KENTAHTEN:"Land of Tomorrow"
To all fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, and ghosts that I,ve known in Kentahten
As this composer, George Harold Fulks, commences this day on March 15, 2010, a feeling of guilt would exist should I fail to dedicate a portion of space on the subject of my two years as a school teacher in the Livingston County, Kentahten School District. That land, its people, and how they and I interacted amounted to positive growth and learning experiences. Hopefully, a number of those Kentahten residents might recall that they also gained from their acquaintenance with me.
Among those to be mentioned are:(1)Close neighbors George and Velda Robinson; (2)
Louis, Dorthy, and Margie Bradley; (3)Nancy Edwards: (4)Tommy Overfield; (5)Members of staff and students recollected; (6)Orndorf's; (7)Jimmy, Myrtle, and Andrew Groves.
Sparcity in population within rural areas of Livingston County, Kentahten provided for many residents a degree of privacy and independence not available for city dwellers and those residing within hamletts/small villages.
A very secret communication is concealed herein. Don't allow the U.S. Government to find out about it. To agent number X-5 KZ88106/The Mig-15 you offered to buy from me is enroute to Ellis Island. We're now 800 miles off Maine in the North Atlantic. Meet us 250 miles out with the cash in American dollars. As soon as I get the money, you have the Mig. This is agent Andrea D.
Catching The Limit In Large-mouthed Bass
It was an hour or so before dusk. There was little more than a hint that anything
marvelous was associated with Hematite Lake. It's waters lay peaceful and placid. Nature was as still as a sleeping log. A dozen or more frogs uttered their deep grumps. From the surrounding hardwood forests emerged a unison of crickets and katydids. Noctural creatures had begun to wander about in preparation for the nightlife of a celestial city constructed under millions of starlights and the light from just one moon a moon. But its reflection was soon to show on the water there. A few clusters of waterfowl, some mallards
and geese, had been feeding and preparing to nest somewhere for the night. Where they would hide is not known.
A brandnew 1969 Ford parked beside an older model, Chevy pickup. A young man who
owned the old truck was engaged in spectacular exhibition. The visitor though, was just in time to see the show. With a spinning reel and a green topwater lure, the young fisherman cast his line no more than twenty yards into the direction of some lilypads. The lure was laid down each time almost perfectly. A gentle jerk with his fiberglass rod, and the
lure was pulled forward two or three times. At each cast, a largemouthed bass would attack, jumped high into upperspace. A triplehook was set, and the fish were
hooked and then, reeled-in. Perhaps twenty casts were required, but soon the man had his limit.
Waiting quitely and patiently, the man observer asked: "Hello, how are Julie, Billy and Yvonne?"
"They're doing great. Come on over and visit us after you're finished."
Little more than thirty minutes of light remained of that day during a Kentucky spring of several years past. There was enough time remaining. The young man who had been an observer removed the same kind of lure, rod,and reel from the trunk of
his vehicle. Thirty minutes passed. The sun of that day disappeared slowly until just a tiny piece of it was visible behind a break in the forest. Then the second young man drove away with a string of twelve beautiful bass. All the bass weighed at least five pounds."
Stopping by his brothers' home, the two filleted their catch of twenty-four bass, placed them in his deepfreezer; and had a beer or two along with their conversation.
It appears appropriate that this writer should note that little doubt exists in my mind that the world record large- mouth bass swims in the waters of
Lake Barkley, Kentucky. While casting from the shore of Craven's Bay during the 1960's, I'd rigged a catfishing rod and reel with 100 pound test line. The water there was calm, cool and clear. While casually dragging in a practice run what was probably eight feet of line; hook baited with a nightcrawler, a bass more that six
feet in length took the bait and oversized hook in its mouth; snapping a one hundred pound test line as if that line were sewing thread. That fish was clearly visible beneath the surface.
Above image credited to http://www.flickr.comphotos/striderv/2758401835/>/p>
Pisgah Bay- Fishing For Hybrid-stripers
Employed as a refuge aid at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Rum Fulks had arranged a deal with Don Ambrosen, the refuge manager. "Mr. Fulks," said Don."You can take your thirty day leave-of-absence at any time you wish. Just give me two days notice."
