Monday, July 28, 2014

Of dogs and human relationships

While I have many character flaws, as my family has pointed out to me on occasions, I consider myself a fairly keen student of human nature as well as dog behavior. This past Friday night Martha and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary, and my oldest daughter, Holly, celebrated her 40th birthday the next day. When Holly was a little girl, she would tell everyone," Mommy and Daddy got married on July 25th, and I was born on July 26th". Now that probably would not be a big deal today, but it used to just horrify Martha to hear her say those words. I must say that I was somewhat shocked to hear Martha explaining to an acquaintance the other day how she had a 40 year old daughter. She casually mentioned that we got married when we were 11, and Holly was born when Martha was 12. Now I did not stay married to the same woman for 44 years by being stupid; so I pilled a "Bre'r Rabbit, he lay low" like the proverbial tar baby. We were both young and right out of college when we got married, but we were not that young. However, we grew up together, and it has certainly worked for us.
 I got to thinking about the women( in my case only one), jobs(again only one), and dogs in my life the other day. I quickly surmised that my resume would look fairly boring, but I am quite happy with it. I do know that there are quite a few differences in training a good dog and training a good woman! As I have watched Chuck work with our English Cockers this summer, it amazes me how he uses gentle reinforcement and repetition to make them want to please him. Repetition and reinforcement with a wife will land you a frying pan upside the head, but these little Cockers are really responding.
 I inherited my love for dogs from my late Dad. In his younger days, Pop was quite a rounder. He once told me that his dog was the only thing that really loved him whether he had been a good or bad person. Of course Pop was also the person who told me to lock both my dog and my wife up in the trunk of the car for 30 minutes, and see which one was happy to see me when I opened the trunk. Wisely, I never followed all of his advice. However, I do strive to be the kind of person my dog THINKS I am. If I can even come close to that goal, I will be living very close to the standards in The Good Book.
 We are beginning to point towards hunting season now, and I will be filling y'all in on things as the late summer progresses on in to fall. Tempus is fugiting on along!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer time

Well, we have finally managed to pick and ship our last sweet corn. I know that you have all heard the old expression, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch". The season started very good on both yields and prices. We managed to maintain our high yields,averaging 510 crates per acre, but the market pricing collapsed right during what should have been our best pricing period, the July 4th marketing period.. When you are selling a perishable item, you have to sell it at some price or dump it. That perishable item bit got me to thinking the other day. We, too, are perishable items; so we need to live accordingly. I plan to enjoy being out of the heat and the gnats for a while, and just count my blessings! I have also discovered that, if you laugh a lot, your wrinkles will be in the right place when you get my age.
 Activities on Riverview are now settling in to our normal summer pattern. We are going through all of our jeeps repairing,servicing, and in some cases repainting them. The training of our English Cocker flushing dogs continues at a brisk pace. The woods and the feed patches are looking good, but we need to keep getting these summer time showers. It is hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago we were suffering from too much rain. However, 110 temp/humidity indexes can suck the moisture out in a hurry.
 Martha and I began a tradition a few years ago of trying to be gone from here as much as possible during the month of August. If we have a slow month here, it is August. It also is the most miserable month of the year here. I believe that the temperatures and gnats both peak during the month of August. In closing this short post, I have determined that the world would be a better place if we had a few more lakes,rivers,fishing poles, and lightning bugs!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heat

