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Have you ever had a question popped to you out of the clear blue sky? It is quite a surprising thing to hit you between the eyes, isn't it? It happened to me the other day. It wasn't an eye-popper, but it certainly was unexpected. I know, you're thinking, "Quit the lolly-gagging and tell us the question!"

I was talking with a friend about the weather, telling him that August was a record-breaker when ... out of the blue, he asked me, "Do you still have a fig pen in your back yard?" Gulp. No, but Kentucky has been a problem.

'Cuff readers of several years past will remember when I had to enclose a tree in a pen because it was a fig tree. I called it a fig pen. Let me give you a brief explanation: Some friends gave me a nice fig tree specimen which I planted in a special spot ... in fact, it was not too far from the NOAA rain gauge. Being completely in the dark about fig trees I enclosed it with chicken wire which ... I'll bet you're thinking, "Why didn't you call it a chicken pen?"

Anyway, to make a several-year long story short ... the fig tree grew and in almost a year it bore fresh figs. At other times ... well, that's another story. The fig tree grew quite tall every year; in fact, it increased to about four or five trees. But they froze back to the ground each winter. Last year it had a nice crop and then a colder-than-usual spell hit Westside Eagle Observer country. I didn't add to the pile of leaves mulch so I didn't expect it to come alive this spring. I left four tall tree stalks from last year and decided to plant another crop around them.

Yep, you guessed it. I planted half a dozen climbing Kentucky Wonder beans thinking (don't tempt me) that they would climb those old stocks and there would be KW beans for the table. Oh, by the way, back to the original question about the fig pen; later it was installed around a red maple tree that the deer were enjoying. Now it rests near some rakes and other stuff in what we call the barn. So, to conclude this fascinating horticultural story, let me bring us up to date: The fig sprouts woke later than the KW beans and they took off to high heavens and some were taller than the old stalks from last year. A short shot of Miracle-Gro did its work and the Kentuckys also took off for the blue sky.

Two fig trees began to show little figs on their branches from the ground to the treetops, which by now required a kitchen stool to reach the KWs which were blooming and beaning at the highest point. Time passed and there was a tiny crop of beans because pollinating bees apparently weren't able to find the KW blossoms among the figs. But Kentucky kept growing, wrapping those cord-like vines around and around those flustered figs. After trying to dislodge the vines I finally gave up and the fig fellers, like tall, skinny stalks, were topped with Kentucky toadstool crowns.

I'll end this quickly, believe it or not. That humdinger of a windstorm a few nights ago did the dirty work. Down came the massive garbled vine-covered fig trees as well as the old stalks. Everything snapped off at the ground, little figs and all. End of story? If the fig trees appear next year, Kentucky Wonders won't. Do I dare suggest you tune in for another famous fig tale next Fourth of July?

Change of subject. Hurrah! Just an announcement: this year's month of August set a new record at the NOAA station in Gravette; a total of 10.45 inches of rain was recorded. This exceeds the 9.13 inches that fell in 1952 and the 8.42 inches in 1940. In contrast, zero moisture fell in the rain cylinder at the same spot in year 2000. The average August amount is 3.44 inches. Through the first eight months of the year, a total of 55.10 inches has fallen in Gravette compared with 30.52 inches average for the same period. The total average for the year is slightly more than 44 inches.

What can we expect the last four months? Will there be a skiff of snow on Halloween? Or will there be a white Thanksgiving for a white turkey? Or will sleigh bells be ringing on Christmas Eve and will kids, out for the vacation, be throwing snowballs to welcome the new year?'

Leave it to Mother Nature. She surprised us with lots of moisture during spring and summer and sprung her real surprise with the windstorm a few days ago. Thankfully, it could have been worse. Guess we can really blame it on the president who seems to get the blame for everything ... or perhaps it was caused by so much politicking by a bunch of socialist promoting politicians. It's impossible to find a politically correct answer. Maybe it's all caused by a pig pen or a chicken pen or a fig pen. Wonder what we can dredge up next time?

Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 09/11/2019

Print Headline: It's Kentucky, not a pen

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