Displaying items by tag: nature

West Kentucky Wild: Early Season Squirrels

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/28/13) – The 2013 squirrel season opened up on Saturday, August 17th. Rain had come sometime during the night and lightning flashes were receding in the distance. Daylight was still over an hour away, giving me a chance to stop in town, grab cup of hot coffee, and a sausage biscuit, while still having enough time to drive to the Muhlenberg County farm before daylight. The rain during the night, along with the calm winds, left ideal hunting conditions.

For reasons unknown, I decided to take my .22 rifle at the last minute, which is tough enough anyway, but especially so in the early part of the season with all the green leaves. To make matters worse, the 3 X 9 scope that is usually mounted on this rifle was moved to the .50 caliber, black powder muzzle loader last fall to help short up my aim for deer season. I suppose if I had really wanted a mess of squirrels, I would have taken a shotgun. Sometimes it’s just about the hunting part and the chance to get out in the woods. After all, it was a beautiful morning—even the mosquitoes and gnats weren’t too bad.

The hardwood ridges on the farm are filled with many varieties of trees that attract squirrels, including beeches, black gums, and oaks, but I knew it was the hickory trees that would give me the best chance. The tight barks, pignuts, and scaly barks are usually the first to hold concentrations in the early days. Later on, the oaks bearing acorns take over. With the abundance of nuts this year, it seemed all species of hickory were full.

The squirrels seemed to be scattered, too, with no one area better. While the rain drops falling from the still-wet leaves masked the sound of nut cuttings hitting the forest floor, there was still quite a racket when a squirrel jumped from one limb to another.

The final results were definitely in the squirrel's favor on this day. There will be other days—hopefully when some the green leaves have fallen. And you can bet a scope will be attached to the .22 rifle a on the next trip.

And don’t be fooled; Duck Dynasty's Robertson family isn't the only place fried squirrel can be found. There are still kitchens in this part of Kentucky where you can find platters of fried squirrel, along with milk gravy, fresh-sliced garden tomatoes, and hot biscuits. If you’re looking for a recipe for fried squirrel, I’d be willing to bet that your grandmother, or maybe even your mother, has one.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short

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We All Float On – Canoeing and Kayaking in Dawson Springs

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/22/13)—If you live in or around the Hopkins County, KY region, adventure is right outside your doorstep (or at least a few miles down the road). From acres of sprawling forests, unique rock formations, and trail-laden parks, to immense waterways, scenic back roads, massive cave systems, and beyond, the western Kentucky region—and the state itself—is brimming with a variety of outdoors opportunities.

Yet, for all of the adrenaline-based activities at our disposal—mountain-biking, rock wall repelling, ATV/dirt bike riding, and jet-skiing, which is to name only a few—there are just as many options for relaxation, nature observation, family-friendly fun, and even a little light exercise.

Case in point: canoeing, kayaking, or boating on Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park’s Pennyrile Lake or Dawson Springs’ nearby Tradewater River.

Though many in our area are familiar with both locations, there may be less who are aware of their canoeing, kayaking, or boating possibilities.

Don’t own a canoe or kayak? While there are even more options at your disposal in Hopkins County if you do, don’t worry—both Pennyrile Lake and the Tradewater River have rentals available for reasonable prices. Worried about the upcoming shift into the fall and winter seasons? Don’t be. Both locations are accessible well into the later months of the year (and sometimes further).

Pennyrile Lake
A decades-old, 56 acre, reservoir-style body of water that stretches well over 3,300 foot from north to south, Pennyrile Lake is located amongst more than 14,000 acres of majestic woodlands. Though Pennyrile Lake’s size could be considered small in comparison to other nearby sites, such as Lake Beshear and Kentucky Lake, its diversity lends itself to a variety of pursuits. Take a few hours to soak up the indigenous wildlife amongst untainted shorelines, varied inlets, and a dense lily-pad “field”; examine the intricacies of sheer rock facings and outcroppings that border the lake’s edge, which are common to the Dawson Springs area; cast your fishing lure into fallen brush piles, beneath overhanging trees, and around the perimeter of adjoining docks; bring your camera and capture a variety of intriguing photographs; or simply take a fresh look at Pennyrile Lake’s historic dam from the water level. And that’s just scratching the surface. The pathway and approach you take to explore this striking setting is up to you and yours. What’s more, Pennyrile State Forest Resort Park offers lodging, camping, fresh food, golfing, swimming, and a bevy of other services/outdoors entertainment.

Here’s the lowdown on pricing and boating options, as well as times/dates that the lake is open to visitors:

• Paddleboats - $5/30 minutes; $8/hour; $25/day
• Canoes - $8/hour; $30/day
• Jon Boat (no motor) - $10/hour; $35/day
• Jon Boat (with motor) - $20/hour; $45/day; $86/two days

All rentals include boat paddles and life-jackets at no additional charge. Rentals are available from 10am – 5pm every day of the week until October 31st. For more information on Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, such as boat availability, call (270) 797-3421 or visit http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/pennyrile-forest/. Detailed directions to the park are also available at the aforementioned link.

Tradewater River
Named for the oftentimes “neutral” trade interactions it fostered between various native American tribes and white settlers in the early-to-mid-1800’s, the Tradewater River is a truly historic tributary of the Ohio River that meanders across western Kentucky and parts of Indiana for well over 100 miles. Though portions of the relatively slow-moving, yet tranquil and naturally picturesque, river are difficult or impossible to traverse by boat, canoe, or kayak due to large, sporadic deposits of fallen debris, local outdoors enthusiast and Dawson Springs resident, Hank Mills, offers regional adventure seekers and nature lovers a chance to experience between two and five unobstructed miles of the relaxing waterway through his personal, riverside business, Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks.

Below is a list of canoeing and kayaking options, as well as times/date and methods of scheduling a rental.

• Lower River (approx. two miles/one-and-a-half hours)—$20 per boat OR $15 per boat for groups renting three or more boats
• Upper River (approx. five miles/three to four hours)—$30 per boat OR $25 per boat for groups renting three or more boats

Rental fees include paddles, life-jackets, and onsite transportation to and from your launch/arrival site (if applicable). While walk-ins are acceptable from 9am to 5pm up until Labor Day (September 2nd, 2013), calling ahead of time to schedule a rental is strongly encouraged for those traveling into Dawson Springs from out of town. After Labor Day, pre-scheduling trips and rentals by phone will be mandatory. To set up an appointment, to find out more information, or to get specific directions, please call (270) 871-9475. Leave a voicemail if you don’t get an answer and someone will call you back as soon as possible. You can also find Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks on Facebook.

While the two aforementioned options are ideal for a relaxing daytrip by yourself, with friends, or with the whole family, Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks will also be hosting an exciting, adrenaline-pumping fitness challenge on Saturday, August 24th. In addition to a two mile kayak portion, the event will also host a 4K run and a 16.5 mile bike ride. If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, visit the following link for information on registration, locations, and more:
http://www.dawsonspringsky.com/trails/2013%20Brochure%20.pdf.

You may also find the Tradewater River Fitness Challenge on Facebook.

In the end, taking time out of our busy schedules and modern, fast-paced routines can oftentimes remind of us of what we are: adventure-seeking beings that have a natural drive to explore the world around us. We are nomadic at heart. And why not go and smell the roses from time-to-time? Immersing one’s self in the natural world can soothe and relax the mind, body, and perhaps the very essence of our being. Floating and swaying along on a serene waterway lightens our sense of immediacy, giving us a feeling of buoyancy and weightlessness, while provoking our ancestral instincts. 

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Luke Short and Tradewater Canoes and Kayaks

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West Kentucky Wild: Deer Hunter Support Sought for Charitable Food-Based Ministry

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/5/13)—Wanted: West Kentucky deer hunters’ support for the 2013-2014 "Want Not Waste Not" charitable food campaign.

With the 2013-2014 deer season rapidly approaching (archery season kicks it off on September 7th), local deer hunters’ attentions will be turning to preparation for the upcoming season. The excitement begins to build as the days get shorter, nights get a little cooler, and the leaves begin their changing process. Thoughts of harvesting that trophy buck dominate our dreams. Though the 2013 Kentucky Statewide deer tag allows a hunter to take two deer—one antlered and one antlerless—seldom is that second tag ever used. However, the “Want Not Waste Not" ministry hopes to change that.

Having heard somewhat about the program, I wanted to find out more. So this past Saturday, August 3rd, between weeding flower gardens and the PBS 7pm showing of "Elvis from Hawaii,” my better half and I headed to the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY for a sportsman's bash.

We browsed the many different vendors displaying their wares and services. I enjoyed eating a bagged taco from the Hope2All concession stand. I have to say, those ladies are really good salespeople.

We eventually cornered Chad Browning, founder of "Want Not Waste Not.” Chad was more than happy to talk about this program.

He explained how he and his wife, Tonita, were driving down one of the Peabody coal roads during the opening weekend of the 2011 season and came upon three abandoned camp sites that contained a total of seven complete deer carcasses. As an ethical hunter, this was very disturbing to Chad. To make matters worse, Hope2All community food bank was asking for people to donate any processed deer at the time. This was the birth of the "Want Not Waste Not" ministry God called upon the Brownings to create.

During the 2012 season alone, a total of 61 deer were donated. However, Chad anticipates collecting 150 or more this year.


“By partnering with Hope2All to distribute the processed deer, we can concentrate on collection and raising funds as it takes $60 for each deer processed,” said Chad. “The final product is ground venison mixed with beef fat in two pound bags.”

Want to donate a deer to this worthwhile cause? If so, read up on the following guidelines:

1. Your deer must be field dressed. If the current temperature is 50+ degrees, add a couple of bags of ice to the chest cavity if possible.

2. You must use your tag. Call the tele-check line at 1-800-245-4263 and get your confirmation number before you call.

3. Call Chad Browning at (270) 635-0544. Be prepared to give your name, phone number, area/location, and your confirmation number. Leave a message if necessary.

