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Rusty’s Ramblings

Thoughts from the Field

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Growers continue to pick what’s left of the early and mid-season and navel crop. It continues be a mixed bag out in the groves; one grove looks rough then you go down the road and groves look great it just depends on the care they’ve received.

Years ago grove care was basically all the same but now of course it’s a new ballgame. Production practices are completely different and growers are adapting… It certainly costs more than it ever has to produce a box of fruit. I’ve noticed with reduced root systems it appears that growers applying slow release fertilizer are having better results.

There is quite a bit of bloom out there right now at first it appeared on the weaker trees but now healthy trees are blooming. Growers have been applying PFD spray since early January due to this early bloom and it looks like they will have to continue as the bloom is going to be drawn out and spotty.

Recent cool weather may help to retard the bloom a little but with rains and the weather warming up growers say full bloom is just around the corner.

The good news is that I sense a little more optimism in the field and county extension folks are reporting more planting in some areas with growers utilizing the new HLB tolerant rootstocks. Some of the new plantings are fresh fruit varieties ,especially easy peel and seedless.

There are also navel and round oranges going in the ground. Growers appear to be taking advantage of the different assistance programs offered to help them replant as well as removing dead and dying trees.
In closing, I urge growers to participate in programs your county extension folks are offering. Highlands County for instance has a whole slate of great meetings scheduled for the month of February. Get with your local extension and get involved. If you know someone that is not a member of Mutual let me know, we will sign them up!

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What the Heck is a Leonard Cransdorf

Monday, April 6th, 2015

The year was 1985, wind had been blowing mostly out of the West all day at a pretty brisk clip and Fred Crosby and the Ruskin bunch were calling for it to shift to the North about sundown and maybe die down just a bit. No clouds tonight, clear as a bell as they say which does not bode well when you are looking a temperature expected to be in the low twenties and even into the teens in colder pockets.

No micro jets to run, just return stack heaters filled with diesel fuel ready to light when the time came. Growers spent time riding back and forth to the old thermographs stationed at the coldest locations in the grove, checking on how quickly temperatures were falling and talking to the men waiting in the barn ready to fire when they had to. Tonight rather than going directly to the Ag center in Ocala I was waiting with my good friend Bud Boyer at his home in Weirsdale. We were talking back and forth to John Jackson in Lake County and other growers throughout the region. The talk was all the same “what do ya think?”, “Do you think it’s going to drop as much as they say?”, “I still have wind over here. When are you going to light up?” Questions that unfortunately had become all too familiar with the growers up north. The wind did shift to the North and slowed down a bit but still probably eight to ten with gust also.

Among those of us waiting at Bud’s house was a reporter from the New York Times named Leonard Cransdorf. The newspaper had sent him down to capitalize on the misery and suffering of the north Florida citrus grower, who was enduring yet another potential devastating freeze. This young man had the accent and the style of a New Yorker and had never been in a grove before, but was willing to do his part if needed.

One of the others waiting to fire was Bud’s brother in law who had been sleeping on the couch in the den when young Leonard arrived on the scene. Buddy is a Florida cracker from the word go and has never been around to many folks like Leonard. So he wakes up hearing the accent and at once notices he is not from these parts.
We introduce Buddy to Leonard who by the way is dressed in a pair of red converse all-stars, Bright red coat and a toboggan hat with a ball on top. Buddy acknowledges him by saying what the heck s a Leonard Cransdorf? After we check the thermometers, its now around 28 degrees. The time is only ten thirty and the wind has died, no clouds lets go light them up!

A return stack grove heater has an opening which to light the fuel inside and the hole in the cap to regulate the temperature or flame coming out. The return on the stack allows it to burn more efficiently and cleaner. They can be lit using matches and a piece of paper or straw but most growers used a flame thrower. Filled with a mixture of pressurized diesel and gas, the driver holds it outside the window as he goes along and shoots the flame into the heater thereby igniting it. If you have ever fired a grove you will never forget the sound of hundreds of grove heaters making that woofing sound as they burn.

