August 2017
Howle’s Hints

Scouts Serve

“The Boy Scouts, of course, had an influence on me because I learned about service in
the community.” ~ Rex Tillerson


Boy Scouts set a good example for serving the community.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is one of four Eagle Scouts serving in President Trump’s cabinet. The other three are Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and, of course, Attorney General Jeff Sessions from Alabama. As the father of an Eagle Scout, even if I didn’t know who these men are, the fact they were Eagle Scouts speaks to their moral compass.

Each Boy Scout learns early on the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. The Scout Oath states, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to GOD and my country, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

The Scout Law states, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

With oaths and laws like this, we can have comfort in knowing that some of the leaders making tough decisions in this country have a guiding moral compass that comes directly from doing their duty to God and country. The fact they made Eagle Scout says they have a history of doing much service in their own communities when they were young. In the turbulent times we now live, it is good to know that many of our leaders share the Scouting values.

Keep a one-gallon sprayer of Remedy ready for spot spraying.


Keep the Sprayer Handy

This August as you are checking fence lines or looking at pasture growth, keep a one-gallon spray tank ready and full of Remedy mixture. Remedy is a brush killer, so any stray weed, briar or wooded sprout coming up in your pasture can easily be treated. I usually keep a one-gallon mixture on the four wheeler rack.

Often, you will see small privet hedge in the early stages of growth, and the 1-gallon sprayer makes it handy for spot spraying isolated sprouts and woody weeds. Make sure to mix in surfactant that allows the chemical to stick to the leaves for a better kill. If you don’t have surfactant, you can add dishwashing soap to the mixture.


Drilling Seeds Fits all Needs

The great thing about a seed drill is the lack of soil disturbance when planting forage. Any time you can keep plant growth in place, you are saving soil and nutrients. Now is the time to start planning for fall seed drilling, and this involves deciding where to drill, what seed to plant for fall and winter grazing, and locating the nearest seed drill you can rent.

Another great thing about the seed drill is the seeds are planted in furrows of a constant depth. Jethro Tull invented the seed drill in 1701. This was not the rock star but the farmer who helped usher in the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution with his innovative seed-drilling process. The seed drill consists of a grass seed hopper, furrow openers, seed-metering controls and a seed-press wheel.


Square Bale Fitness

It sure is much easier to store winter hay in the form of round bales. Most all the work is done from the tractor seat. However, square bales still serve a purpose.

Often, you may only need to feed a small amount of hay to a few heifers you have separated or you might have a horse requiring smaller amounts of hay. If you have a sick cow, you might only need a half a square bale at a time. This makes round bales inconvenient except when feeding large numbers of livestock.

Certainly when traveling to livestock or horse shows, the square bales are much more convenient. It’s a sad thing to see many of the younger generation growing up without the experience of hauling square bales of hay, so do your part to help today’s youth and bale a few square bales. If nothing else but to stay in shape, hauling a few square bales of hay will do three things: make you sweat profusely, eat heartily and sleep soundly.


Rotate Regularly

In an ideal world, you would be able to rotate your cattle before the forages get below the 4-inch height. Droughts, lack of fertilizer, poor soil health and overstocking can make this rotation rule invalid. However, if you are able to get your cattle off pastureland before it gets below 4 inches, you will experience many benefits.

First, the extra ground cover holds in more moisture, preventing drought situations and promoting grass growth. Second, if there is 4 inches above the ground, you know there will be at least 4 inches of root growth below the ground resulting in better uptake of nutrients and moisture. Finally, soil health will improve any time you don’t see dirt. When you see dirt, rainfall can easily erode the soil, especially on sloping land, and you will lose a lot of nutrients due to runoff in the absence of ground cover.


This August, visit your local Co-op for help in getting all your farm and garden work completed, but also take time to serve your community. The Boy Scouts set a good example of what it means to serve and, fortunately, we have some leaders who are willing to do the same.


John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.