Rat Wars

Alas it’s slowly starting to warm up, and it looks like this weekend is going to be a heck of a lot more pleasant than what we had to endure a week ago. I only hope this cold snap we’ve been having, isn’t going to affect our planting season, because there are some vegetable gardens to be planted by more North Iowan’s wanting to get back to the basics.

When reading the BBC News online today, I was shocked to find a very long article about a big coronavirus cover-up that went on in that giant Smithfield packinghouse in Sioux Falls South Dakota, which is far too close for comfort from us Iowans, when only being a short distance from our State’s border.

I absolutely cannot believe they put that many of their workers at risk by not immediately reporting the outbreak. I’m sure that left a very bad impression in the minds of all the millions of people who religiously read BBC’s online news. If you have time, please go to bbc.com and read it, because it’s a real eye-opener.

Later this morning I mentioned that article to a colleague of mine, and for some reason, I’ve found our general public having no idea that Smithfield is a very large Chinese company with slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities around the world. It was mentioned, that with all the cover-up’s going on with Chinese government, and now their companies, it would be best if our government would require all foods being sold here in our Country, to state whether the companies are US owned, or foreign controlled. Since finding out some years ago, that Smithfield is owned by a Chinese company, I’ve been more hesitant to purchase anything with their brand name on it.

Perhaps when this pandemic is over, there’ll be more local start-ups of American owned food processors and distributors. There’s no question in my mind that our Country absolutely MUST return to the self-sufficiency we once comfortably enjoyed.

I’m sure many of Iowa’s parents with school children, weren’t happy when our Governor announced that our schools will not be re-opened for the remainder of their school year.  It’ll be interesting to see how many school districts will pass their students into the next grade, or hold them back for another year. I’m sure their sports departments are also reeling from the Governor’s announcement that there’ll not be allowed any school sporting activities this Spring. We’ll see what she has to say in the coming weeks regarding their summer sports events.

I was glad hear she’s been singling out Counties with higher percentages of outbreaks and enacting stay at home orders for them. It goes to show, that even if a given County’s population is low, it’s the percentages of confirmed cases of the virus that makes a difference. I think more people are going to be watching license plates more closely from here on out.

Speaking of license plates, when we were children, many of us would be checking the County number on the license plates of vehicles people would be driving, and test each other’s knowledge as to what County they were from, because back then, they didn’t list their names on license plates. Believe it or not, I still remember some of them. Hancock County’s number is 41, Cerro Gordo’s is 17, Worth is 98, Wright is 99, Dubuque is 31, Winnebago’s is 95, Floyd’s is 34, and there’s a few more I’d have work on remembering. Isn’t it interesting how children of past generations would find the darnedest of things to do in their free time. Oh shoot, I keep forgetting, we didn’t have computers to mindlessly eat up all our free hours back then.

Having finished up everything I needed to get done before the noon hour, I changed my clothes and went back to my project of getting some volunteer trees dug out and then chopped up. I’m sure glad I still have my vintage double-edged axe that works as good as it did back when I was young and semi-good looking. And yes, I was young once upon a time. Believe it or not, I’ve never had to change the handle on it because I’ve always been careful not to be using it in an inappropriate manner. Another thing I do which most don’t, is to give it a good cleaning after use, and ever so often, it gets oiled. Hand tools are also like machines, because they too require maintenance and care.

After reading our State’s news, I was not surprised to find Tyson meat processing plant down in Louisa County, also having recently had an outbreak of the coronavirus, which now has me believing we’re going to have meat shortages in the near future, and simply due to the supply chain of farm-to-market meat having been broken. Let’s hope Hormel up in Austin can keep their employees coronavirus-free, because if they also end up in a shut-down, we will be seeing major shortages. Since Hormel is a very old and highly respected company, I’ll wager their management team is being as proactive as possible.

I got a very good laugh today when someone mentioned the recent “rat wars” that are going on in sewers and back alleys of our metro areas, and being caused by the shut-downs of all the restaurants across our Nation. When thinking about it, I never realized how even the rats are being affected by the China-virus. I guess it stands to reason when knowing how much food gets thrown away on a daily basis from bars and restaurants.

There was never a time in my life when I was indifferent towards rats, and likely because on the farm, they were always “out there” multiplying like rats instinctively do. I don’t even want to think about how many rats I either trapped or poisoned, and believe you me, they’ll travel at night in herds from farm to farm looking for food, because we had neighbors who for years, did absolutely nothing about controlling their rat problems.

Tonight’s one-liner is: The cleverest of cats eat cheese, and then breathe down rat holes with baited breathes.

Joe Chodur

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