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Poetic justice

Sometime things happen in our lives that are surprising, scary, justifiable, and ironical — and purely accidental. To clear up that statement, I’m talking about a chicken killer that killed itself in the commission of a poultry murder.

Okay, I’ll explain. Ever since last summer, I’ve been losing the occasional chicken to an elusive, smart avian predator. It has killed at least seven to eight chickens during that time. The poultry murders weren’t regular. They were sporadic and unpredictable. But, every once in a while, I’d see the killer flitting effortlessly through the trees.

It was a prairie falcon — a beautiful, fragile little bird with a nasty temperament and an overwhelming appetite for easy-to-acquire fresh chicken.



Last week, after several weeks of safely free-ranging my chicken flock, one day I lost a chicken. So, the next morning, I limited the chickens to the small fenced lot by the henhouse — the one I cross-fenced to deter avian predators. It had worked, too, or so I thought.

Well, after I returned from Cottonwood Falls to renew my driver’s license at the courthouse, I stopped at the chicken pen to release the flock to free-range.



But, just as I reached for the gate latch, KERBOOM! About 10 feet from me one of the storm windows in the henhouse exploded like a rocket had been shot through it. Needless to say, it scared the pee-wadding out of me.

But, then I rejoiced when I saw the chicken-killing prairie falcon had killed itself by trying to fly through the storm window at high speed from indoors. It hit the window so hard that it sprayed broken glass at least 10 feet — and it either broke its neck or died from the impact. Either way it was a self-inflicted casualty.

When I looked inside the henhouse, as expected, I found a partially-eaten chicken and figgered out what had happened. The falcon — which probably doesn’t weigh half a pound — had locked talons on a Speckled Sussex hen outdoors in the pen, but the hen, which probably weighed at least 3 pounds, had dragged the falcon into the henhouse. The falcon just hung on, completed the kill and was leisurely eating it’s lunch when I arrived on the scene and, apparently, scared it.

But, the falcon didn’t have the sense to fly back out the low door it came in through and instead rocketed through one of the clear panes in the storm window.

It took me most of an hour to pick up all the broken glass and put in a makeshift window ahead of the Arctic storm that hit us last night. But, it wuz a job I didn’t mind. Sometimes things just work themselves out correctly all by themselves.

***

During the recent holidays, everyone was seated around a rural grandma’s table that wuz heaped with food. As soon as the young grandson was served, he started eating right away.

“Wait until we say our family prayer,” his mother reminded him.

“I don’t have to,” the little boy replied.

“Of course you do,” his mother insisted, “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.”

“That’s at our house,” the grandson explained, “but this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook.”

***

I told you that I have embarked on a video/oral history of my life. Well, last week I got started with describing all the places that I’ve lived during my life. The total count was 21 places — which surprised me.

Then I did a section on all the jobs that I’ve had during my life. That took a while, too. The third section was recounting all the schools I’ve attended — starting with three one-room rural schools and ending up with two land-grant universities. It’s getting easier as I get into the project.

***

Another big project that Nevah and I are beginning is downsizing our lives. We are at an age when what we have today is more than we can comfortably take care of in the future.

So, downsizing means less of everything. We started by listing our farm in southeast Kansas for sale. Eventually, we hope to move to the Wamego or Manhattan area where we will be closer to family and friends. We hope to move into a one-floor ranch-style home with no basement. Oldsters and stairs don’t mix.

Of course, moving will require downsizing all our personal belongings, too. That is a step we’ll take when we come to it.

***

It was with a heavy heart that I learned last week that my good friend and fellow columnist Baxter Black has health issues that required him to retire from his column-writing, speech-giving, book-selling, veterinarian and ranching bizness.

We all know the day comes when we have to retire. But that doesn’t make it easy when that day comes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Baxter.

***

Words to ponder for the week: I’m proud to announce I’ve stuck to my New Years Resolution and did not bite my nails the entire month of January. My feet have never looked better. Have a good ‘un.


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Milo Yield

Dandelions to the rescue

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I’ve been reading lately about the possibility of a global food shortage because of a scarcity of various kinds of fertilizer, global warming, drought, fuel-prices, etc.



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