Old Leonard is pretty excited by all of this activity and needs to get some real close up shots of the procedure. He has been told by Bud to stay in the truck and don’t get in the way until we are through then he can take all the pictures he wishes. But this is just not going to happen. Unknown to any of us Leonard has gotten out of the truck and is at the next heater waiting on his perfect shot of the flamethrower in action. When lighting heaters it can be a race against the clock so sometimes you spray flame a little too far. As Bud’s shoots out the flame we hear a blood curdling scream…Leonard’s red converse All-Stars are on fire!! He is running and jumping with flame on the tops of his shoes. Not missing a beat, Buddy comments that he looks like a circus performer. Now as he is running around he is also setting the old grass in the row middles on fire with his shoes while we are trying to put him out. We finally put out his shoes luckily he was not hurt other than his pride and ego. He was also out one pair of shoes.

We went on a fired all night unfortunately growers suffered another devastating freeze that night with much damage to crop as well as trees. Growers replanted not suspecting that in four years they would suffer most devastating freeze of the century, 1989.

Leonard got his story and his pictures a burned pair of tennis shoes. He said he would always remember his night in a grove firing orange trees and the hard work growers go through to try and save their crops.
I guess even in the bad times there is always some humor to be found.

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Persimmon Seeds, Wooly Caterpillars and Spiders…

Friday, December 6th, 2013

It looks like the forecasters are right about this year we are going to have weather. Now the question is what kind of weather? I have consulted all my sources from old Indian signs, new modern isobars, gradients and conversion factors and have come up with a few very scientific facts that are totally irrefutable.

You see early in the race to predict weather the old almanac reports that you must look to persimmon seeds for your true outlook. When you cut a persimmon seed into two pieces, the seed will display one of three symbols. A knife shape indicates a cold and cutting winter (wind will cut through you like a knife). A fork shape means a mild winter. A spoon shape stands for a shovel to dig out snow. Now in the forecasting world persimmon seeds took the lead. I did not learn what type persimmons were used but I would think this would hold true with all varieties except those imported form warmer climates.

Now moving right along the second most reported forecaster is the Wooly Caterpillar. Weather folklorists believe the more black hairs a wooly worm has the worse the winter will be. On the other hand if the Wooly Worm has more orange than black the milder the winter will be. I would think that the worm is just like us they either will wear a heavy coat or a windbreaker. One more note keep in mind that the Worm should have both colors not just one.

Some other winter forecasters say that when lots of spiders show up, as well as crickets that not a good thing either. According to folklore. “if spiders spin larger than webs and enter the house in great numbers”. A snowy winter is supposed to be on tap. Early arrival of crickets on the hearth means early winter.

Now having said all this and making light of some of it there are many old signs and signals that we can take from Mother
Nature about the weather and what may be in store. At Mutual we have put together several forecasters that give us information that we will pass along to you when the danger of cold weather is approaching and as in the past the information will be available to you by calling for the latest forecast. Our service right now says like others; that Florida is in a neutral weather pattern this means we right now don’t have the El nino or La nino effect, some of our colder winters have been in neutral years and some have been warm and dry. Who knows we can have the best winter but all it takes is one night. Let’s all just hope and pray that with all the problems we have in the industry we have a good and safe winter.

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Two Hundred and Forty Million Boxes!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Two Hundred and forty million boxes!!! What in the hell are we going to do with that much fruit? That was the cry that went up from the industry not long after I came to work for Mutual.

Folks on the river were talking about taking out every other Grapefruit tree just to help keep prices up couldn’t sell it for breakeven prices. Oranges were selling for 35 and 40 cents a pound, sometimes you couldn’t get that. All fruit prices were down, growers all met in different places then, the barber shop in their local towns or at different restaurant’s, like Jacks in Mineola or The Red Wing in Groveland and other places around the state discussing the season and what deals were out there and who sold what to whom.

There was also a lot of I won’t say down right lying about prices, maybe exaggeration is a better term. You see when a buyer goes to a particular grower and buys his fruit, he gives him the best deal of any of the rest, but he has to keep his mouth shut because HE IS THE ONLY ONE TO GET THAT DEAL. You don’t want to run your mouth and ruin the market you see!

The crooks were out there also, buying fruit for high prices and never planning on paying off or planning to steal at least a load or two to help keep overhead down. My good friend over at bond and license Jim Ellis has a saying, “A grower will sell to someone in prison stripes and handcuffs if he offers him another nickel” so he can tell his compatriots he sold at a higher price. I know this is true because I have done just that!!

