Br-r-r-r! The changeable weather has changed again and tonight we’re facing the possibility of frost here in the Flint Hills. Forecast is for a low of 38 degrees, so here’s hoping the weatherman is right for a change.
We’ve been mowing the grass and dandelions pretty regular here at Damphewmore Acres. Dandelions are such a pretty yellow when in bloom — plus being an important nectar source for pollinators — that it’s hard to believe that overnight they turn into a sea of ugly, unsightly stems. Perhaps dandelions are in need of an identity change.
Everyone seems to hate dandelions in their yards, so I have a proposal. Let’s change the name from dandelions to Universal Lawn Beauties. Let’s set up local contests to see who can raise the most ULB’s in their yards. Even provide trophies or cash prizes for the best ULB lawns.
If everyone tried to grow beautiful ULBs, I’d bet that Murphy’s Law of Lawn Care would kick in and ULBs would suddenly get a terrible disease or the seeds wouldn’t germinate or some new critter would try to eat them into extinction. That’s the way it is for anything else mankind seriously tries to grow.
My old friend from Iowa, Ray Keminn, who overwinters in Apache Junction, Ariz., stopped by for a day of fishing on his way home for the summer. He’s quite a good fisherman who always seems to rake ‘em in wherever he throws in a lure.
Well, this time was no exception. On a day windy enuf to blow your hair out by the roots, I selected a pond to fish that’s pretty protected from the wind by a grove of trees to the southwest and some dense cedars on the dam.
When we started to fish, ol’ Ray headed for the dam and maneuvered his way through the cedars to the water’s edge. He’d cast just a few times when he hollered that he “had a big ‘un on.” The pond has nice bass and a few big channel catfish, so I figgered he’d hooked into one of those species.
Ten minutes later Ray wuz still fighting the fish and yelled that he would need a net if he ever got the monster to the bank. At that point, I figgered Ray had hooked a big ol’ snapping turtle. Anyway, I grabbed the net and made my way through the cedars to Ray and saw immediately that he had a gigantic fish turning the surface.
After a few more minutes, he finally dragged the monster close enuf that we could get a good look. Here’s what we saw. Somehow, Ray managed to foul hook or snag a grass carp at least 3 1/2 to 4 feet long and as big around as your leg. Trouble is, he’d foul hooked it just in front of it’s tail fin and he’d been trying to reel it to the bank backwards.
Just at that moment, the fish flopped, Ray’s lure came whistling back at him like a rifle shot, and scored a direct hit on the bridge of his nose — right under his hat brim. Luckily, it’s only bled a little and I kidded Ray that’s he’d gotten all the good possible out of that huge grass carp. He exchanged a 15-minute fish fight and a great fishing story for only a few drops of blood.
I’ve fished that pond for years, including when it almost went dry in 2011, and didn’t have an inkling that it had any grass carp in it — let alone a monster.
My friend Mocephus has an electronic weather gauge. Every time it rains I call Mo to get an “official, electronically-measured Toledo Township rainfall report.”
After he gives me the “official” report, I tell him what rainfall I measured in my “eyeball measured” rain gauge.
Well, all that electronic-measurement stuff got me to feeling inferior, so last week after it rained, I called Mo and gave him the rainfall amount I gauged in my “Milometer” (My-lom-ee-ter). Then I asked Mo for the electronic rainfall measurement from his “Momometer” (Mo-mom-ee-ter).
I suspect those rainfall measurements will continue into the future.
Local news of national importance: The local fifth grade class members at the Chase County Elementary School topped their regional “educational video” winning of $30,000 of educational equipment a few weeks ago by winning the national award for the same video — which included another $30,000 worth of educational books and supplies — $60,000 in total prizes.
Their video described what they learned by raising beef calves, keeping expense records, calculating rations and rates of gain, and, eventually, even handling the sale of the calves at the Emporia Sale Barn.
Congrats to the kids, their teachers, and all the adults in the community who supports their outdoor learning classroom.
Another great old high school friend — Reed E. Beaman (real name) — went to his great reward last week in California after a long illness. He and I had great times — and shared many ornery experiences — during our high school days. Reed spent all of his adult life and career in California and we seldom got to see each other — which is sad, indeed, because we fed off of each other’s personality.
It’s proof that time marches on and the slippery slope of life gets steeper by the day. Only the memories linger on and fond memories they are. Rest well, old friend.
All you kindly readers, have a good ‘un.