It was one day in the spring of 1950 that the Fulks were enjoying a Sunday at their home on the refuge."Rum, your uncle Lalus Pinegar is on the telephone. He wants to talk to you." said Ella Belle Fulks.
"Hello,Uncle! It's good to hear from you. How are you, and what's the news?"
"Rum,it's time for you to come and visit. The weather is right, and the stripers are running. The shad they're feeding-on are just the right size. Fisherman are coming home with their limit. Their catch includes some
small and large mouthed bass. Many fish are of really good size. Come as soon as you can, and you won't miss."
Soon the Fulks' were off to Western Kentucky- a twelve hour journey. Such a trip
by automobile was a fantastic journey. Passengers included Rum, Ella, Betty Jean, and the only son, George. Just north of Chattanooga, Rum exclaimed, "There's the Tennessee River. Ain't she pretty? To me, that's one of the wonders of the world."
Spending a night at his mother's farm near Golden Pond, the Fulks arose early the next morning. That day began with Carie Fulks' traditional breakfast. It's the
one intended for a man facing eight or more hours hard farm labor. There was the taste of sugarcured ham, homemade biscuits, butter and mollasses, fried-apple tarts, milk and coffee, fried eggs, and breaths of the cleanest of air. Then the visitors from Georgia were off to the home of Lalus Pinegar, Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Uncle Lalus (nicknamed "Little Britches") was the cigarsmoking, mayor of that town.
Following a peaceful nights' sleep at the Uncle Lalus and Aunt Allie Jennings Pinegar house, the family were eager in anticipation of fishing for striped bass. Prior to going to bed on the prior evening, there had been a visit to Kentucky Dam where the family observed snagging and fishing by strong men- several who had worked at hardlabor on eight hour shifts; and then gone fishing. Seen were catches of paddlefish, channel catfish, carp, stripers, and shad. Colonies of egrets, gulls, and kingfishers shared with us the eco-system the TVA had created.
Bob Beck owned a bait and tackle shop just two miles from Pisgah Bay. Rum, Lalus, and George rose early that next spring morning. A boat and outboard motor were
rented from Bob. The three fisherman launched their boat into the bay early on several mornings. Lalus, Rum, and George located and followed schools of jumping
bass. Feeding on large schools of minnows, the shallow waters churned with their
activity. Those bass were hungry.The bait we three fishermen had was not real.
We lured the fish with Mad-bombers. Behind that torpedo-like monster, we had placed red and white spoons with a single, triple hook. Casting those lures into schools of shad and the bass feeding on them, each cast would result in a catch. The school might disappear for a time. The three fishermen would search for and locate them again,
sometimes thirty seconds by boat away and on the other side of Pisgah Bay. Each of those three days, they'd stop fishing and head for home near 11:30 A.M. A portion of time inbetween was used for
trolling the bomber and spinner. Takes some time and effort to scale and clean seventy-five fish. There were three or four days of one-half day on the lake- followed by a long period of rest and conversation.
Five days must have passed-by on a similar schedule. Then it was necessary that
Fulks headback towards Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge near Round Oak, Georgia. There would be stories to share with the people backhome- fishtails. If the family could have remained in Western Kentucky, it would have been fun for a time. R.I. Fulks was employed in Georgia.("There are miles to go before I sleep.)/Robert Frost
Robert Frost's verse Stopping By A Woods On A Snowy Evening
takes a different meaning for me, a former sports fisherman. When the fishing is good, the fisherman would enjoy continuing his time-out from responsibility and pursue his living in that manner, but in a sense, "there are miles to go before I
sleep. I have promises to keep." That's an odd interpretation of those lines of poetry, isn't it?
Whose woods these are
I think I know.
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fillup with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near.