Whoever wrote the lines to the song that goes,"summertime and the living is easy" never lived in south Georgia. Cader IV and I just got back from spending an hour or two in the sweet corn field. In addition to ingesting about a billion gnats, the temperature/humidity index was hovering at a pleasant 112 degrees. It got so hot that the sweet corn started popping, and the harvesting crews thought it was snowing and they froze to death in the field. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but I think that you can get the gist of the picture. The good news is that harvest is going smoothly, and prices are decent,especially compared to last year.
 We did face a dilemma last night. We had a very small but powerful thunderstorm blow up about sunset. It knocked down a couple of trees across the power lines and splintered a utility pole. It just so happened that I found the spot where this occurred on the lodge road, and called our local EMC. Almost this entire area was out of power including our sweet corn plant that was in the process of chilling and loading about $200,000 worth of sweet corn yesterday. Since I keep the EMC head man's cell phone in my contacts on my cell phone, I gave him a quick call to inform him of the emergency and where the down lines were. He said, " Cader, I can isolate your house and Cader IV's house, and back feed your corn operation. I can have it running in 20 minutes, but this will cause y'all to be out of power for three to four hours". Martha was standing right beside me and asked me what he said. I replied, "hold on, honey, we have a bad connection. Let me walk out in the yard". Once out of her hearing, I said, "OJ, get my corn operation going as fast as you can". Did I mention that Martha and I were both hot and sweaty when the power went out? Oh well, sometimes you have to take one for the home team.
 On the hunting front, the feed patches are coming up nicely with the abundant moisture, and our natural cover looks great! We have also eradicated a bunch of briars with some concentrated spraying of Garlon on many of our hunting courses. Finally, we continue to be very excited about our training program with our English Cockers for flushing and retrieving.We will not have one on each jeep by fall, but we should have them ready to go on at least 60% of our jeeps by fall.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Aging

I have always been a big believer in a cash flow budget. While income statements and balance sheets are important, a small company like Riverview lives and dies on its cash flow. Because of that fact, I have always prepared at least a twelve month cash flow statement. Back in my younger years, I always added about $5,000 to my cash flow budget for car repairs on Pop's vehicle on an annual basis. It would make him furious, but I had the history and facts to back it up as a line item. Have you ever heard the old expression," what goes around ,comes around"? I have become my father, and am now catching hell from Cader IV, Greg, and Jerry.
 But, here's my story, and I'm sticking to it. About three months ago, as I was driving to work from the house on a frosty morning with windshield impaired visibility, a pine tree in my yard suddenly lurched into the side of my Expedition. Then yesterday as I was backing up to turn around, another pine tree suddenly crashed into the rear of this same poor Expedition. Cader asked me, " Dad, doesn't your car have one of those sonar systems that starts beeping if you are about to back into an object"?  I told him that it most certainly does. However, mine must be defective because it never goes beep,beep,beep. Instead, mine goes beep, BAM, at which point it is way too late to stop.Now the smart butts are threatening to bring the dozer down to my house and push down all of the pine trees within a 300 yard radius.
 There was a time in my life when  badly wanted to have a BMW. Now I am willing to drop the "W", and maybe settle for a Sherman Tank.While we do not have HOV lanes down here in the country on these dirt roads, I doubt that I would be able to use them were we to have them. I am noticing a reluctance for anyone to ride around in the woods with me. Rather, they are all volunteering for me to ride with them.
 We will start picking sweet corn on Monday; so y'all start visiting the grocery store next week and buy lots of fresh sweet corn! I will have more to report on the hunting operations later, but everyone on our mailing list should be receiving our summer newsletter by the first of next week at the latest.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gnats

