Thursday, April 27, 2017

Late tax blog

I had intended to write this short blog earlier, but Martha and I have been living between doctor and hospital appointments for the past week. Thankfully, that phase of our lives is about to slow down. Martha has finished her 18 chemo treatments, and has done unbelievably well with them. She has not been sick, has not lost weight, has continued to exercise, but did lose most of her hair. Hers will come back while mine is a lost cause. As I told her, I think that hair is highly over rated to begin with.

I wanted to make just a few comments about income taxes. It always tickles me to hear friends who get excited about receiving an income tax refund. I can't help but think," So, you are excited about getting your own money back from the government that you have loaned them for a year interest free". My goal is to owe them as little as possible, but I would prefer to owe them a little bit. I would not mind paying taxes so much were I not so acutely aware of the pork barrel projects and bloated federal payrolls. I know that I could do a better job of allocating my tax funds than the Garbanzo beans in Washington are doing.

Another thought that occurred to me is that Pop always told me that I should live within my means. I don't know if I could or not because the government will not let me. What I see on my W-2's and what drops to the bottom line as disposable income are two entirely different numbers after Big Brother takes his share. Albert Einstein said that the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax, and I'm fairly certain that Albert had more IQ in his left index finger than I have in my entire brain. I study my income tax returns diligently, and still can't understand them. I also read this anonymous quote," A fine is a tax for doing something wrong while a tax is a fine for doing something right.

And lastly I would like to quote one of my heroes, and one of the greatest men in the history of the world, Winston Churchill, who said," We contend for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle". Were it not for this great man, we would probably all be speaking German today! I sure would like to see a simplified tax form that the common citizen could understand.

OK, that ends my delayed rant/blog for today. We are all well and busy here at Riverview as this is the quiet before the storm of our sweet corn season. I encourage everyone to buy and eat a lot of sweet corn this summer. We could also use a rain, but that will happen on God's time rather than ours. I have not prayed for rain since the 1994 flood, but I did tell my friends that it was OK for them to pray for it.

I hope everyone enjoys a great spring. As for us, our state critter, the gnat, has rejoined us at Riverview. C'est la Vie!


Friday, April 14, 2017

One frustrated turkey gobbler

Sometimes when two worlds collide, there is often a winner and a loser. The past few weeks have been just absolutely beautiful in South Georgia. I think that it is extra special for us at Riverview since we were spared from the devastation from a series of storms that began in early January. For the past four mornings, I have walked out in my yard with a cup of hot coffee just to enjoy the beauty of day break of God's creation.

Well, evidently and old Tom turkey has been enjoying the same thing, but he has had the three hens with him providing him with much more on his mind than enjoying nature. If looks could kill, I believe that old gobbler would have gladly killed me as I have interrupted his plans three mornings in a row. He finally wised up, and has chosen a different site other than my yard to conduct his amorous activities. I hope he is happy now.

I have been meaning to mention this for some time now, but Cader IV and his wife,Heather, have completely redesigned and created a new web site for Riverview. If you have not looked at it, I encourage you to do so. You can access it at www.riverviewplantation.com.

And finally since this is Easter weekend which has a very special significance to me, I wanted to share some very funny thoughts that I received from a good friend in a recent email. Now I have never quite figured out how the Easter Bunny figures into the story of our risen Lord. I think that somewhere along the line, we combined a pagan tradition with our most holy observance. Be that as it may, the Easter Bunny is a part of Easter that children have come to expect and enjoy.

The title of the email was "All I need to know, I learned from the Easter Bunny". I'm not going to list them all, but just want to pull a few lines out that really tickled me as follows:
Don't put all of your eggs in one basket
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.( I really liked that one)
Some body parts should be floppy.
The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter weekend !

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Random thoughts and a quote

Whew! We just survived our third round of severe weather that began in January. Once again we were blessed to survive unscathed here at Riverview. Well, maybe not completely unscathed. I tried to tell Martha that the pretty candelabra decoration on one of our outside tables would not survive a strong wind, but she assured me that it would. As I watched the straight line winds blow our metal patio furniture off into the yard yesterday evening, I was fairly certain that our outside chairs and decorations had taken a beating. Well, suffice it to say, I was correct, but I had enough sense not to say," I told you so". I just calmly walked around picking up candles and chairs that appeared to be at the epicenter of a drunken brawl.

Down here we have taken to watching the skies and the weather channel like the democrats are watching the Russians. We are about ready to toss Jonah out of the ship if we can figure out who he is. On the bright side, our sweet corn was too small to suffer any damage, and we received 2.5 inches of much needed rain. The woods and trees were really smiling this morning as I drove through them. We needed the rain, but I can live without anymore tornadoes in our area for a long time. If I wanted tornadoes, I would move to Kansas or Oklahoma. The good Lord gave us gnats. I wish that He would let you other good folks keep your tornadoes. Those bad boys have really created massive destruction in our area, and have destroyed some plantation lands that will not recover even during Cader IV's lifetime.

