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Published May 25, 2017

Blueberry pickin’ time Blueberry season has arrived in Anderson County and Lake Creek Blueberry Farm has opened its gates for locals to pick their own, Page 2

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May-June 2017

Blueberry pickin’ time By PennyLynn Webb Palestine Herald-Press

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lueberry season has arrived in Anderson County, and Lake Creek Blueberry Farm has opened its gates for locals to pick their own. Montalba is home to the lush, 32-acre Lake Creek Blueberry Farm that has been family owned for 31 years. Throughout the season, families are allowed to come and fill buckets with the fruit for $14 per gallon bucket, or you can purchase an already-picked gallon for $20. During picking season, the farm is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Evanses recommend visiting during the early morning to beat the heat. “The warmer it is outside, the berries

tend to burst,” said owner Tim Evans. “So, the earlier the better when it comes to picking.” One bonus to picking your own at Lake Creek is the blueberries are pesticide-free and edible on site. “We actually encourage people to try the different varieties when they are out picking,” said Evans. “Some people spray for pests, but I do not. I’ve never had to. I say it’s divine intervention. We bought a sprayer, and we ended up selling it, because it was a $5,000 piece of equipment just sitting here. I know of other blueberry farms that use sprayers; they are covered in pests, but I think the secret is keeping your rows and bushes well groomed.” Evans noted that, while the pigs eat some, deer eat some and birds eat some, it’s just part of having a farm, and there is still plenty of fruit to sell.

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Cold snaps are most likely the crop’s biggest nemesis, Evans said. The Evans family takes care of 7,800 bushes of three different varieties of blueberries. The farm was originally started by Evans and his brother, along with their wives. Evans, and his wife, Judy, would eventually buy the other couple out, moving to Montalba from Houston to run the farm full time. The brothers started with seedlings.

“It was the fad crop at the time, and we thought we’d try our hand at it,” said Evans. “We didn’t purchase a blueberry farm; we started from scratch, planting each bush ourselves.” With no family history in farming and no mentors to guide them, the partners found their way in farming through trial and error, according to Evans. One key to the farm’s success has been the installation of an irrigation system for each row of plants in order to provide


May-June 2017

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

Why Not Share Information? It’s our dollars!

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oo often full financial reporting is something directors and management will not share with the taxpayers who pay the bills. The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District headquartered in Lubbock is an exception. The Board of Directors goes all out to keep the public informed about their business. The HPWD website is a goldmine of financial information. Monthly board meeting agendas, minutes of meetings, list of monthly bills and budget versus actual are always available via the website. In their full disclosure to the

public, the HPWD also names all employees, salaries and benefits paid. Wouldn’t it be nice if all our taxpayer funded outfits in East Texas would follow the HPWD formula? A Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant owner in a small Ohio town wanted to do something good for law enforcement officers. So, he posted this sign in the windows. ”All uniformed police officers eat free, everyday, all day”. Sounds great! But not to the militant “Black Lives Matter” sympathizers—they marched, clashed with KFC supporters and threatened to burn the restaurant down. Maybe the protestors

water when Mother Nature doesn’t. “We’d love for it to rain every two or three days,” said Evans, “but since it doesn’t, we provide our own.” According to Evans, blueberries like consistency. “It doesn’t like major fluctuation,” said Evans. “For instance, when we got those two days of rain and then two days of sunshine and then more rain, if they were really coming on, they’d start splitting because they had so much moisture, the fruit sweetens up so much they explode. People don’t like to pick them. What I tell people is, ‘if you want the best fruit, you want the ones that are splitting.’” While the Evanses keep the bushes trimmed and groomed, the bushes grow from six to 14 feet “Our field will yield 80,000 and 100,000 pounds each year,” Tim said. “Each bush will yield five to six gallons a season.” Evans has a full-time farm hand, Rocky, who’s been with them for 17 years. “Nobody can do what he does,” said Evans. “He actually knows more about growing them than I do. And he’s willing and able to do things that I’m not able to do anymore.” For those who have never visited the farm, a gated entrance welcomes you with a simple wooden sign. Patrons are expected to drive to the back of the rows to the sorting building, where they can pick up their buckets for picking. Those who do not wish to pick can wait inside the air-conditioned sorting building, Evans said. Evans suggests those who come out to pick wear the appropriate shoes and clothing. “While we don’t have a pest problem, we are outdoors and on a farm; there are fire ants and mosquitoes, and while we don’t see a lot of snakes, they are always a possibility,” said Evans. Blueberry-picking season will last through the first week in August, he said. The Evanses own a commercial picker that will allow for blueberry sales during holiday seasons, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Tim said. “We actually sell blueberries year round,” said Tim. “I have about 10,000 gallons in my freezer for anyone who would like to buy them.” Although the Evanses sold their blueberries commercially for years, they eventually decided to forgo that route and just sell locally. “Once people try our berries, they will never buy the ones in the store again,” said Evans. “Our berries are very sweet, and the ones in the store have no real taste.” The couple hopes to open the farm to

wanted their meals free! Last week in Indiana, Notre Dame University had Mike

Pence, Vice President of the United States, as commencement speaker. Just as Mr. Pence started his speech, several students— many alongside their parents-noisily rose from their seats and marched out of the auditorium. If the powers that be at Notre Dame have the guts to do so, distribute a news release that names the dissident students, their hometowns and their major while at the university. That would surely work against the students as they enter the workforce—or try to! As for their parents, name them and let their employers know they have some idiots on the payroll!

The wimps in Congress who claim to represent the American farmer and rancher are at it again. The decision to open our doors to imports of cooked poultry products from China has been made. In return, Chinese bureaucrats are saying they will allow “some” imports of U.S. beef. So, Washington has sold the U.S. poultry producer down the river in order to possibly sending some of our beef to China. Chicken nuggets from China— no thanks! Horace@valornet.com

schools for educational visits, but for safety reasons only people are allowed on the farm. The Lake Creek Blueberry Farm is located off Texas 19 and a mile away from the Montalba Post Office, 1471 W. FM 321. Check out the Lake Creek Blueberry Farm Facebook page for updated information. You can also contact them at 903-3868200 or by email at lakecreekblueberries@ gmail.com

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May-June 2017

Ag Science teacher uses first-hand experience By Becky Whisenant Special contributor to the Jacksonville Progress

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t takes a lot of courage and commitment these days to choose teaching as a profession. Even more so to focus on agricultural science as the field of certification. Brad Jackson, ag science instructor for New Summerfield High School put it mildly when he said, “Teaching offers a different challenge every day.” That is one way to look at it. The reality is that an involved ag teacher spends a lot of nights away from home and his or her family as part of a demanding schedule year round. Based on his own experience during his high school years, Mr. Jackson knows firsthand the impact a teacher can have on a student. He admits his life would probably have been very different if not for the influence and encouragement of his ag teacher. Five years ago, it was an esteemed opportunity for Mr. Jackson to be able to return to his home town to be a link in the chain of education, connecting the past to the future. John Griffith, director of zone 3 of the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District recognized Mr. Jackson at the 61st annual awards banquet May 5 as an Outstanding Conservationist for his accomplishments in Youth Agricultural Education. Mr. Griffith said, “I had the opportunity to work with Brad even before he came to New Summerfield

and I can say he fits right into our county teaching group. He takes part and pitches in. We have a unique situation here in our county. It’s very competitive among each of the schools, but any of our ag teachers, including Brad, are willing to step up, no matter whose student it may be and help them. “All the teachers have a close relationship and we are always willing to improvise, adapt or modify. We are also unique in that our students are very competitive, but they are friends. Whatever the event, they are always on it but afterwards, at lunch or waiting for awards, they sit around and talk and visit. It’s not usually like that in sporting events or U.I.L. or other areas. There’s a competition but there’s also friendship there. And I think that’s something we as teachers can provide. I want people to know how fortunate we are in this county to have such professionals that are so dedicated,” Mr. Griffith said. Students in FFA or agricultural science may be learning how to weld a seamless junction of metal, give a speech, build a piece of furniture or feed and tend an animal, but crucial, intangible life skills are also being gleaned. An ag teacher imparts honor -- that what you do when no one else is looking matters. He demonstrates focus, learning how to set a goal and then persevere until it is reached. He or she guides the student in navigating interpersonal relationships which make good leaders and friendships. The teacher instills pride so that a student who gives all is not

