Yield: The east Kansas wind
March 16, 2018
I'm still not through with stories about my maternal grandmother, Ann. She not only played a mean ragtime piano, but also wrote songs and poems, loved to play games with family members, and could prepare chickens for the locker in record time. She also taught us grandkids funny little songs that I think she didn't write herself, but remembered from her childhood. The words to some of those funny little songs have remained imbedded in my mind for seven decades.
Here's the words to one of those funny little songs (provide your own tune):
In the Colorado Rocky Mountains,
There once lived two mountain goats.
One had swallowed a stick of dynamite,
Thinking it was Quaker Oats
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Now nice Miss June and Billy very soon,
They began to fight
Now, June didn't know that Bill was loaded
Until she hit his dynamite.
Through the Colorado Rocky Mountains
Billy sailed through the lonesome pine.
His front legs came down in New York Town
In Los Angeles, someone found Bill's spine.
Nashville. It got the whiskers of Bill.
His back legs are both missing still.
Found his head in the Colorado Rockies
And his tail in a lonesome pine.
I read last week about the growing number of wealthy Silicon Valley techies who have moved on from lavishing their dogs and cats with costly fineries to doing the same thing with pet chickens.
The article said the techies are into designer chickens and extremely rare poultry breeds — and will pay thousands of dollars for them. They hire contractors to build $20,000 coops and backyard runs for their fair fowls.
They feed their cute chicks custom-made chicken rations and some go to the extreme of putting diapers on their chickens so the chickens can be kept indoors without soiling the multi-million dollar mansions.
Of course, they name all their chickens and the techies go to great lengths to "out chicken" their neighbors. They NEVER eat their pets, but treat the eggs like golden ones.
It all sounds goofy to me, but, then again, I don't care how other people spend their money as long as it doesn't bother me.
The only thing I worry about is that my poor chickens — huddled in their made-over tin chicken house or running free to be killed by the occasional hungry predator — may get wind of how their own kin on the West Coast are living the life of luxury and go on strike for similar living conditions.
Folks, we've been having WIND the last few days and we've dodged two potentially devastating wild prairie fires.
The first happened right across the road from Damphewmore Acres when the family's absentminded daughter burned the family's trash in an outdoor barrel and left it unattended while she went to the barn to feed her horses.
Well, the fire jumped out of the barrel and when the poor girl saw it leaping with the wind north, she hit panic mode and came screaming and crying to our house wanting help to save their home from the fire. It was about an hour before dark, so Nevah called the sheriff, who in turn called out the rural department.
I dashed across the road on my UTV, got the girl to calm down and spray the fire licking at the foundation of their home with a short hose. Meanwhile, I stomped out the flames creeping toward the family's stash of big round hay bales. Then I headed north so see what I might do to help and to warn the neighbors to get ready.
Luckily, the wind had changed directions a few hours before from the southwest to the southeast — and that saved the day. The horse pasture to the north was grazed down to almost nothing, which slowed the fire. Plus, two side-by-side driveways stopped the fire from spreading north.
By the time the rural firemen arrived, the flames were creeping rather slowly into the wind and got extinguished in short order.
Then later in the week, with the winds close to 50 mph out of the southwest, a powerline broke just east of Strong City, Kan., on a rocky hillside near the new city water tower. Luckily, the land is bordered by Highway 50 on the north and a blacktop road to the south and east. If the fire had jumped either of those roads, there would have been hell to pay. But, again, the rural firefighters to the rescue. Their quick action saved homes and a lot of destruction.
Hats off the rural fire departments across the land. They're underappreciated — until they're needed.
I'll close with these words of wisdom gleaned just this morning at the weekly Old Boar's Breakfast: "He's nuttier than squirrel droppings (or similar words)." And, "I'm glad I don't have as far to travel as I've gone." And, last, "You don't know anything until you do."
Put out your cig. Keep your matches in your pocket. And do a rain dance. We've had no runoff since November. Have a good 'un.❖