The processing plants were all running at full speed all over the state, there was very little not from concentrate to speak of just recon and a little bit of fresh squeezed. There were fresh juice machines in some of the supermarkets and you could get your oranges juiced right there and out the door you went with fresh squeezed juice. Packing housed were also running hard the area that I worked in the North had 14 houses from Eustis to Crescent City. Harvesting crews were plentiful a lot of domestic and some off shore labor but all in all things were running pretty smooth. No one knew about greening, or HLB. We did have a med fly every now and again and decline was a problem. Caretaking cost and harvesting cost were not too far out of line from the prices.

Look at the industry now, we are trying to find enough fruit to run are processing plants and packing houses and caretaking cost are at levels we never dreamed they would be. We have greening, canker black spot on and on it goes. What in the world are we going to do? We have trade issues, labor issues water problems and more rules and regulations than growers can say grace over. The old heads are just about gone and some of us who use to be the young guys are getting a little long in the tooth also but still we go ahead and meet at some of the same places and even though the topics have changed they are just a relative today as they were in the 70s. Growers are still planting Citrus trees, still raising families on the income from groves, yes it may be a little harder but the industry is still here. The question was what are we as an industry going to do? The industry will keep on fighting; we may not ever get back where we were in the so called glory days but who’s to say. WE have a good and strong industry and as I have said in the past we might not shake out the same after a few years but the industry will survive. Maybe again one day we will wonder what are we going to do with all this fruit?

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Florida Citrus Has a Rich History

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

We’ve all heard it said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well I don’t know how it’s going to go out but it most definitely came in like a lion! Frost, freeze, wind and very little rain, the industry was fortunate that we didn’t suffer more damage than we did. Trees in some areas were in full bloom and most others were well on their way. As I said we were really lucky to come away with only minimal damage. Right now bloom looks good but we need rain.

Looking back at the industry throughout its history and the problems we have encountered over the years it’s a wonder we are still around! Let’s take a minute now to look back at just a little history and some early problems our industry has faced.

With the railroads moving deeper into the state, the citrus industry was able to expand in the late 19th century. Realtors promoted Florida as a paradise on earth; the climate was great and the soil could produce anything you wanted to grow on it. Citrus figured into this claim and many people caught the orange fever, knowing all they had to do was plant a grove, sit back, get a suntan and reap the harvest!

There were groves planted as far north as Jacksonville, Hawthorne, Palatka, and Deland and further south into Polk County; even down into the Alva area. Things were really booming and prosperity was just an orange crop away. People had jobs and life was good. Why, packinghouse workers were making as much as 15 cents a box for packing and even up to 10 cents for sorters (graders today), and a field box filler could get 15 cents a box! Packinghouses were built and things were really rolling.

All of this good fortune came to a halt for many during the great freeze of 1894 and 1895. Sound familiar? There had been a few earlier freezes before, but nothing like these. There was one in 1886 that signaled a warning of things to come. Out of those warnings came many ideas to protect trees and the crop. Mr. Stetson in Deland built a slat shack over his grove, some put wooden shelters over their young trees and some growers even sprayed the trees down with water and froze them in so to speak.

Before the great freeze, Florida produced five million boxes of fruit, it would not reach that level of production for almost 20 years following the winter of 1894-95. Many growers left the state after these major freezes and returned north. Some turned the land into other uses. Many growers moved further south after these major freezes. Groves that survived the freeze were well known throughout the state. This period of recovery gave way to a second citrus boom. The town of Keystone was renamed Frostproof after its trees weathered the freezes. Drummetts grove on Merritt Island remained untouched helping to maintain the reputation of Indian River Fruit.

The industry has its fair share of problems today and I guess you can’t really compare the hardships of our forefathers to our troubles. Or can you? They had labor issues, transportation problems, and market fluctuations. When it froze they moved South, and so did we. They did not however have EPA, DNR, Water management, Dept. of Labor, greening and everything else we face.

But I will be willing to bet that when that grower of the late 1800s looked at his operation and his family, his problems then were to him just as insurmountable as ours are to us today. No,he didn’t have all the government, disease and every other problems we have, but he came through those times of devastation and despair and rebuilt an industry. We will also, it may not be quite the same but I for one am very optimistic, greening will be cured in time, trees will be replanted, and this great Florida Citrus Industry will continue just as it has for over one hundred years.

