October 2017
Howle's Hints

Fruitful Fall

"Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it.
When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit." ~ Bear Bryant

 

A mission trip to Honduras fulfilled one of Jake Howle’s lifelong dreams.

October is my favorite month. The fruits of all the summer work have been harvested and stored, the leaves are about to change colors, temperatures are beginning to cool, deer season is at hand and football season is in full swing. October is a season of change.

This October in particular is a month of major change in my household. My son has left the farm and started attending the University of Alabama, and I am trying to get used to not having my main photographer with me on the farm. For years now, while doing articles for AFC Cooperative Farming News, my son would always be available for a photo shoot and many of our outings turned into tips or features for the magazine.

Jake has been my photographer, my drummer while doing gigs and my camping partner on Boy Scout trips while he achieved his Eagle Scout. He was the kicker for his high school football team and class president. This past summer, after his high school graduation, he was able to go on a mission trip to Honduras that fulfilled a lifelong dream. My wife and I told him we would pay for the mission trip, but, if he wanted to go to Panama City Beach, he could pay for that himself. He chose the mission trip.

Jake’s changes will involve getting used to life in a bigger city where balancing studies and campus life will be the challenge. My biggest changes will be learning how to set the timer on my camera and taking more of the shots myself.

As we look at changes coming into our lives, remember, the one thing that doesn’t change is the God we serve. Regardless of the changes you face, never quit growing your faith. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

Jake gets his Eagle Scout award with Scout Representative David W. Wood II and scouting district board member Phil Webb.

 

Farming in general requires changing with the times to stay profitable. We are always looking for new ways to save time and money while delivering a good product. This past summer, I decided not to plow between the rows of my garden or hoe among the plants. For one thing, it was an incredible rainy summer and I knew I wouldn’t be able to plow or hoe in my low-lying garden plot. Instead, as soon as the plants germinated and emerged 2-3 inches above the soil, I put heavy mulch from the adjoining woods between the plants and between the rows. I laid down leaves and pine straw thick enough so weeds wouldn’t emerge among the growing produce. This method worked well, and I noticed later in the season there were earthworms beginning to work the soil and the plants grew much heartier. Finally, with the heavy rains of summer, I didn’t lose garden soil due to run-off during the many summer downpours.

Easy Mineral Transport

 

A discarded syrup tub mounted in a car tire makes an ideal mineral feeder that can be easily transported.

There are many wonderful things about the Co-op stores scattered around the state. In addition to top-quality products for the farm and the best feed supplements around, you can end up with extra bonuses such as syrup tubs when they have been licked clean by the cattle. These discarded tubs make ideal storage containers for things ranging from toys to bushels of corn.

I like to use the discarded tubs for keeping minerals available to the cattle. There is one small problem, however. If the tub is full of minerals and you have to move it long distances, it can be a hassle. I measured the diameter of the tub and realized it would fit into a discarded car tire if I cut out part of the tire.

I used a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade to remove some of one side of the tire so the tub would squeeze tightly down into it. Next, I used a large drill bit to create a hole in the middle of the tire tread to run a ring-bolt through. Once I tightened the ring-bolt through the tire with a washer and nut, I attached a short length of rope to the ring-bolt. The rope allows me to pull the mineral tub anywhere I want in the pasture with an ATV.

Bass Bonanza

For me, October means the end of bass fishing for the year. There are plenty of hardcore anglers who fish all year long, but, for me, this season closes in October. One of the easiest ways to catch bass this time of year is with plastics. I will use a rubber worm, lizard or crawfish tied on with either a Texas-rig or Carolina-rig. Texas-rigged is the easiest. You simply have a bullet weight resting on the hook running through the plastic bait. Once you have the hook through the bait so it travels weedlessly through the water, retrieve it slowly and allow it to bounce and dance across the lake floor.

Take some time this October to do some farm pond fishing because it’s a great way to close the summer with a good catch.

 Finally, you don’t have to be afraid of change as long as you know God is the one unchanging constant in your life.

 

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.