Animal Farm |

Animal Farm

If you live in the Flint Hills like I do, then you’re bound to have frequent “happenings” with all sorts of wild animals. Here, of late, these “happenings” at Damphewmore Acres have occurred so frequently, I may have to change the name of the place to “Animal Farm.”

So, to make my case, let me give a run-down of my recent animal run-ins. Start off with the American Bald Eagle. Recently, one sunny mid-afternoon, I glanced from our kitchen to the other side of our pond and saw some kind of wildlife activity taking place on the far side right at the water’s edge. A glance through my binoculars quickly identified a mature Bald Eagle being harassed mercilessly by four crows — clearly trying to intimidate our national symbol into abandoning whatever it was eating. The eagle tried to fly away several times, but couldn’t get airborne because of the weight of what it was eating.

I investigated by driving my UTV toward the action, but when I wuz halfway across the pond dam the eagle struggled airborne with something big about 2-feet long dangling from its talons. It never got higher than 10 feet but managed to fly over the fence into the pasture to the west. The crows never stopped for a second from dive-bombing the eagle.

Finally, the eagle lit again on the ground a few hundred feet across the fence, still clutching its “meal” in its talons. Last I knew, the eagle was still eating, the crows were still harassing it, and I still don’t know what the eagle wuz eating. I couldn’t find any feathers or fur along the shoreline, so I suspect Mr. Baldy nabbed a big fish at the shoreline. But, I’ll never know.


The second animal “happening” was what I call the “big black snake invasion.” Last week after we got home from our Tennessee trip, Nevah spied a big black snake outside our kitchen on our deck. The snake wuz slithering toward the post that led up to the wren house on the deck. Plus, there are baby barn swallows in nests under the deck.

I’m normally ambivalent toward black snakes if they’re out catching rodents and not near my henhouse or brooder house. But, I like baby Jenny wrens and baby barn swallows more than I like black snakes near the house, so I dispatched the wren marauder before it could eat its target. However, I’d hardly sat down again when Nevah saw another big black snake in the same spot. Repeat with the dispatching.

Then about 15 minutes later another big black snake appeared on the deck. This time I dispatched it with vengeance. Not through though. A few hours later, Nevah spied a black snake curled on the seat of one of the deck chairs. For the forth time, I was snake executioner. But, that’s still not all. Later in the day when I went to pick up the mail, there was a dead big road-kill black snake in the middle of the road. I picked up and added it to its four friends residing in the garden compost pile.


A huge old boar raccoon started getting into my chicken grain containers. He knocked off the heavy barrel covers, spilled a 2-gallon container of gasoline, and helped himself to the grain. The second night he ignored the live-trap and helped himself again. But, the third night, I ambushed the varmint and now he’s permanently in a “non-damaging” state.


I’m not sure, but I perhaps have my first armadillo on the place. I ain’t seen it yet, but something is digging for grubs in the grass around my food plots. It could be a skunk, but I suspect armadillo. My neighbor has killed a couple of the damaging, nuisance varmints while turkey hunting nearby this spring.

I hope it’s not a “possum on the half-shell,” but I know I’ll see one eventually. Armadillos have migrated 100 miles north of the Oklahoma state line since the late 1980s. They are disgusting critters.


This morning six big buzzards were eating something close to my henhouse. I figgered “dead chicken.” But, they were feasting on a ripe old possum carcass. I don’t know what killed the possum, but it wuzn’t me this time. Maybe it died naturally of damp feet.


We’ve had rain and more rain this week, and it’s supposed to start again within the hour. The Cottonwood River is out of its banks. The rain needs to stop. Flooding and soggy soil is already damaging the wheat crop right before harvest. Farmers can’t bale fescue and brome hay and they can’t plant their soybeans. All the ranchers get done is repair water gaps. It’s getting close to crisis time.


A new fishing buddy, ol’ Kastin Fetchitt, and I found a perfect day for wetting our lines two days ago. The temp wuz perfect, the wind wuz down, and the bugs for some reason were in hiding. Kastin and I caught a mess of pan fish from a flooded pond and did a lot of BS-ing in the process.


The annual Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City wuz last week. Attendance wuz great. Nevah and I worked the contestant gate again this year. A special treat wuz meeting again my old friend, Tex Junkman from Colorado. Tex seldom misses a rodeo here because he lived close by in his younger days. I told Tex to tell my other Colorado buddy, ol’ Jay Esse, “howdy” for me — and I’m sure he did.

Words of wisdom for the week: “Remember, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” Have a good ‘un.

Milo Yield

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