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Using metal working equipment in construction of shop projects is just one of the skills to be learned in agricultural science. Brad Jackson, ag science teacher at New Summerfield guides student Stacey Rodriguez on a saw as she completes her heavy duty metal trailer project. ashamed of his efforts; he models commitment by sticking with them until the project is finished. An ag teacher coaches his kids in teamwork so they can accomplish together what one cannot do alone. While in school, Mr. Jackson competed in hay judging, land judging, forestry and wildlife conservation contests. He said, “Without conservation we will not have trees or plants for livestock or sufficient water for any ag operation. Conservation plays a vital part in our community. “ His goal is to carry on the tradition of highly competitive judging teams, especially in soil judging and to expand participation in subjects available through the ag

science curriculum. He said, “Land is a great asset and we need to utilize it wisely.” One in three students at New Summerfield High School and eighth grade are involved in FFA in some way. The take-away goal for Mr. Jackson is, “I want them to be lifelong learners. I tell them always take a career path doing what you like. I enjoy what I do.” Student Stacey Rodriguez attended a week long youth leadership seminar sponsored by Farm Bureau at Tarleton University with the help of Mr. Jackson. She said, “Mr. Jackson does things for us that other teachers wouldn’t do. He stays with us if we have to work late on projects. You can just

be yourself and there are so many things to do. You may loose things you learn from other classes but you keep FFA with you your whole life and you teach it to someone else.” Carly Tipton, a junior in the ag program said, “You don’t have to be perfect at something--there’s

something for everybody. I found out what I want to go to college for now -- soil science.” Free time is a rare commodity in the life of an ag teacher; even so, Mr. Jackson’s response was, “I do it just for the pure satisfaction of seeing somebody succeed.”

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

May-June 2017

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Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

Just Say NO! JUST SAY NO! - my brother says it works every time! - I know Pinto took her out, but she’s not that kind of girl! - your wife will just love a new drill press! - it’s the cow deal of a lifetime but I need a cosigner! - it’s not cleared for scours and I can’t officially recommend it but... - this will make you rich!

- the Japanese eat it this way all the time! - the Indians ate it just like this right after they killed the buffalo! - I know his sire was dwarf but I don’t think it’s hereditary! - buy this guy in the calcutta. You’ve never heard of him but he ropes good, he just doesn’t travel much! - the vet says she’ll settle in

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- I never turned a steer out on this place that didn’t gain 300 lbs! - yer right, it is the runt. But he’s the smartest one of the litter! - a little hot wire and you could run 600 buffalo on this place! - sure I can fix yer car. Kin I borry yer tools? - if she’s not in foal I’ll eat my hat!

- this aluminum gate comes with a lifetime guarantee! - why, the hunting lease will make the payments on this ol’ ranch! - no, I’ve never heard a horse bark like that before either, but I don’t think it’s serious! - and with this degree in economics you’ll always be able to get a job! - if you elect me... www.baxterblack.com

Farmer’s Market opens, hopes to bring in younger crowd Corsicana Daily Sun

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avarro County Farmer’s Market celebrated its opening day with free coffee and doughnuts and a local bake sale Saturday, May 20 at the corner of Collin St. and Bus. 45., next to the Corsicana Daily Sun. The Farmer’s Market will be open from 7 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Saturday until the end of the growing season. “We had 15 vendors for opening day,” said Vernon Strebeck, Navarro County Farmer’s Market Vice President. “We will have more throughout the year.” A retired truck driver, Strebeck said he grows vegetables on his five-acre farm not out of necessity, but to have a chance to connect with the community. He also said the Farmer’s Market is a chance for a new group of healthconscience young people to put their money where their mouth is. “They don’t know where the stuff at the grocery store comes from or how its been treated,” he said. “We try to watch what we put on our products as far as chemicals.” Ronnie Farmer, Farmer’s Market President, said he has tried to reach out

to millennials but has not had much luck building a following. “I think we are starting our 32nd year at our current location,” he said. “But a lot of people still don’t know we’re here.” Opening Day’s fare included the basic spring vegetables such as squash, cucumbers, carrots and assorted greens, but a few early tomatoes could be found among the mix. “One lady brings herbs,” Farmer said. “Some vendors sell baked goods or honey but we really won’t know what all we will have until they get here.” Farmer suggests Corsicana residents just show up and they may be surprised at the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available. “We have a lot of fun out there meeting people,” he said. Strebeck said he would like to partner up with local charities each week such as the bake sale Saturday in conjunction with Central Baptist Church in Blooming Grove. For more information contact: Vernon Strebeck at 903-654-1993 or Ronnie Farmer at 903-641-8878.

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May-June 2017

Farm and Ranch Tour lives on Athens Daily Review

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enderson County, with its rolling hills, silver streams and large lakes has an abundance of agriculture. Each year, the Henderson County Farm and Ranch Tour gives people a chance to see what’s down that country road. Launched in 1964, the Athens Chamber of Commerce sponsored tour has made scores of stops. The buses have rolled to ranches, gardens, orchards, school agricultural operations and tree farms during the last half century. Types of businesses that didn’t exist in the county a few years ago are now tour destinations. The founders of the Farm and Ranch Tour lived to see it turn into a success, with thousands of visitors down through the years. At

the 2017, tour luncheon, former Henderson County Extension Agent Gayle Finch, who has been MC of the event many times, asked for a moment of silence for one of the county’s longtime agricultural leaders. “James Wyndell Tackett passed away last August,� Finch said. “He was the last surviving member of the group that started this thing.� Julie Moore, has been a part of the tour for several years. She said, in the early days, the tour was a chance for farmers and ranchers to see what their fellow agriculturalists were doing and come away with new ideas and techniques that might held them in their operations. “Now, it’s kind of open to everybody,� Moore said. Moore said it’s getting harder each year for the tour organizers to find agriculture businesses that want more the school buses and more than a couple of

hundred people dropping in on a businesses day. So year after year, at about 9 a.m. on a Tuesday in May, the tour busses pull out for their appointed locations. This year, they left from the parking lot of First United Methodist Church, that turned out to be a handy location, with the spacious Cain Center out of commission for major renovation. Often there’s a threat of rain, but somehow the event comes off as planned. Even in the record breaking rains of 2015, the tour made its rounds. You don’t just drive up on a working ranch with four busloads of people without some planning. On the week before the event, the barkers, who are in charge of each of the buses, travel to the various tour spots. They work out the details of where the buses can park, where there might be difficult turns or a tight squeeze. The 2017 tour visited a

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Henderson County to produce grapes locally,� Moore said. Most Farm and Ranch agendas include a trip to a working ranch. This year’s tour was no different, making a stop at CarazonPitchford Cattle Company. The ranch raises some top cattle, with 175 calves born there in 2015 and 2016. Those on the tour got a peek at one of the young ones, near where the bus passengers disembarked. When the buses returned to the Methodist Church, it was time for the banquet. Each year, a guest speaker is invited to the event. Sometimes it’s a state official, like Texas Land

Commissioner George P. Bush, who addressed the audience in 2016. This year, Larry Bowman, who has been with the Texas A&M system for more than 50 years, was the speaker. The climax of the tour is the naming of the Joe B. Fulgham Agriculturalist of the Year. Although the title refers to one year, it’s usually someone with decades in the agriculture community. Sometimes it’s a farmer or rancher. This year, the award went to an education. Tommy Barnett, who taught vocational agriculture in the Cross Roads Independent School District, was honored, just weeks after his death.

