Blooms and crappie


Here in south Arkansas it’s dogwoods au gogo! This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer.com. To see some additional pictures and get in on the beginnings, a cool thing to do, click here and you will be taken to the Photo of Week page at Corndancer.com.

Thewild dogwoods in south Arkansas are going wild. In some areas, the woods apppear to have been carpet bombed with blooming dogwood trees. A good thing,

The wild dogwoods in south Arkansas are living up to their name. In some areas, the woods appear to have been carpet bombed with blooming dogwood trees. A good thing and a good sign, if you are fed up with winter.

The dogwood blooms you see were shot near Garnett on Arkansas Highway 54 east of Star City, Arkansas. There have to be thousands of dogwood trees now blooming along that highway (March 29, 2009). In addition to the main highway there are dozens of well maintained county gravel roads which lead to and from the highway. These roads are lined with dogwoods as well. These less traveled roads frequently give one a better look at dogwoods – and you contend with less traffic for a more relaxed trip.

Twenty miles or so north of the dogwood hills, still in Lincoln County, you encounter flat Delta farmland. The area is laced with small streams and bayous. These small flowering vines seem to like the bayous.

North of the rolling hills which are home to the dogwoods is the Delta, a low-lying agricultural area. The landscape is laced with small streams and bayous. These small flowering vines seem to like the bayous. We seem to like the flowers. Notice the small pentagonal star in the center of the bloom

Twenty miles or so north of the dogwood hills, still in Lincoln County, you encounter flat Delta farmland. These farmlands are very fertile. It does not take much climatic encouragement for wild flowers to spring up. Many the fields in the area are covered with yellow flowers and bordered with rich green grass like the scene below.

The golden color of the field and tree may fool you into believing this is a scene left over from the fall. Not so. This scene, shot March 29 is illuminated by golden, late afternoon sun. The tree is just beginning to sprout the pollen rich buds which will become the leaves of summer.

The golden color of the field and tree may fool you into believing this is a scene left over from the fall. Not so. This scene, shot March 29, is illuminated by golden, late afternoon sun. The tree is just beginning to sprout the pollen rich buds which will become its leaves of summer.

And now, about the crappie

This shooting and exploration trip actually started on Saturday afternoon. While cruising through the agricultural Delta in northern Lincoln County, Arkansas, I happened upon the low-water bridge on county road 80  across Bayou Bartholomew. There was a woman fishing at the north foot of the bridge. The night before, the area was soaked by a toad-strangler rain, so the bayou was lapping at the roadbed of the bridge. These flood swollen conditions did not seem to bother this woman

Ida Hester shows off her catch.

Ida Hester shows off her catch.

I asked the standard question asked of fishermen, ” … doin enny good?” She broke into a smile and pulled four nice crappie from her ice chest. We introduced ourselves. She is Ida Hester, a high school science teacher. She told me she was, more or less, (in the words of Creedence Clearwater revival – my words, not hers), ” … born on the bayou … ,  I started fishing here when I was four years old.” she said. Hester says she is 58, so you do the math.

“I left years ago and moved to Michigan. When my mother began to suffer the results of old age, I came back to help her.” Hester’s mother died a couple of years ago, but she, Ida stays on. “I’m a science teacher at Dumas High School.”

Hester is high on the fish producing characteristics of the location and is well familiar with its eccentricities. The bayou was swirling high, nearly over the bridge. She says when the water gets this high or higher, even covering the bridge, at this time of  year, she can drag crappie out one after the other at the corners of the bridge. She explained further that the ones she is displaying in the picture are somewhat smaller than here normal catch there.

She allowed as how the bayou had not yet crested under the current conditions and that the bridge would be under water the next morning. Fast forward to early Sunday afternoon. I arrived at the bridge and found about six inches of Bayou Bartholomew running over it. As I made this observation, Ida was packing her gear in her SUV to leave, having just finished another fishing session. She had done well again. A few more crappie and a nice large mouth bass that I’d put in the two pound or there about range. We exhanged a few pleasantries and went on our merry ways.

Sometimes you just get lucky and run in to a nice person like Ida Hester.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

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3 Responses

  1. The dogwoods are nice, but the crappie look better! Ida’s ice chest is just like mine and the same color. The lid is given to detaching from the hinges. I suspect that Ida is adept not only at catching crappie, but also at preparing them for consumption, a process most likely involving corn meal.

  2. Your suspicions are correct. She told me on the second day, that she and her sister were eating well, courtesy of Bayou Bartholomew.

  3. As a whole, your March images have shown the weather to come. As I’ve said before, Cincinnati had an abnormally cold Nov-Feb run. March has led us around the corner, but your pics lead the way.

    Our daffodils are now up, the redbuds are blooming, buds are forming, and I may even cut the grass in a few hours. Well, the rain is coming and some leaves need to come up along the side. But hey … it’s greening up!

    Thanks Joe for pushing it our way!

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