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Geiger’s Counter: The yellow flowers are getting hard to find

All the ladies in my life love the yellow flowers and this is the time of year I love to find and pick some for them. I set out on Friday to gather a five-gallon bucketful for Laura and our daughters for Valentine’s Day. It took me three or more hours of riding to find enough to fill the bucket – a task that could have been accomplished much quicker years ago. The sad fact is the yellow flowers – daffodils and jonquils are getting harder to find. Daffodils could formerly be found in abundance around abandoned old homeplaces. Alas, many of the old homeplaces I used to frequent are gone now or enclosed by fencing. I have a personal rule about crossing a man’s fence to pick daffodils. When the bulldozers go to work on an old homelace, they generally pile it up for burning. In working the site, the daffodil bulbs are often pushed into the pile with the timbers and are thus gone forever. The yellow flowers also formerly flourished on country roadsides but modern day road maintenance practices – primarily the cutting of ditches – have obliterated them there, too. I once had three go-to spots where I could count on finding daffodils from Valentine’s Day to Laura’s birthday on March 20 – the first day of Spring. One was an old homeplace in Redbone. The blossoms fought through the briars and lifted the gloom around the old house and grew in great clumps down a winding path at the spot were the home’s outhouse once stood. Now the old homeplace is the site of an airplane hangar and there is nary a yellow flower there to be found. Another homeplace I frequented is on Ramah Church Road. Years of controlled burning and hunting traffic depleted the flowers there. Now, the few that are left are inside a fancy new fence. My third go-to spot was out in the middle of nowhere between Musella and Culloden. I stumbled upon it on the way to a remote dove shoot years ago. It had a vast assortment of the yellow flowers including a large section of the ‘˜butter and egg’ variety which is my favorite. Sadly, the old homeplace was burned by vandals and pine trees were planted atop the yellow flowers, slowly starving them of sunlight. I should have dug up the bulbs and transplanted them, but I never got around to it. Now, the hunt for the yellow flowers is more difficult. I find three or four clumps here and there but there are no profusions of them as in the past. Some would call this progress. I lament it as a personal loss. If you know where a good stand of daffodils can be found around an old homeplace and you think I could pick a few without getting shot, let me know. The ladies in my life will appreciate it.

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