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Muddy mishaps and a ninja rescue
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Dust on the Dashboard

Muddy mishaps and a ninja rescue

Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. Reach him at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.

Last Sunday, Jennifer and I were feeding cows. That in and of itself is not a shocking story. We usually feed cows on a Sunday afternoon. While we were feeding the cows, we got the pickup stuck. It had rained earlier in the week. I made a really poor decision on where to drive and got stuck. However, the group that rescued me makes the story much more interesting.

To back up just a bit. Jennifer and I decided to feed our fall cows and fill the feeders up. Right now, I have fall cows on one side of the fence and spring cows on the other and each side thinks the other side is getting better hay. Most of the time I just have cows on one side or the other but right now, because I have not gotten some fence built, I have cows on both sides and that makes feeding both groups a little more challenging.

That is why I asked Jennifer to help me get through the gates and feed the fall cows. Normally I feed with the tractor because I do not have to worry about where I drive but for ease and convenience, we decided to haul the hay out with the pickup. I should also clarify that the lot really is not muddy, but we do have some hay build up around where the feeders are. That is not a big deal with the tractor but a major problem with the pickup.

I had picked up two bales and that is where the problems started. My first bale was a little off center and pointed wrong. Then when I loaded the back bale, it shoved the front one about half off of the bed. Not wanting to waste time by putting both bales down and starting over I decided to make do and drive carefully so the front bale would not fall off.

I would like to say that I did not drive down a public road loaded that way, but I did navigate about a mile from the bale pile to the lot the fall cows are in. I was relieved that no one saw me.

Jennifer successfully held the fall cows on their side of the fence and the spring cows on theirs as I drove through. The job is a lot more complicated than it sounds and she did an outstanding job.

I carefully lowered the back bale, and I was pleasantly surprised when the front bale stayed where it was supposed to. I like to think I am a logical person who is good at solving problems. I had lined up two feeders close together for the two bales so I did not have to haul the precariously perched bale too far.

What I did not factor into this equation was that in between the two feeders was a build-up of hay, and under it, ground that had not dried out. Add to that the fact that my tires do not have aggressive tread and I was already behind the eight-ball.

I did not want an abrupt start or stop, so I eased into the gas and that is when I started sinking.

Looking back on it, I should have had the pickup in four-wheel drive, but details are not my thing. In any case, the tires started spinning, the truck sunk, and I was stuck.

Jennifer and I had a quick meeting. It was determined that this situation was my fault, and I should be the one to walk back to the house for the tractor. I must say that this decision was reached rapidly and unanimously.

I started the long walk back to the house (maybe longer than a quarter of a mile but not a half a mile) when I saw a black pickup pull into the drive. It was shiny with dark windows, and I wondered what was up. It went around the driveway and came back out on the road and headed my way. I did not know who it was but as it got even with me the blackened-out window rolled down and I found myself face to face with a ninja.

I was not sure what I had done but next to the first ninja was a second ninja. I had watched Bruce Lee movies enough to know I was in trouble. That was when the ninja’s driver rolled his window down and asked if I needed help. Still not knowing if I was in trouble, I climbed into the front passenger seat and directly in front of the sleeping monkey.

OK, so it was Halloween and I had nearly missed the neighbor kids trick-or-treating us. You have to admit that it makes a much better story to say that I was rescued by two ninjas, a sleeping monkey and their dad than it would be to say I was really dumb and got the pickup stuck.

The story had a happy ending because I paid a ransom of a handful of Snickers to the ninjas and went back to pull the pickup out with the tractor. All ended well, except that Jennifer missed our only trick-or-treaters of the year.

Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.

Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension educator for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.

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Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. Reach him at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.

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