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Where Have All the White Hats Gone?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Where have all the white hats gone? A lot of you readers out here remember the guys in the white hats, mostly from the old movies the hero’s we looked up to. Remember Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger, and most certainly Roy and Dale. They rode in saved the day and we all cheered when they came on the screen and were sad when they left. It’s still a sad day because we have about the same thing happening today in our agricultural community.

When I was a kid growing up in Florida farmers were considered the backbone of the economy and they wore the white hats. They worked hard providing food for their families and the rest of the nation well respected and most certainly looked up to. Florida began to grow and with that growth came change and farming was pushed aside for other more profitable land uses like condos and shopping centers. People migrated to Florida more and more and they brought a lack of understanding about the agriculture community and what it stands for and how important it is to the State.

In the last ten years water has become one of the major issues and again. Citrus has been branded the black hat guys again just as bad as Snidley Whiplash in the old movies tying Pearl to the railroad tracks. This all comes from a complete misunderstanding about growers’ and landowners and how they are good stewards of their land.

There are many programs in place that farmers are using to protect and preserve their precious water resources. We have best management practices that are put in place to help with all types of issues; we manage our fertilizing differently that we did twenty years ago. We apply our other products in a safe and efficient manner. Citrus has taken the lead on water conservation in our state. I can remember as a kid irrigating was no science, we went out and kicked the dirt and if it was dry we watered. We didn’t know or care about transevaporation or how much water the tree actually needed. We watered till it was wet. We had sprinkler pipes we moved from row to row and believe me that was a job by the time you got to the other side of the grove you had to start all over again.

Then we also used under tree as well as overhead sprinklers that put out about a tenth to a quarter inch per hour and that took a long time to get anything wet besides the fact that water was blown away by the wind and was not placed properly. The industry has moved from the large walking guns that put out as much as five hundred gallons a minute to where we are now. We now use micro-jet irrigation that direct a small spray under the tree directly on the root system and we have gone from that high usage of five hundred gallons in minute to no more than fifteen to twenty gallons per hour. No other segment of the agricultural community has made these advances in water conservation as quickly as the citrus industry has.

As I said before growers are good stewards of their land it is all they have to pass on to their children as it has been passed on to them. They know if they don’t take care of their legacy it is gone. This holds true for all farmers wherever they are. I have tried to explain to many groups, most farmers don’t have large retirement portfolios, retirement plans and 401ks. The land is their retirement plan and that of their children. Just like other folks monitor their investments farmers take pride in being good steward s of natural resources to make sure they don’t do anything to mess up their retirement either.

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Baptists Feeling the Drought Too!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

What a drought! It’s so dry that I heard that the Baptist are going to have to start sponging folk off rather than dunk them! Folks all over are crying about the dry weather and what are we going to do? Nothing until it rains and eventually it will rain again. A grower told me the other day that he didn’t think it was ever going to rain. I know it doesn’t look like it right now but I guarantee it will rain again when we need it the most. What really concerns me is the lack of water in areas that usually hold a little water even in the worst droughts are all dried up now.

It’s a nightmare out there for growers and caretakers trying to keep everything irrigated and out of stress, not to mention the price of fuel running production cost even higher.

Throughout the state’s citrus growing regions some groves are showing signs of wilt in the heat of the day and a little more drop of young fruit that expected. Trees that were affected by the cold weather this past winter and those with greening or other diseases look the worst, dropping quite a bit of fruit and in some cases beginning to die back.

It sure is hard to replace good rainfall with micro-jets.

It seems like when we do get a little rain along comes the wind and its dry again in a day or two. This also affects the foliage on the trees drying them out putting them in a wilt. We should be heading into the rainy season and conditions will change but so far that hasn’t happened. Most growers think that we will be ok and in some cases where some drop has been noticed the fruit will probably size up more and make up the difference in production.

The industry is always up against it in one way or another; either labor, weather, market, cost of production, disease that we didn’t ask for, but you know after all this time in this great industry the more things change it seems the more they stay the same. Growers still meet at their local restaurants to discuss and solve all the problems out there, they always armchair quarterback the latest football game, solve political issues, what the preacher said on Sunday, ask about each other’s families compare fruit prices, which one got the best deal or the best price on fertilizer and material. Same discussion just different faces and different issues. I think back to the freezes the industry suffered and these tough growers are still here and replanting. Well his drought is just another bump in the road.

