September 2012
Howle's Hints

Don’t Let Entitlement Mentality Get You Down


September is a great time to snag bass on your rivers with a Texas-rigged plastic worm.

Anyone who can walk to the welfare office can walk to work.”
Al Capp, American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip, “Li’l Abner”

We live in an age where the nation at large doesn’t always reward hard work as it once did. Those who work hard, try to save money and live by the golden rule are being shouted down by those who expect things to be given to them. I dare say, those of you reading this publication probably experience some of the same frustration as you see wasteful government spending, bailouts and entitlements reaching an all-time high.

I suggest this antidote for your frustration: Look out across your garden or your pasture and realize you are working the most valuable resource this world has to offer – God’s creation. Anyone who farms has a special attachment to the land realizing hard work, prayer and patience makes the land produce the things we need to survive. I leave you with David’s words of wisdom from Psalms 37:25. "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (NIV)"

This September, as you bring in your harvest, give thanks and realize the One you serve is higher than any government official.

River Fishing

Once the farm harvest is in, try your hand at bass fishing in some of Alabama’s rivers. One of the most productive ways to catch bass on rivers is with a simple Texas-rigged rubber worm with a small bullet weight. During September, three of the most productive spots to cast this lure are in the edges of deep grass along the river bank, just below rapids in the swirls created in the deeper water near the banks and under logs in slower moving water.

Dove Shooting

Increase your chances of bird harvests with dove decoys.


In September, a traditional dove shoot heralds the beginning of hunting season in Alabama. Increase your odds of harvesting a few birds by placing decoys around the fields. These can be placed on fences, in rotten trees devoid of leaves and even on a small tree you’ve cut and placed into the ground like a fence post.

Before eating the breast meat, however, hold the meat up to a bright light to reveal any hidden pellets unless you want an unexpected trip to the dentist. Try this recipe with a few of your dove breasts this year. Soak the meat in lime juice from real limes. Fry them on the lowest setting in some bacon grease or lard (depending upon your generation). Serve on rice mixed with cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup.

School is in Session


Retiring teacher Ed Wynn gets a last day of school prank.

The kids are back in school and getting used to the routine of being on a schedule. There are a few things you can do to raise their IQ. According to years of research in education, the only way to raise a child’s IQ after they pass the age of 6 is through reading. Keep plenty of reading material on hand in your house, read the Bible with them at night and welcome technology such as iPads and e-readers like the Kindle and Nook. If you keep them busy reading during down time instead of watching the television or playing video games, you will help them increase their intelligence and help keep them out of trouble. The photo shown is of my good friend Ed Wynn, who retired from teaching this year. Obviously, the students in his class who rolled his car on the last day of school didn’t spend enough time reading. I think this is the only time I have ever taken a picture of someone taking a picture.

Keep nylon hay strings from cattle and use them for chores.


Hay Strings

When the weather turns cold and it comes time to feed winter hay, be sure to remove all nylon strings from the hay bales before feeding cattle. The nylon hay strings won’t digest and can cause blockage of the digestive tract and, ultimately, death for the cow. It seems like a waste to throw away all that good nylon string, so save it for uses around the farm. Tied together with square knots, the string can be used to run long, straight line for building construction. Tied across your garden, strips of orange flagging can be hung from the string to scare crows and other varmints away. Wrapped many times, the hay string makes great lashings to hold poles together.

Trash Trees?


Harlan Starr used sweetgum to make beautiful flooring on his hunting lodge.

In any wildlife management plan, sweetgum trees are considered trash trees because they don’t produce edible mast and they seem to take over when timber is cut. Finally, most people don’t consider these trees much good as far as firewood or boards. Harlan Starr, owner of Chattokee Lodge in Gaylesville, runs a successful hunting and fishing operation. One unique thing he did was to build the lodge from timber harvested right off the property. The thing that struck my interest most was the fact that all his flooring was made from sweetgum.

I asked him how in the world was he able to get that wood to cure without it bucking and warping.

"I had the sweetgum sawmilled and, when we stacked it to dry, I laid a three ton cattle feeder on top of the stack to prevent warping, and then had it planed," Starr said. "Once it is dried and cured, it makes beautiful lumber."

In addition to using sweetgum on his floors, he used hickory for the stair rails, sawmilled pine for the walls, cedar for the porch posts and other woods from his property for the rest of the structure. Chattokee Lodge is a great place to hunt and fish, but it is also a work of art in lumber. For more information, visit or call (706) 512-0436.

This September, don’t let an entitlement mentality get you down. There are still plenty of us out there who love to work and earn it, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.