Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cowgirl Sass and Savvy

The ultimate farmer continued

by Julie Carter
Farming wasn’t their first choice for a new “retirement “career. You will recall, this couple moved from the city to the country, purchased a farm (something less than 60 acres) and were buying every farm implement available, ready to go to work.

The farming plan was initiated by health issues suffered by Dr. Hicks, a pediatric surgeon. He graduated valedictorian from medical school in Ohio, migrated to a big hospital in Denver and until recently, enjoyed a lucrative successful career.

Now in his mid-50s, he had some sort of come-apart nervous wreck. The verdict was that he should retire, not be allowed around sharp objects and should take up a hobby.

Fishing was Dr. Hick¹s first choice. That went very well through the gearing up and making plans phase. However, when he actually got in his newly purchased boat, he just as quickly fell out of the boat, taking with him any delusion that this was the sport for him.

Next, Mrs. Hicks decided that he should take up hunting. He couldn¹t be trusted with a knife, so she got him a gun. Makes perfect sense to me.

She bought him a canned hunt on a high-fence game ranch and he shot one little doe. In his delight, he agreed that, indeed, this was the hobby for him. He had bagged this marvel with a .223 and promptly decided he needed a bigger gun. So he bought a .30-30 which seemed to be more appropriate for him.

Mrs. Hicks didn¹t want him having all the fun, so she opted to go along on the hunts. In preparation, she bought a .45-70, which is a genuine buffalo gun and certainly adequate for your average size elephant, should you encounter one. If she actually managed ever to hit anything she was hunting, it would need picked up with a stick and a spoon. Beyond that, guaranteed, it would knock her on her citified rear and dislocate her shoulder in the process.

Details aside, they now had a hobby.

Next they needed some place to shoot. That would explain their purchase of the rocky 58.2 acres. It came with a small herd of deer that called it home.

Immediately they planned to high fence the new farm, trap all the deer inside and shoot them, said Mrs. Hicks. It had not yet occurred to them that because of the high fence, once those deer were gone, no others would be able to access the farm.

They bought bundle after bundle of 15-foot T-posts for the high fence, making sure they had plenty. A quick use of a calculator, which they did not, indicated that if all the posts they bought were used, they would be about 9-1/2 inches apart around the entire perimeter of the 58.2 acres.

Jake, the man from the tractor store, had so impressed them with his knowledge of farming, fencing, tractors and all things necessary to their new life, they offered to hire him as their farm foreman.

He told them that as attractive as that sounded, he was pretty well tied to the tractor store.

The first tractor driving lesson went exactly as suspected.

Jake put Mrs. Hicks in the tractor in the middle of the borrowed 80-acre hay field. He reported that at one point, he and Mr. Hicks were running as fast as they could. When asked if they were trying to rescue the Mrs., he said, “Hell no, we were running for our lives. She was about to run over us.”

After the lesson, Mrs. Hicks asked Jake if there was any good place nearby to eat. Noting that Mr. Hicks was looking kind of pale and needed nourishment, he recommended a Mexican restaurant not far away.

Mr. Hicks got a happy look to his face just before Mrs. Hicks said, “You can¹t have Mexican food, it gives you gas.”

Jake, thinking it would be OK for Mr. Hicks to pass gas on his own farm, didn’t say so, but suggested a greasy spoon place on the square in town. “The hamburgers are pretty good,” he said.

Mrs. Hicks asked how to get to the square and Jake told her to drive to the center of town where the big courthouse was and it would be right there.

When they didn’t return after lunch, Jake wondered if perhaps he should have given the return directions as well.

The need for more tractor driving lessons was quite evident, but unfortunately Jake deducted that he is booked solid for at least the next year and is very unavailable.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarter@tularosa.net. Visit her website at www.julie-carter.com

1 comment:

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