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Dang raccoons

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

I sadly have to report a massacre two days ago at Damphewmore Acres. The worst of my fears came true. I’ve reported before that it’s tough to raise chickens, because it seems every varmint on the planet thinks chicken is the “bestest” of free food. That statement is especially true of raccoons.

Let me give you a little background. I reported last week that I had three setting hens that hatched broods of nine, eight and eight chicks — a total of 25. Then I told last week about the prejudiced hen who committed “chickaside” on two chicks whose appearance differed from the rest. So, that brought the total down to 23.

After the three hens had gone through their fighting and henpecking to determine who was on top, middle and bottom of the avian hierarchy, the hen on the bottom ranks decided she’d had enuf bullying from the other two hens. So the first evening after I turned everything out to roam free, she and her eight chicks were waiting outside the door to the main chickenhouse. She wanted in.

That wuz fine with me becuz old hens are good at keeping other chickens away from their new chicks. I figgered the new chicks had a better chance of survival in the chicken house than they did among the bullies in the brooder house.

Now, the main chicken house has a converted all-weather metal screen door as the main entrance. Every spring I take the glass out of the door so the house will have better ventilation. But, with the glass out, it leaves about a 4-inch gap that has no screen or other protection. I never have had a problem before because the gap is too small for a mature chicken-eating varmint to squeeze through.

However, I miscalculated. Baby raccoons can slip through the gap. That’s what they did. They squeezed into the chickenhouse and killed and ate all eight baby chicks. The light was on in the chickenhouse. The mother hen must have put up a helluva fight to protect her babies. Her feathers were all over. However, she survived the attack, but all that wuz left of the chicks were a few tiny wings.

I wuz steamed. However, I did get a half-measure of revenge. I knew a big raccoon was forcing the lid off a metal garbage can and eating the whole corn I kept stored there as chicken feed. So, the night of the massacre, I baited a live trap to catch the feed-thief. And, by golly, the guilty party was caught in the live-trap the next morning and she wuz not happy about it.

So, I did what had to be done to assure the feed-thief will never return. However, I noticed that it was a sow raccoon who’d only recently weaned her babies. Perhaps that wuz why they were hungry enuf to kill the chicks in the hen house.

I don’t know where the murderous baby raccoons spend the day, but I betcha they will be back tonight for some more free food. However, I’ve fixed the henhouse door to they can’t squeeze in and I’’ll have three live traps waiting for them. With any luck, I’ll be able to extract my full measure of revenge tomorrow.

I like wildlife as much as anyone, but not chicken-killing wildlife. Chicken-killing is a capital offense at Damphewmore Acres and I’m the judge, jury and executioner.

•••

Last Sunday wuz a fun day. A cold-front moved through and dropped both the temperature and the humidity. It wuz a perfect day for cow-pasture pool.

So, I called my old Missouri buddy, Canby Handy and his wife May Bea, and invited them to meet ol’ Nevah and I at the Wabaunsee Pines Golf Course east of Eskridge, Kan., at Lake Wabaunsee. They took up the offer as they needed a Kansas City coronavirus escape. Each couple agreed to bring a picnic lunch to eat after playing cow-pasture pool.

We met at 10:30 and paid our green fees and rented carts. Since May Bea is the only smart one in our little group (she doesn’t play the silly game), she rode and drove the cart while the other three of us played.

It’s a beautiful little nine-hole course. The greens and fairways are lush. The fees are more than reasonable. Folks who live around Wabaunsee Lake volunteer to “man” the club house. The Flint Hills scenery is spectacular.

None of us played golf particularly well, but we each made enuf good shots to keep our interest up in the game. The picnic lunch wuz more than pleasant. I suspect, we may well repeat the outing in the future.

•••

I know a farm family with a lot of teenage kids. During the CV shutdown, it’s been tough for all the kids to get gainfully employed. The oldest boy finally landed a job selling men’s suits at a local clothing store on a straight 10% commission.

The first day on the job, the store owner pointed out a garish, polka-dotted suit hanging on the rack and told the farm kid that if he could sell the ugly suit for any price, he could earn a 50% commission on the sale.

Well, the owner went to lunch and when he returned from lunch, the farm kid met him at the door. His pant legs were shredded. His shirt wuz bloody. But the kid wuz smiling from ear to ear.

“I sold that ugly suit for $200. You owe me $100 commission.”

“How in the world did you get anyone to buy that garish suit?” the owner asked. “And what happened to you? You’re a mess.”

“Well,” the kid explained. “I didn’t have any trouble at all with the customer, but I did have a lot of trouble dealing with his seeing-eye dog.”

•••

T-shirt words of wisdom for the week: “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.” Also, “I may be wrong. But I doubt it.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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