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small farm, not far north of the Athens City limits. The Gardens at Peaceful Valley owners graciously welcomed the more than 200 visitors, who walked the property, looking at plants and chickens. Down the road a bit, the tour turned toward Castle Oaks Vineyard and Winery. Moore, who spoke to the crowd a bit at each location, said agriculturalists are getting creative about how they use their land. “One of the items they’ve found that work real well in Henderson County, so far, is vineyards,� Moore said. “This is the second vineyard to open up in

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May-June 2017

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Fishing season continues at Lake Palestine By Michael Maresh Palestine Herald-Press

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hose wanting to catch that big one in Lake Palestine will need the proper fishing equipment and bait to succeed. Numerous Anderson County residents make the trip down to Lake Palestine — about 28 to 30 miles from Palestine — to try their hand and luck at fishing. With Lake Palestine less than a mile away, the Porter’s Sporting Goods & Pawn Shop knows what drives its business. “If it wasn’t for that lake, we would not be here,” said owner Greg Porter. Josh Meadow, who works at Porter’s, said the store sells all types of fishing equipment, which includes fishing reels and rods, hooks and sinkers, along with any other item a fisherman might want or need. “We stay busy until it

gets hot in the summer,” he said. “That lake is huge and is a big lure for us.” Besides rod and reels, Porter’s sells live bait, including minnows, black salties and worms. The busiest times for Porter’s and other stores that sell fishing equipment and live bait in East Texas is usually in the spring, when the weather warms up, Porter said. Porter said it usually is too cold from October to the end of February to enjoy fishing, and that it is too hot to do it in July and August. Porter said the store has been around for 33 years, and business has been pretty good, saying live bait is what customers ask for the most. “We do a lot of rods and reels, too,” Porter said. Porter pointed out the store does not just sell fishing supplies and equipment, saying a lot of people purchase guns to hunt and for personal use.

The Lake Palestine Resort is one of the few ways people can access the lake. According to its website, Lake Palestine is teeming

with largemouth bass, white and hybrid striped bass, crappie, catfish and sunfish. For those wanting to hook a largemouth bass

or any of the other fish species in Lake Palestine, the resort’s website states, fishermen need the right bait, as well as the right tackle.

The store at the resort sells minnows, worms, catfish bait, frozen bait, rods and reels, stringers and nets and lures, hooks and sinkers.

Henderson County 4-H Extension Agent talks of her job, her life By Jeff Riggs Athens Daily Review

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ate Pittack, a 4-H Extension Agent in Henderson County for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is not just doing a job. Working with 4-H and Youth Development, she is doing what she deeply believes in. “Agriculture touches my life every day. Of course growing up on a farm agriculture was a part of my life at an early age,” Pittack said. “We raised and grew the food we ate.  Agriculture touches everyone’s life in one way or another.  From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, and the houses we live in, it is all tied back to agriculture! I had the honor and privilege of working with former Henderson County Extension Agent, Rick Hirsch, who would close his daily extension radio report with a similar phrase in regards to agriculture.” Pittack, 36, said she believes 4-H, and agriculture, in general, can be a great help in directing children to a better lifestyle throughout their time on earth. “I don’t have any children of my own, but I

get to work with hundreds all over Henderson County on a weekly basis,” she said. “4-H focuses on projectbased hands-on learning for youth ages 8-18. With Texas A&M being a Land Grant University, I am the ‘Extension’ part of their 3-part mission, which is Teaching, Research and Extension.  I get to be the ‘boots on the ground’ for getting unbiased, research-based educational opportunities to the citizens of Henderson County.” Pittack, who started writing a weekly 4-H/ AgriLife Extension column for the Athens Daily Review in 2016, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Family Science, and her Master’s degree in Agricultural Leadership with an Extension Focus. Both degrees were from the University of Nebraska. She has been with AgriLife Extension for close to 2-1/2 years, about the same amount of time she has been a resident of Athens. Pittack was born and raised on a working farm in northeast Nebraska.  Her family produced corn, soybeans and alfalfa, and also raised registered Suffolk sheep and had a small herd of cattle. “Growing up on a farm definitely gave me my

Courtesy photo

Shown are Dr. Chris Boleman, former Texas 4-H Program Leader and Kate Pittack, receiving a state 4-H award for her outstanding personal column.

start in agriculture,” she said. “We mainly had row crops and a few cattle, but added a flock of nearly 300 sheep by the time I was 10 years old. My brother started out with about 12 head of ewes for a 4-H project when he was 8, and they multiplied from there.  Much of my time as a youth was spent caring for and showing our sheep.  I was also a 10-year 4-H member of the aptly named ‘CountyLiners’ 4-H Club.  Along with my livestock projects, I was also involved in clothing and textiles, foods and nutrition and public speaking.” Pittack believes one of the most fascinating parts of her life was her early school years. “I graduated from Elkhorn Valley High School in Tilden, Nebraska in a class of 36,” she said. “An interesting tidbit I like to share about my education is that I attended a one-room country schoolhouse from Kindergarten to sixthgrade.  With my school being built in the early 1900s, it had a definite ‘Little House on the Prairie’ feel.” Pittack has shown through her personal life and her professional life that she loves to be around children. One of the main philosophies of life that Pittack says she has is very simple, but very necessary. “Be kind.  Listen

Courtesy photo

Shown is the National Youth Science Day Experiment “Motion Commotion.” Seated is Ryan Alderman, and standing is Bryce Parish. to others. Don’t take anything for granted,” she said.    As for her 4-Hers, she has basically one large wish. “While they aren’t my biological children, I hope that I help my 4-Her’s learn how to be kind and caring adults, who display exemplary citizenship, and

have the skills to make a difference in their world,” she said. Pittack’s fiance’ is Kendrick Marshall, who is employed in equipment sales at Mud Technology International. Pittack belongs to the Cedar Creek Lake Parrot Heads Club, and attends the First Methodist

Church, Athens. Pittack said she is a “good connector.” “By that, I mean, I’m good at organizing projects, events and people,” she said. “But, sometimes I have a hard time saying ‘no,’ so I fill a lot of my free time with work-related things. But, I love my job!”


