Whitesburg KY

What will the woollies predict?

Points East

While I seriously doubt that COVID-19 has had anything to do with it, there have been some unusual weather and other nature phenomena going on since roughly the time it really took off.

For example we certainly had more May frosts on Charlie Brown Road than at any time since we’ve bought the place in 1999 or, for that matter, since we moved to Garrard County in 1982.

My brother, Andy, had to till the garden twice before we could even think about planting beans and Loretta spent most nights in May, covering her flowers with tarps, blankets, buckets and every tub we could find on the place and still lost all but two of our giant Asian lilies.

Despite the late spring, we still had the most productive garden we’ve had since we’ve been here. I know that self brag is considered half scandal but we have had some dandies over the last two decades. Except for total losses in the pumpkin patch two years in a row, we’ve had more veggies than we could use or give away. I blame myself for the pumpkins’ failure because I’m the one who didn’t control the cinch (stink) bug invasion that destroys their root systems before they get mature enough to preserve themselves. Somehow we managed to beat the raccoons to well over two-thirds of both crops of sweet corn for the first time in 6 years.

When spring finally decided to get serious, we mostly had ideal rainfall for gardening and there were only a few times when it got so hot we couldn’t stand to be outdoors. However, at least a dozen readers have asked me why their beans grew healthy vines, bloomed profusely and they still didn’t get enough to make a good mess, much less have any to can or freeze. All of them had planted the same varieties in the same spots for years and had bumper crops. Someone smarter than yours truly will have to answer that one out because we’ve had all the beans we needed to eat fresh, preserve and share with more than half a dozen friends and neighbors.

Last Sunday night, at 9:30 on the dot, I was lying in bed, reading an old Luke Short western, when I heard a distant, prolonged, rumble of thunder. I got up to go outside to see if it was raining. No rain but I could lightning in the general direction of Rockcastle and Lincoln counties.

I’d no sooner sat down to gauge the rain chances when I heard a turkey gobble near the top of a big oak across the road, directly in front of our house. Seconds later several roosters started crowing and the turkey gobbled again. It was pitch black dark while I sat there thinking this had to be a sign of something though I had no idea what it might.

Then I noticed a lighter, barely visible spot in the dark clouds on the eastern horizon and figured it out. It was a sign the fool roosters thought the sun was coming up when, in fact, it was the moon. I’ve seen that happen with roosters on numerous other occasions but I have no idea what got the turkey stirred up. I can tell you, for sure, that I have never before heard a turkey gobble at that time of night.

Finally, over the last several days, I’ve spotted at least a dozen strawberry blond woolly worms all within a few miles of our place. We had a blond one and black one side by side on the front porch last Saturday. I picked both up, examined them closely with a magnifying glass and if there was any difference, aside from color, I could not discern it.

I plan to spend a few days with Andy sometime soon, running around the mountains of eastern Kentucky to see what the woollies look like in that neck of the woods. If there are as many blondies up there as there are around here, it’s untelling what that portends for the upcoming winter.

Stay tuned.

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