As I write this article in the last week of July, we have had approximately 0.8 inch of rain here at our place since May 20. I think it got this dry in 1969 in our parts.
At any rate, a rain now is a “Catch 22” for our agriculture community. Our cattle producers will take a rain nearly any time except December, January and February.
By the time you read this, the corn harvest will be “can to can't” mixed in with milo followed by the soybeans ending with the cotton picking — meaning most row crop operations now need dry weather.
Our yard has just about died. Many of our younger fruit bushes have died. Much of this leading to the “I thought you watered the blueberries yesterday” syndrome.
While many of us will be “going wide open” until this crop is out, don't forget this year's hunting season.
Typically dove season will open here in Louisiana the first Saturday in September. Sunflowers and other food sources should be right on the edge of maturing. Bush hogging around these maturing crops will provide a clean traveling corridor and a place for birds to light to look for the various seeds.
Bush hogging in our deer food plots now will help keep down the tall tough grasses that make seedbed preparation difficult at planting time.
Our next holiday will be Labor Day, which will, in some cases, see dove season open. Start buying a box of shells here and there or go ahead now while the selection is good and buy your shells. Boy, there's nothing like a rain on Friday before the season opener and all your local merchant has left is #2 steel shot.
How many of you made homemade ice cream during the Fourth? It was good, wasn't it? Did the process bring back memories?
As an outdoor writer I am often confronted with something good or positive about an article or issue. I get e-mails, too, but the one I got from a reader in Missouri really made me feel good. It's a short e-mail:
“So, Richard, are you bucking for Campfire Cook? I remember many a day of sitting on a bunch of wadded up newspapers placed on top a ‘manual crank maker’ to keep your butt dry and also keeping the sitter from becoming part of that frozen mix.
“I can remember talking to the different male adults as they made a cranking shift change, making sure your feet were strategically placed away from the drain hole and no matter how hot and thirsty you may be … do not drink the icy mix escaping the bucket! Peach was/is my favorite and you are right — there is nothing like homemade ice cream … and, I might add, the fellowship and memories it provides.
“Wow! Right now, me and ole Pavlov's dog have something in common.”
Did you “feel” the same thing I did? A long time ago in an era of families doing things, kids playing on a farm out of sight of the house, riding a bicycle “to town,” and so on. All without fear of some craziness, knowing Mama and Daddy would be home for you that evening. For those of us over 50, this was a fairy tale that we actually lived in. And you know, some of the hunting camps I have shared exhibit this same lifestyle.
It's hard to believe what can happen when men and women gather to camp and hunt and fish.
Make some ice cream over the long Labor Day weekend. Go back, just for a minute, to your childhood.
If you get a chance, take a kid hunting or fishing. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the best friends and meals are made “at the camp.”