The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "How Ole Men spend a cold snowy winter afternoon."

Greetings to everyone in western Illinois,

As I write this, snow is a fall'n quite rapidly and the weatherman calls for 6" to 8" accumulation before it's all over.

I'm told this by my friends who pass their time away watch'n the T.V. weatherman, predict'n from his crystal ball.

I quit waste'n my time watch'n that feller make'n his wild guesstimations, a long time ago. Actually, I got to feel'n sorry for that over dramatized prophet, missing the mark so frequently.

As for me self, the Old Farmers' Almanac was just as accurate and the correct signs of the moon comes with it. That a way, I knows exactly when to advise my grandchildren to castrate their hogs and calves, as well as plant various aspects of our garden!

Last week, whilst Buster Jinx, Sandy Bob, Cornelius Farkwad, and myself was a "jawing," ole Bill Jones dropped by for a visit.

Ole Bill comes from the "Old School" going a long ways back. Most folk his age was "planted" under the sod a long time ago.

In Bill's younger day he found it acceptable to go to town and "oil up his insides" at least once a week on Saturday night whilst his woman did her shopp'n. Least wise that's what he thought.

It turns out part of her time, after her trade'n and shopp'n was complete, was spent in the saloon at the other end of town "oil'n up" her insides as well.

Near the end of the even'n both was so well oiled that neither one recognized or cared about the condition of the other.

It all came to a head one night when his wife "Angel", was shot dead in a bar room brawl. She was hold'n her own quite well, until that gun went off, as she had lots of practice with ole Bill.

I reckon if'n that feller had not been so quick on the draw, she would have give him his come up'ns with that axe she was a swingin' towards his head.

Now Bill had two daughters to kinda fill in fer Angel" in her absence. But the sad thing is, one "went wrong" and the other left town.

This left Bill to his lonesome and he kinda cut back a little in hopes of find'n another woman and took up smoken, heavy like.

Now, my Mrs. don't tolerate no smoke'n in her house. Fact of the matter is, Bill had better be sober when he shows up or she'll chase him off with a broom stick.

He was sober this time so "Ma" sends the whole pack of us to the "Man's Cave".

The "Man's Cave" is our converted wash house where I keep some trophy stuffed animals, killed in my younger days. Also, stored there is a gun or two for good looks.

For you young'ns a wash house and/or summer kitchen was where women folks did their cook'n and clothes wash'n in the summer time to keep the heat out of the main house. Those was the days before electricity and air conditionin'.

A cob house was usually attached to the wash house/summer kitchen with cobs and wood for start'n and fuelin' the cook stove and warm'n wash water. We also bathed in a fairly small tub out there and the same water was used for each child.

Lucky was the young'n who had the first bath and unfortunate was the last child who fearfully watched his siblings make "gas bubbles" in the water whilst bathing.

No small concern was expressed about find'n lumps where "bubbles" once dwelt, especially if the next bath followed a query from a young feller quizzing his ma, "Is bubbles suppose to have lumps?"

In earlier times, there was also an "ice house" for store'n ice, well into summer.

Usually, it was a community "frolic", gather'n the ice and pack'in it away, surrounded by sawdust, for summer usage.

As I recall, no summer "homemade ice cream" tasted any better than that cranked from "pond" stored ice in August!

Before we got done jaw'n and spin'n yarns out there, with Bill's smoke'n and all, the stuffed animal trophies had tears in their eyes. I'm not sure it was from all that smoke or all the laughin!

The Mrs. made me change my smoke filled bib overalls before she would let me back into the house. Buster, Sandy, Cornelius, and "smokin' Bill went on their own ways fer they knew it was either strip down or keep out!

But say, some of the stories of the good ole days, we spun out in that wash house, deserve to be shared. Maybe I'll share them sometime by and by such as, "old Kentuck", the fighter, or "ole Blue" the dog, or "ole strawberry", the buckinest bronco that ever hit these parts with a big "44" brand on his left hip. Other stories as well, but I'll save'em for another time.

In the meantime, it is the right time to be prepare'n for this spring's garden. Hope you're check'n your seed catalogs over good and make'n proper selections. Make some repairs also on the "hot house" so it'll be ready, as well, for start'n plants. Good times are ahead if'n you can just make it thru the next few weeks!

Keep on Smilen
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke