The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois!
I'm a hop'n everyone enjoyed the nice snowfall we recently experienced, albeit way short of what the weatherman had predicted in accumulation.
It did, however, uphold the old saying, "If March comes in with adders head it goes out with peacocks tail!"
I took particular notice to see if Cornelius Farkward was in church Sunday, seeing as how he has been in critical in the past to folks who over react to exaggerated weather reports and cancel out meetings and church services before the fact.
Shore enough he was there with Mrs. Farkward and all of his grandchillens. I'll address what was on his mind later on in this article.
It's time to set up your bluebird nesting box in an open field, if'n you are so inclined.
For those who have boxes from previous years-clean them out. Install a predator guard on the boxes pole to deter snakes, raccoons, and cats.
Also, as you plan your garden, why not dedicate an area to butterflies. You will need an assortment of nectar-rich flowers. Some suggestions might be: aster, bee balm, borage, black eyed Susan (rudbeckia), butterfly bush, butterfly weed, coreopsis, day lily, gay feather, hibiscus, joypye weed, lantana, lavender, lilac, marigold, nicotiana, phlox, pineapple sage, privet, purple cornflower, rosemary, sweet William, verbena, and zinnia.
The butterflies need water and a sunny spot to soak up warmth.
A mud puddle that's kept damp will do, as well as a shallow pan of water or a birdbath, all'n providing a good source of drinking water.
Some old boards, fallen limbs, or a pile of rocks with plenty of crevices will provide a sheltered spot to rest until the energizing sun comes out.
If'n you have milkweed plants nearby, it will provide a preferred spot for butterflies to lay their eggs and will supply feeding material for their caterpillars.
Monarch butterflies particularly prefer to lay eggs on milkweeds and if'n you follow these few simple steps you will have provided everything a butterfly needs for their life cycle.
For sweet scent in your garden you might try these plants: achillea (yarrow), artemisia, lemon balm, monarda, (bee balm or wild bergamot), salvia (sage), basil, and mints and thymes.
Lay out your perennial garden in such a manner that its width is no more than twice the height of the tallest plant.
I know most of you'ns today are "busier than a two-tailed cat". Best take my advice on busyness and use some of it on your self and your own satisfaction for a spell.
"Take time to smell the roses" is an old saying that if applied here would imitate a good aromatic garden or the beautiful sight of butterflies and bluebirds. If'n you don't do it, who do you expect will?
And, by the way plant a tree or trees for the next generation as you start this spring's activities.
A few fruit trees wouldn't hurt anything and after this winter a good windbreak surely has it's merits.
The soil and water conservation people are having their annual fish sales underway. Why not check them out and restock your or your neighbor's pond.
Grass carp (for the weeds and moss) and catfish, sunfish, bass, and more are all available at reasonable prices.
If'n you don't have a farm pond, a generous gesture of gratitude would be to supply your neighbor's pond or favorite fishing hole.
Ask permission first, of course, so as you don't throw the population in the pond out of balance. An acre of water to fish is like an acre of grass to cattle. Overstock it and you'll stunt the fish.
A good way to tell if your pond is out of balance is to look at the fish's eyes in relationship to its body. The eyes grow constant even if'n the body of water is overstocked.
So, if the eyes are bug eyed or too large for the body size, its a good indication your fish'n hole needs some depopulation. This can be easily solved with a fishin' pole and some good bait. Don't take too many fish or you can easily throw it out of balance the other way. The bass need the blue gill and sunfish to feed on. Take away too many bass and the bluegill and sunfish over populate proportionately.
Take away too many bluegill and sunfish and you remove the adequate food source for that prize trophy bass you might be look'n for.
The Extension Service has some good material if'n you choose to study farm pond management more thoroughly.
Anyone get caught on "April Fool's Day?" I always like catch'in my wife on a good April Fool's joke. In our early years of marriage she tried very hard "not to let me get her", in my April Fool's jokes. They got rather sophisticated at times and when caught she would exclaim she, "felt like runnin' around yellin' with her apron over her head!"
Over the years it has become harder and harder to fool her. But, I always a have and I got a "rum dinger" planned for 2009. It'll shore enough "get her nanny-goat" and that the fun and tradition of it all!
To the French, the gullible ones are called poisson d'avril, or "April Fish". Folklore has it that "April fish are easily caught".
Our word April come from the Latin word aperire, which carries the meaning, "to open or bud'. Spring festivals around the world are celebrated during the season's renewal of life.
These include Easter, and Passover and our own Arbor Day.
Native Americans called April's full moon "Full Sprouting Grass Moon" or the "Full Egg Moon" all references to the promises of spring.
Well, I've gone on long enough and don't have room enough to share with youn's , as I promised earlier, Sunday's conversation with Cornelius Farkward. I'll save that topic for another week's column.
The crust of the matter is he announced his intentions to run against Senator Sullivan or find someone who will, who is capable of beating him in the next election, because of Senator Sullivan's proposed legislation to raise the state's income taxes.
While he has been a strong and faithful supporter of the Senator in the past both financially and politically, Cornelius felt Senator Sullivan had crossed the line by proposing "corruption tax" supporting the hundreds of millions of dollars Illinois' notoriously corrupt politicians have wasted on: expense padding, providing unnecessary jobs to cronies, bribes to overlook violations, prosecution dollars to catch crooked politicians and official misconduct, outright theft, racketeering fraud, mob connections, ghost payrolls, pay to play schemes, governial impeachment and embracement of the states "anything goes" culture.
He quotes Dick Simpson, head of political science at the University of Illinois in Chicago, "that 1,000 public officials and businessmen have been convicted of public corruption in Illinois since 1970".
Simpson came up with a $300 million cost of corruption estimate as a price tag that focused on Chicago and didn't directly apply to taxpayers downstate.
In Cornelius' mind rather than raise taxes and fees, there should be a strong effort to stifle and aggressively penalize corruption.
Cornelius felt the honest law abiding taxpayer is being asked to anti-up to finance the dishonest ways of Illinois corrupt politicians, thus his anger towards his senator and the senator's proposal to raise income taxes. Keep in mind Cornelius did not say or in anyway imply Senator Sullivan was dishonest or participating in any corruption.
He was only stating his feelings emphatically that raising taxes encourages and rewards the corruption which has taken place and penalizes the innocent taxpayer by not only financing corruption but encouraging further corruption in the future, by providing more funds to play around with.
Well, good luck Cornelius, and I'll report more to folks on his effort to you find a candidate that will help cleanup the state. Keep on smilin'
Catch you later,