Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I wish Mother nature would make up her mind

The past few days here have been in the 90's which is about 10- 15 degrees above normal for this time of the year. According to the weatherman who predicts the weather like I do the stock market, and thus why I'm still working for a living, it's supposed to be stormy this afternoon. Following that, we should go to 10-15 degrees below normal.

They are calling for lows in the 40's and highs in the low 70's by Thursday. No wonder we stay sick all the time around here. When you add the sudden weather swings along with the tons of pollen in the air, it's enough to choke a bull buffalo to the ground. However, I have no intentions of letting the weather get me down. I just finished re-lining all of my reels, and got new batteries on my bass boat. I plan to start either catching or hair-lipping some bass on a serious basis shortly. I've already been enough times to get the kinks out of me, and now I'm about to get them out of my equipment.

I have not posted much information lately because I have been working on our summer newsletter, "Summer Scene". I really admire and respect writers who can crank out an article every day. I guess that I must have limited cranial capacity because I have been saving my few original thoughts and comments for The Summer Scene. An idea can get mighty lonesome sometimes wandering around in my mind! Since half the people I know are below average, I'm not overly concerned about it. However, every now and then I do think that I have lost my mind, but I'm fairly certain that my wife, Martha, is the one who took it!

Everything is going along just fine at Riverview so far into this late spring, and I will look forward to giving everyone a more detailed report in the summer newsletter in a few weeks. However, I have lived long enough to know that everything can change in the blink of an eye. But I am very comforted by the fact that God never blinks !


Monday, April 18, 2016

Life's observations

When I was young, I had a lot of great ideas that I had enough sense to run by my dad before putting into action. It would irritate me to no end when he would sometimes say, "you can try it , but it's not going to work". What irritated me so much was that he was almost always right. When I got older and less prideful, I asked him how he knew so many bright ideas of mine were destined to fail. He replied that if you live long enough, history repeats itself. Pop further informed me that if you were too dumb to learn the lessons from history, you were really just wasting oxygen by breathing his air. Patience never was his long suit.

I say all of that because I have been telling all of our folks that we were going to experience a cold April in South Georgia which we certainly have. Why did I think that? Because I've observed over the years that an unusually warm fall is almost always followed by an unusually cool spring. Weather tends to average out both in terms of temperatures and rainfall. I also believe that it will get drier than a powdered popcorn poot here before the summer ends because we had monsoonal rains in the fall and winter. El Nino will shift to La Nina which brings drought to great regions of the US.

The cool spring has been great for us for controlled burning, and continuing to work our young English Cockers. We had a great burn, and the cool, damp weather already has our cover returning. Meanwhile, we have been able to devote many more hours and people per day to dog training because it is not getting too hot to work our puppies all day. However, this weather has been very detrimental to our sweet corn plantings and crop. The soil has been too wet on many days to plant, and the corn that is up looks anemic. We all know that sweet corn does not really begin growing good or picking up the nutrients in the soil until our night time temps are in the 60's. It was 46 degrees here this morning.

I want to close this blog by completely switching subjects to politics. I guess that I need to thank Donald Trump for educating me on the confusing process of delegates and the electoral college. I know that I took Civics in high school and political science in college, but I think that the rules have changed a lot since the dark ages. Somehow, I no longer feel like my vote counts, and as in everything else involving politics, delegates can be bought with money although it has to be done subtly. The most interesting take away from all of this to me is wouldn't you think that the man who wrote the book, " The Art of The Deal", would have understood the ground rules going in?

I sure didn't understand them until lately, but then again, I wasn't running for the job. I'm still waiting to be appointed Dictator of the USA. Just let me have that title for one four year term, and I promise we can right the good ship of state.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Is it just me?

I grew up in an age where there was only one national news segment, and it came on at 6:30 pm. Since we only got two networks at the time, we either watched Walter Cronkite or Huntley & Brinkley. We got all of the news we needed to get in 30 minutes, and trusted the guys who read it to us.

Now we have so many 24 hour news channels inundating us with bad news that it's no wonder we have become a paranoid society. I wonder if the drug companies who sell anti-depressant and ant-anxiety drugs might be behind the proliferation of these networks. Have you ever truly listened to any of these news networks for more than an hour? They run out of things to say, and then start with their theories and thoughts. Liberals have their favorite networks as do conservatives. As for me, I'm sick of all of them.

