Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 7-9-12
I don’t normally make it a habit of attending farm/ranch auctions becuz the noise bothers my hearing and becuz I’m too fiscally responsible (tightwad) to ever get anything bought that I think I need, but don’t.
However, I made an exception recently by attending a very interesting auction held at the Clover Cliff Ranch a few miles west of Strong City, Kan. The recent history of the Clover Cliff wuz what made it so interesting.
For years the working ranch headquarters were home to a unique, upscale Bed and Breakfast that hosted everyone from individuals, to family get-togethers, to working/social groups to, I’ve been told, Arab Sheiks, who rented the facilities for long stays to ride horses and hunt small game with their trained falcons.
Regardless of who the visitors were they certainly got a vivid experience of life in the Flint Hills of Kansas – and the view from the ornate old limestone home, overlooking the Cottonwood River Valley, had to be spectacular.
I never stayed at the Clover Cliff, (I told you, I’m a tightwad), but in recent years I had a hankering to take my grandson on one of Clover Cliff’s more unique lodging experiences, which was an overnight camping experience at a bass-filled Flint Hills pond in one of the ranch’s two authentic shepherd wagons – the kind of all-everything wagons sheepherders take to the mountains to live in for weeks at a time while tending their flocks.
We never got around to that trip, but both shepherd wagons were among the sale items at the auction. I wanted to see them sell.
The list of sale items was impressive. All the grand victorian furniture, all the horse-drawn vehicles, all the motor-driven vehicles, plus a lot of odds and ends.
The horse-drawn stuff included, in addition to the two shepherd wagons, a Conestoga covered wagon, a chuck wagon, a sleigh, a four-seat surrey with a fringe on top, and an assortment of buggies and wagons – all in tip-top shape.
The auction wuz on a hot Saturday and Sunday afternoon. All the furniture sold under a big tent and the crowd wuz so big I could scarcely see what wuz being sold. And, let me tell you, the bidding wuz as hot as the weather. Folks from all over the country were there in person, or in proxy, and they came to buy.
My interests were in the shepherd wagons, a hand-cranked cider press, and an old wooden ironing board, that I wanted for a portable fish-filleting stand. Alas, the shepherd wagons brought over $2,000 each, the cider press went for $410, and I missed seeing the ironing board sell. Needless to say, I bought nothing. Did I mention, I’m a tightwad?
One good thing about this miserable-weather summer is that the tomatoes are producing this year. To me, ain’t nuthin’ in this world to eat that’s better than a fresh-off-the-vine homegrown tomato. And, we’ve enjoyed some nice broccoli, kale, new potatoes, fresh peas, okra, and a few green beans. But, I think the sweet corn crop is going to be a flop. I might get the sweet potatoes through the summer.
I had a little excitement in the chicken house the other evening. I wuz gathering the eggs after dark and reached into a darkened nest and pulled out a huge blacksnake that had just started ingesting an egg.
Thankfully, I had on my leather gloves. However, I must say, it didn’t take me long to get an up close and personal view of that filching critter.
I’m usually pretty tolerant of snakes as long as they leave me and mine along. But, that big fellow paid for his thievery with his life and is now an addition to my compost pile.
I witnessed a bit of embarrassing confusion the other day while I wuz standing in the checkout line at the local farm supply store. An elderly gentleman – that’s anyone older than me – wuz ready to pay for his farm supplies with either a credit or debit card.
As he fumbled with the card trying to get it into the machine, the friendly cashier, trying to be helpful, said, “Strip down facing me.”
Unfortunately, he did just as she had instructed. When the hysterical shrieking and blaring alarms finally subsided, the police arrived and escorted the confused, naked gentleman to a squad car.
I guess it proves that all instructions to us seniors need to be a little clearer than for more youthful folks.
Since I’m on the subject of credit cards, it makes sense to end this column with some wise words about credit cards. The professional tennis star Ilie Nastase said, “I haven’t reported my missing credit card to the police because whoever stole it is spending less than my wife.”
‘Nuff said. Have a good ‘un.
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I have been rather preoccupied lately and haven’t been writing my editor’s note. So, for those who have called and emailed to make sure I’m still on this Earth, I’m still here.