The Caliche Times Vol 2, No 2   08/15/99


Mud Sucking Cows

Well, makes me feel a little odd to see the North East going through a drought. They haven’t had rain in over two months and are listed in the severe drought zone. (In the fifties we called it a "drouth.") We haven’t had a rain in 13 months and 11 days. I guess it dries out faster up North. Our ole cows have been sucking water out of mud for the past few months and then spitting out the mud. Well, I guess the stories are just a little better down here in Texas.

Fungus Amongus

Getting ready to make another trip to Dell City, TX real soon.  Guess me and the real McCoys can share dust stories again.  We have reached a new level of refinement here with the powdered caliche roads since we haven’t had any rain to wash them.   The dust is so fine now you see locus stirring up dust as they fly over the road.   Grasshoppers become "locusts" during times of drought as you see thousands of them flying from one field to the next, their wings fluttering and reflecting the sunlight.  You might even hear them clacking their mandibles together if you listen close enough.  The only thing that will kill grasshoppers in mass, when they are in the locust mode, is a good rain.  They get a lung fungus and die off. So what we need is a "fungus amongus".

Tow Sacks and stickerburrs

Well, we had traffic yesterday out here on caliche road(Okra Ave.). The pickup belonged to my cousin James Shults. James drives in from Keller Texas to mow his yard (on the homeplace) about twice a year, probably more on years it rains. Yeah, we get enough moisture to grow weeds, especially pig weeds(Careless weeds), sticktites and grassburrs. Wish the Yankees would hurry up and invent some uses for the devil’s nest eggs. We here in the "scenic south" would do that if we didn’t have to spend so much time picking them out of our tennis shoe strings. Every time I think about developing a gadget for harvesting grassburrs, I am reminded of the method that dad used to harvest yellow sweet clover burrs in the cow pasture. Back then, we had "tow sacks". Dad would get several of them and line them up across the tractor equipment and drive through pasture. The burrs from the clover would stick to the burlap bags and then we could just clean them off the bags and store the seed. Needless to say, that bit of diversified farming was short lived.

Armadillos can Drive a Man to Drink

I get a lot of questions about hunting in this area. We hunt in the abstract here. I go out late at night and early in the morning to hunt for "yard pigs" (armadillos) and copperheads. Went out early this morning to check my "yard pig" trap but found a skunk harvesting crickets under the yard light. We still have the armadillos but one less skunk. Armadillos can drive a man to drink. They get up about 4 in the morning and destroy all the yard where you watered it the night before. By the time I get outside with my shotgun, they have their bellies full and have gone back to bed. You can’t win though with yard work in dry weather. The parts of the yard that the armadillos don’t dig up at night, are taken care of during the day by Sinbad The Cowdog. In warm weather he has to dig a new hole in the yard every few minutes. So with yard pigs and Sinbad helping, the yard gets plowed and the result looks like a miniature mine field. We just let Sinbad keep digging though because if you say anything to him about the holes he just stops digging and his eyes just well up with tears. So how important is the yard anyway. You have to wash the dust off the grass if you want to show it to someone.

Raymond Shults Worked as a Butcher at Agnew Grocery

So while James was stopped here with his lawnmower in tow, we talked about a lot of things like when he was a kid they lived at Amity, TX. But my favorite story was one he told about when his dad Raymond Shults worked as a butcher at Agnew Grocery store. James said "When I was about 1 year old we lived in Rising Star across and down the street about a block or so west from the store. One day I got out of the house and crossed Hwy 183 to go see my dad working in the store. I got into a lot of trouble over that."

James, JFrank and Ping Pong

Well, another story James told and I had him tell it twice about how he beat Jay Frank several games of ping pong at the last Davis Reunion. I may want to hear that one again some time. Smile. We also talked about possible locations for the reunion next summer. We like the third weekend in June and Bandera or Brownwood lake as possible locations. Those of you that haven’t been coming to the Davis reunions, (I am sorry that I missed several myself) have missed the tournaments of ping pong, dominoes, forty two, eighty eight, foosball, hearts, crazy hearts, talent show, horse back riding, horseshoes, golf and lots of good food, stories and fellowship. If you bring a notebook you can get a list of all the kids and grandkids. We ran out of film last year just trying to get all of J Frank and Pat’s.

This letter has become very long so I divided it in half and will send the other one a little later.

Y’all come see us if the dust settles.


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