It's gotten so bad that some of my neighbors are even worried about an ISIS attack in Southwest Georgia. Now I realize that most of the ISIS folks aren't rocket scientists, but even they should realize that we would be a very low profile victory for them if( and that's a big IF) they got out of here alive. Our population density is quite low. If they hit the Hopeful store at lunch time, they might take out 15 farmers, all of whom would be armed.

Even my wife has a concealed carry permit, and is packing a pistol these days. Martha has come a long way from when I took her out of the city to live in the country. The first year we were married, a big rattlesnake crawled up in our yard. There were no cell phones back in those days, and I was on a tractor. After emptying both of my pistols at the snake, she frantically called my dad on our land line. He drove over to our house and inspected the empty shells and the crawl track and said, " Don't worry, honey, that old snake crawled off in the weeds and died laughing". That snake would not be so lucky today because Martha can place at least five out of six shots in a pie plate at 25 yards. That also gives me more incentive to be nice to her.

I guess that the main point of this blog is to wonder if ignorance is bliss ? We certainly do not need to bury our heads in the sand, but we also do not need to look for buggers that are not there. However, should said bugger ever show up down here, he will be leaking fluids from a lot of places.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cold snap before Easter

The old folks have always said that there would be one more cold snap before Easter. Well, we are experiencing that now. After a week in the 80's last week, we had frost yesterday morning, and it's fairly cold this morning too, but should warm up fast now. We could have been hunting these last two days except there would be nowhere for a quail to hide.

Jerry and the burning crews finished all of our woods burning program yesterday. The Dogwood trees and Azalias are in full bloom. Spring is really a beautiful season in South Georgia. It just doesn't last long enough. I've been reading all of these stories about the challenges of spring turkey hunting. Frankly, I don't see the challenge. On any given afternoon, I could bag a big gobbler or two from my porch. They have grown very brazen, and will walk within 25-30 yards of where Martha and I are sitting. Of course the big males are beginning to think about sex. And like all animals, they grow brain dead when they get that subject on their minds.

Speaking of brain dead, there is a fine line between stubbornness and stupidity. On Monday of this week, I had to drive to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for my annual check up on my pacemaker. I got an A+ report. However, I am also just recovering from glaucoma and cataract surgery. One of the multiple drops that I have to put in my eyes will dilate my eyes. Martha had tried to get me to let her drive me down there, but it's a three and one-half hour drive down and the same time back for a 30 minute appointment. I insisted that I could handle it alone. WRONG !

I had forgotten that I would be driving east all the way in the rising sun. I was blind as a bat , and would not have made it without my GPS talking to me since I could not see a road sign until I was almost past it. This episode reminded me of the little old lady who called her husband and told him to be careful since there was a report on the news of a person driving south in the north bound lane of I-75. He responded, " A person, hell. There are thousands of people driving the wrong way on I-75 at the moment". I was also reminded of the Carrie Underwood song titled. " Jesus take the wheel" because that's what I asked Him to do as I hit the downtown traffic in Jacksonville.

At any rate, I made it down there and back safely, but I have decided not to be stupid again==at least for a little while. I would like to wish everyone a blessed Easter !

Monday, March 14, 2016

2015-2016 hunting season has officially ended

People often ask me towards the end of a hunting season, " Will you be happy to see the hunting season end?" I always respond with the same answer, " The day that I am not excited about hunting season beginning is the day that I will get out of it, and the day that I am not excited about seeing one end is the day that I will have myself committed to a mental institution".This n a high touch, high pressure job that carries an element of risk each day. To do that day in and day out for almost six months requires a total commitment. Now my definition of a total commitment can best be described as the conversation between the pig and the chicken when they were talking about a breakfast of ham and eggs. The pig says to the chicken, " For you it's a donation, but for me, it's a TOTAL COMMITMENT".

We had a great season, and one that was 100% safe ! Nothing got shot except quail, and quite a few of them escaped the season unscathed also. I'm reasonably certain that we had several groups at Riverview this season who were practicing" shoot and release" programs. Y'all have heard me praise our English Cockers so much that I will just mention in passing that we had very few lost dead birds this season which is something every true hunter feels good about. I just abhor the idea of killing a bird and not being able to find him.

Speaking of dogs, any of you who have read my posts know that I have always said that I would like to be as good of a person as my dog thinks I am. I recently read this quote by James Thurber who stated,"If I have any belief about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons will". Well, I have very strong beliefs about life after death, and I know where heaven is and with whom I will be. Although I can't find it in the Bible, I choose to believe that I'm going to see some of my beloved dogs again up there.

We are taking inventories today, and will begin burning our woods tomorrow. I hope y'all have a great spring and summer !

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring is almost here

Well, we have only a few days left of the 2015-2016 hunting season. If you were to come by here next week, you would think that General Sherman had returned from the grave, and was burning Georgia to the ground again because we will begin a controlled woods burning program of at least half of our hunting courses starting this coming Monday. Speaking of old General Sherman, I am certain that he is quite warm where he is residing now ! For so many years the motto of the South was , "Forget,Hell No". I changed my opinion on that years ago when I realized that Yankee money spends just as good as Southern dollars, and we have benefited very much from our Northern clientele's generosity over the years.

The only thing that I detest about spring is that it is also tax season. I always dedicate this weekend to my personal tax preparation work. I really don't know what my CPA is charging me for since they send me a tax organizer that requires me to do all of the work. I have a sneaking suspicion that once they have my work sheets, they just feed it into a computer and charge me out of the Wazoo. I prepared my own taxes until I was 27 and became president pf the company. Our CPA firm required an officer of the company to have his tax return prepared by the firm also. I now find myself receiving a tax return that is at least 75-100 pages long, and I do not understand it at all.

However, I do understand the front page that tells me how much I owe Uncle Sam. Now I'm one of those rare people who believes that because God has blessed me that I should pay more taxes than some folks. What I resent is what Washington is spending my hard earned money on, and who all they are giving it to. I contend that conservative folks like me are more charitable than liberal folks, and have read plenty of statistics verifying that fact. Conservatives give, but they prefer to give to the charities of their choice while liberals don't want to give any of their money, but prefer to give my money to whomever they choose. It is kind of like socialism--it works until you give out of other people's money!

Have you ever seen a list of the "pork projects" in Washington which is nothing more than a vote buying scheme with your taxes? I have, and it will turn your stomach. Why do I care to spend money to see how many times a shrimp has sex? Why do I want to give money to countries that would love nothing more than to see the USA destroyed? This country was founded upon the Judeo/Christian work ethic yet we have many people drawing money through fraud and gaming the system who have never contributed a dime to society.We also have many elderly and disabled folks who deserve to be supported by those of us who have been more fortunate.

I just think that we have the fox guarding the hen house in Washington when it comes to where my tax money is being spent. I have a great solution if anyone is interested. I think that votes should be proportioned with the amount of taxes paid. A man pays $100,000 in taxes gets 100,000 votes while the man who pays no taxes gets no votes. Someone with "skin in the game" is more likely to vote for people with intelligence as to how his money is to be spent. As it now stands, I feel like I am having taxation without representation. Didn't we fight a war a long time ago over this issue?

OK, my rant for the day is over, and I feel better---not great but better.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

This & That

I had glaucoma and cataract surgery on Monday, and my key board is still a bit fuzzy to me; so if you read any misspelled words in this blog, please blame it on blindness rather than ignorance. Unless someone calls for a date this week, we will ring the bell on our 2015-2016 hunting season next Saturday.

It has been an excellent season, quality wise. The cover in the woods has been outstanding, and our English Cockers have been a huge hit with all of our guests. Our occupancy rate is going to be down just a bit this year, and we can attribute every bit of that to the oil patch. I may be the only South Georgia farmer praying for higher oil prices even though we use a lot of gas and diesel here. The guys in the oil patch like to hunt, and we need and appreciate that business. We are still going to have a great year here, and our rebookings for next season are indicative of a bunch of happy hunters who visited Riverview this fall and winter.

I want to briefly change the subject to politics although we train our guides not to get into that subject with our guests. I was just reading where the current U.S. population is 323 million people. Is Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton the best two folks we can find to run for president out of 323 million people. Heck, I have visited with at least 1500 folks at Riverview this season who are more qualified than either of these two folks. Perhaps the best people just do not want to wallow in the pig pen of politics.

And another question about politics--can you believe how many people in this great nation identify themselves as socialists? I truly believe that this includes a lot of young people who do not even know what socialism really means. Maybe they think that it is like the social chairman of a fraternity or sorority that plans the parties and bands. We have fought wars to defeat this type of government ! Someone needs to help me understand the mentality of this country because I can no longer identify with the majority of the citizens. I do remember my dad saying this to me in his later years," Son, never, ever fail to recognize the dumbness of the average voting population". Pop, you were right !

I will do a final recap of the hunting season next week. For the moment, I want to thank those of you who visited and hunted with us this season. And for those of you who could not make it this year, you were missed!