Speaking of plantations, I shared some quotes in my last blog from my all-time favorite writer, Havilah Babcock. I also mentioned Robert Ruark in that blog. Yesterday I read the following lines written by Robert Ruark that really resonated with me. He said,"A dead tiger is the biggest thing that I have ever seen in my life, and I have shot an elephant.A live tiger is the most exciting thing that I have ever seen in my life, and I have shot a lion.A tiger in a hurry is the fastest thing that I have ever seen in my life, and I have shot a leopard. A wild tiger is the most frightening thing I have ever seen in my life, and I have shot a Cape buffalo.But for the sport involved, I would rather shoot quail than shoot another tiger."

Now who am I to argue with one of the greatest sportsmen and writers ever even if he was overly fond of his gin. It just so happens that we are in the quail hunting business, and I agree with Mr. Ruark. I can still remember almost every nearly impossible shot that I ever made on a covey rise, and have developed amnesia on the easy straight away misses. If we can survive the violent spring weather, we look forward to helping y'all make memories of those great shots this fall and winter !

Monday, March 27, 2017

2016-2017 hunting season in the history books

Well, we officially ended our 2016-2017 hunting season on March 18th. Last season, we closed on March 12th, but demand for reservations really picked up after the election, and we had to add another week in order to take care of friends who needed to make a visit to Riverview, and almost all of Jan.-Mar. was already booked by then. By the way, our state law entitles us to run until March 31st. We have never chosen to run that late for a variety of reasons including the heat and our need to finish our controlled woods burning before everything gets too green.

 The one thing that I have always been the proudest of about Riverview is our program emphasis on safety. We had roughly 1500 hunters come through our doors this season, and not a single guest or guide was injured---at least by shotguns. I know that we had a couple of folks step in holes and slightly twist an ankle. We had numerous folks who forget to move their thumbs off of their safeties, and got their thumbs busted by the breech opening of the shotgun. We had one hunting dog charged with a 15 yard penalty for a blindside clip on a guest, and one guest got peed on by a dog. In both instances, our dogs just might have been trying to express their opinion of the hunter's prowess with his shotgun.

People have often asked me how we got in this business that Mom and Dad first opened in 1957. I blame it on a famous outdoor writer, Mr. Charley Dickey, who was one of my Dad's best friends, and strongly encouraged my dad to give this type of operation a whirl. Dad and Mr. Charley hunted and fished together all over the world. As I came of age, I was invited on some of those trips as a "camp boy" which is Arabic for I got to clean and gut everything that they caught and killed. Mr. Charley always called me "Buck" for some reason. When I told him that I wanted to make my living as a writer like he did, he looked at me over a campfire( that I had built), and replied," Buck, that's a great career if you don't mind starving until you are 40". Hell, at 17 years of age, I could not imagine living to be as old as 40; so I chose to major in finance and accounting, and just pray that I might be able to make some money one day.

However, I have always loved reading the old and famous outdoor writers. I feel like I have hunted African big game after reading Peter Capstick Hathaway. Nash Buckingham, Jack O'Conner, Robert Ruark, and tons of other great outdoor writers all kept me spellbound during my misspent youth. If I was pushed to pick my favorite writer of all time when it comes to bird hunting stories, it would have to be Havilah Babcock. Mr. Babcock could flat tell a bird hunting story, and spin as captivating and descriptive a story when it came to wing shooting as anyone could ever want to read. If any of you subscribe to the magazine , The Shooting Sportsman, Havilah has an old article in the latest edition titled, " Good bird hunters go to Heaven". I am going to just pick out a few of his lines from this article to share with you from here to the end of this blog, but I want everyone to know that these comments come from one of my heroes of writing, Havilah Babcock , rather than from my own feeble brain. President Jimmy Carter, who was by no means my favorite president, is quoted as having said that you could learn more about a man's character by spending one day with him quail hunting than you could any other way. This is one of the few comments that President Carter ever stated that I agree with him on, and most of Mr. Babcock's comments cement that argument.

Below are just a few of the comments I underlined from the article. I'm not going to bother with putting quotation marks around them, but they all belong to Mr. Babcock ; so here the come:

Have  you ever taken a friend hunting with you and then dropped him like a hot potato?And have you ever spent a pleasant afternoon hunting with an acquaintance and wondered why you were never invited back?There are some things a man can best do alone, when any and all of society is definitely unwelcome. But bird hunting seems not to be one of these.