4. The WNWN ministry also offers deer donation pick up services that cover both Hopkins and Muhlenberg County. They also accept deer from other counties when possible. Call them at the number listed above and they can direct you to where to take it.

“We are currently working with three processors: Livingston Meats in Hopkinsville, KY; Barnes Processing in Beaver Dam, KY; and Yoder’s Custom Meats in Sebree, KY,” says Chad. “They will accept the deer without any issue. Just tell them it’s a donation for the ‘Want Not Waste Not’ program.”

Not a hunter, but still want to show your support of this charitable minsitry? Tax deductible donations are also accepted. In fact, a gift of $60.00 takes the deer from the forest to the dinner table of a local family in need.

Make all checks payable to the following address:

Hope2All
200 North Main Street
Nortonville, KY 42442

If you would like to volunteer your time or donate a deer, please call (270) 635-0544.

To learn more about the WNWN ministry or Hope2ALL, please visit this link: http://www.hope2all.com/. You can also find the WNWN ministry on Facebook by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/WantNotWasteNot.

Additional photos from the outdoors festival held at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY this past weekend are attached below.

________________________________________

A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

To read other “West Kentucky Wild” installments, visit Nick’s Sugg Street Post blog page by clicking here: http://www.suggstreetpost.com/index.php/outdoors-west-kentucky-wild

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Photos by Nick Short/Want Not Waste Not

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Perseid Meteor Shower - The 'Best and Brightest'

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/2/13)—Independence Day celebrations are long gone for 2013, but mother nature has a phenomenal interstellar “fireworks” display up her sleeve that has been wowing audiences all over the world for thousands of years: the Perseid meteor shower.

Generally regarded by both seasoned astronomers and recreational stargazers as the “best” annual meteor shower visible from the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower not only produces some of the brightest meteors of the year, but it also correlates with the tail end of the Delta Aquarid shower that peaks in late July and continues into early August.

What’s more, those trying to fit in a viewing of the Perseids will have plenty of opportunities to squeeze in a little “time off the clock.” In fact, the 2013 Perseids meteor shower can be viewed during the post-midnight/pre-dawn hours of early August for nearly two full weeks, with their peak production of 50-100 visible meteors per hour taking place on the late evenings/early mornings of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

As EarthSky.org explains of the immense meteor shower:

The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere…The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains. Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon. Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show.

To maximize your viewing experience of the Perseids, however, there are a few guidelines that should be followed:

• First and foremost, you’ll want to locate an open and public vantage point that is as far removed from light pollution as is possible (this includes everything from glowing city lights to the lights of a car or nearby security light). Fortunately, Hopkins County has plenty of rural areas that are perfect for such an occasion.

• Secondly, it’s important to remember that watching for meteors is really all about getting out and enjoying the fruits of nature. While the Perseid shower is legendary because of the powerful and dependable displays it can produce, it would take a lot of patience to catch each and every one of the 50-100 meteors the annual shower can create.

• Third, don’t forget to make yourself comfortable while gazing at the night sky. Bring a chair or seat, check the weather, and dress appropriately for the climate.

• Finally, make sure you’re looking for meteors at the right time. To reiterate, the Perseids will be peaking during the late evening/pre-dawn hours of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

To learn more about the Perseid meteor shower, click here.

Wondering what the shower might actually look like? Check out a stunning time-lapse film of the 2010 Perseid meteor shower by clicking the video player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo by Jeff Harp
Information provided by EarthSky.org

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Semi-Homesteading with Mama Cass: Buzz Buzz

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (4/23/13) - Cassie Pendergraff was born into a farming family in the early 1800's but decided to travel to a time period where women were allowed to garden in shorts. She decided to forgo grad school to stay home and try to do things the way her grandmother did. She put her thoughts of a master’s degree on the back burner for chickens and a pile of heirloom seeds. She’s spent the past four years learning how to make her own quilts, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and failing miserably at crocheting. When she’s not wrangling two children, she can be found in the garden trying unsuccessfully to grow tomato plants from seeds or happily obliterating generations of squash bugs.  She enjoys picking strawberries for jam, drowning peaches in alcohol and writing ridiculous bios about herself.

I’m getting closer and closer to realizing my dream of having a superorganism to call my own. A mass colony of fascinating, single-minded, productive females, who I will no doubt be the bane of their existence, as I insist on disrupting their diligence every two weeks to peek inside to see what they are up to. They will revolt and try to drive me away, but I’ll treat them like teenagers who you love despite the fact they want nothing more than for you to leave so they can pretend you don’t exist.

In just a few weeks, I’ll be the proud mama of 25,000 new children and I’m running on that nervous-excited energy that all new mothers have: This is so exciting! Wait, do I know what I’m doing? Am I in over my head? They better not come early because I don’t have their room ready! I hope they don’t get loose in the car on the way home and sting me to death. Well, maybe my concerns aren’t exactly like those of a new mother, but still somewhat similar; maybe a new mother whose children have stingers and make delicious, delicious honey.

