Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coyote hunting

My father was what you would call a coyote hunter.  He had 3 or 4 coyote hounds.  He and a man from Delphos would go hunting on horseback.  They would run a small rope through the ring on the dog's collar.  One end of the rope would be fastened to the saddlehorn and the other end they would hold in their hand.  When they would see a coyote they would turn the rope loose and the dogs would take after the coyote.  Sometimes they would catch one.  I was small when I first started going with Dad. He had an old Model A coupe with a rumble seat in the back where the dogs rode.  Most of the time he hunted with one other person but sometimes he would hunt with a group of hunters.  There would be 8 or 10 other hunters and their dogs.  In later years there would be sn airplasne that spotted the coyotes for them.

I remember one Saturday night in 1940 we went to town to buy groceries.  We would take the cream and eggs to town and sell them for grocery money and we would get to go to the movie which cost 5 cents.  While we were at the movie Dad went to the Ford dealership and bought a new 1940 Ford sedan.  It was the first two seated car I remember us having.  We  (kids) thought that was great, we would have a lot of room.  It was winter and very cold and we thought it would be nice to have a heater because the old Model A had no heater, we used blankets.  But surprise---no heater!!  Dad said he didn't want one because if we went coyote hunting with him we would want the heater on and the coyote dogs would get too hot, then they would get pneumonia when they got out in the cold.  The next morning, sittiing in the front yard, was the back seat cushion out of the new car and there were the coyote dogs in the back seat ready to go hunting.

In the winter they would have coyote round-ups.  They would mark off a 5 mile square, divide the number of people who showed up for the hunt by 4 and place them at intervals on the roads on all four sides of the square.  At a certain time they would all start walking toward the center which would be on  a hill or a clear, level spot so no one would get shot.  Only shotguns were allowed, no rifles. They would shoot their guns off occasionally to drive the coyotes to the middle. When you got close to the center you could see coyotes running in circles trying to get out. Sometimes they did.  

I remember one coyote hunt in the late 30's.  They got 2 pickup loads of jackrabbits.  The county had a bounty of 5 cents on them because they were destroying the farmer's crops.

The last one I remember was probably in the late 50's.  The Jaycees (of which my brother was a member) sponsored it.  When they got to the center there were deer there.  They didn't shoot them because noone had seen deer around here at that time.  Now we can look in our back yard and see 30 or 40 and just as many wild turkeys and sometimes bobcat.  There have been reports of big cats in the area too, which is probably true as they follow the deer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saturday on the Farm

                                              Billy Max,    Donna,     LaRoy
                                Donna, Max Sr., Max Jr., Eva, LaRoy

No school today!!  "Get to play?"  Most Saturdays--no play.  There was  plenty of work  to do.  We always had fence to fix. clean the chicken house and creosote the roosts and some of the sides to keep the mites down, clean the milking part of the barn.   We had sheep so in winter we had to clean the sheep barn.  In the summer time they were on pasture.  The pasture had a creek running through it and the sheep kept the bottom of the trees trimmed as high as they could reach.  They also kept the weeds out of the pasture.  It looked just like a golf course.  The grass was native buffalo grass.

The first chore we had to do was milk the cows.  We had 5 stalls to put the cows in.  Most of the time we had 6 to 8 cows to milk.  We milked by hand.  The cats always came to watch us milk because we had a pan we would put some milk in for them.  They would stand at the back of the cows and we would squirt milk at them trying to hit their mouths.  If you weren't watching, someone might squirt you in the back of the head!!  Then we would take the milk to the house and  separate it (the cream from the milk).  The separator we had was a crank type.  It had a bell on the crank that would tell you how fast to turn the crank.  It was important to turn it at just the right speed to do a good job.  We were reminded often to "listen to that bell".  Later we got an electric separator.  The cream we would put in the cream can.  The separated milk we would feed to the pigs and bucket calves.  New born calves got whole milk for a while to get a good start.

On the north side of the barn there were 3 large stalls where we kept the horses.  Most of the time we had 4 horses, two teams, that we used to feed silage to the cattle in winter.  There was a walkway  through the center of the barn with  a ladder at one end that you could climb up into the haymow.   The haymow was a large room that covered the whole barn where we kept hay for the horses and milk cows.

Some Saturdays the folks would take the eggs and cream to Swifts in Salina to sell and use the money to buy groceries.  This would take them 5 or 6 hours because they would shop at Montgomery Ward's.  It was a large department store that had clothing and farm supplies.  It was also a catalog store.  This would give us time to have a calf riding contest while they were gone.  Sometimes our neighbor kids would come over and ride, too.  We had a corral so we could run the calves through the chute.  We would put a pipe behind them so they couldn't back up.  Someone would get on the back of the calf,  someone else would open the front gate and away we would go!  Sometimes good--sometimes bad!!  These calves weighed 500 to 600 lbs, so they were good sized calves.  One time the calf I was riding got too close to the barbed wire fence.  I have a scar on my left leg  about 5 inches long yet today.  We would watch down the driveway for our folks to come home because they would bring home candy for us.  Dad was never very happy when he found out we were riding his calves.  He would say "you will run the weight off of those calves".  But we would do it again when we got the chance.