to probably 4-inches. I guess they got trapped by sunning themselves on the tire and making the error of jumping into the center of the tire, where they couldn’t escape.
When I told Rollin what wuz in the tire, he immediately said he’d like to have a couple small ones to take home and put in his fancy fish pond. I laughed and said he had to take all the turtles because I didn’t want that many in my pond. I said he could take his pick of the turtle pack and turn the rest loose in the creek which runs close to his home.
Rollin agreed, so we want to the house and fetched a cardboard “turtle box.” I waded through the mud again and loaded up the whole shebang for Rollin to sort through.
But then, the funny (at least from Rollin’s point of view) thing happened. On my third trip to the tire, while dragging the heavy log-chain behind me, my gum boots got stuck in the mud and I not-so-elegantly tried to regain my balance, but failed and plopped my old butt smack down into the grimy, smelly mud.
The only way to extract myself from my predicament wuz to put my gloved hands into the mire and slowly turn myself over. That wuz all done to Rollin’s great glee.
I finally extricated myself, got the chain around the tire and Rollin pulled it out. We moved it down close to the other two “drowned” tractor tires and added it to the habitat mix.
So, we finally got the job done, but not before I provided Rollin, and you, with a good laugh and provided ol’ Nevah with a heavy-duty laundry job.
A few days ago, we did get a welcome 3-inch rain. It didn’t provide any runoff into the ponds and creeks, but it did take the edges off the cracks in the ground, and uplifted everyone’s spirits a bit.
I’m writing this on Veteran’s Day, so I’ll tell a true veteran’s story. Kenny is a retired rancher in Chase County. He said when he wuz in the service, he wuz based close to the ocean. One day, he and a group of fellow soldiers bought a big, ripe watermelon and took it to the beach.
To keep it cool, they decided to bury the watermelon in the sand and dig it up when they wanted to eat it. That’s what they did. They marked the spot with a stick they found on the beach and left to go play in the ocean.
An hour or so later, about “watermelon” time, they noticed a little tyke walking on the beach carrying a stick that looked exactly like their “watermelon marker.”
Sure enuf, it wuz their stick and Kenny sez try as they might that group of soldiers never did locate where they’d buried their watermelon.
Time to close for this week. I’ll close with a few words of wisdom about military veterans. Congressman Steve Buyer said, “America’s veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 229 years ago.”
Amen! I salute all our veterans.
Have a good ‘un.