Being a beekeeper has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. My grandfather kept bees and so did his brother. I remember growing up and my great-uncle bringing honeycomb on his visits from Mississippi. I can remember my first taste of “real honey” and how it felt to chew the sweet waxy comb and how much better it was compared to those little cute honey bears from the store. As kids, we were always barefooted in the summer, so watching for bees came along with the territory. I was never really afraid of bees; in fact, we would sometimes chase them around the yard trying desperately, but to no avail, to follow them back to their hive. I had heard stories of my grandfather catching wild swarms out of trees and always wanted to see that for myself.

A few years ago, my cousin decided that beekeeping wasn’t for him so he gave me all his equipment. A very, very generous gift. I was (and still am) a nervous wreck about the whole ordeal. Beekeeping has changed a great deal since my grandfather and great-uncle kept bees. There are new, non-native species of insects to contend with, each of which weaken the hive and bring in diseases. A beekeeper has to be knowledgeable of these enemies and assiduous in her inspections if the hive is to survive (not to mention that the solutions and advice on what to do isn’t so cut and dry). It is ridiculous how much information is out there. It is even more ridiculous how much contradictory information is out there.

I spent my birthday this year at a very hands-on bee school where I was able to see the inside of a hive for the first time. Even though I had read a dozen books and watched a million videos, it really cannot compare with the real deal of being in an actual apiary. I was able to gain a better understanding of what some of the things I had been reading about actually were; a queen cup and a swarm cell, the difference between an old forager bee and a new bee. I held a drone bee, which will seem slightly less hardcore when I tell you that they don’t have stingers, and learned how to light a smoker. I’m not embarrassed to say that my excitement was comparable to that of a teenage girl backstage at a Justin Bieber concert (or whoever is the new teenage heartthrob at the moment, I’m a little behind).

So, in a few short weeks, I should have a backyard full of buzzing, busy bees. Even though this is something I have wanted for a long time, I’m still anxious. Seasoned beekeepers say that there are only two guarantees in beekeeping: you are going to get stung and be prepared to lose a few hives. I can deal with being stung. My skin can be tough. It is my heart that I worry about. Call me a softy or a fool, but I don’t know if I can handle all that bee death. For me, this is much more than scoring honey—albeit it is a very tasty motivating factor. It is about fueling my curiosity and gaining a deeper understanding of how nature works. It is about showing my daughters how honey comes into existence and about being responsible for our own food. For me, it is one step closer to self-sufficiency and my desire to play a part in the harmony of nature. I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of responsibility, but I guess I’m about to find out.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Cassie Pendergraff 

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West Kentucky Wild: What’s My Line?

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/9/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Confused by all the choices? Braid, monofilament, fluorocarbon, low-visibility, high-visibility, tensile strength—and what about pound test?

I just wanted to change the line that’s been on my reel since, well…forever.

Late winter and early spring is a great time to change your line before it lets you down. We could spend days just talking about lines and all the different applications, but this article will deal with the basics to help you figure it all out.

Monofilament

Monofilament is still, by and large, the cheapest and best overall choice for general applications. Always use the lightest pound test you can get away with. For spincasters, as well as spinning reels, use six to eight—and even up to ten—pound test. Any bigger and it begins to get cumbersome. Casting reels will handle larger lines and lures. Depending on snags, rocks, or heavy cover, lines from 12 up to 20lb mono will work very well. However, the stronger or “higher test” line will decrease casting distance and flexibility. Colors to use: clear blue and moss greens. Monofilament lines also have good knot strength and provide some stretch.

Braids

Braids are indestructible, last forever, and have zero stretch. To put this in perspective, 60lb test braided line is about the same diameter as 6lb mono. Braided line is excellent for use in heavy vegetation (lily pads, grass, etc.). It will cut through vegetation easily, whereas mono will hang. Braided line allows for long casting distances and quicker hook sets. The negatives: price, high-visibility, and noise. Also, when pressure is heavily applied to the spool, the line tends to tangle by cutting into itself. Braids can be enhanced by using a leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon. A good choice for a “Carolina rig” is a fluoro leader.

Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon is the most expensive line available. As a result, it’s generally only available at high-end tackle dealers, such as Winding Creek Bait & Tackle in Madisonville, or through mail-order outlets. Try the 150 yard spool if you can handle the $20 or so cost. Sunline’s “FC Sniper” or Seaguar are both good choices. Fluoro has very little stretch, is so clear it’s practically invisible, sinks quicker than mono or braid, and provides an excellent feel on jigs, worms, and shaky-head applications. It also works well with crankbaits and suspending jerk baits. Negatives: price (use a backing line so you can use only as much fluoro as you need) and some stiffness. A Palomar knot is the most commonly used, but experimentation may be required. Fluoro leaders work excellent with braided lines. Colors: clear.

FINAL TIP: Fresh line and a good drag will greatly increase the odds of landing that big fish.

Good luck!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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West Kentucky Wild: Why Fishing?

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/3/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Why fish when you could be doing something productive? As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

In truth, fishing can be pursued in its purest and simplest forms—a piece of line, a hook, and a cane pole—or you can take it all the way to high-performance boats, high-profile tournaments, and everything in between.

