Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 5-27-13
We’ve finally had a few days of pure spring. I reckon now we’ll “spring” straight into full-fledged summer. However, I’ve enjoyed the springtime weather, even if it brings both good and bad with it.
The good is warmth, so-far gentle rains, excellent gardening conditions, and super fishing. The bad includes the wind, more wind, lawn mowing, critters feasting on my chickens, wood bees chomping on the rafters of all my sheds, ticks, and the threat of tornadoes and hail today and tonight. Plus, I know it’s just a few days until the chigger plague will commence.
It seems that I spoke a little too harshly a few columns back about how set-back my garden and fruit trees are. Now, two weeks later, the garden has produced its first luscious radishes and broccoli, my apple trees survived the frost and bloomed with plenty of pollinators around, and I even saw a few peaches that survived the April-May winter.
Black snakes continued taking their toll on my chicken flock. I caught a middle-sized black snake that had killed one newly hatched chick and wuz in the process of eating another. It had the poor chick by a leg and a wing. Well, once I throttled that snake with my leather-gloved hands, it released the chick and I’m happy to report that the baby chick survived with only a broken wing and it’s following mama hen around as if nothing happened. The snake didn’t survive. I made sure of that. Plus, one afternoon I caught a coyote trying to get into the chicken-killing act, but I scared it away and so far it hadn’t returned.
Now for a really good fishing report. My old New Mexico fishing buddy, Albie Kirky, and his two adult sons spent four days fishing Flint Hills pond and watershed lakes with me. We caught a plethora of bass and crappie, and a few nice bluegills, the first three days we fished.
However, on the fourth and last day, just before we were planning to pull up stakes and head home from a wonderful watershed lake that had recently filled with runoff, a once-in-a-lifetime thing happened — the big channel catfish began biting in a frenzy.
To make a long story short, within 90 minutes we landed seven big channel cats. I caught the biggest cat of my life on a rod and reel. It weighed 11.25 pounds.
Ol’ Albie caught a 10-pounder, also the biggest of his life. The J&J boys caught cats that were in the 6- to 8-pound range. And, to top it off, we had five big fish break our lines and escape. When I got home that evening, my fishing tackle looked like it had been run over by a freight train.
We had a marvelous four-days renewing our long, long friendships — plus, we sent all three guys back to New Mexico and Texas with plenty of fresh fish fillets for the summer.
I don’t know why but my life recently has intersected with snakes a lot. While fishing, I saw a small water snake that had chomped on a 6-inch bullhead catfish from the side and didn’t seem to know how to get a headfirst bite started. When I startled the snake, it released the bullhead and it swam off. Also, we caught a big bass that had a good-sized, half-decomposed crappie wedged into it’s mouth. It apparently couldn’t swallow the fish, but it still had the gumption to strike at a plastic swimming minnow.
I had a wise guy send me an e-mail comment about Canby Handy’s and my recent Old Boar’s Mindless and Meandering Tour of the Southern Flint Hills on Gravel Roads. He told me I’m addicted to wordiness and that I should have just called it by the short name of “The Gawk and Squawk Tour.” I suppose he’s right.
The professional baseball season is in full swing right now and I’m enjoying the modest success of the Kansas City Royals and the Big 12 baseball championship by the Kansas State University Wildcats. However, what I want to relay today is a funny story about the Royals.
Ol’ Canby Handy has a 4-year-old grandson named Chase. Well, recently the Handy family’s conversation turned to the KC Royals and someone asked Chase who his favorite Royal player is.
Without hesitation the little guy said, “Billy Butler.”
When pressed about why he liked Billy Butler the best, he gave a shy shrug and a little snicker and said, “Because he has ‘Butt’ in his name.”
Guess it would be appropriate to end this column with some words of wisdom about fishing. Former President Herbert Hoover said: “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.”
Early naturalist Henry David Thoreau said, “Everyone should believe in something; I believe I’ll go fishing.”
And novelist John Steinbeck said, “It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.” Amen to all three quotes.
Have a good ’un. ❖
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Fresh spring growth is a welcome sight for producers looking for animal forage. However, this lush growth may also be the perfect set of conditions for a case of grass tetany.