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

8

Gone Fishing with Jerry Miller

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

May-June 2017

The New Strike King® Popping Perch is Deadly! About a month ago I watched a fishing show featuring Todd Castledine and Phil Marks catching a lot of big bass on Lake Naconiche using a new Strike King® frog-type bait. The bait is called a KVD Popping Perch. This new bait lays on its side and has a perch profile. It features a flat tail that resembles a fin. It also has a pin hole that can be used to vent the lure, and it is extremely weedless. This bait can be retrieved through some extremely heavy cover without hanging up. The predominant white colored lures worked best for us. To fish in heavy cover you will need at least a 7-foot rod loaded with 50-pound braided line. A 7-foot 6-inch heavy rod with a fast tip would be better if you are comfortable fishing with this length of rod. My fishing partner, Frank Lusk, and I made plans to visit Lake

Naconiche to see if we could locate and catch bass using the new Popping Perch. The first day we fished Lake Naconiche we covered a lot of water, trying to locate the best area to fish. One area that produced a lot of bass was like fishing in a jungle. We managed to maneuver my 17-1/2 foot Skeeter boat through the heavy cover. It wasn’t easy. You had to take your time and weave through the more open areas. The first day we only landed about 50 percent of the fish that struck the Popping Perch, but we figured out the best areas to fish and were better prepared for our second day of fishing. In one area we fished that was more open I decided to switch to a white 3/8 ounce Cliff Pace, swim jig with a white menace trailer. I landed about 10 bass on this bait up to 3-1/2 pounds. I was winding this bait very fast

past the logs and stumps. The bass really crushed this bait. The second day we were more prepared. We found some of the bass bunched around a few of the isolated patches of lily pads that dot the area. The first three hours we caught a lot of bass. Nine of these bass were over three pounds each. My largest weighed 4.58 pounds. Like any top water bait you need to develop a cadence when popping this lure. At times we used a more aggressive retrieve, and at other times we would use lighter pops and pauses or mix

up the retrieve. For the best retrieve you have to experiment. A few of the bass we caught wanted the bait sitting still in the cover. I kept a record of every bass that struck. Lusk landed 20 bass on a frog and lost 9 others. I landed 10 and lost 3. We also caught 8 bass on a black & blue, 6-inch Sienko-type lure, and one on a white 3/8 oz. swim bait with a white menace trailer. Lusk caught the most bass. The first hour of the day was best where we landed 13 bass on a Pesky Perch color and lost eight. In a six-hour frame we caught 30 bass on the Strike King® KVD Popping Perch and only lost 12 strikes. That’s a good average when fishing a frog-type bait. Lusk has had a lot of experience catching bass on a frog; I haven’t. I usually use other weedless type baits. I like fishing with other fishermen who have had

a lot of experience fishing numerous lures. You can learn a lot. If someone is out-fishing you, then you need to pay close attention on how he is working the lure. When I started paying close attention to how Lusk was working his Popping Perch, I tried to duplicate the retrieve. He also used a different retrieve over deeper water than he did shallow water. At times you need to slow down your retrieve, and at other times speed it up. Often it’s a combination of pops and pauses that works. I’m a lot better prepared for our next Strike King® KVD Popping Perch outing. Towards the end of our trip we saw a bass blow up near the bank in an open pocket. There were about 8 logs between us and the bank. I decided to go for it. After the frog hit the water I gave it a couple of pops, and the bass exploded on the frog. I set the hook as hard as I could

and began winding. The three-pound bass tried to bury up under the first log. I pulled as hard as I could with my 30-pound braided line, and the bass began to come my way. Somehow I managed to pull that bass over about 8 logs with my 7-foot medium/heavy rod. Fortunately, the bass had inhaled the frog down into its throat. I don’t know of any other bait you can do this with – the hook has to be inside his mouth; otherwise, it would hang up on a log. This was one of the best days that Lusk and I have had fishing a frog. The first three hours were the best. The spawn is all but over, and the big bass have gone back to feeding. The month of May is one of the best months for top water fishing. You simply can’t beat a Strike King® KVD Popping Perch around heavy cover.

Mess of crappie = springtime fish fry By Michael Kormos Corsicana Daily Sun

S

pringtime in Texas means crappie season. The delicious pan fish may be caught year round but spring is the spawn. Jamie Moors, one of the managers of Navarro Mills Lake Marina, said they have had up to four or five people a day leaving with bag limits. Keepers must be at least 10 inches long and the daily bag limit is 25. “They’ve done pretty good this year,” Moors said. “One of our regulars came in this morning and left with 16 crappie before noon.” Moors said most of the marina regulars are jig fisherman. “They are catching crappie on chartreuse and blue Bobby Garland jigs with pink heads,” he said. “The fish are also hitting small and medium minnows.” Moors said the action is not

just near the docks. “Boaters are catching crappie near the rocks by the dam,” he said. “They will use a bobber and flip jigs or minnows toward the rocks.” Moors also said Crappie Point, a free fishing pier at Liberty Hill Park at Navarro Mills have been reopened after flood damage and is a popular spot. The park was closed due to flooding during the last two spawning seasons, which means Texas fisherman have some catching up to do. “The fishing is going to be good this summer,” he said. “After the last couple of years, we need people to get out here and catch them.” At Richland Chambers Lake in Navarro County, crappie are also good on minnows and jigs, according a recent Texas Parks and Wildlife fishing report.

Classic Shore Lunch The freshest fish you’ve ever tasted can be had for pennies, all you need is a campfire, cast iron skillet, and a little at-home preparation.

What you’ll need: • • • • • • •

Fresh crappie fillets Cornmeal Oil for frying Potatoes Lemons for garnish Cooking utensils Campfire or stove

On the Net: http://tpwd.texas.gov

At home: In a large one-gallon bag, combine a couple of cups of cornmeal or a flour cornmeal blend with your favorite seasoning. Try Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning for a little kick. Pack a small bottle of cooking oil such as Canola. Cut and bag potatoes and lemons for hasslefree cooking on site. At camp: Start and campfire and burn until coals turn gray, get skillet hot and add oil. If the oil pops when a drop of water is added, it’s ready. Fillet crappie, wash and pat dry. Drop in bag and shake until covered. Lay the fillets in oil but don’t crowd. Flip fish when they brown around the edges, fillets are done when they are golden brown. Garnish with fresh lemon juice while they are still hot. Fry potatoes and enjoy with your favorite cold beverage. Note: For a lighter meal, wrap fillets in foil and cook directly over the coals.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

May-June 2017

9

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

East Texas Horticultural Field Day set for June Special to the Jacksonville Progress

T

he 2017 East Texas Horticultural Field Day will feature more than 500 ornamental plant and vegetable trial varieties for public viewing, along with presentations by experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton. The event, slated for June 29, will be held rain or shine. Gardeners, professional landscape managers and seed company representatives can learn which landscape plants and vegetables do well under East Texas conditions, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas A&M AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist. Pemberton said he started the trials in 1993 to meet the needs of commercial seed companies, local nursery managers and gardening enthusiasts. There is no cost to attend or for the barbecue lunch provided by sponsors, but organizers ask that attendees RSVP by June 23 for an accurate meal count. The field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the center’s East Farm 2 miles east of Overton on Texas Highway 135 N. The Ornamental Trial garden is on County Road 133 just past the former Kilgore College

Demonstration Farm on Texas Highway 135. “Everyone should be aware we will be at a new location this year,” Pemberton said. “Directions to the trial garden will be available online and there will be signs placed to guide visitors.” A tour of the ornamental trials at the Demonstration Garden at the Overton center will follow. The center headquarters are about 2 miles north of downtown Overton at 1710 Farm-to-Market Road 3053. For driving directions to the center or the East Farm site, go to http:// flowers.tamu.edu/field-day/ or call 903-834-6191. The trials include some standard varieties from previous tests, including both old and new varieties of begonias, New Guinea impatiens, salvias, coreopsis and pentas, Pemberton said. “There will be plenty of good opportunities to make side-by-side comparisons between new series varieties and popular current series,” he said. Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist, Overton, will also present plants in ongoing vegetable trials at the center. This year, Masabni will feature ongoing trials of grafted tomato varieties. “We try to assemble as many species as we can,”

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Pemberton said. “There are some that have been around for years, recent releases and new ones, but some varieties on display won’t be seen on the market until next year.” The field day will move to the ornamental trials and demonstration garden at the Overton center headquarters from 10:3011:45 a.m. Lunch is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afternoon speaker

programs will be indoors at the Overton center’s Bruce McMillan Jr. Auditorium. Speakers and topics will include: — Pemberton, Top Performers from Recent Trials – the Labor Day Report. — Jenny Wegley, Dallas Arboretum horticulture director, Dallas, Top Performers at the Dallas Arboretum. — Suzanne Wainwright, Buglady Consulting

ornamental entomologist, Using Biological Control in Production. — Dr. Dotty Woodson, AgriLife Extension water resource specialist, Dallas, Rain Barrel Demonstration. Pemberton said prior to the trials, there was little information available to greenhouse growers and the industry as to whether particular bedding plant varieties were suited to the East Texas climate and soils.

