Can’t take the country out of the boys



October 2, 2015 - 12:00 AM

When Duane Bauer cut soybeans  west of Elsmore a few days ago, they made 38 bushels to the acre. Generally, that’s not remarkable for beans, but in this case was because they were a short-season variety.
“You don’t see that kind of yield but about every 20 years,” said brother Darrell. “They usually make 18 to 20 — in a good year,” said brother Don.
With corn harvest drawing to an end, the Bauer triumvirate soon will move on to soybeans in earnest. Don, the oldest brother, predicted good yields, just as they did with corn that averaged in the 135 bushels range, or about 35 bushels above what farmers often say is break-even for corn’s cost-intensive production.
A plus in Bauer fields is that worms haven’t been detected in more than a limited numbers. “I know there are some around” — aerial and other spraying has been common — “but we had maybe one on 50 pods. Not enough to get concerned about.”
That the three brothers farm together in what for many are retirement years isn’t happenstance.

IN THE LATE 1940s and into halcyon days of the ’50s, Darrell, Duane and Don — now 72, 73 and 74, respectively — were inseparable.
They’d take their fishin’ poles and scamper downstream along the banks of Big Creek. A good hole of water often produced and after they’d had their fill there, they’d fish their way back home.
A little older, they’d notice a covey or two of quail dart across the road when they rode the school bus home. They’d jump off, race into the house, grab their shotguns and have a mess of quail for Mom (Violet) to clean and cook while they dashed to the barn to help Dad (Ralph) with milking.
Chores were as much a reality on the Bauer for three strapping lads as any others, but Dad also recognized there was more to life than work. Maybe, because he had played semi-pro baseball and probably never got the “kid” completely out of his system.
At Elsmore High, the three amigos — by birth and inclination — played all sports and in consecutive grades occasionally found themselves all on the basketball court at the same time. Baseball was a summer diversion, in amateur games at Bronson and with the Chanute American Legion team.
Some of Don’s favorite memories are diamond-oriented.
Once the Kansas City Monarchs, managed at the time by Hall of Famer Buck O’Neil, came to Bronson for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games. O’Neil asked the Don’s coach about borrowing a player, with the Monarchs one short.
“You want to play?” Don was asked. “Sure,” he said. He was put in right field, and “I might have been the first white kid to play on an all-black team.”
At Chanute, as the Legion team’s catcher, Don was part of a battery with Paul Lindblad, a southpaw who went on to have a stellar major league career.

THE BAUER BOYS always were eager to spend time on the farm, to help Dad as he aged and couldn’t do all he once did.
“By 1995 Dad was pretty well done with farming,” Don said.
Rather than break up the home place of 440 acres, perched idyllically on the banks of meandering Big Creek, the Bauers concluded a partnership of the three was the better way to go forward.
Today, “we have 1,200 acres of broken (farm) ground and 2,000 acres of pasture and hay,” Don said. While they work together and some of the enterprise is within confines of their partnership, each also has a part of his own.

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