Wire that Changed the West

Thank goodness the wind reversed directions and was blowing from the south today which helped to warm our daytime temperatures.  Since I had an early appointment in Northwood, my drive up there was more pleasant due to it being sunny and dry.  Unfortunately, I’m still seeing a large number of corn fields that have yet to be picked, so hopefully our weather will hold out until they’re all harvested.

I’d no more than returned to my office when one of my old-time clients stopped by for a visit.  Some would think him a bit crude, but in actuality, he simply tells it like it is without any of today’s politically correct language filters.

Most of our conversation evolved around our Local, State, and National politicians.  He was quite vocal about how far apart political ideologies are in these times where there’s nearly never anyone of substance in possession of a middle-ground mindset.  I couldn’t help but mention how much more tribalistic our society has become which scares the “yell” out of me.  Knowing what I know about a select few of our local candidates and the tribes they align themselves to, I’d say there’s few if any worthy of being voted into office.  He fully agreed while adding, “And when in office, they continue to show favoritism to their political constituents while continuing to grind their hatchets for those belonging to opposing parties which is why I’ve started to telling everyone I meet to do write-ins at their ballot boxes.”   I had to laugh after he said that because just the thought of someone not getting the required percentage of votes, would certainly make a few squeal like little piggies.

Somehow we ended up on the subject of farming practices of today versus say 60 years ago.  Since he’s from a large farm family, he reminisced about how they were nearly self-sufficient to where there were only two or three trips to the grocery store over a month’s time.  He went on to say they raised two types of chickens; one for eggs and one for meat, and two types of cattle; one for milk and the other for beef, sheep, a big garden, and enough brothers and sisters to keep their place humming.  His vivid recollection was causing me to envision how it must’ve been along with a smattering of envy.

He then abruptly said, “Did you know that Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids has to buy oats from Canada because nobody around here grows it?”  I was surprised yet not because I nearly never see large fields with anything but corn or soybeans growing.  I then had to one-up him by asking, “Do you know what our farmers main cash crop was back in the 1870’s here in North Iowa?”  He finally gave up guessing, and when I said, “Wheat”, he was a bit shocked, so then I had to explain why.  Most have no idea how much our farming methods and crop preferences have changed over these past 100+ years.

Before he left I gave a stern warning that if we continue to be overly dependent on foreign markets, we may find our Country facing doomsday scenarios with our farmers.  I don’t care what type of businesses, farming, manufacturing, or investing we’re in, diversification is the best insulation against possible radical market swings being caused by something un-foreseen that’s been triggered by either a geo-political or weather related crisis.  Any time I hear people talking down diversification, I just want to say to them, “Just you wait because you may be next on the slipperiest slope of a downward slide.”

After a long conversation today with the owners of 903 – 12th St. NW, they finally decided to reduce it to $64,500.  Now that’s what I call a real bargain.  I’d personally give my eye-teeth for its newer three stall garage that’s been all tricked out.  I should have the reduction posted tomorrow after I receive it back from them.

The above photo is of a wall hanging I purchased over a week ago at a tag sale.  I didn’t realize there was a pamphlet on the back of it giving the names of all its various wires and the years they went into production. Each piece of barbed-wire mounted, represents a certain brand and its place in time.  The one on the far left which is the oldest, is called Kelly’s “diamond point” and dated circa 1868.  The pamphlet on its back is titled, “Wire that Changed the West”.  I’m going to clean it up a bit more and hang it as yet another conversation piece at my office, and certainly on a wall where someone won’t be backing into it and get a nasty prick.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

Related Property:
903 – 12th St. NW – Mason City
Joe Chodur

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