Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-6-12
Odds and ends from an odd week that just ended. For starters, I’m writing this at four in the afternoon and the temperature is 102 degrees. That’s pretty normal for this blistering summer, but what’s odd is the wind is blowing probably 20 mph from the North! I can just imagine how hot it would be if the wind wuz from the prevailing south.
Ol’ Nevah and I have been eyeballing a pair of kildeers that chose to nest in our back yard about 50 feet directly in front of our dining room picture window. Those poor birds picked a nesting spot, as usual, on a bare spot of gravelly clay.
Every day in temperatures that reached as high as 113 degrees we watched the male and female switch places every couple of hours to keep the eggs from getting cooked. The faithful parents stood squarely in the blazing sun, panting, wings spread out to provide shade.
Other than my faith in Mother Nature, I couldn’t see how they could keep the eggs cool enough. Ol’ Nev gave up and said the eggs would never hatch. I still had hope.
Sure enuf, one evening this week, the first chick emerged. But it took all of the next day for the other three chicks to make it out of the shell. The next morning, the doting parents seemed undecided where to take the chicks. I guess they had a meeting of bird brains because after about an hour, they shepherded their new brood a couple hundred yards to what’s left of our pond. I’m sure they are thriving at the shore.
A nephew of a friend of ours got a heck of a financial blow last week. He lost 17 head of cattle from drinking pond water polluted with blue-green algae. The poor critters didn’t make it far from the pond before they succumbed. That was the second incident like that to happened within 40 miles of Damphewmore Acres.
The only veggie in our garden that’s really producing this year is the tomatoes. We’ve canned nearly 60 quarts of tomato juice, V-6 juice and salsa juice.
I can’t understand the difference from last summer when we didn’t produce enuf tomatoes for fresh slicing. I guess it is becuz we changed garden plots.
Yesterday, two of my hunting companions and I went to a quail producer about 40 miles away and picked up 500 newly-hatched bobwhite quail. That’s always a challenge to get those beautiful little critters transported and settled into their brooders.
This year, the biggest problem might not be keeping the chicks warm enuf, but keeping them cool. Thankfully, quail chicks require temperatures right around 100 degrees.
Hopefully, most of them will survive until November when the hunting crew can spend fruitful hours in the field harvesting and eating those tasty morsels. Hunting pen-raised quail is a poor substitute for hunting wild quail, but given the paucity of wild quail and my age and walking stamina, pen-raised birds are a logical solution for both me and my bird dogs.
Speaking of hunting season, this week I agreed to get a second bird dog — which I need as much as I need a second head. In a weak moment I agreed to take a little 8-year-old red roan French Brittany female. I’ve been renovating one of my kennels before I take possession of her.
My old Brittany, Annie, is so laid back and laid up that I don’t have to worry about her and my chicken flock. However, the new dog is rambunctious and full of energy. If I own her very long and don’t have a “chicken disaster” it will be a miracle. If it happens, I’ll have no one to blame but myself.
Next week is Chase County Fair week. It’s forecast to be a cooker. We’ll get the week started tomorrow morning at 6:30 with the fairgrounds cleanup and setup. My tiny contribution to the cause is volunteering to drive my utility vehicle and two-wheeled trailer for any tasks they are needed for.
One good thing about the fair is that kids don’t fret about the heat and weather like adults do. They will continue to have a great time with water fights, etc.
Since it’s fair time, I’ll put a wrap on this column with a few words of wisdom about animals from author and futurist George Orwell. Of the relationship between man and animals he said: “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plow, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet, he is lord of all the animals.”
Have a cool ’un. ❖