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 !


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 !