Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice

Well, today is the longest day of the year, and the official start to summer. However, today is an unusually cool and pleasant day in South Georgia. Now last week was an entirely different story. As Martha and I were sitting on the porch one day last week around 5:30 pm, I happened to check the temperature/humidity index on my app and it was reading 106 degrees. We had every fan on the porch running on high, and were trying to convince ourselves that we were pleasantly comfortable. We finally quit kidding ourselves and retreated to the AC inside.

I hope that everyone had a great Father's Day yesterday. I sure did ! I was covered up in hugs and kisses from grandchildren, and phone calls and cards from my adult children. I truly believe that being a father and grandfather is my greatest privilege.

Things are rocking right along on schedule at Riverview. We have had plenty of rain, and our woods and food plots are looking great right now. We are keeping a close eye on our feed patches to make sure that the sugar cane aphid doesn't sneak up on us like it did last year. We are ready for that bad boy this time.

Sweet corn harvest is right on schedule. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, we should finish picking all of our sweet corn in the next eleven days. The Fourth of July market is one of the heaviest sweet corn sales volumes of the year, and we are just about to get to that point in the harvest and shipping cycle.

Since it was Father's Day weekend, I had different sets of grandchildren with me all during the weekend. The triplets wanted to go see the "puppy dogs" as they refer to all of our dogs at the kennel. I was afraid that we were going to have a riot after each of them chose an English Cocker that they wanted to take home. Papa had to take a hard stance, and veto all pleas.

Finally, in closing this short update, I want to remind each of you to keep a close eye on your firearms. If we are to believe our elected officials, weapons are the cause of all of the killings we are experiencing these days. I watched my guns all night long, and did not see a single one of them make a move to harm me or my family. I do believe that political correctness and our liberal media along with career politicians will lead to the downfall of this great nation unless we stand up to them.

God bless America !

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

This & That

Well, sweet corn harvest is in full swing now, or at least it was until Monday's monsoon rains from tropical storm Colin reached us. Thank goodness, there was no wind associated with this storm in our area, but we did receive anywhere from 3-6 inches of rain on that day. For some strange reason, our harvesting crew expressed no desire to get off the bus and start picking corn that day. However, they have been making up for lost time since then. Of course after that much rain, we are having to use our dozers to push and pull the mule train and field trucks through each planting. It's a lot of fun if you are a big fan of mud bogging events.

One area that really benefited from the heavy rains was our woods. You could almost see the trees, food plots, and natural cover smiling since we have just been through an abnormally dry May for our area. The old adage," April showers bring May flowers" only works if you get a little bit of rain in May. We received very little rain in May; so this deluge was a welcome event for our hunting operation.

Everything here has settled into our normal summer routine with one exception, and that is me! I'm not working as long or as hard as I have for the past 45 years. I kind of feel like I have earned the right. As a matter of fact, I have one of my 10 year old grandsons spending three days with me this week. Since he is one of my triplets, I will be repeating that process for the next two weeks after this since everything has to be equal with this bunch, and they DO keep score. He and I are spending the afternoons exploring the woods, learning nature facts, and hunting for arrowheads. He bagged his first squirrel yesterday, and I can assure you that you would have thought that he had killed a Boone & Crockett buck. City chillun!! That's why God gave them a set of country grandparents.

In closing, let me mention for those of you on our active mailing list, we mailed our summer newsletters on Monday. One day next week, I'm going to attempt to scan that newsletter, and post it to my blog site. Of course that might be above my technical abilities; so I'm making no promises. I hope everyone is having a good summer, and look forward to seeing y'all this fall or winter.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Technology and me

One of the perks that I had placed in my exceedingly long employment contract( according to Cader IV) was that the company had to provide me with a new car every three years. Well, that day arrived, and my new car is here. Had it not been for Cader IV, it would still be sitting right where they dropped it off. There are so many gizmos and features on this car that I do not have a clue how to use it. What ever happened to cranking up, putting the car in gear, and driving off.

One thing I did get a kick out of was how excited Cader IV was to show me the push button start on the car rather than a key to turn. I hated to bust his bubble, but that's the way I remember all of our first cars starting. But, no, I do not remember when you had to turn a crank handle to start the engine. The entire control panel is computerized now, and some of the features make no sense to me at all, and will most likely go unused for three years.

Technology is great, but I could tell the car and tractor makers that everything new is not necessarily better. As far as I'm concerned, the dimmer switch for the headlights would still make more sense in the floorboard of a car as in the old days. As to tractors, they look like the inside of the cockpit of an airplane. If the computers and GPS units on our tractors ever went out, I doubt that anyone other than me could lay out a straight row, and I wouldn't know how to crank the darn tractor anymore.

