The Barn Steps

We made a batch of beer last night and I skipped any essential research so back we go into the still fertile fields of memory. Actually I’ve been desperately trying to find a way to make this column be a basis for discussion of issues important to all of us. Maybe a title like “Trump and Putin to wed as soon as the divorce is final” would reach the masses better. Anyway, these personal history stories seem to be well received so here you go.
 The Barn Steps

Here we sit, braving more weather extremes. The radar constantly shows rain skirting our farm. That’s farming, not an indicator of anthropomorphic climate change. We rented out the crop ground and maintained our little cow herd two years ago. The pasture is crispy.

Forty years ago we moved into the oldest farmhouse in Ingham Township. We brought 29 gilts and one baby boy. The gilts, we farrowed in a five-acre pasture that we found out was too wet. Starting farming with broken-down buildings and pigs in a swamp builds character. We slept as well at night as the baby boy would allow.

After Christmas my dad called and said he could stop by for a couple of days on his way from California to New York if we could pick him up in Des Moines. Our little SAAB 95 was bucking drifts on the way home. The temperature dropped. The snow was deep. It was 20 below and blowing 50 miles per hour for three days. The 49ers were playing the Bengals in the Superbowl.

We had two water tanks for the pigs with small barrels wired down inside to keep the water thawed with cobs and wood. I dug tunnels to the tanks for the pigs and along the fences so they wouldn’t leave, as if they cared to leave their shelter and straw. We don’t go for walks in weather like that. Would they? I soon learned those trenches were first to fill with snow in a wind like that.

We had two calves we bought from Kenny, our nearly-retired neighbor and farming consultant. Cattle are amazing in the cold but have their limits. When the wind shifted about two degrees it picked up any snow that had settled and said “Let’s go!” The calves were in danger of freezing. The barn had steps going up into a door but the calves were not used to it and wouldn’t go there. I decided to cut a hole in the lean-to.

I could not pull the starter rope on the frozen saw so it went on the warming shelf of the kitchen wood stove. Dad and I ventured out into the blizzard with the saw running. This is a guy who thought the handle on a hydrant was for pumping the water. Dad would tell this story as part of an introduction of us to new acquaintances for years. We got the calves in.

Across the yard to the north was a corn crib that diverted the wind over and down as it hit the house. The master cylinder, a top loading antique wood heater, wouldn’t draw because of that and the fact that the concrete block chimney was too cold, having been tacked onto the north side of the house. I didn’t open the lid again after the first time. A big load of wood lasted three days but should have been six hours. That may be economical, but it sure was cold.

We put a blanket over the kitchen door and lived in the kitchen. Constantly feeding that old stove’s little firebox helped keep me busy.

It’s kinda funny to think of times like those as essential but they are. Our soil here is far superior to Southern soil because of the effects of a winter pause and death. Your first job should be your worst to make you appreciate the ones that come later. We made adjustments and survived. I can’t remember who won the Superbowl.

Missin’ the Old Man

This column will come out. No, not come out, be published, after Father’s Day. “Come out” means something different these days.

There are lots of things that mean something different these days, such as “man.” Chelsea Mitchell is one of four female athletes in Connecticut who are suing the state to preserve women’s sports for only women.

As we read the news (or listen, or watch) we rarely can take it for face value. Chelsea wrote an op-ed for USA Today. It was edited to change the word “man” to “transgender” without her consent. Thousands of readers rely on USA Today to present information to aid in their view of the world and the evidence shows that view is based on lies. Consider this when choosing public opinion over law as guidance for policy.

Policy is another word for theft anyway. I knew a young man who upon returning from his first session at college declared, “We voted for it.” He was referring to one of my usual rants against the welfare state. Think of what passes for news when you ponder how votes come about.

While my dad was not perfect, he gave me a gift that makes me who I am today. He was a businessman and there was no person that he met who he did not respect. He was a conservative Republican yet never fit the leftist vision of an elitist conservative. He was a kind and loving man and expected the same from anyone he met. But he was mature enough to know that people are often shaped by lies.

Dad has been gone almost ten years now. I still often refer to him as guidance in my daily life. I do things to make him proud.

He was a stock broker at E.F. Hutton in Santa Monica when I was a kid. Sometimes I sat on the floor by his desk while he worked. I have an acquaintance now whose parents were clients of his. He has expressed gratitude for Dad’s investment advice that enabled them to retire comfortably.

Think about that. Mr. and Mrs. Clark trusted Dad’s judgment of the worthiness of some companies so they could pursue the jobs they excelled at while earning the extra money to invest. Dad and the Clarks were free to do what they do best. The companies benefited from the Clark’s faith and Dad’s research and rewarded them.

Much of that perfectly simple system has been scrapped for a system based on lies. Renewable energy, steel tariffs, policing the world, and men in women’s sports are all based on lies. No one can prove otherwise. They can only change the meanings of words to justify deceiving us.

A father is more than a tool in the birthing person’s tool box. It is part of a team. I had a rough time for a while when Dad decided to leave his family. It was illustrative of his mysterious value as a father. In later years as we became best friends those rough times became valuable too as it inspired independent thought and a questioning of authority.

I’ve found that this column is being abandoned by some who don’t fit in with the choir. My relationship with Dad as mature adults never became the amen corner. We countered and sometimes changed our minds. I sure miss that.

Letter to WSJ on Cali’s violence

Dear Editor,

In “Colombia’s Former ‘Murder Capital’ Falls into Chaos During Pandemic” (June 11 WSJ) it becomes more plain why our country is sliding deeper into a more violent and less respectable state.

The author, Kejal Vyas claims that “the health crisis took priority over spending on social programs and antiviolence initiatives.” Where is the evidence that social programs stop gang violence?

In the U.S. social programs have proven to do just the opposite, replacing personal accountability with a faceless state. After so many years mired in murder and the same useless band-aids trotted out with no positive results, the author assumes his professors were correct and editorializes in the news pages to our detriment.

No wonder we elect more and more Marxists. Ditch the social programs and accompanying war on drugs and watch a free people get along, as law enforcement fills a proper role for a change.

Fritz Groszkruger