Monday, November 21, 2011

Doggy humor: The peanut harvest

By Hobo Hudson

When I trotted out this morning, I found Charlene, my squirrel sharecropper, in her peanut farm carefully digging and looking at the peanuts. She turned toward me and said, “Well, Hobo, it looks like it’s time to harvest. Most of the peanuts are fully developed, and if we leave them in the ground much longer, they’ll begin to rot or sprout.”

I ran back inside the house and barked at Dad and Thomas, my new kitty brother, to come help, Dad to dig the peanuts and Charlene to pull them off the roots and throw them to Thomas who would separate them into two equal piles. One pile for me and one pile for Charlene.

All three followed my instructions, and the work started out to run smoothly, but Charlene soon complained that Thomas was putting the biggest peanuts in my pile. I looked and didn’t really see any difference but decided to pacify her by raking all the peanuts into a new pile and decreeing that Thomas would sort the peanuts into two piles and Charlene would have her pick of whichever pile she wanted. This solution seemed to work out well and, after hours of hard manual labor, the peanuts were all harvested, and Charlene had selected the pile she wanted, and I was happy with the other pile.

I looked at the huge pile of peanuts I had for my half and wondered how I got so many when Charlene had only planted one peanut. Out of curiosity, I asked her about it. She just sniffed and said her family had been growing peanuts for thousands of years and had even given advice to humans who never mentioned her or an ancestor when they wrote articles and stories about peanuts and peanut farming. They just took credit as though they had thought everything up themselves.

She said her ancestors are still complaining about sharing their peanut knowledge with a guy named Gregor Mendel in Austria back around 1860. According to their account, one of their family members was sitting in her oak tree when Mendel walked by planting peanuts, eating all the big ones and planting the little tiny ones. She naturally scolded him and explained he should eat the little ones and save the biggest and best to replant. He thought that was a weird idea but agreed to give it a try. To his surprise, he found the new crop of peanuts were mostly large beautiful peanuts instead of being mostly little tiny things, and he wrote a paper about it, taking all the credit.

Charlene then went on to chitter about another ancestor helping out a guy named George Washington Carver. He knew to plant the best peanuts but, when they were harvested, he wanted to feed them to his pigs to make them grow faster.
Charlene’s ancestor, hearing about it, explained to Mr. Carver how nutritious the peanuts were and showed him how to mash them up between two rocks to make peanut butter. She also told him that it would taste a lot better if he would roast the peanuts before mashing them, but she seldom had a source of fire and had to make her peanut butter from raw peanuts. Mr. Carver got right on it and found she was right. He then published several papers about “his” new process and didn’t even mention her in any of the articles.

Since Charlene’s ancestors had gotten a raw deal when they shared their knowledge, I have decided to dedicate this paper to Charlene and all the squirrels everywhere who have contributed to the hooman knowledge of peanut farming and the peanut’s nutritional value.


About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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