The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.



The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke

Greetings from farm country and the land of the free. Hope this letter finds all is well with you and yours.

I was down to the local coffee shop recently, listening to the many tall tales and yarns, spun from the reflection of these winter snow days and cold weather we have been experiencing this winter.

It brought to mind a recent experience of my good friend Cornelius Farkwad. It seems his wife wanted to get away from the harsh winter weather of western Illinois, with a trip to Hawaii. So, Cornelius asked a neighbor to tend to his chores for the time he planned on being gone.

In fact, part of the trip was to be a on a cruise ship with all of its fixen's. Well, on this ship in warm weather was a swimming pool that travelers partook in.

As he sat around the pool relaxin and reflectin, a young pretty girl walked by, clothed in a skimpy bright yellow bikini (thong). Now, Cornelius had been warned about such goings on, and immediately attempted to tightly close both eyes.

He was aware that on the farm, watching the flash of the electric arc welder and such things as that, could blind a man, and he reasoned not to allow the sight of this young girl, dressed in not enough cloth to cover a strawberry plant on a frosty night, to damage his eyesight.

But, he was not quick enough, and his left eye was left vulnerable to the full view of the gal, in all her glory.

(I really think ole Cornelius was attempting to only risk one eye).

As it turns out, at home the left eye eventually began to water and tear. Going to the eye doctor in Burlington, Iowa, he was informed of scar tissue blocking his vision from cataract removal a few years ago.

Well, don't you know, ole tightwad Cornelius now lays that eye problem to the sight of that bright yellow bikini clad girl, much as if he had watched the flash of an arc welder.

No more Hawaii for him and all that goes with it. He's staying home down on the farm watching his cows!

Here in Western Illinois, we are getting along well with calving, about one-half complete. While the weather has been a little more severe than a few recent winters, I am reminded of "the winter of the deep snow", which fell in the winter of 1830-31.

The fall of snow was phenomenal, and of course I was not around to experience it, but surely know of its occurrence.

This large amount of snow probably had never occurred before and certainly has not since within the boundaries of the State of Illinois.

On a calm windless day the snow fell to the depth of four feet. This was followed by a drizzling rain which soon turned to sleet.

Then the weather became intensely cold, and the whole face of the area was covered with a sheet of ice, overlying a field of snow that was four feet deep.

Indians that yet lived in the area starved, necessitating the use of their council house for a kitchen.

The storm was very destructive to game of all kinds. It was several years before wildlife again became abundant. Birds, such as grouse and quail, perished in great numbers. Deer starved to death by the hundreds. Showing no signs of fear, they would stand and eat the branches from a fallen tree while the woodman was chopping and splitting the body of it.

After the snow had continued for some time, the deer were not molested, as they were so emaciated that they were unfit for food and were only occasionally killed for their skins.

There is a place, in a swail along Route 34, north of the highway in Tompkins Township, of our neighbor Warren County to the east, where the buffalo piled up that winter and starved in huge numbers. Their sun-bleached bones were of such a large volume and piled by the thousands, that they had remained for school children from a nearby one room school to gather many years later, and served as a reminder of that harsh pioneer winter.

As I sit here in my warm comfortable home watching the cardinals feeding outside my kitchen window, I realize how fortunate we have it today. The snow is gently drifting down as I observe the cows pastorily mulling about by the barn with their newborn calves, casually grazing on the hay, from this morning's chores.

I am very thankful for farm life and the many blessings it has given my family and friends, and oh so grateful to be the beneficiary of those who have gone on before and for the sacrifices, trials, and tribulations they made.

See you next time. And, Charlie, keep those fellers in line down at the coffee shop, will ya!

Your Henderson County neighbor,

Barnyard Bruke