The bedding plant industry has had a $500 million annual economic impact in East Texas over the past decade, Pemberton said. Ornamental plants remain in high demand every planting season. “For everyone who likes to have flower color in their landscape, this is a great place to see the newest and the best for East Texas and this region of the country,” Pemberton said.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

10

May-June 2017

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

From Scratch with Love Balsamic Grilled Flank Steak with Bell Pepper Relish Total time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes makes 2-3 servings A simple marinade made in the blender with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a bit of brown sugar, and fresh marjoram gives flavor to flank steak before it’s grilled. Save some of the marinade to mix into roasted bell peppers, and add chopped olives for a briny zing to the relish. Serve with greens drizzled with your favorite creamy peppercorn dressing.

Ingredients For the marinade and steak: • 1 (1-1/2- to 2-pound) flank steak, trimmed of fat and silver skin • 3/4 cup olive oil • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar • 1 tablespoon water • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and smashed • 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram leaves • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed For the relish: • 3 medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers (or a combination) • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped, pitted green olives • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the marinade and steak: 1. Heat an outdoor grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F). Season the steak generously with salt and pepper and place it in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. 2. Place the remaining measured ingredients in a blender and blend until evenly combined, about 30 seconds. Remove 3 tablespoons of the marinade and set it aside for the relish. 3. Pour the remaining marinade into the dish with the steak, turn the steak to coat, and let it marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Meanwhile, grill the peppers for the relish.

salt and pepper. Cover the grill and cook to a cutting board. Set the bowl aside, For the relish: 1. Place the bell peppers on the grill. Cover until grill marks appear on the bottom, reserving any liquid inside. Use a knife about 5 to 6 minutes. the grill and cook, turning occasionally, to scrape and peel the skins off; discard until the peppers are blackened and blis- 2. Flip the steak and season generously the skins. Slice the peppers open and rewith salt and pepper. Cover the grill and tered on all sides, about 25 minutes. move the seeds and membranes. Cut the continue to cook until grill marks ap2. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl. peppers into medium dice and return Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a pear on the bottom and an instant-read them to the large bowl. large plate and let sit until cool enough thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak registers 125°F to 130°F to handle, about 15 minutes. Mean2. Add the remaining measured ingrediwhile, grill the steak. for medium rare, about 5 to 6 minutes ents and the reserved marinade and stir more. Transfer to a large, clean plate and until evenly combined. Taste and season let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, To grill the steak: with salt and pepper as needed. 1. Remove the steak from the baking dish finish the relish. 3. Th inly slice the steak against the grain, and let any excess marinade drip off; season it with salt and pepper, and serve discard the marinade. Place the steak on To finish the relish: the grill and season it generously with 1. Transfer the peppers from the bowl with the bell pepper relish. Recipe by Amy Wisniewski via Chowhound

EAST TEXAS STOCK PRICES ANDERSON COUNTY LIVESTOCK

EAST TEXAS LIVESTOCK INC.

