Ranchers Zeke and Clyde were commiserating about the sad state of raising food, especially the four-footed kind.
Zeke: “Ya know, these days we raise sheep and cattle so wolves, coyotes and bears have somethin’ to lunch on.”
Clyde: “Yep. Critters eat our livestock and politicians mess around with so-called trade wars. It’s a circus, for sure. Reckon, there isn’t much we can do about it.”
Zeke: “Well, we’ve got to diversify. You know, raise or grow something else to subsidize what we lose on livestock.”
Clyde: “So, you got any ideas?”
Zeke: “I’ve been reading up on hornet juice. Those clever Japanese have discovered that hornets produce a “juice.” They claim it is super-beneficial for all sorts of ailments including curing anxiety, depression and stupidity.”
Clyde: “You joshin’ me!!?”
Zeke: “Heck, hornet ranching’d be lots more economical than cattle ranching. Wouldn’t require near the acreage, grass and water needed to grow beef. Fencing’d be minimal cuz hornets don’t roam much. They’d build nests in the old chicken house or under the porch eaves or in burnt-out tree trunks. And winter feeding would be a snap. Hornets wouldn’t likely eat much hay or alfalfa. We’d save a ton of money on fodder alone!”
Clyde: “Zeke, you’ve done lost yer mind.”
Zeke: “Hornet calves are called grubs. One hornet nest can hold three or four thousand offspring. Calving would be easy.”
Clyde: “Yeah? By the end of breeding season, those hornet bulls must be plumb exhausted. Hope they’d get the job done on all the hornet females because I’d bet it’d be nigh to impossible to A-I a hornet heifer.” Clyde’s caustic comments became even more flowery. “When ya go to brand the grubs in spring, I s’pose ya’d use a branding iron the size of a sewing needle or smaller? Maybe use a magnifying glass to locate the target? And what about ear tags? Wouldn’t grub ears be too short to tag?”
Zeke: “Clyde you’re not taking this opportunity seriously.”
Clyde: “Sure I am. But hey, how about hornet oysters? Seems to me, it’d be a real challenge to batter and deep-fry ‘em.”
Zeke: “This here article tells how to get started hornet ranching. It advises we contact the Hornet Growers Association in Japan and arrange to have a bull and cow hornet shipped here.”
Clyde: “So, okay, let’s pretend we rush off to the shipping office to accept our registered bull and cow hornets. They arrive in a crate the size of a thimble. Then, the pair gets loose in the customs office and flies up to the ceiling. So, we chase ‘em. One of the customs officers helps out using a rolled-up newspaper. He knocks the bull hornet down. Sadly, the fall kills it. The cow hornet expires from grief. The customs fellow flushes the bodies down the drain. Your entire investment is gone.”
Zeke, glumly: “Well, heck, what’s a feller to do now?”
Clyde, shaking his head sadly: “What do you do now? What do you have on your ranch or farm that could be a substitute for hornet juice? Grasshopper spit, that’s what. Round up a bunch of wild grasshoppers. Corral them in a five-or-10-gallon jar. Those captured hoppers will spit like the dickens. Dry the spit on paper towels, then scrape the dried spit off and fluff it to powder form. Add a tad of cinnamon and hey presto! You have Hopper Tea. Talk about diversify! Zeke, it’ll be a whole new business for ya! You can advertise! Brag on how Hopper Tea is packed with energy and helps burn off fat, gas and motivates stagnation. Send free samples to Washington politicians! With all the money you’ll earn from selling Hopper Tea, you might even join the crowd and run for president in the next election!” ❖
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