June 2010
Howle's Hints

Enjoy the Treats of June


Get the kids involved in hands-on work the see how food can be provided and processed.

It would be hard to starve to death during June in Alabama when there are so many natural food sources at hand. Blackberries can be found in just about any field edge, wild huckleberries are thriving on forest banks, and plenty of fish are just waiting to be caught, fried and eaten.

Freeze fish

To prevent freezer burn on stored fish, fill the freezer bag with the fish and submerge the open bag into a sink filled with water. Keep the bag open until all air bubbles escape, and zip the bag before removing from the sink water. The pressure of the water around the outside of the bag pushes out excess air.

Grill Grate

If your gas grill is worn out and ready for the garbage man, before you throw it away, take a look at the grilling grate. If the grate is in good condition, save it for campfire cooking. Using a wire brush and dishwashing detergent, clean the grate to remove all burned-on soot and grease. Wrap the grate in aluminum foil and you’ll have a compact cooking grate wherever you need it. Place the grate on two evenly-sized sticks of firewood and build the fire between the logs. Leave the aluminum foil on the grate to cook fish or remove it to cook and sear venison or steak. For different smoke flavors, use hickory, pecan or mesquite for grilling over the camp fire.

This handy device removes kernels of corn and shoots the cob out the back to land in a bucket, all by turning the crank handle.


Corn Sheller for Chicken Feed

If you’ve been to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant, chances are you have seen a hand-crank corn sheller hanging on the wall. There’s also a good chance you may have one in your barn or storage shed that hasn’t seen use in years. This is truly an engineering marvel for removing dry corn from the cob.

Simply feed the ear into the hopper while turning the hand-crank and the rotating gear-fingers roll the kernels off the cob. The impressive part is the cob is ground downward, flips back and the cob exits the back of the device. A bucket can be used to collect the remaining cobs. This device is a handy gadget for shelling field corn you’ve raised for feeding your chickens or ducks.


Boots for ATV riding should support the ankle, protect from debris and be stiff enough to prevent twisting of the ankle.

Baking Soda Spells Relief

Eggs and bacon or fish fried in bacon grease are delicious, outdoor meals. However, these foods can come back to haunt you in the form of acid indigestion. Drink a mixture of a half teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a cup of water. Since the baking soda is an acid neutralizer, you should get quick relief.

Baking soda is also a handy chemical for removing pine sap from your hands and it makes cleaning battery terminals a snap when used with a discarded toothbrush and water. Baking soda is also an inexpensive laundry detergent that will not leave an aroma on hunting clothes. Finally, if you left those fish in the cooler too long, after washing the cooler, dump a few spoonfuls of baking soda inside before closing to remove residual odors.

Boots for ATV Riding

When trail riding or getting to your favorite hunting spot or fishing hole on an ATV, always wear over-the-ankle boots with low heels. Lace up or specially designed ATV boots will help protect the ankles if your foot does slip off the foot rest on ATV models with foot pegs instead of floor boards. Even at crawling speeds, it is quite dangerous and painful to have a foot slip off the foot rest and get ran upon by the rear tire.

William Wilson takes a closer look at browntop millet he has planted for doves.


Blackberries for the Belly

Starting around June, blackberries can be found throughout the United States in hedgerows, field edges and creek banks. If you are on an extended outing and come down with a nagging case of diarrhea, try boiling ripe blackberries until the mixture turns to a slush. Strain the juice from the seeds and pulp with a cloth, t-shirt or simply use your hand as a strainer. While the juice is still warm, drink at least a half cup of the beverage. To sweeten the concoction, add sugar or honey. You should be able to get relief.

Planting for the Birds

This June, don’t forget to plant a plot for the birds. Browntop millet and sunflower are great choices for attracting doves and turkeys. In addition to serving as a bird attractant, browntop millet has valuable uses as a protective cover for pastures. If you need grass growing fast, sometimes it is in the worst time of year when the weather is hot and the drought is on. Browntop millet has a high germination rate and the root system will help hold soil in place. For instance, if you have constructed a fish pond and need plant growth quickly to avoid erosion, browntop millet is a good choice, especially when the seeds are mulched with hay to hold in moisture.

Spider Scare


The two poisonous spiders found in Alabama are the Black Widow (left) and Brown Recluse (notice the fiddle shape on the thorax).

Many folks avoid spiders at all costs and assume they are all poisonous. Actually, the only two spiders we have to worry about in Alabama are the Brown Recluse and Black Widow. Fortunately, these two toxic spiders are easy to identify. The Brown Recluse is a small, brownish-grayish spider with a distinctive marking on its back that looks just like a fiddle. The Black Widow is a glossy black with a bright-red hourglass shape on its underbelly. Both spiders are found in dark places.

This month, while the kids are out of school and outdoors, take them on outings that will help develop their woods wisdom skills. Floating the river, going on hikes and picnics, and cooking fish fresh after the catch teaches them skills they likely won’t get in school. Here’s hoping you have a safe and productive June. Don’t forget to get the youngsters outdoors and share your wisdom with them.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.

Editor’s Note: Sketch shown in this article is by Jesse Limbaugh, produced from photos by John Howle.