Updated: 05/17/2017 Head Count: 250 Buyers: 31 Sellers: 51

Updated: 05/16/2017 Cows: 353 Bulls: 27 Buyers: 46 Sellers: 160

STEERS

STEERS

200lb - 300lb

1.45

2.27

300-DOWN

$134

$230

300lb - 400lb

1.37

2.15

305lb - 400lb

$127

$214

400lb - 500lb

1.25

1.70

405lb - 500lb

$115

$190

500lb - 600lb

1.20

1.61

505lb - 600lb

$110

$161

600lb - 700lb

1.10

1.51

605lb - 800lb

$105

$148

700lb - 800lb

0.95

1.40

200lb - 300lb

1.35

1.97

300-DOWN

$105

$222.50

300lb - 400lb

1.30

1.60

305lb - 400lb

$100

$202.50

400lb - 500lb

1.20

1.55

405lb - 500lb

$92

$168

500lb - 600lb

1.10

1.39

505lb - 600lb

$85

$153

600lb - 700lb

1.00

1.45

605lb - 800lb

$83

$138

700lb - 800lb

0.85

1.33 $74

HEIFERS

HEIFERS

SLAUGHTER

SLAUGHTER

Cows

0.45

0.75

Cows

$48

Bulls

0.75

0.92

Bulls

$78

$1600

PAIRS

PAIRS

$1050

STOCKER COWS GOATS

$675hd

$1550hd

$45hd

$180hd

TRI-COUNTY LIVESTOCK MARKET Updated: 05/20/2017 Head Count: 638

STEERS UNDER 300lb 300lb - 400lb

1.70 1.60

2.20 2.10

$1175

BRED COWS

NACOGDOCHES LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE

HUNTS LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE

Updated: 05/18/2017 Head Count: 969 Buyers: 69 Sellers: 136

STEERS

$1325/hd

ATHENS COMMISSION COMPANY

Updated: 05/08/2017 Head Count: 679

STEERS

$800/hd

$91 $1500

Updated: 05/12/2017 Head Count: 1138 Sellers: 204

STEERS

UNDER 300lb

1.40

2.40

200lb - 299lb

1.50

2.40

300-DOWN

0.80

2.20

1.25

2.15

300lb - 399lb

1.50

2.23

300lb - 400lb

0.80

2.00

400lb - 500lb

1.45

1.70

300lb - 400lb

500lb - 600lb

1.30

1.60

400lb - 500lb

1.10

1.80

400lb - 499lb

1.20

1.83

400lb - 500lb

0.80

1.85

0.95

1.60

500lb - 599lb

1.20

1.75

500lb - UP

0.80

1.70

NA

NA

600lb - 699lb

1.15

1.57

HEIFERS

700lb - 899lb

1.15

1.48

300-DOWN

0.80

1.90

300lb - 400lb

0.80

1.80

600lb - 700lb

1.20

1.50

500lb - UP

700lb - 800lb

1.05

1.30

600lb - 700lb

1.60

2.10

UNDER 300lb

1.30

2.55

HEIFERS

2.00

300lb - 400lb

1.20

1.95

200lb - 299lb

1.40

2.30

400lb - 500lb

0.80

1.70

1.05

1.80

300lb - 399lb

1.30

1.81

500lb - UP

0.80

1.60

0.85

1.60

400lb - 499lb

1.25

1.65

SLAUGHTER

NA

NA

500lb - 599lb

1.20

1.53

Cows

0.40

0.77

600lb - 699lb

1.15

1.50

Heavy Bulls

0.70

0.90

1.10

1.21

PAIRS

HEIFERS UNDER 300lb 300lb - 400lb

1.45

HEIFERS

400lb - 500lb

1.30

1.60

400lb - 500lb

500lb - 600lb

1.20

1.50

500lb - UP

600lb - 700lb

1.15

1.40

600lb - 700lb

1.20

SLAUGHTER

700lb - 800lb

1.00

SLAUGHTER

Cows

0.45

0.74

700lb - 899lb

Cows

0.40

0.72

Bulls

0.75

0.92

SLAUGHTER

$1250

$1700

Heavy Bulls

0.85

0.91

PAIRS

$875

$1550

Cows

0.46

0.71

Low-Middle

$750

$1250

$1300

$1550

Bulls

0.84

0.93

$150

$250

STOCKER COWS

STOCKER COWS

0.70lb

1.50lb

PAIRS BABY CALVES STOCKER COWS LOW-MIDDLE

$750hd $800

GOATS

$750hd $45hd

$1500hd $200hd

PAIRS

$1450hd

BABY CALVES

$45

$250

STOCKER COWS

$1100

HORSES

0.15

0.40

BABY CALVES

Top

$1,000 $390hd $55

$1,475

GOATS

$25hd

$200hd

$1,275hd

BABY CALVES

$50hd

$400hd

$180

HORSES

$50hd

$500hd


May-June 2017

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

11

Alto ranch owners setting down roots By Becky Whisenant Special contributor to the Jacksonville Progress As is common with many young people, Gary and Joni Hager of Alto could not wait to graduate and get away from their small hometown and into the big world. Now, almost 40 years later, they count their blessings to be back where they started, setting down roots again figuratively and literally. The Hagers believe that if you give to the land, it will give back to you. In LaPorte 27 years ago, they started a business specializing in stress welding called Texas Stress, and raised four children down south, Melissa, Brittany, Colton and Allee. They returned to Alto part time in 2008 and continue to divide their time between the two locations, most of it here in East Texas. No time is wasted, however, because, as Aaron Low, director of zone 5 who selected the Hagers to be recognized as conservationists, said “There is nobody that I know of in my zone who has done the amount of work they have done in the last few years for conservation on their property.” Actively managing just over 1000 acres in the GJ Ranch, the Hagers have planted hundreds of acres of grass and cover crops, and erected several miles

of cross fencing, including hogwire fence in areas to control damage by wild hogs. Conserving water is a priority on the Hager land, especially after the drought in 2011 when the Angelina River fire came within approximately a mile of their property line. In response to the drought that year, they cleaned out, renewed and increased the size of eight ponds. Four new ponds have since been constructed in strategic locations to take advantage of natural runoff channels and springs. Mr. Hager said, “I just want to be sure there’s always plenty of water on my place. That drought made a believer out of me.” Mr. Hager started out with a modest amount of acreage east of Alto and has steadily increased his property as ranch land became available, applying careful management practices each step of the way. Mr. Low said, “His management is top notch. He follows all the criteria for being a good steward of their land.” Mr. and Mrs. Hager are grandparents to 6 children ages 1 month to 12 years and they love to share their home and land with family and friends. Mrs. Hager said, “This is home to us. I do all the landscaping here and remodeling of houses that are on property we buy. And we’ve been trying to do a little beautifying on Gary’s old neighborhood where he grew up in town.” Although Mr.

Courtesy photo

Gary Hager of GJ Ranch in Alto is being recognized as an Outstanding Conservationist for his good stewardship management practices to promote conservation on his property. He runs several head of brangus and angus cattle and breeds selectively with four different breeds of bulls. Pictured from left are Gary Hager, Joni Hager and Aaron Low, district director of zone 5 for the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District. Hager does not have a background in agriculture he has observed what seems to produce results locally. He said, “I watch what my neighbors are doing. They run the same kind of cows as I do and I’ve learned a lot from them and from other people in the community who have been doing this for years. I try to learn all I can. I’ve made a few mistakes but we’re learning and getting better at it.”

Courtesy photo

Gary Hager of Alto might just be a horse whisperer, as comfortable surrounded by nickering horses as he is in his office in LaPorte where he and his family run a thriving business.

All hay consumed by GJ Ranch livestock is grown on the property on several fertilized and maintained hay meadows. Chicken litter is applied as needed and weed control is a constant, balanced with the planting of a variety of grasses to ensure nutritious grazing and hay with high protein content. Mr. Hager prefers sprigging with tifton grass along with planting oats and a lot of winter rye for cover crops and erosion control on the dam and other areas. He runs a cow/calf operation with brangus and angus beef cattle but has four different breeds of bulls -- brangus, angus, charolais and Brahman -- which he puts in with the cows timed to produce a two to three month birthing pattern. If the calves are born within a 90 day period, the weaning, worming, castrating and vaccinating are more easily managed. Although the majority of the property is in pasture, wildlife is a secondary consideration and several deer feeders are monitored. There is a 60 acre managed timber stand approximately 15 years old. It is readily apparent that

the family’s herd of horses are Mr. Hager’s favorite. Mrs. Hager said, “He’s a horse whisperer. During the Angelina River Fire he got two long trailers and loaded up all the horses and was ready to go. The smoke was so bad you could hardly see the pond here behind the house.” The Hagers are active in Laporte where their business was just recognized as business of the year, but they are just as supportive of the Alto community. They are avid supporters of 4-H and the Alto FFA Buyers Group. Mr. Hager was in FFA at Alto High School and Mrs. Hager was FFA sweetheart three years. They were junior high and high school sweethearts, together since she was 11 and he was 14, although their children are quick to assure everyone that they were not married at that age. Thoughtful acts of generosity by the Hagers in their community go intentionally unlauded. The Hagers have done their part in giving back to the town. They believe in supporting education locally by helping the library and especially the

high school band of which Mrs. Hager was a member and drum major. Mr. Hager said, “She just buys them instruments and stuff all the time and brings it to them whether they want it or not. The band has really grown and is doing great.” Mr. Hager said, “I learned a lot about soils and forestry in ag, but I swore when I left East Texas that I would never own a cow.” Mrs. Hager said, “I grew up on a dairy farm across town. I pushed the shovel and I swore I’d never come back here either.” But a few harried years and a couple of hurricanes later, they began to look for land back home to retire on and what began as a search for a homesite has expanded into a ranching endeavor employing several local people. Mr. Hager said, “We didn’t realize until we got into it, just how much work it was. But we don’t let anything get in the way. We go at it hard.” Gary and Joni Hager were recognized as Outstanding Conservationists at the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District’s 61st annual awards banquet May 5.

Courtesy photo

Aaron Low of Alto (left), district director of zone 5 for the Cherokee County Soil & Water Conservation District meets Gary Hager’s herd of horses at the GJ Ranch east of Alto. Mr. Hager and his wife are examples of good stewardship with their land and animals, showing a love for both.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

12

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

May-June 2017

Offshore structure a magnet for schooling bass By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

A

ndrew Upshaw tied on a Fat Free Shad crankbait and fired cast after cast into what appeared to be the wild blue yonder. But that wasn’t the case at all. The Tulsa, Okla. bass pro grew up chasing bass on Toledo Bend Reservoir in eastern Texas and he knows the lake well. When he launches a cast around here it’s usually aimed at a sweet spot where he has caught fish before, especially when he is fishing away from the bank. Upshaw claimed to have wrangled plenty of bass off this particular spot in the past. Big ones. “There’s an old bridge down there,” he said. “Most guys run right by it and never stop, but it’s always worth a look during the post spawn. It’s the first piece of structure they come to when they leave the shallows. Time it right and make the right casts and you can catch some big ones here.” Upshaw’s timing during a recent writer’s workshop hosted by Lew’s, Gene Larew and Bobby Garland was dead on. It took maybe two dozen casts to the underwater bridge from odd angles before the bigbill crankbait did its thing and triggered a vicious strike from a heavyweight bass. The angler estimated the fish to weigh around eight pounds as it leaped beside the boat, but we’ll never know for certain. The hooks pulled free before he was able to put it in the boat.

