Cold winter forecast
Last week I started a “Fantastic Farming Tales” section, which will run for a while until I decide to quit or can’t get enuf material. This week’s fantastic tale is appropriate — since it’s close to 100 degrees and 80 percent humidity outside — because it comes from a dedicated reader who claims he can tell us now, well in advance, what kind of winter we’re going to have.
Here’s his winter prediction: Looks like we due for a cold one again — based on the ol’ boys who hang out in the mornings around the coffee table down at the local cafe.
Specifically, he noted:
(1) Some Kansas wheat farmers have already made plans to head to their “winter homes” in Florida, south Texas, or Arizona in September.
(2) The wooly worms are coming into farmhouses everywhere and heading for the nearest electric blanket.
(3) The labels on diesel engine starting fluids have been altered to include this information: “Needs to be pre-heated before using.”
(4) An old cowboy was overheard talking about lowering himself to buying a “wool” scotch cap (and actually using the earflaps).
(5) The yellow jacket and paper wasp nests are all at least 30-feet off the ground and wrapped with R-30 insulation strips.
(6) I predict school bus drivers will see kids are actually heading out to the school bus in the mornings without being reminded by parents to take their coats and gloves with them.
(7) Storm-window and house-siding salesman are calling farmers everywhere, just after they have finished eating supper, and politely asking if they know where a fellow could buy some firewood.
(8) And the number one sign that we may be in for a cold winter: The next global warming convention has been booked in sub-Sahara Africa in January.
My retired carpenter friend from Colorado, ol’ Sawyer Bord, came for a visit last week for a bit of summer fishing. He claims that what he mostly wants to do is “just catch up on our visiting,” but I think his ulterior motive is to maintain his “bass bragging rights” over me since he currently holds the record at more than 7-pounds.
Luckily, we caught a couple of cool mornings to get in our fishing. The first day wuz pretty much a blank for Sawyer as most of the bass that struck his lure jumped out of the water and spit the lure back at him. As for me that day, I lowered myself to white grubworm bait fishing for big bluegills. I ended up catching at least 15.
The next day we resolved to mainly use our fly rods. I hadn’t dusted my fly rod off in more than five years, so I was a tad rusty in using it gracefully. The fly line had an old but hefty poly-tippet with at least a 5-pound test weight. So, I tied on a colorful bass fly, walked to the edge of the pond, and made a false cast with the fly landing not 5 feet in front of me.
In a heartbeat a big bass hit the fly and took off. After a few seconds, I recovered from the shock and set the line — only to have the bass boil to the top and break the tippet — probably brittle from old age. Sawyer saw it happen and gracefully said, “Too bad, Milo. That was a good ‘un.” But, I’ll bet he wuz thinking, “But you can’t weigh the one that gets away.”
Anyway, after I re-rigged and got back into the rhythm of fly fishing, I hooked and landed a 3.5-pound bass — weighed on my hand-held scale — and another one that probably went 2.5 pounds. First ones of that size I’d caught in quite a span. I may have to fly fish more this fall.
Sawyer saw his luck change a bit and he landed quite a few small filleting-size bass and a huge green sunfish. At the end of that day, we gave all our fish to one of my neighbors so they could enjoy the fillets and we could enjoy our favorite fermented beverage. As as for me, I still don’t have overall “biggest bass” bragging rights, but I do have them for this trip.
The chiggers have been bad on me this summer. They love my thin, tender old hide. So, I figgered I’d get eaten up while fishing with Sawyer, but the recent hot, dry weather must have shriveled the chiggers, too, because I got no new ones. I know everything wuz put on earth for a good reason, but I’ve missed the reason for chiggers.
On the chicken flock front, I’ve got all four hens and all 25 chicks moved into the main chicken house. They are adapting well. Plus, I got three newly hatched chicks from the Old English hen and I’ve got her moved to the brooder house. It will be interesting to see if she can raise her chicks — one black, one brown, and one yellow. I’ll add that this old hen is the most persistent I’ve ever owned in wanting to hatch a brood of chicks. She first went broody back in early May. I got so tired of tossing her off the nest every evening that I finally decided it wuz easer to give her a few eggs to tend in an old dog crate. At least raising chicks will keep her busy for a while.
A few weeks ago I had a hen turkey on the place with six poults. Well, this week when mowing the grass down by my south border, I discovered turkey feathers with a wing-bone attached. So, some varmint got to my next Thanksgiving dinner months before I could.
Saw a lone mature bald eagle this week. It wuz perched on a power pole miles from the river or notable water. Have no idea what it wuz doing out there in the middle of such a hot day.
Ol’ Nevah and I celebrated our 57th anniversary on Aug. 16. Where has the time gone?
Words of wisdom for the week: “The wind is like the air, only pushier.” Have a good ‘un.
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