Southern Man

Friday, July 30, 2010

Southern Man Catches A Fish

Well, first, some background.

Southern Man turned in his final summer grades a few days ago and now has ten glorious days with no academic duties. Given the sorry state of The Land he's going to spend most of that time out there. Now, by "sorry state" Southern Man means that (a) he's way behind on any number of projects and (b) he hasn't done much upkeep for a few years and (c) he hasn't had a working mower out there for at least that long. The front five acres and the strip down the property line with the neighbors are open and flat and the Brushhog Guy keeps that under control (thus keeping the homeowner's association at bay) but much of the area around The Barn and the still-under-construction Workshop, not to mention various woodpiles and stacks of bricks and other assorted construction material, and all the back-of-the-lot hills and gulleys are badly overgrown. So in preparation he went to Sears and bought a high-wheel string trimmer and a new push mower, got them out there, and began his assault on Mother Nature.

It has been a little frustrating. At the same time Southern Man is trying to get siding up on The Workshop (a project on which he's over a year behind, and which is nearly unapproachable due to the high grass and weeds) and re-organize his many stacks of construction material and so on and so forth and in the process of jumping from job to job managed to run over his good 100-foot heavy-gauge extension cord with the trimmer. Well, not a total loss (he bought replacement ends later and converted it into 60- and 40-foot cords) but still annoying as he had to relocate his work area closer to the nearest outlet. The trimmer itself is great but the brush is so thick that it's chewing through $20-per-spool string at an astounding rate. The wasps are incredibly bad this year - Southern Man has a live-and-let-live attitude with most critters but something about wasps gives him the shivers and he wages unrelenting warfare upon them. And then he noticed a low tire on the truck and quickly determined the cause as a big piece of bailing wire sticking out of the sidewall, so there went the rest of the afternoon and $200.

But on the other hand it is flat beautiful out there - the wild southwestern kind of beauty that Southern Man dearly loves. Even while working he stumbles across wonders daily - clutches of quail eggs (they're delicious in salads), giant garden spiders hanging inverted in their webs, dragonflies mating in flight, birds and snakes and lizards of every kind. At sunset he grabs a beer and sits by the lake and just watches and listens and thinks. Sometimes he works past dark just to lay back and gaze at the stars. And he fixed up one of the old rods and leaves it by The Barn and every now and then sticks whatever is handy on the hook and fishes for a bit.

Now, Southern Man has owned this property for twelve years now and has yet to catch a fish in the lake, nor has he put either of his two little boats into the water. That's mostly because he hasn't really tried due to lack of time and too much work. But there's something very, very wrong with a life that includes owning a waterfront lot like this and not fishing or boating on a regular basis and that is going to change Real Soon Now. But, anyway, today Southern Man took a break when he saw a particularly large and juicy grasshopper just begging to be impaled on a nice big hook. And much to his surprise and pleasure after just a few minutes the bobber went down and Southern Man had himself a plump, eating-size catfish.

The hook came out fairly easily and the cat went back into the water and Southern Man went back to work. But he has finally caught a fish at The Land. The first of many, many more to come.


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