Upshaw’s luck isn’t always so rotten. On May 6, he competed in a T-H Marine BFL event here and enjoyed a banner day. While no one was at home around the old bridge, he found an army of fat fish stacked on an underwater point in water ranging 2024 feet. Upshaw used a redbug Gene Larew TattleTail Worm rigged on a 7/16 ounce Larew Hardhead to catch four fish off the spot that averaged around six pounds each. He described the sweet spot as a hard bottom circle with a couple of stumps on it. “It’s not any bigger than the deck of my bass boat, but there’s something about it they really like,” Upshaw said. “They aren’t there all the time, but when they are they are usually big. I’ve caught several big ones off that one spot over the years.” The Lew’s pro used the TattleTail to snatch another big one off a different spot before the day was up. Together his five-fish limit weighed nearly 31 pounds - more than 7 1/2 pounds heaver than second place. Upshaw isn’t the first angler to wreck a bunch of big fish in deep water. He won’t be the last, either. Thanks to modern electronics and mapping technologies, lots of guys are finding their legs away from the bank. In fact, many of them are locating places in short order that it took legendary structure masters like the late David Wharton years to find. Wharton died in February 2009 after suffering an apparent heart attack. He was 59. Well known for his prowess with a spinnerbait

and flipping jig, Wharton also was a master at finding big groups of large fish in isolated spots away from the bank so he could exploit them with a Texas rig, Carolina rig or casting jig. It’s spooky to think how effective he might have been with modern electronic technology like Lowrance StructureScan at his fingertips. It might sound sort of odd, but I sometimes think of Wharton as I am driving down the road checking out the landscape. Probably because of some advice he offered in an interview many moons ago. “You can learn a lot about structure driving down the road if you’ll just look around,” he said. “You’ll see places where the land forms points, ridges and humps as well as old sloughs, roadbeds, pond dams, drains, flats, creeks and rivers. When you’re looking at the land imagine what it would be like if were submerged by 10-20 feet of water. Think about how the fish would relate to it.” The conversation took place decades ago, but it made an everlasting impression. In fact there is rarely a road trip that goes by that I don’t catch myself scanning for potentially good fishing spots on bone dry land on both sides of highway. Structure might be defined as a feature on a lake’s bottom that is different from the surrounding area. Time and experience have taught bass heads that it plays a vital role in any bass fishing plan. Especially from late spring through early fall, when big numbers of fish are prone to set up around

Photo by Matt Williams

Big lip crankbaits like Strike King’s 10XD are good choice for plying offshore structure spots.

Photo by Matt Williams

This screenshot captured by Lowrance DownScan shows a school of bass glued to bottom around a small hump in about 21 feet of water. offshore sweet spots created by underwater points, old pond dams, channel swings, humps, ridges, roadbeds, etc…. Here’s more in-depth look some of the better types of structure: Points: This is a section of land with a finger-like anatomy. Some points originate on the bank and extend far into the lake while others form beneath the surface, well away from the bank. Underwater points can be especially good because they aren’t so obvious to the naked eye, but you’ll need good electronics with a good mapping chip such as Navionics to locate them. There are main lake points and secondary points. Any point located inside the mouth of a creek is considered secondary. Some points are bare, while others are may have brush, gravel, bushes, rock, stumps or grass. The most productive best points will often have some sort of cover on them. It doesn’t take much to hold fish, either. Just one or two isolated stumps or a patch of live shell can attract big numbers of bass at certain times. Places where a creek channel or abrupt drop off meets with a point also holds plenty of potential. Creeks and Rivers: Creeks and rivers feed water into a reservoir while providing bass anglers with a reliable form of structure to soak their baits around. Bass like to use channels as highways when traveling from shallow water to deep. They spend a lot of time hanging around “ledges,” which typically provides easy access to shallower feeding grounds while providing the security of having deep water nearby.

Creeks lined with aquatic vegetation or stumps can be especially good, particularly where the channel forms a definitive bend left or right. Inside bends typically form an underwater point that will be significantly shallower that outside bends wallowed out from years of washing. Humps: Imagine a flat pasture with a bump or rise in the middle where the elevation changes 8-10 feet. If the top of the hump were submerged in five feet of water, that means the water around it would be about 15 feet deep, possibly deeper depending on the lay of the land. Available cover such as hydrilla or brush will make a hump even more attractive to bass. Humps don’t necessarily have to be big to hold fish, either. In fact, the best humps are usually those that are relatively small in size and can be checked out in fairly short order. Roadbed: Old county roads, highways, bridges and other byways are often inundated during the construction of a lake. Underwater roadbeds typically maintain a hard surface that will remain fairly clean for years, while the area around it may grow thick with brush or vegetation. Bass like to feed and loaf along roadbeds, but they also use them as travel corridors when making seasonal commutes, sort of like creeks and ditches. Roadbeds can be particularly good where they intersect with an isolated piece of cover or other structure such as a creek channel, blown out bridge or another roadbed. Most roadbeds also have

bar ditches on either side that may provide a subtle depth change. Bass pro Keith Combs of Huntington is a firm believer in roadbeds. A few years back, Combs weighed in a monstrous limit weighing 41-1 pounds during a bass FLW bass tournament on Lake Falcon. Most of the fish were caught in relation an isolated bush at the intersection of two old farm roads that collide on top of a ridge about 50 yards from the Rio Grande River. Pond Dams - Like roadbeds, old ponds or stock times are sometimes captured during the inundation process of a reservoir, creating great structure with potential to hold fish for years to come. Dams are typically elongated in various lengths and widths. Ridge: A ridge is similar to a hump, except it is more elongated like a saddle. Bass will move back and forth along ridges, but the outer edges and tips where the water goes from deep to shallow are likely to be the most promising from one day to the next. Fishing away from the bank isn’t always the juice, but it certainly can be when the bass are glued to isolated forms of structure. Not only do offshore bass sometimes congregate large numbers, but they are often unmolested. Find one of those isolated sweet spots and you can get well in a hurry. Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reach by e-mail, mattwillwrite4u@yahoo.com.

Photo by Matt Williams

Bass pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Okla., with a Toledo Bend heavyweight he plucked from an offshore sweet spot on Toledo Bend. The fish ate a Gene Larew TattleTail rigged on a 7/16 ounce Hardhead.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

May-June 2017

13

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New CWD case discovered at breeding facility Special to the H-P

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case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been validated in a captive white-tailed deer at another breeding facility in Medina County. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are conducting an epidemiological investigation into this new case. The latest finding is from a 3 ½ - yearold buck that underwent a live test rectal

biopsy for CWD conducted in March by the deer breeder. Tissue samples revealed the presence of CWD prions during testing at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station. TAHC and TPWD were notified by TVMDL of a suspect positive on May 1. The samples were then submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, which validated the suspect findings on May 9. TAHC and TPWD are working with the breeder to develop a CWD herd plan. The facility is in the immediate vicinity

of two positive deer breeding facilities/ release sites and one low fence ranch where CWD was detected in a freeranging deer. The latest discovery marks the 50th confirmed positive case of CWD in Texas since 2012. CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight

loss, repetitive walking in set patterns and a lack of responsiveness. To date there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or non-cervids. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals. More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website, http://www. tpwd.texas.gov/CWD or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website, http:// www.cwd-info.org.

