By LARRY WHITELEY
Let’s see, how does that old saying go? “30 days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31 except February which has 80.”
Well, that’s not exactly right, but it sometimes seems like February is the longest month of the year, even though it’s the shortest.
We have had enough of cold winds, snow and sleet. We’re ready for fish to head to the warmest banks. We’re ready for spawning runs.
Long February days are the time to start getting ready for spring fishing. Put new line on your reels, check rod guides for nicks, organize your tackle box, get your boat ready, go buy the newest and hottest fishing gear, plan the fishing trip of a lifetime.
The list is long and, yes, you should make one and check things off as you get them done. Believe me, it will help you get through those 80 days of February.
PAIUTE LATE WINTER SONG
“Loud are the thunder drums in the tents of the mountains. Oh, long, long have we eaten chia seeds and dried deer’s flesh of the summer killing? We are tired of our huts and the smoky smell of our clothing. We are sick with the desire for the sun and the grass on the mountain.”
NATIONAL BIRD FEEDING MONTH
February is National Bird Feeding Month and a great time to get started enjoying watching birds come to your feeders. Bird feeding is important in that it provides birds with food, water and shelter that they desperately need in winter when the foods that help warm their bodies are in short supply in the wild.
HOW TO KEEP HANDS WARM
I love being outdoors in the winter, but the older I get, the less I like being cold. My hands are the biggest problem. I can pretty well dress warmly enough to keep the rest of my body warm, but cold hands are no fun.
For years, I have used those little disposable, air-activated heat packs and they did a good job. But, when I totaled up how much I spent on them each year and then threw them in the trash to go to the landfill, I thought there had to be a better way to keep my hands warm.
After doing a lot of research and reading reviews, I decided on Celestron’s Elements hand warmers and am I glad I did. They offer nine different models, but I chose the FireCell Mega 6. This baby is not only a great hand warmer that gets up 114 degrees and stays charged for up to eight hours but I also use it to charge my cell phone, tablet and camera, plus it has a four-mode LED flashlight.
Considering how many times I can charge it over the life of the battery, it is actually cheaper in the long run than those little disposable heat packs. I love this thing, and I sure don’t worry about cold hands anymore.
Go to celestron.com and check all the other hand warmers they offer and find dealers where you can get them.
NOW THAT’S AMAZING
The bobolink, a member of the blackbird family, travels south of the equator each autumn, returning in the spring and making a round trip of approximately 12,500 miles. One female, known to be at least nine years old, presumably made this trip annually, a total distance equal to traveling 4.5 times around the earth at the equator.
THEY DID WHAT?
The ancient Greeks prized white teeth, especially among men. They cleaned their teeth with powders from ground deer antlers, deer hooves, crabs, eggshells, and lizard livers.
BLACK BEAR SPRING SURPRISE
Black bears excrete no waste during their denning period. They
consume pine needles and similar matter just prior to denning to
form an anal plug. Come spring, though, they’ll grab a good magazine and you’d better get out of their way.
IT PAYS TO THINK SMALL
Remember that small lakes that are not heavily pressured tend to be very good bets for catching large bass because the fish are more accessible throughout the season.
You can usually base your choice crappie baits by the water temperature where you are fishing. If it’s warm, jigs and lures should be tried first. When it’s still cold, a live minnow is usually best.
MAKING JERKY, SNACK STICKS
If you love jerky and snack sticks, here’s a quick and easy way to make this delicious treat from ground venison, burger or even turkey for a fraction of the cost you would pay in the grocery store.
There are many seasonings available, but I like to use Hi Mountain Seasonings because of their wide variety of flavors, from original to jalapeno to one called “inferno” for you folks who like the really hot stuff, like my grandkids do. Personally, I sweat just smelling it.
The instructions on how to make jerky and snack sticks are so easy, and if I can do them, you certainly won’t have any problem. I use a dehydrator for jerky and my smoker for snack sticks, but you can just use your oven, too.
For snack sticks, I use the Hi Mountains Big Shot jerky gun with the snack stick attachment and squeeze the meat out into the enclosed casings and hang them in my smoker for the designated cooking time.
If I’m making jerky I just switch to the jerky nozzle for the Big Shot and squeeze uniform strips onto my dehydrator trays to dry the meat.
Jerky and snack sticks are a tasty and healthy snack you can enjoy any time you want. That is, if the kids don’t find where you hid them.
QUOTE FROM PATRICK McMANUS
“One word of caution, though, should you ever buy commercial worms. If you go into a backwoods gas station and find a large, rough-looking woman behind the cash register, don’t ask, ‘Do you have worms?’ My friend Retch Sweeney did that a while back. He should get out of his full-body cast any day now.” – From ‘The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories’