October 1, 2013



I don’t know what the record for the latest killing frost around here is, but we must be getting close to setting it. We just mowed the lawn again on Saturday. I mean we are getting on into winter and still mowing. Not only that, we are still haying. I have decided that I like living in the north. Just think, in a lot of states they can cut their hay three or four times every year. Man, I’d really be behind then.
Well, by the time you get this, we may have shut the government down. As I write this on Monday morning, the news says that at midnight all non-essential government employees will be shut down. Now, I suppose it does kind of hurt your feelings if you are deemed non-essential. And it really hurts if you are the boss and you release non-essential employees and you find out you can’t do half the work they were doing!
I’ve always had a hard time firing people. Oh, when I was younger, I could fire people. But they just kept coming to work and I just kept paying them.
For instance, one time I fired this guy that had worked for me for years. He had taken my new pickup home and went to a party. And didn’t show up for work the next day. I went over to his house to get my pickup and it was setting there in his yard. It was raining so I just jumped in and didn’t bother to go in and tell him.
As I started to drive away, there was a strange sound under the pickup. I crawled under and he had driven through a gate or fence and had a quarter mile of barbed wire wrapped around the drive shaft. Tight! I laid in the mud for an hour with a pliers cutting that wire out. Do you know how many six-inch pieces of wire there are in a quarter mile? Enough to make you pretty dang mad!
So I proceeded up to his house, went in and fired him! I mean he was gone.
A couple days later, I was combining oats and the variable speed on the machine went out. It was an old combine that I could kind of work on without screwing anything up too bad. Anyway, I was laying under this combine trying to take this variable speed pulley off and my man was driving by, cleaning out his tools. He spied me lying under this combine and maybe he could hear me swearing from the road.
Now, a variable speed pulley is kind of a heavy, awkward thing to take off by yourself in the field. I was skinning my knuckles, smashing my fingers, occasionally uttering a bad word, and trying to keep the sweat from running in my eyes when all at once this former hired man crawled under the combine beside me.
He was stronger, smarter, and a much better mechanic than I. His only words were, “Maybe I should stick around until after harvest.”
I might be kind of easy, but I couldn’t have agreed more. And harvest lasted a lot of years. And I found out what essential means.