Florida Citrus Mutual just finished its area meetings and elections I thank all the growers’ that attended and for those who were not able to make it you missed a good program outlining what has been happening within your organization. Not to mention the great meal that was served. Remember we are your organization and we are proud to serve the growers of Florida. Let us hear from you. Call me and I will make sure a representative gets in touch with you!

Rusty Wiygul
Director of Grower Affairs

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A Pop Quiz on the Good Ol’ Days

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Okay folks at the end of this little rambling we are going to take a quiz. There is no study guide for this one so don’t start going to the internet trying to find answers to these questions. The only way you may know these is mainly by how old you are and where you’re from. Not being from the lower end of the state myself, most questions will be from Polk County north. Being from the booming metropolis of Umatilla, Florida I received a lot of my early education from older folks that I worked with as well as lessons learned the hard way. I really couldn’t understand why, after you did something dumb like get a tractor stuck or turn over boxes of fruit because you didn’t tie them down right or anything else along those lines, the wizened old foreman would say, “Hell boy I could have told that was gonna happen!” Well why the hell didn’t you tell me then? Standard answer, “you wouldn’t learned nothing if I had a told ya.”

I really feel sorry for the younger folks that didn’t get the opportunity to work on a hoe crew or irrigation crew moving pipe all summer long. Spray crews weren’t so bad unless you were on the hand spray rig then you had to walk behind a 500 gallon tank with a hose and spray the trees by hand but it was cool because you always sprayed each other. The other spray crew was the speed sprayer crew and don’t think you’d get to run the spray machine, no sir. The spray truck was your chariot that summer; no top or windshield and usually a two by six board for a seat, you learned real quick to keep an old boat cushion handy. And you better be right there to hook up when the spray man needed a fill-up. It didn’t matter if you backed down to the pond to get water and let too much run out of your tank and you had to re-prime themp with a five gallon bucket, you better be on time for that fill-up.

I spoke about getting an education from folks I worked with, for instance let’s take the hoe crew. This crew was made up mostly of high school age boys and they were controlled or guarded you might say by the old gray haired foreman. The purpose of a hoe crew is just what it sounds like, there was not much herbicide used then so most trees had to be hoed around and young trees always had to have a water ring for the water truck. The work was at best miserable. It was hot and dusty, sandspurs and ants and yellow flies – what didn’t bite you stuck you. But we all had a good time because that old foreman was always coming up with something. See we knew that old foreman had been around, done everything, seen everything and was willing to share all of his knowledge with the boys. We learned everything from the facts of life to how to make moonshine and how to drink it too!! If you had a real good foreman he might even bring a few cold beers out on Friday afternoon and you knew better that to tell a soul or the whole crew would be on you like a duck on a June bug. Well enough of my rambling’s lets get on with the quiz.

1. How many remember when Jack’s Bar-B-Que had a counter instead of tables?
2. What about the name of the orange processing plant in Ocala?
3. Who was one of the main buyers for that plant and who was the general manager?
4. Do you remember the owner’s name of the Redwing back in the day?
5. What was the first name that later became Golden Gem.
6. Who started Golden Gem Growers?
7. What was the name of the processing plant in Orlando on Orange Ave?
8. How did fruit buyers get around in the groves before four wheel drive?
9. Who were the original field men for Florida Citrus Mutual?
10. What was the old saying when you were hoeing orange trees and you hit another man’s hoe?
11. Whose family had a packing house in Alturas and one of the family members’ worked for Florida Citrus Mutual?
12. Can you remember what pickers rode in before crew busses? What were they called?
13. What town in the state was said to have more citrus crooks residing there than any place else back in the day?
14. What about the old FMC get together? Man that was some good food! Can you remember how they cooked and any of the old crew?
15. Here is the last one for now. Who said” let’s put an extra orange in every can” thereby moving more product by changing the brix and getting the industry out of a price slump?

Well I hope some of this made you smile or just maybe remember some of the good old days maybe some of you got an education just like me; I know I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.

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It’s Hot & Dry

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

It’s hot and its dry I think we all can agree to that, we seem once again to have gone from winter right smack dab into summer. Young trees are in wilt during the middle of the day and in some areas even the mature trees are showing those signs also. One thing that I have notices over the years in the groves is the lack of rattlesnakes. Used to be when it was hot and dry like this and you were irrigating groves you always ran up on a rattlesnake or two during the summer. I haven’t seen one in quite a while now.