Speaking of tractors, it looks like we will start harvesting sweet corn this weekend; so y'all please get hungry for corn, and buy a lot of it. The crop looks good, but we never know about the price other than the fact that the market generally falls on the day Riverview starts picking. I would really love to have a little chat with the man who wrote the song," Summer Time and the Living is Easy".

 Summer time in South Georgia is high humidity, high temperatures, and ten gazillion gnats. We have some guys running chain saws thinning out undesirable hardwoods between the rows of a lot of our younger pine plantations. Other men will be in the sweltering heat of the sweet corn fields while a few lucky men will be on tractors or working young dogs in the shaded area where the temperatures will only reach the low 90's.

In closing, let me share with you a little gem a good friend sent me. I was having a small pity party about the heat, my arthritic back, and vision problems when out of the clear blue this friend sent me an email telling me to go to YOU Tube and search for " David Ring--Champion in the Game of Life". The video was 44 minutes long, but I watched it as my morning devotional this morning, and God gave me a great attitude adjustment.

I don't have ANY problems, and I AM blessed. I hope that each of you and your families will be blessed also this summer.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Where were you?

Every generation of Americans has experienced those life changing events when they vividly recall exactly where they were when one of these life altering events occurred. What that event was depends upon one's age, and age also determines how many of those events one has experienced. For my generation, there is no question that the first of those events was, " Where were you when JFK was assassinated"? Prior to this event, I remember the Cuban missile crisis and bomb drills. I might not have been the brightest light in the constellation, but I did know that hiding under my little wooden desk was hardly going to protect me from a nuclear weapon.

The day of President Kennedy's assassination is clearly etched in my mind. I'm fairly certain that I was sitting in my 8th grade home room class when the announcement came over the PA system in our school. I can still see Mrs. Fleming laying her head upon her desk and beginning to sob. Now to a country kid who knew absolutely nothing about the world at that time, I thought that it was the weirdest thing in the world for my teacher to cry over the death of some Yankee that she had never met. I was much more interested in trying to peak down the blouse of the pretty girl sitting next to me.

For my adult children, that special event may have been the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. I don't know to ask them if this is the first real one for them because they are all out of pocket today. However, there is no question in my mind that the biggest "where were you question" for most of us was 911 when the Twin Towers came down, the Pentagon was bombed, and a bunch of heroes managed to crash one plane and abort its mission.

On that day, I was out at the oak wood pile with all of the employees who were busting up firewood for the coming hunting season. Martha and I were scheduled to fly out later that morning on a private plane to visit our friend , Charlie Shelton's vineyards in North Carolina. Martha managed to get up with me, and told me to come home right away. We sat and watched this carnage on television and sobbed like babies. I had two immediate thoughts since I was uncertain as to whether our entire country was under attack. I knew where my two youngest children were, and felt that they were safe. My eldest was clerking for a federal judge at the federal building in Atlanta. I called her to tell her to get out of there now, avoid the CDC building, and head home. She replied that her judge was not in the building , and that they had not been given permission to leave. I informed her that my authority as a parent outweighed any federal judge. When I called back an hour later to make certain that Holly had complied with my directive, a young lady answered Holly's line informing me that my daughter had left the building an hour ago, and that they had all just received the order to evacuate. She also felt compelled to tell me that I must be Holly's pushy daddy, and she had been told to expect this call.

My next call was to the Sheltons to tell them that we would not be flying to North Carolina that day. As it turned out, that was a moot point as all aircraft were grounded over the US by then. I guess that this was the first day that I faced up to the fact that evil truly exists in our world. I have always known it, but somehow I did not think that it would ever reach out and touch me. Had I been younger, I know that I would have re-enlisted to go after these evil people.

I'm also  reminded of the words to an old country music song that goes, " Oh, I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" ! I wonder if my grandchildren will get nearly the year's of innocence I enjoyed before being confronted with the face of evil. I pray that will be the case, but I fear that it will not be. So, in closing this blog that has absolutely nothing to do with hunting or Riverview, let's honor and respect our young men and women who are still laying it all on the line everyday to protect us. And, as far as I'm concerned, they are getting a very raw deal from our VA. We have a bunch of folks in Washington who seemed to be more concerned about bathroom issues than in giving these young patriots the VERY best care available.

Stand up America ! I could care less which party you support, but we should all support our veterans , and demand that they receive first class and prompt care. OK, I'm climbing off of my soapbox, and going back to check on the sweet corn fields now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Life on the plantation

One of the old sayings that my dad shared with me years ago was that two things a man can want the most and catch up on the quickest are sex and rain. Well, we got caught up on the rain part last night. There are a lot of great things about living in the country, and I would not trade where I live for any place on earth. However, one of the few downsides to country living is that every time a mule toots or a hard rain falls, we lose our television satellite reception until the storm passes. Last night was one of those occasions. The only problem was last night also happened to be the season finale to one of Martha Cox's favorite shows.

I was fortunate to be away from the house at the time at a committee meeting at our little country church which is only about five miles from the house. People have often asked my why I am a Baptist, and the answer to that is very simple. We only had two choices out here in the sticks when I was growing up ---Baptist or heathen since the Hopeful Baptist Church was the only church within 15 miles of us. Now if there's one thing that Baptists love over almost anything else, it is forming a committee to discuss an idea to death. This may be one of the few times in my life where being on a committee worked to my advantage since I missed some of my wife's unhappiness with the Dish Network. I don't know how it works in your homes, but most things like this end up being my fault. Since I wasn't there, I couldn't take the blame.

Speaking of home and country living, I am still fighting a running battle with armadillos. I have my own private political views on immigration which I will not share in this space, but I will share my thoughts on the immigrants known as armadillos. A couple of good sized armadillos can make a well manicured yard look like a herd of hogs have been rooting in it all night long. They have no natural enemies in our part of the world, and it was also discovered through research and radio telemetry of quail nesting sites that these "possums on the half-shell" also eat quail eggs. So, as far as I'm concerned, the best solution is total eradication of these pesky critters. They do not respond well to trapping, but they do respond exceedingly well to high brass #6 shot from a 12 gauge shotgun at close quarters combat.

I keep such a shotgun in an undisclosed but easy to find location for me, and every time I wake up during the night to answer the call of nature, I also take my Maglite and shotgun outside to do a perimeter sweep of my yard. This morning at 3:45 am, I don't know who was the most shocked and surprised to discover one another, me or the 10 deer eating the grass only a few feet off of my back porch. Now that we have discovered a hot pepper spray to keep the deer out of my tomatoes, I'm satisfied to let them live.

In closing, we just finished our one month trapping program of known predators to either quail or quail eggs, and it was very successful this year.After looking at the numbers, I have surmised that possums are as stupid as they look since we caught 178 of them in only a month. My two trappers were delighted to report that they did not catch a single skunk which is also a big nest predator. I'm just not real sure how hard they tried to catch any skunks.

We are having a good late spring. The woods look real good at this stage of the game, and we are about three weeks away from beginning to harvest sweet corn. We hope y'all are doing well also!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A few short random thoughts

I have finally finished my 42nd or 43rd edition of our annual newsletter, Summer Scene. I don't have exact dates on anything here since all of our original records and most of our original cottages burned up in April of 1974. As our CPA firm stated the only good thing that came out of that fire is that all of my Mom's book keeping records burned up. Anytime Mom or Dad wanted to "appropriate" a little spending money from the company, she thought that she had cleverly hidden her tracks, but such was not really the case. After the 1974 fire, we put in a real book keeping system. We have no records that date back to our beginning year of 1957.

Sadly, we have very few early photos or memorabilia at all of the years from 1957-1974 because we were in the process of building Mom and Dad's house at that time. They were living in our home on Lake Seminole during this period of time, and had most of our family photos, early hunting scenes, and all of the family jewelry and silver stored in the old main lodge that burned during the wee hours of the morning along with eight bedrooms, our office, Mom's car, two golf cars, and a riding lawnmower. I do plainly remember that we had $25,000 worth of insurance on a property loss that exceeded well over a half-million dollars.

I made it my business to learn more about insurance after that, but I forgot to learn about having flood insurance until the great flood of 1994 almost swept us away. That loss was well over two million dollars, and would only pay off if one had flood insurance. I had tons of other insurance in force, but NO flood insurance. I've had it ever since then. That's why I have always believed that experience is the best teacher IF she doesn't kill you or break you first.

I want to close this short history lesson with a couple of observations that struck my funny bone recently. I have a fresh summer cold. That's all in the world it is, but I sure feel badly. I got tickled last night as I recalled the saying of an old mentor of mine when I was a kid. He said, " Son, a toothache in MY mouth is worse than a famine in China as far as I'm concerned". I now know what he meant.

And lastly, I have kept up with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan because every time the subject of the Flint River comes up on the national news, I just can't help but perk my ears up since that is also the name of the river flowing below my house and all of theses cottages. It just struck my funny bone to think about the fact that years ago, GM made cars in Flint Michigan, and you could not drink the water in Mexico. Here we are today and GM is making cars in Mexico while you can't drink the water in Flint, Michigan !

Rise up America, and let's take our country back from career politicians and bureaucrats before it's too late! The native Americans took care of this national treasure. Come to think of it, they did a lot of things right. The men hunted, made war, love, and smoked the peace pipe while the women cooked, sewed, and looked after the kids. Then along came us white folks and screwed up a pretty darn good system in my opinion. That's an opinion that I will pay for when my bride of 46 years reads this blog later today.

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 !