The gardening season is winding down here at Damphewmore Acres. It’s reached the “giving tomatoes away” stage. Ol’ Nevah and I have canned all the tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce we’ll need for the year and we’ve given tomatoes to all the neighbors and friends who’ll take them, and I’ve still got tomatoes that would go to waste unless I fed them to the chickens.
I’m sure not complaining because “maters” are without a doubt the finest fresh veggie that can be grown. Everything else pales by comparison. Having an abundance of them is a blessing, not a curse.
This week I’ve been blessed to host the Kirky clan — Albie, from New Mexico, his two adult sons from Texas and New Mexico, and one 11-year-old grandson — on their annual fall fishing trip to the famous Flint Hills. It wuz the first such trip for the grandson.
Despite persistent temperatures in the 90s and winds in the 30s — and with the generosity of good land/pond owners who gave us permission to fish — we managed to harvest a goodly supply of winter fish fillets for the entire clan, with ample left over for our freezer. Plus, we had a huge fish fry one night and we all ate until we were stuffed. And, I was doing all the cooking for the crew this week becuz Nevah was astute enuf to vamoose the premises and go to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to “granny-sit” with our three grand-daughters.
I’m gonna confess publicly that I got “out-fished” by about everyone in the crew. I think it wuz the Fishing God’s retribution for all the times I’ve bragged about catching the biggest and most fish. This week I wuz humbled and only can brag ever-so-slightly about catching the biggest fish of the week — an 8.5 pound channel catfish. However, I did catch it on an ultra-light rod equipped with four-pound test line. So, it took me at least 10 minutes to wear down that catfish into submission.
On the last day, we were fishing in a watershed lake north of Emporia and were puzzled that the water level wuz down 2-3 feet because I knew that area had gotten adequate to surplus rain this summer. In talking with the landowner, ol’ Oran Paddle, he said that the water wuz purposely drawn down so that a watershed maintenance crew could install a “beaver-dam-deterrent” structure, basically made out of steel cattle panels, to keep the beavers from plugging up the lake outlet drainage tubes.
Oran said that a trapper acquaintance of his took seven beavers from the watershed lake this summer. He said that the beavers are so plentiful in the Allen Creek Watershed that most of the lakes have beaver damage to some degree. He noted that early in the summer the beavers plugged the outlet tube in one of the district watershed lakes and, when a downpour came, the water almost overran the dam. So, now the maintenance folks are systematically installing the beaver deterrent structures on all the district dams.
It will be interesting to find out if the persistently industrious and ingenious beavers find a way to thwart the district’s best maintenance efforts.
I made me a new Colorado friend this week. I found out from a mutual friend that ol’ Sawyer Bord out in Rocky Mountain country is a faithful reader of my columns. The friend gave me Sawyer’s cell phone number and I called him out of the blue while he wuz on a carpentry job and made his acquaintance.
We had a good conversation and I found out that, in addition to being a self-employed carpenter, Sawyer likes to fish and may in the future come to the Flint Hills to eat with the Old Boar’s Breakfast crew and spend a day fishing with me. I hope it’s soon because Sawyer seems like an interesting fellow.
Jay Esse at Lakewood, Colo., penned a poem about his old farm pickup truck. It’s a bit nostalgic and I thought many of my readers would enjoy it. Here it is:
STORY OF THE UGLY TRUCK
Once this was a dependable truck
That this old farmer could always trust.
Now it sits out behind the barn.
Its frame and body turning to rust.
The farmer used that pickup every day,
To repair fences, haul hay and corn.
Now, it’s sad to see in out in the trees,
Looking abandoned, sad and forlorn.
The farmer’s getting older, too,
Not able to work his farm any longer.
So, he sits on the porch and remembers back
To when both he and his truck were younger and stronger.
There’s still space for a few weekly words of wisdom. How about these anonymous ones: “Good friends are like quilts. They age with you, yet never lose their warmth.”
Have a good ‘un, friends.