Thursday, February 27, 2020

2020 Wood Duck Box / Bluebird Box Maintenance

Wood Duck Box Ready for Nesting
in Wet Weather Pond - Feb. 2020
The outdoors calendar wanes some during the month of February, especially if we get the typical wet weather that the Lowcountry is experiencing in 2020. Duck season ended with a whimper and wood ducks might have been the only species in the bag for wingshooters. Waterfowlers and birdwatchers can make a difference for wildlife by taking time now to maintain nesting boxes that benefit woodies and bluebirds. There is always a sense of adventure when cleaning out existing bird boxes, and each year adds a new tale to tell.
Lots of projects can be accomplished using boot leather, sweat equity and by hitching an implement up to a tractor, but erecting and maintaining wood ducks boxes requires a more specialized approach. In most cases, the woodland manager must don hip boots or waders to access a wood duck box. A stepladder, work gloves and a five-gallon bucket with wood shavings must be hauled into the woods before wading out into the flooded area that is prime wood duck habitat. 

Setting up the ladder next to the wood duck box seems simple, but Lowcountry soils can become mushy when flooded and testing some weight on the first step to check for the sink-in factor is always important. It is not advisable to get three steps up on the ladder only to find that the back right leg is going to sink down 10-inches and tip you over, because the Lowcountry waters in February are very cold. While its possible to get soaking wet by accident, a combination of caution and experience can diminish such chances. Precarious is a good way to describe when you are standing atop a ladder in the swamp about to open the top of a wood duck box to reach down inside it and clean it out.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian

To view past blog entries on wood duck boxes click on 2016 - 2015 - 2014 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

#TeamHouston Horse Show at Colleton Saddle Club

Two Youngsters supporting #TeamHouston
Roughly two months after a serious injury changed the life of young Colleton High graduate, his family is grateful to be receiving support from the community. A groundswell of grassroots efforts came together on Saturday February 15 when the Colleton Saddle Club hosted a horse show to benefit #TeamHouston. The beautiful spring weather on Saturday made for a full day of fundraising efforts including a raffle, petting zoo, t-shirt sales and a chicken bog dinner.

#TeamHouston receives warm welcome 
Colleton Saddle Club Ring
The equine enthusiasts from Colleton and Dorchester County turned out in force on Saturday to welcome Houston Barr coming back home to live after two months in the hospital. Parents James and Robin Barr live on a horse farm near Ridgeville and they are relieved to have Houston back at home. Houston, age 20, and his younger sister Maddie are longtime members of the horse community, and Houston was involved in 4-H activities. The show of support from the horse-owner community on Saturday was impressive, and is likely to have a unique and positive impact on #TeamHouston moving forward.

The Carr family arrived in their diesel crew-cab pick-up truck, towing a horse trailer around noon on Saturday. Event organizers had all the riders that arrived earlier to saddle up and formed a unique welcome line to wave and cheer to Houston as he drove onto the Colleton Saddle Club grounds. This display of kindheartedness carried over into the entire day of outdoor activity.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian
Lots of equine enthusiasts turned out for #TeamHouston

Friday, February 14, 2020

2020 Late Goose Season Opener on Valentine's Day

Late Season Opening Day / Valentine's Day Harvest
I don't recall the late goose season opener ever falling on Valentine's Day before. In fact, some years the late goose season was already closed before mid-February. The dates for the 2020 late goose season run from Feb. 14 all the way until February 29 - giving late season waterfowlers an extra day to hunt due to the leap year! Shooting times are 1/2-hour before sunrise until sunset and the daily bag limit is five geese per hunter. The tale of my hunt is that a group of eight Canada geese came to the pond I was hunting and circled twice before I was able to make a clean kill shot and harvest two of the birds. One fell into the water with a splash and one fell onto land and made a THUD.

To view past blog entries from late goose season click on 2017 -  2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011
Trusty canine companion inspecting the geese!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

2020 Colleton Clemson Extension Advisory Committee Meeting

Colleton Advisory Committee on Feb. 4, 2020
The members of the Colleton Clemson Extension staff invite their Advisory Committee for a planning meeting at the beginning of each calendar year. The Committee members are made up of folks in our community that advocate for gardening, forestry, water quality, and healthy living practices. Alta Mae Marvin will have been with the Extension for 20 years in July, and she asks the committee members to bring forth any ideas about how the Clemson Extension can better serve the community in 2020. 
Ellen Comeau with the Water Resources Program Team from the Beaufort County Clemson Extension Office spoke about renewed focus on water conservation in 2020. “I’m always on the lookout for things that make a negative impact on water quality,” said Comeau. “Stormwater runoff strategies are important, but something simple like always picking up after your pet can make an impact too. Members of the public call me with questions about ponds they see, erosion issues, even about alligators and geese.” Comeau also introduced Rebecca Davis from Bamberg who is a new Water Resources extension agent that will cover Colleton County.

Karissa Ulmer is the Lowcountry District Clemson Extension Director and she thanked the committee members for coming out on Monday night Feb. 4 to join them for a chicken supper catered by the Old House. “The Clemson Extension has some high quality events coming up with the 4-H Livestock Day in Orangeburg and the Forestry workshop coming up in Charleston,” said Ulmer. “My own kids are involved in 4-H so I know from experience that this program provides life skills beyond the farm. Local agent Marion Barnes was shaped by 4-H livestock activities when he was a youth. The interactive livestock clinic will be held February 22 from 10 – 1 at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds.”

