Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 11-5-12
Br-r-r-r! Two days ago, the temperature wuz in the mid-80s and I was wearing bermuda shorts to keep cool. Today, the temperature is in the 40s and I’m wearing long-johns to keep warm. Such is the variability of weather in Kansas and all across mid-USA.
I spoke too early about my late green bean crop being totally frosted out. Turns out the lower parts of the plants stayed alive and produced enuf green beans for nine pints. Not much for the expense and effort, but welcome just the same. Tonight the temps will fall into the 20s and the gardening will be over for 2012.
Many ponds in our area have dried up in the lingering drought. While the scarcity of water has caused havoc in many Flint Hills pastures, it has brought about a resurgence in the use of long-abandoned windmills for water supplies.
It has also given landowners an opportunity to clean out many of the empty ponds in hopes that future runoff will provide more stable water supplies.
Now, cleaning out a pond is not an inexpensive proposition. I know because I spent $1,800 to hire a contractor to clean out a very small pond at Damphewmore Acres II.
However, some landowners take it upon themselves to avoid the expense of hiring a contractor to clean out a pond. They figger, “Heck, I own a big tractor with a big front-end loader, and I’ve got a lot of time now that harvest is over, so I’ll just save money and clean out my own pond.”
Well, that sounds good, but it doesn’t always work out to be that simple. Take the case of a well-respected landowner in my acquaintance. I’ll give him the handle of Ben Stucke.
Ol’ Ben took his big tractor and loader to a silted-in pond at his ranch and went to work scooping out the muck. All went well for awhile, but eventually he got a little too ambitious and his tractor wheels started spinning and sinking. The more he tried to use his loader to extricate himself from his predicament, the worse it became. Eventually, his rig got mired in the mud clean up to the tractor frame.
Ben mucked himself to dry land and called for help from kinfolk who lived nearby. They brought their big tractor and, with the help of long chains and tow ropes, eventually, near dark, pulled Ben’s rig to dry land.
Ben wuz mud from head to toe and his tractor rig looked like the creature from the Black Lagoon. Lots of soap and water, plus a power washer, eventually got everyone and everything cleaned up.
I think Ben will think twice before attempting to duplicate that self-help job.
I know lots of parents and grandparents of rural children who spend their Saturday mornings watching their kids and grandkids play soccer. No one can argue that playing soccer isn’t a great physical activity, builds confidence, stamina, skill and teamwork in the kids, and is infinitely better for them than playing video games.
However, soccer is still a long way from being America’s most popular sport. Hence, sitting on a lawn chair or standing on the sidelines watching an hour-long match that ends in a 1-0 score is not the epitome of sporting excitement for most parents and grandparents.
Now, I’ve got a good neighbor who grew up in a country where soccer is the number one sport. It’s King. He and most of his family would rather watch a soccer match, even on television, than any other sport …
… With the exception of the youngest son in the family. He’d rather go hunting and fishing than play or watch soccer. And it wuz this young man who provided me with his insightful definition of what a soccer match is. He said soccer is “about as exciting as cross country track with a ball.”
I’ll bet there are hundreds of you readers who would agree with that definition.
Most of my readers will read this column before the Nov. 6 election. For some of you, it will be after the election. Regardless, I hope that all of you exercised your right and privilege to vote.
And, if you didn’t care enuf or take the time and effort to vote, to me you’ve forfeited any reason to complain about anything government-wise for the next four years. Sorry, that’s how I feel.
I’ll get off my soap box now and quit this column before I say something I’ll later regret. Until next week, remember these words of wisdom from a wise old cowboy: “Keep skunks, bankers and politicians at a distance.” ❖