The mellow air of autumn surrounds our hills and enfolds us in a warm and tender embrace. Pilot Knob is wreathed in a blue, smoky mist this morning, while the nearer hills shine in their gay autumn garb. Overhead, rows of white, fleecy clouds march in orderly fashion, looking much like flocks of sheep on their way to greener pastures. The sky is a deep, intense blue behind the clouds, and the sun touches the trees on the hilltops, turning them to burnished gold.
It is hard to stay indoors on these halcyon days of fall, when God has touched the hills with a finger of gold. Yesterday’s wind and rain seem to have cleansed the air from all impurities, and it is clear and sparkling. We need to spend these days as a miser does his gold, slowly counting out and making the most of each one.
We spent a few days at our camp last week, basking in the peace and quiet of the countryside. Our daughter Patty and her friend Denise came up one afternoon, and we had an enjoyable evening around a blazing campfire that warmed the cool shadows of approaching night.
As we listened to the cattle munch their way through their evening meal of hay, our conversation turned to farm animals. Chickens have always been my favorite farm animals, and I told them of finding a guinea hen nest the previous day. I thought she had merely sneaked into the weeds between the cornrows to lay an egg, but I returned later to find that she was still crouched on her nest. It is late in the season to be nesting and I told them I would love to rescue the little ones and raise them in a warm place. Patty asked us if we knew how to determine the sex of a baby chicken. I told her it took an expert to do that, and she said someone had told her of a sure way. She couldn’t remember who told her, and Criss chimed in that it was probably Bud Ferrebee. “No,” she pondered, “It may have been Freddie Davis.” “Wait, I remember,” she recalled. “It was Sam Taylor. He said to turn a baby chicken up on its back, and if it stuck one foot up in the air, it was a rooster.” Of course we roared with laughter, and she protested, “It’s true. It really works. You can go to the Farm Store in the spring when they get their baby chickens in, and pick out the roosters.” I guess it’s a good thing there’s no problem with baby calves – I’d hate to have to turn one of these up on its back. Maybe that is how “cow-tipping” got started.
I wonder if Sam was the same person who told her the remedy to keep a new dog at home. It is supposed to be a sure-fire method also. If you acquire a new pet and are afraid it will run away, you merely rub a biscuit under your arm and feed it to the animal. I have made some biscuits that would keep a dog away forever.
October days flow on, like yellow leaves upon the river, drifting downstream, never to return. Each day is a gift from God, to be treasured and used wisely. Too soon, they are gone.
Cousin Alyce Faye
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