Coondogs, Snakeman, Pawpaws, Native Americans and Hooligans

Fall is in the air, corn and soybeans are being harvested, and fields are being plowed for winter wheat planting. Hummingbirds and monarchs are migrating back to Central America. Chants of Auburn’s War Eagle and that of the college in the middle part of the state that is a combination of toilet paper and laundry detergent have begun. These days it’s not unusual to see JP, my John Deere, sitting in my driveway with fall cleanup in full swing.

My pawpaw trees barely missed getting crushed by a couple of hackberries when the tornado hit. Most of the fruit was blown off the trees while still green. Four hung on so I could finally get a taste. They say the taste is a cross between custard and banana, but I’m not convinced. What was so amazing for a native fruit that has been around for ages was the comments I got when I posted the fruit on Facebook. So many folks had never seen the fruit, nor knew that it was edible.

A while back as I drove home over the Tennessee River, the water just looked like it had shimmery waves, so I had to turn around and go back over it and go down to McFarland Park. I got a few pictures of the river and then noticed the dragonflies and put my telephoto on and chased them for a while. By the time I decided I needed to be heading home, I bypassed my plans to get a load of pine mulch. The next day was spent at a swampy area near the river that was a haven for dragonflies. Needless to say, I didn’t get mulch that day either. 

When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a cable with orange ties running all the way down from the road and off the end of the driveway. I went to the mailbox and Mom had her leaf rake attached to her mower picking up the clippings and I waved her down. She said the repairman said it looked like lightening had hit the line and he would be back sometime in the next seventeen days to bury it. That meant I needed to mark the underground fence so they wouldn’t cut through the line. 

I fed the Hooligans first and got out Big Berta, my walk-behind weed eater, put a fresh set of strings on and started trimming. I had cleaned up about two feet of the path where the fence wire came off of the driveway and broke the string off cutting a small hackberry tree. Fresh set of strings, turned the key and started trimming again, only to run out of gas. Finally I got the area over the fence trimmed and placed warning flags along the line from the pole near the road.

After I put my tools up and went into the garage to get the Hooligans some treats before closing down the doors, I noticed a hummingbird in the window. I grabbed the butterfly net; it flew around the room for a while, went over my truck and crashed into the corner and slid down to the floor. Blackie noticed it and ran in and grabbed it before I could get around my truck and ran out the door and down the hill with me in hot pursuit with the net yelling at her to drop it. Much to my surprise, she finally did and kept on running. When I picked it up, I thought she was dead but couldn’t find any holes in her, so I took her to the feeder and stuck her beak in one of the slots. Much to my surprise she started drinking. When she had gotten her fill, I cleaned all of the cobwebs off of her wings and feet and was going to offer her some more sugar water when she suddenly flew up to the birch tree in the front yard.

I had to replace my roof due to a hail storm we had last March. After the shingles were delivered, the Hooligans were after some critter in the pallet under them. Blackie kept barking at me to move the shingles for her. “Forget it,” I told her. Finally after an hour she gave up. Levi being up on top of the hill so he could get the water dish for the birds hanging in the tree.

I finally started getting tomatoes Labor Day weekend. I didn’t get them into the ground until the end of June due to a wet spring, and then pneumonia. I had one nice volunteer coming out of the compost bin that the green tomatoes kept disappearing from. I caught Blackie eating one, and since tomatoes are a big no-no on her list of allergies, it was pulled up and put back into the compost bin. Now that she is on food that she isn’t allergic too, and a ringworm infection cleared up, she is getting her hair back. With a daily spray of hydrogen peroxide, none of the Hooligans will let me get any closer than the tip of their noses.

Labor Day was spent at the Coondog Cemetery celebration. The cemetery is the only one in the world for treeing coondog burials. Hall of famer Travis Wammack, aka the Snakeman, from his early days at Fame Recording and the Snakeman Band provided part of the entertainment. A bluegrass band, The Southern Strangers, marking their fortieth straight year at the celebration, provided the other half.  A liars’ contest and a buck dancing were part of the other activities. The 300+ graves in the cemetery were decorated with US flags and silk flowers which were covered with butterflies.

The next week was the Return Walk—The Walk of Life from Tuscumbia Landing to Tuscumbia’s Spring Park and the Oka Kapassa Festival. When Native Americans were removed from the Southeast during the Trail of Tears, Tuscumbia was the only city along the route that provided food, clothing and medical care. The walk is done in reverse to signify the return home to Coldwater, the first name of Tuscumbia. The first day of Oka Kapassa is dedicated as a school day to teach children how things were made such as baskets, arrowheads and dugouts, and living conditions in the old days. Hopefully they will appreciate what they have now.

I spent two hours sitting in my lower three acres trying to get pictures of the recent super moon and eclipse. We had a lot of cloud cover, but every once in a while the skies would reveal a clearing that I would shoot before the clouds covered it back over.

  • Published on Oct 5, 2015
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