A good hunting companion may find it necessary to engage in a little innocent fiction now and then.I do not mean that he is expected to lie--perish the thought--but he might on occasion, permit himself to fall into a sort of terminological inexactitude. When your companion makes a difficult shot, congratulate him. Help him admire himself. This doesn't cost anything. It is, in short, one of the cheapest ways of making a man feel good.Brag about your companion when he makes a good shot. Maybe he will be noble enough to brag about you when you make a good one.

You should extenuate your companion when he makes a bad shot. If he misses a really hard shot, you needn't bother. No extenuation is needed.However, if a fat partridge( what the old folks of Havilah's generation called quail in the south) lights on the barrel of his shotgun and he misses with everything in the foundry, that's the time a fellow needs a friend. Be charitable towards your friend's misses, and he will endorse your note, vote for you for sheriff, buy an insurance policy from your company, and he will also invite you hunting again !

Good hunting manners also requires you to be generous toward the other fellow's dogs." Love me, love my dogs." The wisdom of the ages lies in that pithy saw. It's alright for you to alibi his shooting, and for him to alibi yours, but it's bad manners for a fellow to furnish his own alibi. Some men are so constituted that they've got to blame something other than themselves for whatever goes wrong. Whenever they miss it's their guns, their shells, their dogs, or something safely inanimate(Here at Riverview, that would be the pine trees or the sun). I might interject in my own words here," BOY DO WE SEE PLENTY OF THAT AT RIVERVIEW !" Missing a bird is no disgrace. Only liars and writers hit everything they shoot at.

Now here comes my favorite paragraph,and I've skipped quite a few other good ones-- The prime test of a good hunting trip,of course, is whether all parties thereto get home without any holes in them. The first requirement of a good hunting companion is that he be a safe person to hunt with. However gracious and charming a fellow might be, you'd just as soon not have him drawing a bead on your bald spot. Making widows of nice women is not exactly good manners!A feeling of insecurity is ruinous to one's shooting.It is impossible to shoot well when you are constantly wondering whether your heirs and assigns will arrive at an equitable settlement of your estate. It is impolite to shoot too close to a companion even if you miss him. When anybody makes my ears ring, I'm a little dubious about hunting with him thereafter.

One of the best ways to gauge a man's character is to take him bird hunting. There his frailties and his virtues, his shortcomings and his longcomings, his meanness and his magnanimity are all sure to crop out. Mr. Babcock goes on to mention a lot of these examples such as bird claimers, folks who make you spend 30 minutes looking for a dead bird that has not had a feather touched by a shot of lead, men who say,"it's your shot", and then shoot the bird out from under your nose,etc.

This fine old Southern gentleman of a bygone generation was a great writer, and I own every book that he ever wrote. If you have never read any of them, begin with, "My Health is Always Better in November", and be sure to read, " I Don't Want to Shoot an Elephant". I can guarantee you that I have lived every situation that he discusses in his books during my time at Riverview. Maybe after a few more former guests go on to their reward, I will share some of them.
 I hope everyone has a great spring !




Monday, March 13, 2017

Mother Nature and the Time Change

We all know the old commercial a few years ago that had a punch line stating that it's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Well, I do not know what kind of retribution she will inflict upon us at Riverview, but we certainly fooled her this year. We have noticed for years that the coldest week of the spring always seemed to be the week right AFTER we had shut down our hunting operations for the season. While the state law allows us to stay open until March 31st, we never run that long. Our decision to close earlier than that is mostly based on our desire to get all of our woods burned before all of the vegetation turns too green to get a good burn. Last season, we closed on Saturday, March 12th.

This season we decided to run an extra week because we had so much demand for dates and so few spots to offer folks. Well, guess what? I think this week might just be our coldest week of the entire season. We are going to experience wind chills in the 20's and below freezing actual air temperatures for most of the week. I believe that I saw where it might warm up to 71 degrees on Friday. Now any of you who hunted with us in January or February of this season might have experienced hunting  weather that was in the low 80's which is just unheard of in this part of the world for those months. I think that we can kiss our plum, pear, and other fruit trees good-bye for this year as they are all blooming. My yard which has acres of Azaleas are all in full bloom. There will be no Easter photos of the Cox family standing in front of pretty Azaleas this year. However, I really should not complain at all about our weather after watching the news of the blizzard in the Northeast on television early this morning.

 Now, briefly on to my other subject of this blog, and that is this asinine time change business. I realize that we have a dysfunctional and divided bunch of folks in Washington, but I think that this should be one bill that the Democrats and Republicans could agree on. Pick a time, and stay on it !! I was reading some alarming statistics concerning the first Monday after the "spring forward" time change. There will be 31% more heart attacks today, many more wrecks, and a lot of sleepy school children who learn nothing during the first week of adjusting to this idiotic law. I also read that the time change has been proven to cost more money than the theoretical savings that it was intended to create.

