April 14, 2014

Friday began poorly: the first encounter of the year with a serpent was a large copperhead that I almost stepped on. Matters improved as the day unfolded, we met some friends from Dallas for a weekend at a guest house on the Cane River near Natchitoches. The lovely guest house was perfectly appointed, the grounds were immaculately manicured, the azaleas were in glorious full bloom, the weather was balmy, and a great time was had by all. An aesthetic ambiance can be both pleasing and civilizing.

We walked around Natchitoches, a tourist town, on Saturday and outside a hardware store, that carries such items as a five hundred dollar table for serving crawdads, I sat down on a bench while the others in our group shopped. Just inside the store there was an old fashion wooden ice chest that holds bottled cokes, for sale on the honor system for $1.  A red headed fourteen year old kid took a coke out of the cooler placed a dollar in the box, but was unable to open the bottle.  He walked across the street and returned with his father. The father pointed out the bottle opener attached to the wooden cooler and the boy stuck the top of the bottle in the opener and waited for the opener to work.  The father laughed and advised him to "pull  down".  After the quaint operation of removing the bottle top was mastered, the two walked back across the street and a few minutes later, the boy dutifully deposited the empty bottle in a trash can. I was amused that both opening a bottle and returning a bottle to the store were alien concepts to the kid. I am sure he would have been equally amused observing my attempts to send a text message.


Upon returning home Sunday we learned that a deranged person, who apparently hated Jews, opened fire at a Jewish retirement facility not far from where we once lived in Overland Park. The demented man killed a retired physician and his eagle scout grandson; both were members of a nearby Methodist church.  No comment is necessary.

 Sunday evening there were tornado warnings. As the storm approached and the barometric pressure dropped my mood turned as dark as the sky. I have no fear of storms, probably this is traceable to my mother who proceeded through live as though she were protected at all times by providence (In retrospect, I think she was). When I was about twelve years old a tornado warning was broadcast on the local radio station. I asked her what we should do. She replied, "Get near the pot. It has not been hit yet." However, providence does not shield me from the effects of sharp weather changes; I am like a werewolf under a full moon whenever the pressure drops. Lucky for those around me, the black mood soon lifts and my fangs recede. Lucky for the area the tornado remained in the sky not touching down at all.

Sunday is Easter. Many of the locals swear by a "Easter Cold Snap" an event they believe will occur Easter week no matter if  Easter is scheduled for late March or late April.  Well, they are right again. The weather forecast is for freezing conditions tonight, so I have covered the tomato plants with plastic buckets. In other matters rural, the county agent advised me to purchase grass carp to get rid of the pond scum rapidly spreading over the large pond. As I dislike telephones, Victoria called the fish hatchery to learn when they would be in the area with fish to sell. I have make a note to Carpe Carp on May 8th at the Farm Store. We use to catch carp by rolling balls of Wheaties (take a hand full of the stuff, wet it and roll it your hands until it becomes a small hard ball) place the ball on a weighted hook and let the line sink to the bottom of the lake. Best to use a barbless hook - that way the caught fish can be released without the fisherman having to touch the disgusting thing. Unlike rainbow trout, carp are ugly; bottom feeders seldom possess beauty, in neither man nor beast.

grass carp
                           For those unfamiliar with the species.