Used to every time you saw one you did away with it then you loaded it up in the truck and drove to town to show it off. Either at the drug store or more often the gulf station where more of the old timers gathered in the afternoon. One of the favorite things to do with a snake was to coil it back up in your truck bed and then ask someone to get a shovel or hoe out of the truck bed and bring it to you. Now you didn’t do this unless there were several folks around to watch the show. Reactions were mixed. They ran from getting a genuine cussing laid on you to someone running away to just plain passing out.

Getting back to the dry weather and grove conditions as you have heard me say many times it always rains when you need it most; well we need it most now. The price of fuel has continued to rise and growers are stretched pretty thin. Thinking back how our weather patterns have changed… Can you believe we use to grow oranges without irrigation? When it got this dry, growers would bring out their old ACME harrows to pull behind and bring up what little moisture was there to the feeder roots of the trees. (No this was not a device fashioned by Willy E. Coyote).it was in fact a pull type harrow that instead of disc blades it used long S shaped blades that more or less just moved the dirt back and from to aerate the dirt between the rows.

I remember one year when it was drier than can be and I had just started with Mutual. I was working in the Volusia County area. Now most of the industry were a little further along with technology that some old timers in this area. I drove up to Mr. R.L. Cooper’s house and he had been pulling an old ACME, of course he had dust from one end to the other. I said Mr. Cooper looks like you have just about had all the dry weather you need. He looked up from a glass of tea he was drinking and said well son I’ve had all I need but obviously the good Lord aint. All you could really see of his face was the pink on his lips where the tea has washed off the dirt. It was quite a sight.

It is dry and growers all over the state are feeling the pressure of high fuel prices and increased label cost trying to keep all the pumps running because right now when you are trying to grow a crop you need plenty of water. Let’s all remember that it doesn’t hurt to ask the man upstairs for help now and again and thank Him when he gives it to us.

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Questions, So Many Questions

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Is the summer over finally? Are we going to get any more rain? How cold is it going to get this winter? What does the long range forecast say? What kind of a Niña do we have? Questions, so many questions, it’s enough to make you say enough already!

The first question – is summer over? Well I’m sure it will warm up again, I hope not as hot as it has been, but we are in for a little more warm weather down the road. Those of you that have lived in Florida long enough know that when it comes to predicting the weather down here, just about the only thing you can say is “yep, we will have weather.”

Of all the challenges we face in agriculture the weather and trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the future is one of our biggest. Of course we now have all the sophisticated weather folks with all of the models to plug in to tell us what the patterns will be. We have a moderate La Niña in place right now, so what does that mean? Well last year we had an El Niña and it was pretty chilly for a while according to some. Now we have the opposite but I understand that both have the potential to bring weather extremes to our state also. Some are calling for a warmer and drier winter with a good spring others are not so sure. As we get a little further along I will update the action. Shoot, I will be an expert about March 15th 2011!

What we all need to keep in mind is it doesn’t matter what kind of a winter is predicted, just prepare for the worse and pray for the best. I know I am preaching to the choir but make sure everything is in good working condition and ready to go. We can have the best conditions out there but as we have all learned it only takes one bad night and that’s all folks.

I was sitting at our hunting camp this weekend and it was really windy and pretty cool, so my son and I lit a grove heater that we use over there a lot and as it started it was woof woofing. Now for those of you that have never had the privilege of firing at night, you wouldn’t recognize the sound of a return stack heater as it began to heat up and you adjusted the air flow so as to keep the fuel flow to a minimum and still do the job. But that’s another story for later. I began telling Travis(my son) about the old days when we would stay up night after night keeping heaters going trying to save trees and fruit. He said “that sounds like a lot of work.” “It was son,” is all I said but the memories that were going through my head are priceless. I wouldn’t want to do it again but I wouldn’t take anything for all the friends I have made and the experiences I had during all those nights firing.

So I haven’t looked at the wooly caterpillars or checked how many acorns or hickory nuts the squirrels have stored up, but there is truth in the old signs. Farmers used them for many years before we had the information that is available to us today, they watched all the signs and made their decisions bases on all of that and they survived.

Rain, yeah we will get some more when we need it the most, it will be too cold, too hot and we, like the citrus growers back then will survive also. I think next time I will take everyone through a real good night of firing and some of the folks that worked up around the Weirsdale area in the early freezes of eighties to the end in eighty nine. Stay tuned, you’re sure to get a laugh!

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