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To see if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Thanks to http://www.internal.org/view_poem
SURPRISE AT CRAVEN'S BAY
As a resident of Western Kentucky for two years and during visits while a teacher in Illinois, Craven's Bay was always my first choice as a fishing spot. The area offered peace and solitude. It provided a taste of water and wilderness that were both relaxing and usually a successful fishing experience. Bass, carp, buffalo, and catfish were plentiful, and the bay was not far from the former home of
the Rummage Ira Fulks family. Not many people frequented the area following the TVA
acquisition of the land and impoundment of Barkley Lake in 1964.
It is odd to me that on one fishing trip to the area, I was using a spinning rod and a shallow running lure with a spoon and white tail. Latching-on to an undersized
small-mouthed bass as I fished from the shore, the small fish was mine without a struggle or excitement. Glancing behind me as I allowed my catch to land on the ground, I noticed that a sly, bright-eyed, red-fox had approached me from my rear. Less than ten yards behind me, it had been eyeing my behaviors and seemed to have been enjoying my activity there on shore at Craven's Bay. Startled by the sight of the bass
flopping upon the ground, it very friskly scurried away into the forest and disappeared. I was startled by the sight of a fox that near me, and my heart must have skipped a beat or two.
Upload "scan, frankh..family"
My Nephew's Visit To Kentucky
Frank Hallman, a nephew, was a visitor to Western Kentucky as a highschool sophomore from Gray, Georgia. The author was then an unmarried public school teacher. Frank had traveled by bus to the home of R.I. and Ella Belle Fulks near
Swanee and Kuttawa, Kentucky. As I, George Fulks, Frank was someone who loved fishing and hunting.
That summer during the mid-1960's, my fishing rig was an Ebb-tide Fishmaster boat
equipped with a 20 HP Johnson outboard, an electric ignition system, and a steering-wheel had been installed as an extra convenience. Frank and I fished on both Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. An expert at operating the boat, Frank loved fishing and hunting as much as I. I've never encountered anyone who loved those sports and the outdoors more than that nephew. With the 20 HP, we could navigate from Kentucky to
Barkley Lakes with the greatest of ease. We could outrun and overtake any other watercraft we encountered. Being inexperienced as boaters, we avoided the areas near the dams.
Frank's visit was during mid-summer. Our luck with fishing was slim, but we had a
wonderful time boating. An excellent storm craft, we could reach the safety of shore in a jiffy. Frank returned home with a desire to remain longer. It was a memorable experience for him and me.
As a senior, I don't fish as often as during my youth. The fishing rig I had then
would be my choice for today. It was not luxurious, but a masterpeice of functional hardware. During that time, the trailer, motor, and boat sold for less than $800. The electric starting and steering were extra.
Wish I were back again to that
time. To you who are now in your twenties, have fun as I did then.
Some of Kentucky's Troublemakers
Three troublemakers I often encountered within the Land Between The Lakes Recreation Areas were alligator snapping turtles, copperheads and timber- rattlers.
Visitors should understand that the poisonous reptiles are not interested in human
contact. Their natural enemies are owls, hawks, humans, and foxes. Their food supply is plentiful and various The heavily forested and weed overgrowth provides excellent cover for snakes. While on
the trails, an adventurer should watch the steps he takes. Copperheads have hateful dispositions, and they do not hesitate to bite. They'll sometimes gain entry into the interior of ones vehicle. Having been bitten by a copperhead at Craven's Bay, this writer has knowledge that those make seek the warmth of the human body during cool, spring days and nights. Children should not be
allowed to walk unsupervised there, and heavily weeded areas should be avoided.
Surprised by an alligator snapping turtle as I was wading and jigging in the bay
there, I spotted it less than an arms' length away. While the turtle was not angry and didn't seem agressive, I quickly retreated to shore with my string of bass hanging alongside me. The snapping turtle appeared to be more curious than anything
else, but its name and mean looks are frightening. I know of none who have been bitten by one. It seemed to question me as to what I was doing as I waded in the water there. Will an alligator snapping-turtle bite people? That's a question I can't answer.
