Turtles and Kumquats


Backroad Ramblings

Well, folks, it’s October, which means harvest season is upon us. If you’re not harvesting something at the moment, you’re getting ready to do it, and whether it is beans, beets, corn or hay, this time of the year is a busy time.

But although it’s a busy time, long hours driving trucks or tractors or waiting in line often gives you time for reflection on the really important things in life, such as “I wonder what they’re harvesting in other parts of the country?”

I did some research, thinking I would find out where and when they harvest things like, say, kumquats, and I ran across something even more interesting than kumquats. It seems that in Arkansas, they harvest turtles.

Yep, apparently there is an open season on 14 different varieties of turtles and up till now, in certain places, people can “harvest” as many of them as they want. Of course, this brings up the question, “What the heck do you do with turtles?”

And the answer is, you sell them to China, or other Asian countries, who put them on the dinner table. It seems that turtle soup is still a very popular dish in some parts of the world.

But recently some environmental groups are calling for an end to unlimited harvesting of turtles because they are having a hard enough time surviving even without dealing with people. Feral hogs, red ants and even raccoons all raise havoc with turtles, so the populations are down a bit from past years. 

However, the number of turtle harvesters is down as well, so the environmental groups may have to change tactics soon. They are considering going after the feral hogs and if that doesn’t work, they’ll probably sue the fire ants. I hear lawsuits are very effective against fire ants. 

However, if you can’t be distracted by the fascinating subject of turtle harvest, you might actually want to know about kumquats. They look like tiny oranges, they grow in Florida, and a person can eat them, skin and all.

There you go. Another educational column in which you learn something utterly useless but interesting. At least it’s something new to think about, after all I’ll bet few people ever think about turtles and kumquats at the same time.

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