The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

More of Cornelius Farkward and his Swedish Friend

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke

Greetings to all my friends in Henderson and Hancock Counties. To all the rest of my acquaintances in neighboring counties, as well, I extend to you a big hello and top of the day to you.

As for the balance of you sidewinders and flop jowed tail wagers, it is hoped you'ns are fairing well also.

The boys down at the coffee shop requested I give them some more information to stimulate their tall tales and yarns spun of yesteryear.

I don't have much to tell along that order but, wouldn't you know a few thoughts did come to mind.

First, we'll start with old Cornelius Farkwad and his Hawaii trip. Cornelius tells me Hawaii has these chickens runnin' around all over the place that is protected by some special government rule of some sort. Much like those chickens found in the Florida Keys, they are thought special, cause they roost in trees and has feathers. Also, they are provided special housing in the form of miniature "A" frame hutches and barrels in which they is strapped to.

Tree huggers love them special birds and can't take enough pictures of 'em before they become extinct.

Now, I hated to squash ole Cornelius' romantic story, but all birds has feathers, less of course, they has found themselves on the short end of a 12 gauge shotgun sometime or another. Also, most birds I knows of likes to roost in trees, if'n allowed the opportunity.

As for the special housing and teathering, that is as sure a sign as slime is to a frog pond that summer is here, that those chickens were used for fighten.

To me it shows how someone can turn a toad into a first class show animal, much like what is being done in this political season we are now in.

As for fighting animals, it reminds me of farm folk of yesteryear who exchanged labor in a neighborly way for various farm jobs.

They had threshing runs, haying seasons, shelling runs, wood chopping crews, and ice cutting gatherings. It didn't take much in those days for a few families to get together-young and old alike-to turn work into a frolic.

It was an unusual occasion if the women folk did not provide as good a meal as can be found in any of today's modern eat'n joints. Nobody was to go home hungry.

Sometimes the farm well-water had nitrates in it from its shallow depth and close proximity to the feed lot. Those neighbors then sent their helpmates home with the "Fox Trot" and a replica of "Montazumas Revenge".

It was not until recent times of modern water testing that the connection of nitrates, bacteria, and other feed lot pollutants was fully understood.

In the mean time, that watering hole served as a good "cleaning out" for all but the family who lived there, who's bodies eventually adjusted to the whole process.

In a way, we are so sanitized today that our bodies are not building up immunities necessary to ward off sickness. Some of that can easily be observed in our young folk.

As I was about to say, the neighbors of by-gone years exchanged labor and made a frolic of work. They traveled to each farmstead, originally with a team of horses and in later years with an "A" or "B" John Deere or an "H" or "M" International.

A few Ringtails, it was supposed, would come with other breeds of tractor such as Oliver, Allis-Chalmer, Minneapolis-Moline, Case, Ferguson, David Brown, Massey-Harris, Ford, Mogul, Hart-Parr, Rumely, Waterloo, etc.

If'n you was in a community that was of these other breeds as the favorite, then your John Deere or International was then considered the off-breed and an inferior means of performing work.

In horse days the arguments went over which breed of horse was the best-Percheron vs Shire vs Clydesdale vs Suffolk vs Belgium etc. Maintenance of the horse was important much like fuel economy was to the tractor. All, comparatively, was cheap compared to today's equipment costs.

Actually, these arguments was more of a sport than anything else. The Allis-Chalmer, International, M & M and 4 or 6 cylinder tractor-man wouldn't have one of those "jumping jerking two cylinder man killers" if'n it were given to him. The John Deere man didn't want one of those hard start'n 6 volt Internationals nor did he want to ruin his back on a seat of an offset Allis-Chalmer.

The International man, for sure, was not going to wear a pith hat that seemed to go with the Oliver man. And, of course, the Case men knew, without a doubt, his was the "best of all".

The tractor, it was supposed, could do jobs that a team of horses couldn't, such as pulling a two bottom plow continuously, running a threshing machine, and cultivating two rows of corn at once without a rest during hot summer weather.

Of course, horses could do jobs that the tractor couldn't, such as snaking logs out of the woods when the snow was belly deep, and starting when it was below zero. They also would start on verbal command. Horses forced the operator to rest at various times of the day, because the horses needed rest.

And, a good many "seasoned" horsemen in the early days embarrassingly ran their new fangled tractors into the side of the barn, clutching tightly to the steering wheel with both hands and yelling "Whoa" all the way thru!

There was this farmer once, a Swede me thinks, a neighbor to Cornelius, that was a John Deere man. Well, IHC had a special sale on, to make some new converts to their line of machinery. Kinda like cut'n the neighbors fence to coax some of his cows to your'n pasture and then keep em as your own. Well, the Swede neighbor bought the tractor and its line of salesmanship about being the superior tractor-hook, line, and sinker.

Most farmers I was around knew full well not to trust a man if'n his ears grew too close to the top of his head, if'n he jingled money in his pocket while trading, and if'n he doesn't make friends with your dog.

This salesman had all of these qualities plus, he had "squinty" eyes and looked hard into his cup before drinking. A sure sign of a scalliwag.

The Swede, not wanting to admit he was took, only kept the tractor for one season and then traded it off. When asked why he, the tight Swede that he was, did such a financially unsound thing as that, he stated, "Why, it was only an experiment."

After only one season he had proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, in his mind anyways, that you can't grow a satisfactory crop of good green corn with "red' paint smeared all over the soil and polluting productivity.

Well, my time is running short and I never quite got to the fight'n animals part of my story. Maybe next week I'll share that with you'ns along with my experience of observing my first man-fight, skunk-battle, and snake-scare.

You boys up in Henderson County have a good week and the Hancock County boys will try and weather these storms as they roll by each weekend. Watch out for the high water and ice jams.

See ya later!
Your neighbor,
Barnyard Bruke