Yield: Practice safe sacks | TheFencePost.com

Yield: Practice safe sacks

The weekly Saffordville Old Boar’s Breakfast Club (SOBBC) — formally known as the Saffordville Gentle Men’s Club — is a reliable source of fresh column material. Last week someone mentioned that they’d been to an auction or flea market and saw a small stack of old “new” feed sack cloth sell for more then $100. It wuz the kind of printed cloth material that our mothers and grandmothers recycled from livestock and poultry feed bags back in the day and sewed into everything from skirts, shirts, blouses, aprons, curtains, tablecloths, upholstery and other household uses.

The commercial feed companies back in those days used the lively and colorful print feed sacks in their advertising and merchandising efforts. Essentially the message was “Feed your chickens our feed and get a bonus free skirt.”

I know my mother and grandmother used the feed sack prints regularly and they considered them as really useful to the family finances.

But, since the various feeds were merchandised in a veritable plethora of print colors and patterns, there emerged a lively competition among the farm ladies for the “best” feed sacks, and, of course, certain items required a certain number of feed sacks to make.

Husbands and boyfriends would get roped into the feed sack competition and urged to buy the feed “sacked up” in the coveted print.

When the feed sack conversation got going at our breakfast table, one of our “breakfasteers” told this true story. When he was a kid, his mother would take him to the feed store and make him move entire stacks of feed sacks just to uncover the special sack with the print his mother wanted for her sewing project.

He said he even worried that he’d stacked the sacks so high that they might tumble down and injure him.

That’s when I interjected that wuz the first time he’d seen the wisdom of always practicing “safe sacks.”


Another true story emerged from the SOBBC last week. The head chef, ol’ Eiken Cook, told it this way.

“I wuz driving our family car home from town when it very inconveniently stalled right astride one of the two Burlington-Northern railroad tracks we all have to cross (exceedingly rough). The battery went kaput. The starter wouldn’t engage. I couldn’t push the car off the tracks. I didn’t know when the next train would come flying down the track, because the schedule is brisk. So, you might say I was in a crisis mode.

“First, I called 911 and reported a stalled car on the RR tracks at Saffordville and requested that the sheriff notify the B-N. Next I called my wife and urged her to get to the tracks pronto with our other vehicle. Which she did in just a few minutes.

“Well, the car died with the automatic transmission in gear and I couldn’t get it out of gear to freewheel. So, I tried to push it with the wheels locked and discovered I’d have to damage the car to move it. Next move wuz to get our vehicles head to head and try to jump start the dead car. It worked, kinda. The car started, but wouldn’t keep running when I unhooked the jumper cable.

“So, I changed tactics. I put the vehicles side by side headed toward home and jump-started the dead car. When it started, we gently drove off the tracks side and side and creep/crawled all the way home — a half mile — that way.

“I was relieved to call 911 and cancel our emergency. I was really relieved that no train came flying down the track to demolish our car.

“The next day, I took the dead battery, which was only a few weeks old, back to the store and got it replaced free of charge.”

Hearing that story makes me shudder and break into a sweat.


I recently described that the wind blew so hard here at Damphewmore Acres that it broke in two my new aluminum flag pole. I got it fixed last week with the judicious use of a hack saw, a quarter-inch drill, and a couple of bolts. The flagpole is no longer collapsable, but it’s useable and is proudly flying Old Glory again.


I also recently listed some ways to describe how hard the wind can blow in the Flint Hills. That prompted a Wyoming reader, ol’ Y. Arn Spieler, to counterpunch with a comparison of how hard the Wyoming wind blows. Here’s his e-mail:

“No offense, Milo, but I’m from east central Wyoming and I want to share with you how to make and read a Wyoming wind gauge. First, you find a 12-foot length of heavy log chain. Bolt this to the top of a big fence post set securely in the ground. When you check the chain, if it is stirring around on the ground, there is a gentle breeze. If it is lifting off the ground, we have some wind starting. If the chain stays in the air, you know things are picking up. When links start snapping off the end of the chain, well, now we have a good Wyoming wind going!

“I also knew an old rancher from around Wright, Wyoming, who said the wind wasn’t blowing until you sat on the toilet in your mobile home in Wyoming and the water splashed your backside!”


OK, Arn. I’ll admit that both you and I got wind problems.

We missed all the rains entirely that soaked a lot of Kansas. Now, around these parts, the corn is curled, the soybeans are stressed and we’re no longer having to mow our brown lawn. Most of the wheat is cut and the harvest wuz fair to spotty, from what I’ve heard.

So, I’ll close with these words of wisdom: “I’m only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.” Have a good ‘un. ❖


Dwindling farm and ranch land


American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat research has found that land used to produce food in the U.S. is increasingly being used to grow cities and residential areas.

See more


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