Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 4-11-11
Being a handyman is always useful. However, sometimes it can be a bit dangerous doing things for yourself that is often left to the professionals.
And a recent incident by my handyman friend, ol’ B. Rush Cutter, proves the point. Now Rush uses his spare time to work – unlike me. I use my spare time to play and often my non-spare time, too.
Part of Rush’s spare-time-work is clearing Flint Hills pastures of invasive, grass-crowding hedge, thorny locust and cedar trees. He does the work with a skid-steer loader fitted with hydraulic shears. When you do equipment work amid sharp rocks, stumps, stobs, and 3-inch thorns, a flat tire on the equipment is a common occurrence. That’s what happened to Rush’s skid-steer a couple of weeks ago.
Not to worry when you’re a handyman like Rush. He simply removed the flat tire, took it to the shop and repaired the hole in the tire. Then he remounted the tire and decided to use a “little ol’ ether trick” to get the tire sealed on the wheel rim.
So, he filled the uninflated tire with vapor from a can of ether and ignited it with a match. As it wuz supposed to, the ether flashed loudly inside the tire and the explosion seated the rim on the wheel.
However, it exploded so loudly in Rush’s face that he simultaneously jumped, turned around and attempted to flee the explosion. Only one thing prevented him from doing just that – a loader bucket hanging head-high behind him.
Rush banged his forehead into the loader bucket and didn’t move it even a fraction of an inch. However, he did remove a couple of dime-sized hunks of hide from his forehead. He’s still sporting the ensuing scabs.
I will say that he got the flat tire fixed and went back to work – a bit bloodied, but undeterred. Of course, he did catch the pasture on fire a couple of times that afternoon – nothin’ major, and easily extinguished.
It’s a common saying in cattle country that a cattleman/cowboy “rides tall in the saddle” or “sits high in the saddle.” The usual meaning is that he is proud of his work and sits erect in his saddle to prove the point.
However, with cattle prices sky-high like they have been recently, cattlemen/cowboys have a more straightforward reason they’re sitting “tall in the saddle.” That reason is because they’re sitting on their wallets and the wallets are full of money.
That’s a good thing, too. It’s taken too long to happen – and we can all hope prosperity in the beef bizness stays around for a long time.
If a cattleman/cowboy has been in the beef bizness for several decades, it’s highly probable that he’s eaten well during that time – during both times of fat and lean. That’s a side benefit of raising beef.
And, if he’s eaten well for 30 or 40 years, it’s also highly probable that he’s acquired a girth much heftier that when he wuz a young whippersnapper. In plain English, he’s gotten fat.
And, if he’s carrying a spare tire around his middle, but still calls himself a “traditional cattleman,” that means he still rides his favorite horse pretty regularly, or at least when the 4-wheeler won’t start. Whatever his situation, he probably can’t leap into the saddle in the flatfooted way he did when he wuz young.
Now, since I happen to be one of those country folks who proudly carries that spare-tire of “reserve energy” around my waist, I’ve invented a special kind of saddle that makes it much easier for a “traditional cattleman” to get mounted on his steed.
It’s one of my New Millennium AgriTechnomics inventions and I call it by the straightforward name of The Fat Man’s Saddle, pictured with this column.
Now, the Fat Man’s Saddle has several unique, patented features not found on an ordinary saddle. The key feature is the saddle horn. First off, it’s arc-shaped to snugly fit the rider’s bulging stomach and keep it from bouncing around. Second, it’s made out of an array of photovoltaic cells that captures electrical energy from the sun and stores it in a battery-pack located behind the cantle.
That battery is hooked to a powerful little electrical motor which is ingeniously connected by pulley to the second unique, patented feature of the saddle – the Escalator Stirrup.
To mount his horse, the rider simply puts his left foot into the Escalator Stirrup while it’s on the ground, push the start button on the motor, and the whole shebang lifts him right up so he can easily throw his right leg over the saddle – to where he can easily reach his “traditional cowboy beverage” in the cooler strapped behind the saddle seat.
With the Fat Man’s Saddle, no longer will “traditional cowboys” have to endure the taunts and snide remarks of their crew-mates as they grunt and groan struggling to mount their horses for the big roundup. Now it can be done with pure dignity.
Well, I’d better quit this column for the week before you start making snide remarks about me. So, I’ll quit with these words of wisdom about saddles from a couple of ladies. Mary Webb said, “Saddle your dreams before you ride ’em.” Rita Mae Brown said, “If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.”
Have a good ‘un.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.