Some of my earliest memories go back to the “pond” behind our house, fishing either with my brothers or by myself. As kids, that pond looked a lot bigger than it really was. Cane poles or hand-lines were used, bait was an occasional grasshopper, but most of the time we used plain ol’ fishing worms, which we sometimes left in our blue jean pockets (much to our mother’s dismay). From that pond, we caught catfish, carp, a turtle or two, and the same stinkin’ bluegill at least a hundred times.

While all my brothers enjoyed it, fishing just grabbed a hold of me at an early age, and it hasn’t let go of me yet. After the pond, I graduated to bigger ponds; I went from a cane pole to a spincast, push-button Johnson Century, to an open-face Mitchell 300 spinning reel, to today’s state-of-the-art rods and reels.

To me, fishing is just a big ol’ jigsaw puzzle that you try and piece together. And on these rare occasions when it all comes together, there’s nothing like it.

I haven’t fished much from the bank in recent years, but I still have a 12’ John Boat that my son and I use to “attack” Peewee Lake with. I sure am more comfortable fishing from that 20’ Triton bass boat, but that one is limited to the big waters.

It’s been said that the good Lord doesn’t deduct the days spent fishing from your allotted time on this Earth. I sure hope that’s true.

If I close my eyes and look hard enough, I can still see that red and white bobber dancing on the surface. I know it will go under this time.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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West Kentucky Wild: Cold Water Bass

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/22/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Let’s face it, all that new fishing gear you got for Christmas is just sitting there waiting—and it’s driving you crazy! You’re fired up and ready to go, only there’s a couple problems. For one, it’s colder than heck, and there’s even a thin film of ice in some places on your favorite lake. That brings out the second problem: water temperatures stuck in the low 40’s.

Though I can’t help much in the way of fixing either one, I can tell you that the fish will bite if you can get around that whole “ice thing.”

What to Throw?

1.) Rubber-Skirted Bass Jigs

As far as color, stick with black, brown, or a black and blue combo. Start with a ¼ ounce weight and go as high as a ½ ounce. An old-school #11 Uncle Josh “Pork Frog” will complete this big fish killer. Fish it slow, then even slower; make sure to keep it touching the bottom. Strikes will range from a “mushy” feeling to a distinctive thump. If you think you got a bite, a “jerk” style hook set is free.

2.) Suspending Minnow Jerk Baits (Long, slender minnow imitators)

The choices are endless as practically every lure manufacturer makes one. Prices will vary from relatively reasonable to $20 or more per lure. Some good, affordable choices include Smithwick’s “Rogue,” Strike King’s “Wild Shiner,” or any models by Luck “E” Strike. Those that are four to five inches in length seem to work best, and they perform at their peak in deeper, “clear” water. For these, stick with shad or minnow color.

These lures are not hard to learn about or use. Simply make a long cast (usually with a mono or fluorocarbon line that’s 12lbs or less), crank it five or six turns, let the bait just sit, twitch it a couple times, and repeat the process. Don’t be afraid to vary the length of time you let it sit; in the end, the fish will tell you how long. In colder water, fish will often swipe at this lure while it’s sitting still, so watch your line.

Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. As Daniel noted, most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel also said the bites got better as it warmed up and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info.

PHOTO: Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. Most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel said the bites got better as it warmed up, and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info, Daniel.

3.) Crank Baits

Grab some Rapala “Shad Raps,” models SR5 or SR7, in crawfish or shad color. These are cold water standards. Additionally, any flat-sided cranks, such as Bomber “Flat A’s” in fire-tiger—or any of the crawfish colors—should also work. With these, smaller to mid-size seems to work best in colder water. Just remember that the water is cold. Slow your retrieve and don’t expect it to get a ton of bites.

FINAL WORD: Dress warm, be extremely cautious, and, if at all possible, take somebody with you. From there, give these lures and techniques a shot—you might just be in for a surprise!

If you need any of the lures mentioned, or any others, go see Barbara Wiles of Winding Creek Bait & Tackle at 1635 Eastview Dr. in Madisonville (270-825-9997) or visit her website by clicking here. And remember, if she doesn’t have it, she will get it for you!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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Inside Out – Expressing One’s Center

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/4/12) – For over 5,000 years, yoga has connected the mind and body together into one, harmonious experience. The word yoga literally means “to join or yoke together.”

Yoga encourages fluid exercise, proper breathing technique, and mind-clearing meditation. According to the American Yoga Association:

The exercises of yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health. The body is looked upon as the primary instrument that enables us to work and evolve in the world, and so a yoga student treats it with great care and respect. Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. The yoga student gently increases breath control to improve the health and function of both body and mind. These two systems of exercise and breathing then prepare the body and mind for meditation, and the student finds an easy approach to a quiet mind that allows silence and healing from everyday stress. Regular daily practice of all three parts of this structure of yoga, produce a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.

And it was each of these benefits, and more, that intrigued local Baptist Health yoga instructor and Kentucky forester, Kathleen Williams, 34.

To learn more, I had a chance to talk with Kathleen about her life, how she became a forester, and the important role that yoga has played in her life.

