Archive for March, 2017

What a venue!

It’s sucker season on Bull Creek. This means that between 7:00 and 8:00 A.M., we see even more pick-up trucks than usual in the tiny dirt parking area by the bridge. Most of those pick-ups sport step-ladders and contain one to four males ranging in age 6 to 66, with 23-38 being the most common range. These males debark their vehicles and press through the brush on the near side, walking upstream along the bank while carefully studying the water for any subsurface stirrings caused by schools of suckers.

I think the suckers usually live in Lake Taneycomo, but (with apologies Tennyson), in the spring a young sucker’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and he – along with all his near and distant kin  – come up the creek to spawn. Googling “when do suckers spawn in missouri?” yields the following from the Missouri Department of conservation website:

“The majority of suckers harvested in Missouri are taken by snagging (or grabbing) and gigging. Both methods are time-honored Ozarks traditions. Sucker grabbing is at its best in the spring when these fish move into shallow gravel areas to spawn. It is not uncommon for hundreds of suckers to congregate in a relatively small area. White suckers migrate up Roark and Bull creeks from Lake Taneycomo each spring. Because of their affinity for cold water, they make these runs earlier than other sucker species. Local residents take advantage of the early white sucker spawning run to harvest these fish prior to the later spawning migrations of the redhorse sucker species.”

And local residents are not the only ones to take advantage of this sucker run. It is the nature of the males mentioned above to “clean” their catch and leave the fish carcasses in heaps either on the bank or in the water. These multiplied hundreds of fish skins and heads remain (and smell) until either we get some really heavy rain to wash them away and/or other critters carry them off.

I was walking on the creek road the other day, and about 4/10 of a mile up, I spied a great number of turkey vultures enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner of sucker remains that had been dropped in a pooled area of the creek. The feast must’ve been tasty, because they let me get quite close before flying off. I tried to count them; there were more than 25. That’s a lot of vultures at one party! I was only doing a short walk down and back, and after I had turned around and walked only maybe 30 paces back toward home, I looked over my shoulder, and the whole gang was already back at the table. I clearly didn’t intimidate them for very long. And since I love to learn, I wondered if you call a group of vultures something other than a flock. Turns out you do. I had seen a venue of vultures! Isn’t that just a wonderful, alliterative, and memorable term? A venue of vultures; I can surely say I learned something fun today.

Gonna have a yard sale

We’re not, but our church is. The purpose is to raise money for the mission team that’s going from our church to Niger this summer. I think the total needed is about $21,000, so we’ve all been encouraged to donate as much used-but-valuable stuff as possible to the yard sale. This is a great motivator for me, as we have a house and multiple out-buildings just full of stuff. With so much fodder, all I need to do is to schedule the and then discipline myself to start somewhere and go through stuff. I have about a month to accomplish this, and I have already ruthlessly culled my dresser. I think next will be my closet, then maybe Jo’s closet. . . I really just need Jessica to come stand over me and tell me which area to tackle and what to get rid of. My goal is to put at least three things in the yard sale pile every day, starting tomorrow. Anybody want to hold me accountable?  = )

Three (not fifty) shades of white

I am fully assured that God loves me deeply and personally, but IF I ever wondered about his love for and grace toward me, I had full proof of them both at 12:45 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Scott and I were at the dining room table playing Dominion over lunch when I glanced out the front window and nearly screamed, “It’s SNOWING!!!” And indeed, it was. And it continued steadily and at times heavily for the next two-and-a-half glorious hours.

Our weather so far this spring has fluctuated wildly and frequently, with temps nearly up to 80 one day and in the 40s the next. The spring peepers were out peeping for two days a few weeks ago, and then it went down to 24, and they were silent. The Bradford pears are just about done with their three-week show, dandelions are beginning to make their presence known, and on Friday, our plum trees suddenly (they always do this overnight) but a bit more hesitantly than usual began blooming. And then on Saturday, the merciful, magnificent snow!

I ran out on the porch, barefoot, just to grin and stomp and holler at the joyfulness of it, and that’s when I noticed that while I’ve always described the plum and Bradford pear blossoms as white, I don’t remember ever having had the opportunity to simultaneously compare both of them to Snow. I realized I was definitely seeing three varieties of white.

It was our first and LONG-awaited snow of the season, and I sighed with contentment; one of those sighs that means (a la Mark Gungor), “all’s right with the world.”

Let it snow!