Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

A shocking start to mowing season

April 1, 2004

Don't let Tuesday night's frost, ice and freeze fool you, spring is really here. After seeing and hearing the mowers in action for about a week, I joined the legion Tuesday evening.

Of course, I happened to have a parka on when I cranked up the 360-degree turning monster. I had to actually let it warm up. I'll try to remember that in July.

But, it felt good. The 360 mower was new last summer and I'd never driven one. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. I was surprised, a bit, when I jumped on it Tuesday that those individual hand controls weren't awkward.

It was like riding a bike -- it all came back naturally. Of course, that's probably testimony to the hours upon hours I spent on the big red machine last summer and fall. Practice does make perfect and with acres to mow and a forest of trees to dodge, evidently I learned the machine quite well.

Although the days are getting longer and we'll spring ahead with Daylight Savings Time Sunday to gain even more evening sunlight, Tuesday's time window wasn't all that open. I only had about an hour to mow.

That's really all I needed. The only area of the farm that "had" to be mowed was the fenced in backyard area where the dogs, Millie and Maggie, hang out ... and the laterals to the septic tank are located at the far end. That grass was long. The weekend rains kept me out of there until Tuesday. If it hadn't been mowed, in a few days we'd have had to get the bailer out. So, that was the assignment for the first mow of the season.

I had already done the "treat bone" trick with the dogs, so they were secure in the greenhouse. They had forgotten over the winter where they end up when I come into the backyard with treats. Next time it will be tougher.

But, they weren't the only ones that had forgotten the backyard ropes. I tooled over to the gate on the 360 and started to take the electric fence down that had been erected because Millie and Maggie had been digging under it. I thought it was off.

I was wrong.

I got a pretty good jolt from the electric fence. Luckily, because of the cold, I had winter gloves on. Unluckily, I had forgotten the first rule of the farm when it comes to electric fences -- treat them all like they're alive. It wasn't bad, though, and I'll remember next time.

Because the mower was running, I couldn't really hear, but I'm sure Millie and Maggie were doing that "dog chuckle" thing from captivity. They knew that fence was still live. They've got a path worn in the grass about a foot away from it.

All three of us relearned our backyard mowing lessons. Well, at least I did. They, I'm glad to say, are always ready for a treat. As for me, the one mower shock was plenty.

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  • Friday's Panopoly Talent Show had tons of talent. But what had everyone talking afterwards as much as anything was the humor provided by the trio of emcees -- State Rep. Tom Holland and Baldwin High School seniors Phil Wagner and Cy Kueffer.

Baldwin's many recent foibles were fair game and they hit on at least most of them. Wagner's play on the "book banning" controversy was possibly the best.

But, he drew about as many laughs by driving the John Deere across the stage with a ski mask on. Even mom and dad, owners of Heritage Tractor, had to laugh about the poke at the many thefts from the businesses.

The trio did other "business," too, including keeping the audience up to date on the score of the University of Kansas game, which, unfortunately, held attendance down at the show.

However, it was a big success. More than $780 was raised for the Lumberyard Arts Center. And, for those that attended, the entertainment was well worth it.

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  • It seems like it's taken forever, but there truly is light at the end of the tunnel -- finally.

In a release from the Kansas Department of Transportation last week, it was announced that bids would be let April 21 for the traffic signal to be installed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 56 and Sixth Street.

That's the first "real" sign that it's going to happen. Although we've waited for years for the signal, it looks like it finally is going to happen.

The intersection has been bad for years during the peak times around 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but has only gotten worse. Surely this will fix it. It certainly can't hurt.

It's slated to be installed in August. I hope we can all make it that long.

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