“I was born in Georgia,” says Kathleen. “I moved back to Louisville when I was two and grew up there. I was born with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, so I was told. Growing up, I had a lot of pain in my joints and stuff. Winters were rough.”

Kathleen discovered—while cheerleading throughout high school—that her joints weren’t in pain as long as she stayed active. Proper nutrition and regular exercise kept her symptoms at bay and, eventually, Kathleen says she completely outgrew her condition.

“I went to the University of Kentucky for a forestry degree,” shares Kathleen. “After that, I did some work at Red River Gorge with Peregrine Falcons. Previous to that, I had done an apprenticeship working to rehab birds of prey, which is a hobby of mine. Eventually, I moved here [Madisonville, KY] for my job. I am an Inventory Forester, and I work for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. I count trees for a living. I’ve been doing it for 11 years.”

Early on, Kathleen knew she wanted to attend college at UK because of the prestige of their Agriculture School.

“I knew I wanted to go into something agriculture related,” says Kathleen. “I thought it would be animals. I took animal science my first semester and realized right off that it wasn’t the right fit. I wasn’t raised on a farm. I was raised in a family that came from an agricultural background, but not on a true farm.”

Upon realizing that animal science wasn’t her calling, Kathleen took her concerns to the head of the College of Agriculture at UK.

“I told her that I didn’t know what to do,” says Kathleen. “I wasn’t interested in being animal science anymore. She asked me about some of my interests and I told her. She said, ‘Have you ever thought about forestry?’ I said, ‘What’s forestry?’ [laughs]”

Kathleen was quickly ushered over to the university’s Department of Forestry building.

The Department of Forestry is one of ten academic departments in the College of Agriculture at UK. This specific department was established in 1969 for the purpose of research, instruction, and extension programs in forest and wildland natural resources.

“The Department of Forestry building is all by itself on the campus,” says Kathleen. “I walked in the door and it was like angels started singing. Forestry college was a blast. So much of your schooling is outside. It’s great.”

Kathleen attributes her personality traits to that of your “average” forester.

“I have a little bit of an ADD kind of personality,” explains Kathleen. “I’m kind of a ‘spazz,’and half of us tend to lean that way. The students involved in the forestry program don’t generally do well in school. We don’t do well sitting still and having to pay attention. We do much better being very active with our hands. There are not many women foresters. It’s a male driven field. I’m very lucky my work partner is also a woman. We have been partners for eight years. The average class at UK has around 8 to 10 graduates. So it’s also a very small field.”

Oftentimes, when people hear that Kathleen is a forester, they are quick to reply with their excitement about how much fun the job must be.

“The woods beat me up, I’ll be honest,” says Kathleen. “My job is not a breeze. People always say, ‘I’d love to do your job!’ I’m like, ‘Come out with me and you’ll change your mind.’ [laughs] We wear Carhartt [pants] with double pleats for a reason. A month ago, I was covered in poison ivy. People think it’s a breeze, but it’s actually really hardcore. Not many foresters want to do my job. They are not willing to have the tar beat out of them. We don’t get to pick where we go for our job. They send me an area photograph with a GPS coordinate and I have to go there. It doesn’t matter if it lands in five acres of briars. I have to get in there.”

Being a forester can be a tedious job as well. Upon receiving GPS coordinates, it is Kathleen’s job to count all the trees in a tenth of an acre around them.

“It takes us quite a few hours,” says Kathleen. “I wear about 15 pounds of tools on my body. We might have to hike two miles, or we might be able to get out of the car and walk 200 feet. You never know. We have partners for a reason, too. We trespass a lot. We go where we’re told. It doesn’t matter who it lands on. Since the 1920s, foresters have been keeping an inventory so we will know how much forest land is in Kentucky at all times. We also keep inventory of the percentage of crop, pasture, and urban land as well. If there is forest, what trees are there? How big are they? Are there disease or insect issues? What are people doing with them? Are they cutting them down? Are they keeping them there?”

Even though her work as a forester keeps Kathleen active and healthy, she still makes time for yoga and acknowledges the positive impact it makes in her day to day life.

But how did Kathleen discovered her love for yoga?

“I grew up calling my mom’s best friend, ‘aunt,’” says Kathleen. “When I moved to Madisonville, I met her for the first time. She and I are two peas in a pod. She was the yoga teacher in Madisonville. She was the only person that had ever taught yoga here in 20-something years. When I met her, we were instant friends. We are kindred spirits. I took [yoga] from her for awhile, but then she quit teaching.”

Kathleen needed yoga in her life, though, so she decided to go to yoga school. She went down to DeLand, Florida in February of 2006 and got certified in prenatal yoga.

“I knew I wanted to teach prenatal yoga before I had even gotten pregnant,” says Kathleen. “At that time, however, I was working full time as a forester and helping to rehabilitate birds of prey. I had enough going on.”

Around that time, a chance encounter with a bird at the Madisonville YMCA opened a door of opportunity for Kathleen.

“I got involved with the YMCA because they had a Great Horned Owl stuck in a soccer net,” laughs Kathleen. “I had to go out there and get it for them. I got the Great Horned Owl out and, jokingly, I told them that I’d hoped to teach yoga one day so I could pay for my bird habit.”

