So much has happened in the last week that I scarcely know where to start. So, I’ll start with some personal things that happened in my life.
First, ol’ Nevah and I dug our sweet potatoes. The nine plants we transplanted into a 5×5 raised bed grew prolifically during our wet summer. The mat of vines covered about 15 feet square. They were so lush and climbing all over and through the fence I put around the bed that we couldn’t see if the plants were all vine, or were putting on a good crop.
Turns out, the plants did both. We dug upwards of 100 pounds of yams from those nine plants, including two gigantic spuds that topped 12 pounds each. I’ve grown some nice sweet potatoes in my life, but nothing like this year’s crop.
We’ve given some to friends. We’ll give some to family when we get the chance. We’ve eaten sweet potato pancakes three times and sweet potato pie once. Plus, for the first time, we’re going to can some sweet potatoes when we get around to it.
Only thing left to harvest in the garden are the green and jalapeño peppers which will be a bumper crop. The okra is down to it’s final picking and I’ll have to take a chain saw to the plants to cut them down. And, finally, I’ve shelled several quarts of dried beans from the green bean plants that finally died.
Last week, I took down the tomato cages and stored the support supplies away for the winter. As usual, my neighbor kid Chris and I used the vines to camouflage our deer blind at Damphewmore Acres.
I’ve got the garden plots tilled up and ready to seed late-planted winter wheat plots. The plots are dusty now, so I’ll just dust the wheat in and hope for rain.
Today is Nov. 11 and we still haven’t had a killing frost, but one is expected tonight.
Tomorrow the upland bird season opens. I’m as ready for the quail season to open as I’ll ever be. Mandy, my exuberant Brittany pup, is chomping at the bit and ready to go. Last week I bought a new training collar, so Mandy may be in for a surprise if she gets too exuberant in the field. I’m hoping that the vibration feature in the collar will suffice and that I don’t have to use the other features to get her attention.
My friend Saul M. Reeder will start the season with some of our pen-raised quail, but this year reports of an increased wild quail population is encouraging. Now, I just need the stamina and energy to hunt wild quail for more than short hunts, but I know that ain’t a’gonna happen.
The rut is beginning for the deer. I saw three really nice bucks this week for the young bucks to hunt. As for me, I’ll be trying for tastier younger venison.
I, for the second time this year, got to perfect my kitten trapping technique. Yep, the promiscuous feral mama cat on the premises did her thing again and raised a litter of four kittens under the brooder house beside the dog kennel. She had three gray kittens with white paws and one tiger-stripe.
I wuz worrying about finding homes for that many kittens when my good pal, Lon G. Horner, came to the rescue. He took all four kittens to raise on his homestead because he wuz mad at the pack rats that packed the hood of one of his tractors full of junk and ate the wiring from it. Lon said buying a lot of cat food would still be cheaper than tractor repairs.
So, to catch the kittens, I set two live traps near the brooder house and “baited” them with “flying feathers” and I caught all four kittens before noon.
That was a better ending than I’d hoped for.
Now the best personal happening of the week happened when our Iowa friends, the Pegan Rays, stopped for a couple of days on their way to wintering grounds at Apache Junction, Ariz.
Pegan loves to fish so we went to Phil Stringer’s watershed lake to give it a go. The fishing wuz slow in the morning, but picked up a bit after noon.
My back gave out from standing after a couple of hours, so I resorted to bait fishing from a chair. I set up in a precarious position on a fishing jetty made out of huge limestone blocks. It wuz precarious becuz my balance ain’t as good as it once wuz
Anyway, I had 8 minnows that had lived for two weeks in their bucket and caught four nice filleting-sized bass with them. Then I ran out of minnows and put on a small crawdad. When I threw it out, the bobber just kept going down. When I set the hook, I knew I had a bucketmouth on the line.
Someone should have had a YouTube video going of me after that. Naturally, I didn’t have my dip net. I somehow kept the lunker out of the weeds with my 6-pound test line and wore him out. But I couldn’t get down to grab him without getting on my fat belly on a limestone block — so I did it and almost took a header off the jetty.
But, I finally grabbed him and wobbled off the jetty and Pegan and I weighed him. He weighed 7.5 pounds even. The Fishing Gods were on my side for a change. Since a bass like that is poor fare on the plate, I turned it loose and hope to catch it again when it weighs more than 8 pounds. Pegan did take a nice batch of bass fillets with him to Arizona.
Finally, the big election. It turned out differently than I expected. I hope for the best in the next four years. I was never prouder of rural America for slapping the elitist mass media in the chops.
After the election, I wouldn’t characterize our nation as having a racial or cultural divide. I say we have a divide between the Northeast and West Coast states and the expanded Flyover-Nation in the Big Middle. I’m glad the Flint Hills is in the middle of it all.
Our nation took the plunge, now we’ll find out how cold, hot, or deep the water is. Have a good ‘un.