The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Winter Banquets Can Make You Two Handles Wide in the Behine"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. I'm a hop'n everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine.

This is wonderful weather for calving, if'n you calve this early.

Our families cow-calf operation began birthing last week and we now have fourteen (14) healthy calves on the ground romping in the sunshine with their tails lifted high in the air.

Makes for a pretty sight on a winter afternoon. We have only one hundred eleven (111) cows to go before we finish for this season.

It sure was good seeing everyone at the Tri-County Cattlemen's banquet held in Macomb, Saturday, January 31.

The food was good, the crowd was spontaneous (over 500) and the main speaker was hilarious. His jokes were appreciably clean enough to pass on to your pastor. He had the crowd in stitches a good deal of the time.

Steak was served for the meal and that was a lesson learned many years ago. Early on, at one of these banquets, I remember, they served chicken. That went over like a lead balloon, never to be repeated even to this day.

I was privileged to attend two other banquets this past week. One was the Bi- County Cattlemen's Association banquet held in Burlington for Des Moines, County, Louisa County and other like minded cattle folk.

It was very good, however, I liked ours better in Macomb, but then I'm slightly biased to my neck of the woods.

The other banquet was the First State Bank's 22nd annual Ag Strategies meeting held on January 26, 2009, in the Carthage Baptist Church Community room.

It also was well attended and a credit to that institution's dedication to the community.

My only question is for those that I saw at more than one of these dinner meetings, especially Gary and Sherri Butler and Ben Powell. Do you suppose if'n we registered together as a team we would get a group discount on a weight loss plan? If'n we keep this up we're gonna be "heavier'n a ton of lard inna' a molasses can" and "two axe handles wide in the behine!"

And, don't be think'n of mak'n fun of us-the Richard Apts, Mark Leflers, Curt Eisenmayers, Scott Boyers, and Mike Rodeffers, because I saw youn's mak'n short order of those steaks at the Cattlemen's banquet also.

Mike R., you've got my sympathies for your tractor what committed suicide whilst you was a joggin'.

The best thing about it was, that it was a green rather than a red tractor. It only proves that those green tractors can be the hottest thing going.

I'll bet Larry M. can fix you up with another one for a special replacement discounted price and if not a quick trip to Media might be in order.

Actually, I'm just jok'n about the red tractor. We tried one once, years ago, for a season.

We proved conclusively at that time, and beyond a shadow of doubt, that you can't raise an abundant green corn crop with red paint smeared all over and pollut'n the soil. Dropped our yields significantly.

Well, Groundhog Day and Candlemas Say (February 2) has come and gone. February has one leg firmly planted in winter, the other tilting toward spring.

A snowstorm can turn to ice or rain (look at those poor folk in Kentucky) and back again on bitter winds, or the brightening sun can set icicles to dripping and frozen streams to gurgling.

Farmers become down right restless during February. It's a short month and packs in a lot: President's birthdays, cherry pie and Mardis Gras, the deepest snow, the first lambs of the season and loggers like to fell trees in February's waning moon before the sap starts to rise. It's no wonder February needs an extra day every 4 years.

Groundhog Day and Candlemas are celebrated together and both signify the triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter. Candlemas, a Christian feast day that got its name from the candlelit processions that accompanied it, was an overlay on older celebrations marking the astronomical midpoint betwixt the winter solstice and spring equinox.

Groundhog Day, is a Germanic holiday that uses a furry prognosticator on the presence (or not) of sunshine for its forecast.

Thus the day is known for weather rhymes, such as "Half your wood and half your hay,/should be gone and be left on Candlemas Day, a reference to the halfway point of wintry weather.

For the rest of you folk, February 1, 2009, is probably known as the day the Pittsburg Steelers rally sank the Arizona Cardinals (27/23) with 35 seconds to play, making it midnight on Arizona's Cinderella season.

"Hold fast to our dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

I'm a hop'n you folks have as much fun reading this as I do writ'n it and no offense is tak'n.

Once again, "Smile," it'll throw everyone off balance.

Catch ya later

Barnyard Bruke