Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 10-29-12
October 29, 2012
An early frost clobbered our fine prospects for a bountiful fall harvest of green beans. All the hard work (and water) we'd invested in those green beans came to naught in a matter of a few frosty pre-dawn hours, in spite of our efforts to protect them with landscaping cloth.
Plus, the frost hastened the fall work to deconstruct all our gardens and get them planted to food plots for the chickens. So, we finished picking all the pepper varieties and had enuf for ourselves and to share with neighbors. We picked the remainder of the tomatoes, cowpeas, kohlrabi, fall radishes, late zucchini, giant sunflowers and the four acorn squash that survived the summer drought. The only crops left in the garden are the kale — which is flourishing, and which the chicken flock will get to pick over soon — and a paltry few small and large lima beans, both bush and pole.
The tomato vines and the temporary fences were the next to go and the cages and wire stored for the winter. I've discovered that recently-pulled tomato vines are the best and easiest way to camouflage deer and duck blinds. So, a neighbor teenager, who hunts and fishes our place, came down and we built a couple of fine duck blinds on our pond. One of the blinds also will serve well as a deer blind. Before we started on my blinds, we built two well-concealed deer blinds on his place, but we used cedar branches, not tomato vines, for the camo effect. I enjoyed building the blinds with him more than I will hunting out of them becuz he's young, enthusiastic and absorbs outdoorsy information like a sponge.
Now the garden plots and food plots are planted. I used a mix of wheat, winter oats, winter Austrian peas, turnips, radishes, hairy vetch and common alfalfa. Some of the early plots are already being feasted on by the deer, all does and fawns, so far. For the neighbor kid's sake, I hope a few bucks begin nosing around our hunting sites. If he gets a deer this fall, it will be his first, as he just completed his hunter education course and has his hunter's ed card.
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Next jobs for fall are winterizing the chicken house, butchering a half-dozen excess roosters — both young and tender and old and tough — changing the oil in all our vehicles, upgrading the antifreeze in them and burning a brush pile.
My grain sorghum plots planted in early July for winter wildlife feed and for my chicken flock were a mixed bag. Almost all the plants survived, but probably only a third produced a viable head of grain.
In spite of that, I've been harvesting around 30 heads a day for a month for the chickens. I figgered I might as well save a little money on feed because I know any day now a monstrous flock of blackbirds will descent on my sorghum heads and strip them bare in a day or two.
For folks who are living in the continuing drought, this next bit of info will not be surprising. Since the middle of August, here at Damphewmore Acres we've been grateful for more than 10-inches of rain. The biggest single rain was 4-inches, followed by a 3-incher, and last weekend a 2-incher. Plus, we've had several showers of from three to six-tenths of rain.
Yet, in spite of the welcome moisture, there's been scant to no runoff in the ponds. The water level in my 4-acre pond is lower now than it wuz last fall at this time. Plus, all that rainfall has yet to get rid of the cracks in the ground. I can show you cracks in the ground that are still more than 2-inches wide. I don't know how much more rain it will take in this area to fill up the ponds and lakes, but I hope I find out yet this fall.
After we returned from our Colorado vacation, my old buddy from New Mexico, ol' Albie Kirkey, and his eldest son, Tex, came to the Flint Hills for a four day fishing trip.
We had two days of excellent fishing and two days of fair fishing, but still ended up sending an abundance of bass, crappie and catfish fillets back to their respective homes.
Albie and I go WAY back and we enjoy these semi-annual fishing trips more for the renewed camaraderie than for the fishing.
Folks, I've had my civil right of free expression trampled on. To make a point about all the empty promises and empty ideas of this political season, I hung an empty chair to swing in the breeze at the end of my driveway. A brazen political thief made away with my "political chair" in the middle of the day.
He or she will have a tougher time taking down the empty chair I replaced the original with. I anchored it much better. And, I'm being a lot more vigilant.
I found in my e-mail box these words of wisdom from the dry, witty Ben Stein: "Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured … but not everyone must prove they are a citizen. Now add this: Many of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens."
Have a good 'un. ❖
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