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from this meeting click on 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 

To view past entries about agribusiness in S.C. click on  Pasture Grazing - Beginning Farmer Program -Woodland Management - October Flooding - Hugh Weathers -  Tree Farm Lobby Day -  Benton's Peanuts - Fresh On The Menu 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Benton Hay Farm Featured in New Holland Video

New Holland hay baler on display in Colleton County
The New Holland agriculture equipment company does business all around the world, wherever farmers work. They have started a video series to feature family farming operations globally, and Colleton County’s Benton Hay Farm is selected to represent North America. Benton’s Hay Farm has been in business for 40 years now, and a little over 25 years ago when Benton’s Feed and Seed opened in Walterboro, to sell hay and other farm friendly products. Three generations of the Benton family are currently working on the farm today, and the recognition from New Holland Ag comes after decades of making hay while the sun shines.
The New Holland Agriculture “All In The Family” video series is available to view on YouTube. A few videos in this series premiered in 2019 featuring South America, Asia, India and Europe with the Benton Hay Farm video rolling out in early 2020. Each video starts with a map of the world, and then the featured continent is highlighted and the exact home town being filmed is listed. The production on these videos is super slick and each beginning is almost like a James Bond 007 movie, where any place in the world may be the next filming destination. A film crew came for New York last summer to film the hay farming operation in western Colleton County.

Clips showing Walterboro City Hall and downtown Washington Street at the beginning of the video helps share the front porch of the Lowcountry with viewers worldwide. The remainder of the video titled “A Life Well Farmed” talks about hay growing and baling and the importance of family farming. Mr. I.M. Benton is the elder statesman and he makes a brief appearance in the video, but his son Timmy Benton stars as the family spokesman. Hunter Benton and ‘little’ Timmy Benton represent the third generation. Sandra Benton and Michelle Benton get credit for working at the Feed and Seed Store in town.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian

To view past blog entries on New Holland click 2018.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2020 Turkey Season Changes and Draw Hunt Deadline

Everyone is hoping that hen turkeys have improved
noting success in 2020
Dove hunting and duck hunting seasons ended on the last day of January, and for many the spring turkey season is next on the outdoors to do list. Small game season extends into February for quail, rabbit and snipe hunting but warmer than average weather can hinder those opportunities. The rules and regulations for hunting wild turkey in South Carolina continues to evolve with their populations lower than normal in many areas. The opening day for turkey hunting in the Lowcountry will be pushed back until March 22, with a new provision that no more than one gobbler be harvested during the first ten days of the season.
For veteran turkey hunters the long time historical opening day for hunting Lowcountry longbeards on March 15, looks more and more like a thing of the past. The opening day for the 2019 opening season was pushed back until March 20, and now in 2020 the Sunday March 22 date effectively shaves off the first potential Saturday of turkey hunting opportunity. The deeper dates on the calendar, and the new provision, are in tune with data from biologist studies that show mature gobblers being the most susceptible to turkey calling in the early season. The later start date and the trimming of the early harvest theoretically gives the gobblers a better chance to breed with hens in order to increase reproductive success.
More date changes for the 2020 turkey season include a youth hunting weekend on March 14 and 15, with a limit of one bid per hunter, and that turkey counting toward their season limit. The season limit for turkey hunters is three birds per hunter, and 2020 marks the first year that turkey tags are no longer free. South Carolina residents will pay a $5 fee for three turkey tags, and non-resident hunters will pay $100 for their limit of two turkey tags per hunter. Tags may be purchased on-line or by phone and will be mailed out beginning in mid-February. Tags will be available over the counter at SCDNR regional offices in March, and turkey tags must be in your possession when hunting.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on turkey hunting click Grand Slam - Mark Prudhomme - Eddie Salter - Tony Chachere H.S. Strut 

To view past blog entires about the Turkey Season Opener click 20162015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2010 - 2009 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

NFL 100 - Pro Bowl in Orlando; Super Bowl in Miami

The National Football League is finishing a stellar season to celebrate 100 years of history. Sunday’s divisional playoff games determined the participants for the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami, and the best of the rest of the NFL is heading to Orlando for the Pro Bowl on January 26. The Kansas City Chiefs will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl on February 2, with their last Super Bowl appearance 50 years ago. The San Francisco Forty-Niners will represent the NFC and were last in the Super Bowl in 2013. While both of the games remaining on the NFL calendar are within driving distance from the Lowcountry, finding a ticket to the Super Bowl would be the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.

A quick recap of the divisional championship games reveals that the best offense, will meet the best defense in the 2020 Super Bowl. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the engine driving the Kansas City Chiefs, with the NFL’s best passing attack on display for all to see. The Chiefs dispatched the underdog Tennessee Titans with big play after big play leading to 35-points on the scoreboard. The San Francisco Forty-Niners blew out the veteran Green Bay Packers team 27 – 0 in the first half, and then cruised to victory. The Niners offense has got game, but their stout defense may carry them to victory. The old adage, defense wins championships, will be put to the test in Super Bowl LIV (54).
The NFL Pro Bowl game in Orlando takes place at 3 p.m. on January 26, but the NFL will celebrate its 100th season all week long with lots of talented players in tow. On Wednesday, January 22 the Pro Bowl skills showdown will pit the AFC vs. the NFC in a competition involving unique skill sets. A precision passing contest, best hands contest, gridiron gauntlet relay race and the thread the needle accuracy test are just some of the options. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward, Denver’s Von Miller, New England’s Stephon Gilmore, New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan and Detroit’s Darius Slay are all set to participate, with more players expected to join in from teams that did not advance in the playoffs.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian. 

Ti view past blog entires from the NFL click on 2017 Preseason Panthers Vs. Jags