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Yo-yo spring weather

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

We’ve been experiencing typical Flint Hills spring weather. A week ago the temperature one day was in the high 90s and the next day the low wuz in the 20s and froze the rest of my fruit trees. We’ve had a few showers that have gotten the native grass growing. And, a few warm sunny spring days. I call it yo-yo weather.

Today, the wind is howling at least 40 mph as it sweeps across the plains. And, that led to a happening that scared the wits out of me. I drove my utility vehicle with a roll-over cage out to the trash pickup site by the road, got our mail from the mailbox, and then drove by my gardens to see if any new plants were poking their heads out of the raise beds I planted in.

Some of the new spuds were emerging, so I continued driving out to the compost pile to dump some table scraps. Well, I had to drive right past the open door of an old railroad box car that I use for storing used lumber. So, imagine how surprised I wuz when I tootled past the box car and, just as I passed the door, out flew two huge buzzards — each with a wingspan of at least 5 feet. They were so close they almost collided with the UTV’s roll-cage.

After I collected my wits, I checked inside the box car, thinking the buzzards might be building a nest inside. There was nuthin’, so I surmised that they were only seeking a windbreak from the howling wind. In all my days, I’ve never seen buzzards in a barn or other building.

•••

Riding out the COVID-19 quarantine, and to keep from going stir-crazy, ol’ Nevah and I took a recent trip that is worthy of column mention. About 20-25 miles straight south of our home, sits Teter Rock, a historical huge slab of limestone stuck vertically by man into the top of a high ridge. It was originally a visual sign for covered wagon pioneers guiding them towards the Cottonwood River Valley.

These days, Teter Rock is just a novel tourist destination that I’d seen before, but Nevah hadn’t. Nor, had she been by the site of the old, abandoned town of Thurman. So, we took an afternoon excursion to show both places to her.

For those not familiar with Chase County, the southeast quarter of the county is almost void of population. There’s no more than a half-dozen folks who live there, if that. Hence, there are few roads and fewer yet in good condition for travel. So, we took my old pickup truck for our trip.

We went down the Sharp’s Creek Road to the old Thurman site — which today is nothin’ more than one tin shed and a cement building floor. Much of the road down there is through open range country. We were flying by the seat of our pants trying to find a road that would lead south to Teter Rock. We made our way east into northern Greenwood County following a high ridge that separates the watershed drainages of the Cottonwood, Verdigris and Fall rivers.

Then we found a road south through a modern-day oil patch, plus saw a lot of relics from the original oil patch that provided the economic sustenance for the now abandoned town of Teterville. Lo and behold, we emerged on a good gravel road that I recognized — and we were just a mile east of the pasture entrance to Teter Rock.

I’ll mention that the town of Teterville went under when the original Flint Hills oil boom went bust. But, in its heyday, Teterville was a bustling little village with stores and schools. In fact, the wife of my good friend Mocephus spent part of her childhood living in Teterville where her father was a school teacher.

Leaving Teter Rock, we met the only vehicle that we saw all afternoon on our trip, until we got within five miles of home. An SUV with Missouri tags was coming into the pasture as we were leaving.

We headed east until we found a two-track gravel road north. I wuz wanting to show Nevah the “Stonehenge of Lyon County,” which I knew was close to the Chase-Lyon County line. We bounced our way north at least 10 miles, then my internal compass took me two miles back west. When I turned north, voila! There was Stonehenge — which a local rancher/farmer erected years ago — and I have no earthly clue why he did.

But, he buried the bases of huge slabs of limestone as big as Teter Rock from the entrance of his driveway for nearly a quarter-mile east toward his farmstead. If it wasn’t so far off the beaten path, the “Lyon County Stonehenge,” (my name for it) would be a major tourist attraction.

When we left, we headed into open range country again and made our way home. We traveled 95 miles on our excursion and it took us five hours. That’s slow sightseeing. As as I mentioned, we only saw two cars our entire trip. That’s the opposite of congested driving, but optimal social distancing.

•••

An uncertain and nervous farmer was subpoenaed to be a witness in a local trial. He was being cross-examined by a flamboyant big city lawyer who thundered, “Have you ever been married?”

“Yes, sir,” the farmer replied in a low voice. “Once.”

“Whom did you marry?” the lawyer came back.

“Well, a woman,” the farmer replied.

The lawyer bellowed angrily, “Of course you married a woman. Did you ever hear of anyone marrying a man?”

To which the farmer replied meekly, “My wife did.”

•••

Words of wisdom for the day: “Think old and you’ll be old. Think young and you’ll be a delusional old geezer or geezerette.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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