Interestingly enough, they decided to take Kathleen up on her offer. Following the owl incident, the YMCA contacted Kathleen and asked her if she would be interested in hosting yoga classes there.

“They asked me to teach in 2006,” says Kathleen. “I started teaching at the YMCA when I was already four months pregnant with my daughter, Pheobe. I taught the whole time I was pregnant and worked full time. She’s almost six now. I quit teaching there right at the end of my pregnancy with my son, Leif. It was about a year-and-a-half ago. The hospital called and asked if I would be interested in teaching prenatal yoga at the Women’s Center. I was like, ‘Great timing, I’m pregnant again [laughs].’ So, I waited until after I had Leif, and it all just fell into place.”

Kathleen quit teaching at the YMCA and passed all of her yoga classes on to their current yoga instructor, Hillary Lowbridge.

“I still go over there sometimes and teach children’s yoga,” says Kathleen. “My passion is prenatal and children. I love it. It’s fun because you don’t have to be serious with either one. You have to laugh at yourself when you’re pregnant, and with children you have to laugh or they won’t even do anything [laughs]. It’s really fun.”

Kathleen loves teaching prenatal yoga at the Women’s Center for a variety of reasons.

“It fits in better with raising my kids and working full-time,” says Kathleen. “Right now, I only do prenatal yoga. Eventually, what I hope to do is really grow the program here at the Women’s Center. I’m leading the first yoga class here, ever. They have the masseuses here. The massage therapists recently became certified doulas, so that’s a good step. They’ve got me in now. In the future, I’d like to lead arthritis, anxiety, and ‘mommy and me’ yoga classes. Eventually, I would love to go back over to the YMCA and teach a children’s class as well.”

I spoke with Kathleen about how the prenatal yoga class has evolved since the first session in June of 2012.

“We’ve been offering prenatal yoga once a month on Saturdays,” says Kathleen. “I learned from teaching at the YMCA that I’m not going to get a lot of people at first. It’s going to take awhile to catch on. It’s going to take some time for people to even know it exists. You don’t have to be pregnant to benefit from these classes. At the first class, I had about five pregnant women, and as the sessions have continued, I’ve opened it up to women who are not pregnant. Baptist Health wants everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy it.”

However, Kathleen does more than merely lead her students through poses.

I watched a session take place before speaking with her, and I was impressed by how much information she shares with the class. It was inspiring how open and comfortable these women were with each other. They seemed to utilize the class as a therapeutic release on multiple levels.

“I don’t just teach prenatal yoga, I try to educate,” says Kathleen. “To me, it’s as much about education. I’m fortunate that I’m blessed with an education. I know all these things and I’m comfortable talking to people, so I want to share it. If I am going to teach, I want to share a wide range of things with people. I make sure I cover breastfeeding, labor, and all these different things so that I can try to help others. I like to talk and I like to be with people. I just want to help.”

Kathleen leads free yoga classes on the last Saturday of every month from 9am until 10:15am.

“The last 15 minutes is the resting period,” explains Kathleen. “The first few minutes are reserved for centering. We talk a little bit and get to know each other. We center, we get relaxed, and then we start into our poses. We start nice and slow. We usually start on the ground and do some nice warm-ups. After that, we do the standing poses, and then we come back down to the ground, lay down on our sides, and rest.”

But that’s not all; the multi-talented yoga instructor, who also owns an all-natural bath and body business, entertains as well.

“I play drums at the end,” Kathleen says with a smile. “Sometimes I bring my bongos, or my djembe, and play. I was actually trained in African dance at UK, where I was part of a 20-person dance group. It was a blast.”

“I do all kinds of stuff,” laughs Kathleen. “Every once in awhile during the [seasonal] solstices, you’ll get whispers of drum circles. You just have to be around the right people to hear it.”

Kathleen says her favorite thing about yoga is the calm peace that it gives her.

“I have anger and temper issues,” admits Kathleen. “It’s what drives my personality a lot. The guys that I’ve worked with in the past have coined me, ‘The Pistol.’ I came to understand that I needed yoga to learn how to calm and center myself. I stay so active in life and do so many things that I had to learn how to breathe properly. I think that’s the main thing that our society doesn’t know how to do—how to breathe. People need to just stop, slow down, and breathe. It’s so simple and so many of our health problems are results of stress, hurry, and clutter. It’s just inside of us. We can get rid of it, though. You just have to learn how to do it.”

Just watching while Kathleen led the group through the different yoga poses had a calming effect on me. The poses were so visually stimulating that they caused me to reflect on their intrinsically artistic nature.

“In India, meditation is practiced regularly, and it lasts a very long time,” says Kathleen, “but they realized they would get uncomfortable during mediation. As a result, they started developing yoga poses. The yoga poses are designed to stretch and relax your body so you can stay in mediation longer. Yoga poses have nothing to do with religion, which many people associate with yoga. It’s really just a way to relax the body so you can sit longer, comfortably. We sit so much that if we don’t stretch these areas out and keep them fluid, then we get a lot of pain.”