4-H creating leaders of tomorrow By Deanna Kirk Corsicana Daily Sun Lest you think 4-H is all about animals or learning how to sew, think again. Every county in Texas has a Texas Agri-Life Extension office with agents, and one of more of those agents is over the 4-H program for that county. No longer do you have to live on a farm to participate in 4-H, for the areas of participation are as wide and varied as the kids themselves. “I thought the photography was exceptional for their age groups,” said Deb Miller, artist and judge of the county photography contest. “I was blown away by the quality of the photos.” Photography is but one area a student may choose in which to participate, and the field is wide open. They are grouped into age groups, with Juniors, Intermediate and Seniors, with only seniors (grades 9-12) advancing to the State Roundup competition. Photography winners are always showcased at

the District Roundup. Navarro County students competed at the district level May 6 in Riesel. They could choose to do an educational presentation on anything such as archery, beef, clothing and textiles, consumer decision making, dairy judging, entomology, fashion show, robotics, and many, many other topics. “A kid chooses a category, and the presentation must fit the category,” said Lorie Stovall, County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science. “Pretty much anything they have an interest and/or talent in, 4-H probably has a category it will fit in. Kids can showcase their skills such as public speaking, leadership and community service.” One category is “Share the Fun,” and within that area are several different sub-categories: Celebrate 4-H, Choreographed routines, Dramedy, Musical/ Instrumental, Poetry/Prose, Solo/ Band performance, and Vocal. “In the band performance category, they can bring their garage band to perform, provided all the band members are also

Photo by Kylie Rogers entered into the Domestic Animal category of the photography contest at the District Roundup.

Photo by Rylie Carroll entered into the Food category of the photography contest at the District Roundup.

members of 4-H,” Stovall said. The State Roundup will take place June 6-9 at Texas A&M University in College Station. The State Roundup is run by the State 4-H Council Members. In the last five years, there have been three state council members from Navarro County: Emily Stovall, Rose Craig and Elizabeth Bailey. “Merissa Davis, our Navarro County council president, is running for state council, as is Desirae Lupo,” she said. During the day, the students participate in workshops, contests and other interactive learning opportunities. In the evening, scholarship presentations are given, one night they will have a concert by Cody Johnson, and

yet another night there will be a dance. “If they don’t want to give a presentation, they can write a speech, memorize it and give that,” said Brittany Scott, County ExtensionAgent, 4-H Youth Development. “Sarah Beck did public speaking, and her topic was the effect of social media on agriculture, called Agriculture: A Social Affair.” “This is my favorite contest,” Scott continued. “I love to watch the kids give their presentations.” District 8 placings for Navarro County 4-H members were as follows: • Alya Alvarado, first, Share The Fun Dramedy

Photo by Kylie Rogers entered into the PlantFlora category of the photography contest at the District Roundup.

• Elena Herrin, first, STF Musical (junior) piano • Audrey Herrin, third, STF Musical (junior) piano • Kathryn Richter, first, Sheep and Goats, “The Dorper Difference” • Rylie Carroll, first, Clothing and Textiles, “How to pack a suitcase” • Mason Thompson, first, Companion Animals (rabbits) • Brennan Moore, second, Companion Animals (dogs) • Ariana Neason, third, Health, “Sports injuries” • Isabella Garcia, fourth, Sr. Health, “Misconception of Mental Illness” • Kade Mitchell, first, Horse, “The Care of Horses” • Brennen Burks, Open (junior), “How to Throw a Baseball” • Kynlea Perez, fifth, Open, “Dance equipment” • Alya Alvarado, first, Open Family and Consumer Science, “Choosing fabric” • Erin Jones, first, Open Family and Consumer Science INT, “Cooking tips and tricks” • Victoria Turner, second, Open Family and Consumer Science INT, “Absentee fathers” • Leah Hewerdine, fourth, Open Family and Consumer Science INT, “Gender roles” • Sarah Beck, first, Public Speaking, “Agriculture and social media” • Desiree Lupo, fourth, Public Speaking, “Therapy horses” • Ashton Moore, second, Safety and Injury, “Gun safety” • Brianna Sanchez, third, Safety and Injury SR Programs for 4-H members will go on through the summer, as well. Scott is planning a Spa Camp, where participants will make soap, bath bombs, and do yoga with Diana Castillo of Shall We Dance. “I’d like to do another farm tour, too,” she said.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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May-June 2017

Study finds possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes By Jennifer Kimble reporter@palestineherald.com

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study shows a Zikacarrying breed of mosquito lives in the Anderson County area. September through October 2016, Dr. Sonja L. Swiger and Truman Lamb with the Texas A&M Extension Service conducted a mosquito surveillance project in Anderson County. Swiger worked with 58 counties and extension agents in addition to Anderson County for the study. The objective collected data on two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, to determine areas potentially at risk for local transmission of Zika, CHIK and dengue viruses. Agents chose five locations in the county for testing, with four sites containing the Aedes albopitctus mosquitoes. “It’s a concern, but no reason for alarm,” Lamb said. “We just want residents aware the potential exists for the mosquitoes to carry the disease into the county.” The study stated 32 of the participating counties collected one or both types of virus-carrying mosquitoes. “Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth,” Lamb quoted from the study. “Obviously not due to their sheer size, but because of the number of deadly diseases they are able to carry and transmit.” Until recently, the West Nile virus raised the flag as the only major disease of concern to Texas directly. However, the inevitable introduction of the Zika virus to the U.S. caused many entomologists in Texas and the Department of State Health Services to join forces looking into the population status of the two species of Zikatransmitting mosquitoes. Data from the early 2000s shows

both species distributed throughout various counties in Texas requiring more recent data collection. Truman and Swiger took 10-ounce cups with some water and a mosquito incubation strip. After four days, Truman collected the cups containing mosquito eggs. The study followed the stages of the mosquitoes through the growth cycle. Biting female mosquitoes transmit many infectious agents that cause diseases, such as encephalitis, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika virus and yellow fever. Texas holds 85 species of mosquitoes. Aedes albopictus, for example, live in artificial containers and tree holes, according to research from the A&M AgriLife. These mosquitoes bite during the day and at dusk and dawn. Recent rainfall caused several containers to hold standing water, increasing the breeding ground of the potential disease-carrying insects. Truman suggested emptying anything containing standing water and wearing protection around small ponds. Protection includes: *Bacillus Thuringienisi products; *light-colored and loose-fitting clothing; and repellant. As for animals, especially horses, no study is available for whether the mosquitoes can transfer the disease to pets or livestock. However, Truman stated the importance of protection for animals as well as humans. *Stock ponds with fish and remove excess vegetation, *fill tree holes with sand or drill a drain hole; *and any containers should be stored in an inverted position and covered to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in them. For more information, visit medicalento.tamu.edu

Before Mosquito Surveillance Study

Map courtesy of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

After Mosquito Surveillance Study

Common mosquito sources and what to do to reduce population Bird baths – Change water at least once a week. Cesspool or septic tanks – Seal and cover openings, so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs in them. Irrigated lawns or fields – Avoid excessive irrigation. Drain standing water. Plastic pools – Drain when not in use, or cover so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs in them. Roof gutters – Clean once a year to remove debris. Standing water – Eliminate by draining. Fill in low areas. Street gutter or catch basins – Remove litter and garden debris. Don’t overwater lawns. Swimming pools – Keep water off of the cover. Maintain water quality at all times. Watering troughs – Stock with fish, or change water weekly.

Map courtesy of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta), from the mosquito (Culicidae) family, also known as (Asian) tiger mosquito or forest mosquito, is a mosquito native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia; however, in 1985, this species has spread to many countries through the transport of goods and international travel.[1] It is characterized by its black-and-white-striped legs, and small black-and-white-striped body.


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

May-June 2017

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

May-June 2017

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June 2017 Farm and Ranch Living  

A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on Farm and Ranch Living in East Texas.

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