Advice For Campers
It is recommended by this experienced primitive camper that should you plan to
takeup residence at a primitive site, the dog or feline would be some of the best company along the trail or at night. As for a dog, the chow would be my choice
as a companion. They're especially alert and sensitive. Even a hint of a domestic quarrel or disturbance results in a strongg reaction from those canine pals. Able to sniffout an area, they don't hesitate to defend their masters and friends. They're extremely intelligent and brave. My oldest daughter and her husband in Ft. Lauderdale have a
male and a female chow. What it is that they chase away from under the privy
fence remains to me a mystery, but their first act when they're released into the small parcel of Bermuda grass is to chase something away that we can't see. Iguanas or snakes? What's there?
I've made friends with Pete and Kristal's dogs. When I laydown to take a nap on their sofa, the two dogs will stay as guards nearby and defend me through my slumber.
Mystery of the Disappearing Goslings
The home in Ft. Lauderdale occupied and owned by my daughter, Kristal and husband Pete, is among several other homes surrounding a five-acre lake. Twenty or more
geese and mallards also reside there. Those geese are black with unkissable faces, but I appreciate them and give them some attention.
During one visit, a mother goose with twenty-one goslings became a daily visitor. She'd come near me, and I gave her and her children dogfood, wheat bread, and unwanted leftovers. But by the end of my two weeks
vacation there in Davie, the number of goslings with her had declined to eleven.
"What's happening to the goslings?" I asked Kristal. "I don't know," she answered.
One day as I stood on the lake shore watching the mother and her young feed, I heard her
honking loudly. Something from the water made its way underneath the family and seized one gosling and then another. Being close enough for me to count her youngsters, only nine of them remained. What lives in the water that is eating the goslings? A largemouthed bass weighing twenty or more pounds or an alligator are
Two Years Near Mahon Hollow
Sparsely populated during the mid-1960 and the time I lived and worked in Livingston County, Kentucky, my residence was located off a black-topped road between Burna and Hampton. Virtually private, a road passed by my house that provided
access to the steep bluffs and boulders of what was called Mahan Hollow. As is common in many rural areas, the wild creatures far outnumbered humans. Frequent visitors to my area were fox, raccoons, oppossums, hawks, crow and cowbirds. Unseen and unidentifiable things prowled into the evening hours and night.
Just a Bit of History
From an historical group in Marion, Kentucky, this author found an interesting image of a buffalo hunt. Of
special interest to me and their group are the tribes of native Americans that once fought over the hunting grounds of Western Kentucky. My interest increased upon learning that several of my kindred were married to mates who were natives.
A native Amercan burial ground and mound was discovered during a 1996 visit to Kentucky Dam. Local historians and archeologists had begun to restore that native Amercan burial ground. Visiting that site was a humbling experience, but contrary to what one might
dream, Kentucky was not a peaceful area during those times when natives were the only inhabitants. My understanding is that the natives were into contiuous conflicts over who owned and should control the hunting grounds. Reasons were obvious. Kentucky was a hunting paradise. Deer, bear, cougar, wolves, beaver, fox, muskrat, bison, and fish were abundant. Raccoon, oppossum, squirrel,rabbit, and game birds were also dependable food sources. Not many people stayed hungry for long there.
Frank DePriest's store, located at the left turn for Old Ferry Road was a popular
stopping place for fuel, refreshments, and groceries for many years. A right turn from Grand Rovers would take one to Maurie Watkin's country store and Old Birmingham Ferry. Much of our successful fishing was done in that bay area.(1940's and 50's)
"The Land Between the Lakes" area now supports a buffalo range in close proximity to the former farm and home of Grandmother Carie Gerthie Dell Pinegar Fulks, Aunt Wilmus Avel, and Uncle Herbert Buford. Those ancestors were not in physical condition to hunt, and it was only seldom that they fished. While this writer has not yet visited there, I am somewhat pleased with their efforts to preserve and restore the
population of bison to the North American Continent. Estimates of bison population on
Earth have been placed at 300 thousand.("American Bison Association") Providing assurance that bison will not suffer extinction, I am pleased to learn of their numbers.