April 2017
Howle's Hints

Thinking Big

"You have to think anyway, so why not think big? ~ Donald J. Trump

Whether you like or dislike our new president, one thing is for sure. He thinks big. Certainly, one would have to think big to beat the Clinton Machine. One would have to think big to go against the establishment on both the left and the right in an attempt to drain the swamp. And finally, one would have to think big to build a wall on the southern border of the United States.

Of all the promises to Make America Great Again, the vision I would like to see is an America where Christians aren’t demonized for expressing their love for the Father who has protected this country since its inception. I would like to see law enforcement respected instead of attacked and lured into ambushes. I would like to see patriotism praised instead of persecuted. The next four years promise many things. One thing you can be sure of, however, is the next four years will not be boring.

 

Spray the Splatters

It’s April and bugs are beginning to appear. They always seem to collect across the front of our vehicles driving down the road at night. When you wash your car or truck, the most aggravating part is scrubbing until the bug splatters are gone. After you wash the vehicle, simply spray WD-40 on the bug splatters. Let it set for a minute, and the bug splatters easily wipe off.

 

Mind Your Minerals

This time of year, the grass is growing rapidly. It’s a great feeling to look across lush, green pastures; however, behind that beautiful green is possible danger. Because the grass is growing quickly, and we often have cloudy days, the root system may not absorb enough nutrients from the soil to keep cattle from getting grass tetany. Fortunately, this is a problem you can guard against. Your local Quality Co-op can get the right mix of minerals for your cattle including magnesium and calcium to guard against this preventable malady.

 

Forget Golf: I’d Rather Fish

 

The lucky Co-op cap and a long stick helped me to retrieve the ball.

My family and I went to Jackson, Mississippi, to visit my sister and her family. While we were there, my brother-in-law invited me to go play a round of golf. First, I’m no golfer, but I decided to make the best of it. Because I like to drive golf carts and be outdoors, I thought I would give it a shot. The one time I was able to get the golf ball on the green, an 8-foot alligator decided to make an appearance on the edge of the green.

I wasn’t about to let him ruin my only good shot, so I got the longest stick I could find and raked the ball away from the gator as he was turning. After this episode, I decided to stick to fishing. At least with fishing, the only thing I have to worry about biting is the fish.

I didn’t realize my brother-in-law was taking photos, but I did hear other golfers yelling for me to get away from the gator. Besides God’s hand of protection, I was also wearing my lucky Co-op cap.

 

From Predator to Plate

 

Try preparing the snapping turtle as a freshwater dish.

The common snapping turtle infests many farm ponds in Alabama. They will eat a considerable amount of fish. Often, if you are fishing for catfish, you may end up pulling a turtle onto the bank. Instead of panicking and running away, leaving the turtle to drag your fishing pole back into the water, try this delicacy in the pot. One of the most common ways to butcher and clean a common snapping turtle is to remove the head (the dangerous part) and drop the entire dispatched turtle into boiling water and let it boil for at least eight minutes. This makes it easier to actually skin and remove the shell once it has cooled. Using a sharp knife, remove the lower shell, remove the intestines and cut away the meat from inside the top shell. Make sure you skin and remove all the leg and tail meat, which is considered some of the best meat.

There is both white and dark meat on the turtle. This meat can either be battered and fried like gator meat or you can use the chunks of meat to make a delicious turtle stew much like chicken and dumplings, but, instead, you are using turtle meat.

 

In 1981, Ronald Reagan became the 40th U.S. President. Known as the great communicator, Reagan was best known for cutting taxes and increasing military spending. His motto was "Peace through Strength." Reagan won re-election in a landslide in 1984 with a campaign slogan of "Morning in America." He had the largest Electoral College victory in history.

The year of his re-election was 1984. I was a junior in high school, and all seemed right with the world. There was a strong sense of patriotism in the country, I was on top of the world driving a 1965 baby blue Ford Fairlane, and I was spending every available moment fishing after the farm work was done.

When Donald Trump was elected, my children asked me if times were similar to the 1980s. I thought for a long time about that. I guess the similarities were that both men rode into office on the ideals of patriotism, putting God back at the center of things and getting government out of the way so we can live the American Dream. As far as similarities between the two presidents, Donald Trump seems to be Ronald Reagan on steroids. I’ve never seen a president who seemed to never sleep and work continuously on their agenda for the country. One thing I think the two men truly share is a genuine love for the country we call the United States of America.

 

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.