“The more you do yoga, the more you lose your ego in it,” explains Kathleen. “That’s one of the ideas behind yoga, too. You lose your pride. You lose your ego. Some yoga studios have a sign out front that says ‘Drop your ego at the door.’ Basically, that means that you’re not here to compete and you’re not here to look beautiful. You’re here for you. Don’t look at what the person next to you is doing. Focus on what you need. I’ve gone to a yoga class before when my grandmother was sick and dying, and I cried for an hour. I did every pose, and the whole time I was sobbing. Nobody knew I was sobbing because it was a yoga class. I was having my moment on my mat. You can be excited and happy, too. You can have whatever you need at that moment. It’s like your own personal therapy session. So when you do a pose, you go inside yourself and you express it physically on the outside. I might move my hands a certain way and it shows how I’m feeling. Some people might do the ‘warrior pose’ and they might do their hands one way, while I do mine another. I like to feel as if my heart’s energy is opening and coming out through my hands. I like to keep everything open. It just depends on how you feel and what you are embracing.”

Throughout the session I sat in on, I was starting to realize that yoga offers comfort and a creative, expression-based outlet as an art form as well.

“It’s a way to express yourself and share what you know, what you’ve learned, and how you feel with everyone around you. You can spread that energy, and whatever emotion it may be—good, bad, and indifferent—you can share it,” says Kathleen. “Someone else can take it and transform it into what they need in life. I feel like that is how life is. We feed off each other. If all you hear are negative stories, then all you are going to pass around is negative energy. When people come to my yoga class, I hope that I can leave them with a calm feeling. I want them to be able to walk away and feel centered, to feel like they’ve found a place. I just want them to feel like they know that someone was there to witness them. That is art to me—just being witnessed and being acknowledged as part of the whole. I count that one Hackberry Elm tree in the woods. It gets noticed in the grand scheme of the whole woods.”

Kathleen impressed me with her openness, warm heart, and the ability to juggle her many passions.

“I simply enjoy life and I want to share it with people,” says Kathleen. “That’s why I stay so busy. I’m not really advertising these classes because I like things to grow slowly. If I advertise things like yoga in this community, I have found that people will develop a negative impression of yoga and what it actually is. Let the advertising be the people that come. It will grow the way I need it to grow.”

To contact Kathleen Williams you may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jeff Harp

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Seeking Stardust - The 2012 Geminids Meteor Shower

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/15/12)—Bending to the whims of an agile breeze, they stand like stoic observers, taking in hundreds or even thousands of years worth of ceaseless change. From weathering the ravages of natural catastrophes and the ever-long cycle of life, to experiencing the sunny splendor of a season’s rebirth and the singular peace of a clear, starry night, most trees outlive a single man five times over. To simply imagine what they have seen and what they could say to us if granted a human voice is, at the same time, both jarring and beautiful.

And it was this immense concept that myself, writer Jessica Dockrey, and photographer Jeff Harp pondered this past week while gazing into a late night and early morning sky animated by the streaking lights of this year’s Geminids meteor shower.

On the rural fringe of Hopkins County, the smell of burning cedar lingered in the wind and the soft glow of fire danced upon the branches of the surrounding forest. It was here that we watched, in what often turned to silence, as grain-sized debris from a centuries-old asteroid—3200 Phaethon—blasted into our atmosphere, leaving behind a myriad of vivid, ephemeral trails.

While we counted ourselves lucky to have observed the annual interstellar event, which produced upwards of 75-100 meteors per hour, we imagined how many astronomical displays our rural, bark-bearing hosts had witnessed from their sapling years to the days of knotty growths and splitting seams. Obviously, it’s an impossibility to know, but the thought of their powerfully quiet existence and the years they have spent simply traversing the gauntlet of time is, in a word, astounding.

At the conclusion, what we enjoyed that evening, and into the dawn, alongside the trees, was not only an epic display of “falling stars,” but also a feeling of significance.

We are but flecks in the majesty of our ever-expanding universe—a feeling that can be magnified by star-gazing—yet we feel, we remember, and we observe. More importantly, we create our reality and define our existence by moments of enchantment and wonder—moments like a meteor shower.

A previous article about the Geminids meteor shower, which includes tips for successful meteor watching, can be found here.

A list of upcoming 2013 meteor showers is as follows (NOTE: Peaks usually occur during the pre-dawn hours on the date noted):

  •          QUADRANTIDS: January 1st – January 4th (Peak on January 3rd)
  •          LYRIDS: April 20th – April 23rd (Peak on April 21st)
  •          ETA AQUARIDS: May 2nd – May 6th (Peak on May 4th)
  •          DELTA AQUARIDS: July 14th – August 19th (Peak on July 28th)
  •          PERSEIDS: July 29th – August 17th (Peak on August 12th)
  •          ORIONIDS: October 18th – October 26th (Peak on October 22nd)
  •          LEONIDS: November 14th – November 20th (Peak on November 17th)
  •          GEMINIDS: December 7th – December 15th (Peak on December 14th)
  •          URSIDS: December 17th – December 24th (Peak on December 22nd)

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jeff Harp

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