So, just who does benefit from the time change? Let me state for the record that it doesn't bother me. I never need an alarm clock to wake up. I'm just waking up at 5:00 am now rather than 4:00 am. I've always thought that some aspiring country music singer should write a song titled," Going to bed on old time and waking up on new time". As best I can surmise, the only folks who really enjoy this Daylight Savings time are those folks who spend a lot of time chasing a little white ball around with a club trying to knock the ball in a hole.

In the old days, men with clubs beat on the ground and screamed at the sky. They were called Cro- Magnon Man. Today we call them golfers. I tried the sport for a brief period of time in college, but quickly gave it up after looking up the definition of recreation which should provide some degree of relaxation. All that golfing ever did for me was raise my blood pressure.

Stay warm everyone, and have a great day. Try not to yawn too much !

Monday, March 6, 2017

Tempus Fugit

For those of you who didn't have to grow up during my generation where most of us had to take Latin in public school, "Tempus Fugit" means "time flies". I've noticed that it seems to be fugiting a bit faster these days. Personally, I would like to slow time down to that year between my 15th and 16th birthday which lasted at least a decade before I could get my driver's license. Of course, that was only to drive legally since I had been driving a vehicle since I was thirteen years old by then. I'm always reminded of what my dad said in his late stage of life. Pop said," Son, that roll of toilet paper rolls a lot faster as it gets near the end of the roll.

The purpose of the paragraph above is to state that this hunting season is almost over, and it seems to me as if we were just opening up yesterday. That may have something to do with the fact that I am no longer working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. However, I have also noticed birthdays, anniversaries, etc. are all rolling around faster also. It's hard to believe that we have only this week and next week to go in the 2016-2017 hunting season. Later this week, we will double cut all of our firebreaks. If we get some needed rain, we will most likely begin our controlled woods burning the week after we close.

We have already begun planting sweet corn, and have young corn out of the ground and looking good. We had a pretty good frost here this past Saturday morning; so Greg had to begin running the center pivot irrigation system on that corn at 4:30 am, but it all made it through the frost just fine. Evidently old Al Gore must have taken his thumb off of the global warming switch for that day, but I will almost bet we will see more frost days in late March and maybe even into early April since it has been such a warm winter in the South.

 One of the things that I am proudest of as I look back on this season is Riverview's continued emphasis on safety. Cader IV stresses it just as much as I always did.It is one thing to hunt with a family member or long time friend while it is an entirely different situation to hunt with a good client that you may never have been in the field with. I firmly believe that it makes everyone more comfortable to hear the ground rules firmly applied BEFORE the hunt. We probably get as many compliments on our safety program as we do the hunting and food. It's always important to remember that dead is forever, and one can never take back that one careless mistake with a shotgun.

I once thought that guns only had two enemies--rust and politicians. Over the years I have learned that the two "C's" are our biggest threat here--complacency and competitiveness. We strive diligently to take those two "C'S" out of the equation here. Our average bird kill per hunt has declined over the years, but the quality and enjoyment of the hunt have improved.

To those of you who visited with us this year, we very much appreciate your friendship and business. For those of you who could not make it for one reason or another, you were missed ! I hope everyone has a great spring !

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I wonder

I wonder what you folks in the Northeast did to make Al Gore so mad since you are still getting blizzards and snowstorms. Down here in the South, winter has only visited us occasionally this season. Since I refuse to give Al Gore credit for being correct about anything other than how to get rich by scaring naive people to death, I choose to adopt our liberal media's philosophy. Therefore I have determined that Donald Trump obviously stole our winter since he has been blamed for everything else. Since President Trump has stolen it for so long, I would just as soon he keep it now.

My Dad always said that weather extremes evened out. I have a terrible fear that we are going to experience a hard freeze in late March or early April. If that happens, we can kiss all of our fruit trees good-bye in our region. We might also be at risk of losing our early sweet corn plantings unless we are able to keep our center pivots running constantly with the warmer ground water preventing the tender corn plants from receiving frost.

This has been one of those hunting seasons where our English Cockers have paid for themselves in spades. I would shudder to think how many shot birds would have never been found without these little jewels in action. They not only smell a downed bird, but they also sight mark them, and rarely ever lose a bird even if the scenting conditions are not ideal.

I really don't have a lot on my mind today; so I thought that I would share a few interesting facts that I have either read or thought of myself, and found them funny and appropriate. I have noticed that it is much easier to avoid temptation as I get older. As a matter of fact, I think that temptation has taken to avoiding me now.

I read where a Mr. David Brenner said," Misers aren't fun to live with, but they make wonderful ancestors". Pop was definitely not a miser; so I missed that boat. I also wanted to remind everyone that Daylight Savings time is fast approaching. That means you get to set your scales back ten pounds.

My final observation is not my original idea as I stole it from an email packed with humorous observations. This quote stated ," The fact that there's a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about the anticipated traffic numbers on those two paths". Humnn,  good food for thought!