I read once that the industrialization of the south would never have occurred without the invention of air conditioning. I can believe and accept that fact. As much as I hate to admit it, I grew up in the south before that wonderful invention. All of our homes had high ceilings and attic fans. You can't miss something that you never knew existed; so I was completely comfortable without having a thermostat to turn back on a hot day,Now that I know about the joys of climate control, I am somewhat like the father of a good friend of mine who once said," Lord,please don't give it to me if you are going to take it away". Now folks a hot day down here is a day with the temperature in the mid to upper 90's and a relative humidity in the 60-70 range. It's not the heat that kills you, but that humidity will bring you to your knees. The only bad thing about those conditions I just mentioned is the absolute knowledge that it will get hotter in July and August. July and August in south Georgia can only be endured by a native.Some of us more mature natives try to make ourselves scarce during those months.
 Now if the invention of air conditioning allowed the industrialization of the south, the creation of gnats by the good Lord absolutely assures me that we will never be over populated in south Georgia. I give you Atlanta as an example. Atlanta is above the gnat line in Georgia. If it were below the gnat line, Atlanta would be a city of about 100,000 idiots rather than the several million who live there without having to contend with gnats. Unlike the gnats on the coast of Georgia, our little critters do not bite. If they did bite, there would be a zero population in my part of the world. However, they exist by the billions, and they all have one aim in life--to find the one orifice on your body and get in that opening. We are talking about eyes,ears, noses, and mouths in the case of homo sapiens. Since I now wear hearing aids, a gnat inside my ear sounds very similar to an F-16.
 I guess what really bothers me the most is wondering where the gnat in my mouth just came from. I am around dogs a lot, and tend to notice gnats congregating around dogs' derrieres. That same gnat sees me and heads straight for my mouth. Seeing as how I have observed that gnats tend to prefer butts over mouths, I think that I have come up with a solution all southerners should embrace. Let's slice a hole in our pants rear ends and quit wearing underpants!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thanks to the geniuses in Washington we are being forced to buy a computer system and software that will track every crate of our sweet corn by the color,the grower,the crate,the field, and the particular planting all the way to your grocery store in your home town. This falls under the federal Food Security Act that evidently was passed by some non-farm politicians. The theory behind this is to protect the American consumer from having their food sources contaminated by a bunch of terrorists. Now think about this folks. We live in a little podunk community where everyone not only knows one another, we also know what model pick-up truck you drive,your family, and a ton of gossip on each individual who lives here. Don't you think that a terrorist would stick out like a fish out of water.
 At any rate, Cader IV and I left Tuesday morning for a 7 hour drive to south Florida to view the system that we have purchased and installed at our operation which is already in operation at Hugh Branch Inc. in South Bay, Fl. Cader IV said to me as we left," Pop,if you will drive from here to Valdosta which is about an hour and a half away, I will drive the rest of the way". Now that sounded like a plan to me since I had my IPad and needed to study for a board meeting. Little did I realize that Cader had evidently always harbored a fantasy of being a race car driver. I'm not certain whether I will be prepared for my board meeting tomorrow or not, but I am certain about two things. I am certainly glad that my Mom taught me to always pack extra underwear for a trip, and I am certain that I will never travel with him driving again without a Xanax in my pocket. Since I abhor my wife's backseat driving and loud breath intakes when I am driving, I never uttered a word. Of course, it is difficult to talk and pray at the same time anyway.
 we made it to south Florida and back safely, praise the Lord ! It was a productive and informative trip. I did want to share one observation with y'all about our trip. After driving through Pahokie, Belle Glade, Canal Point, etc., I have reached the firm conclusion that south Georgia does not have the red-neck market cornered! There are some "Bubba's" in that part of the world that could hold their own with the best I've ever seen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For the two or three folks other than family who might read my occasional ramblings, I apologize for the lack of writing lately. I have a good reason for that which I will share with you shortly. I have often been asked why I have never written a book. I love to read, and always have a book or two going on my Kindle. It amazes me how great writers are able to string a long story together while keeping me wanting to read every word of it. My mind simply does not work that way. I think that I could be a decent short story writer, but I could never hold out to write an entire novel. Therein lies my reason for failing to post anything lately. This is the time of the year that I begin gathering information and thoughts for our summer newsletter, Summer Scene. I fear that I do not have enough good information to write both it and a blog at the same time without using some or most of the same material.
 However, I am almost finished with my first draft of the newsletter; so I should be able to come up with some new material shortly. One thing that I might do at some point in time is write my memoirs of the years of working here at Riverview as a "social director for the over-privileged", but I need for just a few more folks to pass away first. I do have some stories to tell! Before writing those stories, I keep reminding myself that life is like a jar of jalapeno papers. What I do today might bite me on my butt tomorrow!