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COLUMN: Plan now for autumn fun

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By VINCE LUECKE, Editor

Visiting my parents late last week, I caught an unmistakable smell of fall – recently harvested corn.

If freshly mowed grass is a harbinger of spring, combines at work prove it’s autumn.

My brothers and other farmers have begun harvesting early-planted corn and while they won’t begin full-scale shelling of corn for a few weeks, the approach of harvest season is something I find exciting.

The Old Testament writer had it right when talking about how people rejoice at the harvest. There is something satisfying about seeing the fruits of human hands and nature coming together as the growing season ends.

It’s been an up-and-down year for farmers with a lack of rain in many areas. I don’t know how the heat and drought-like conditions will affect yields, but I’m sure there will be an impact. But most farmers are an optimistic lot and a decent harvest, if not a bumper one, will be welcome.

Crop genetics have made great strides in recent years to the point where crops can withstand more challenging growing conditions and still produce decent yields. What that means is that a growing season in which not enough rain falls – like this year’s – that would have meant next to no harvest a generation ago will still pay a decent return.

Farmers pay for those genetic advancements with every bag of seed they purchase, but the benefits are there.

Crop prices are good again this year but input costs of seed, fertilizer and fuel are also high.

As fall sets in and the leaves begin to change to a kaleidoscope of hues, take time to drive through the country in coming weeks.

• The Hoosier Heritage Fall Tour is just around the corner. Activities will kick off Oct. 1 with an open house at the Rickenbaugh House on Celina Lake. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• On Oct. 2, the community of Rome will host chicken dinners, a country store and live music outside the historic courthouse.

• Cannelton’s annual Heritage Fest is Oct. 8 with children’s activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin decorating and live music.

• Bristow’s mammoth car show, one of the largest one-day events in the county, will take place Oct. 9 with hundreds of classic autos, food, games and craft vendors.

• The Route 66 Yard Sale is Oct. 15 with bargains galore along the state highway.

• The Shubael Little Pioneer Village will welcome visitors Oct. 15-16 with tours of cabins, cooking over fireplaces, blacksmithing demonstrations and dedication of a carpentry shop.

There’s plenty to do this fall. Miles of trails offer opportunities to travel on foot, by bike or even horseback. Local wineries Winzerwald, Blue Heron and Monkey Hollow welcome visitors as do the Tell City Historical Society Museum. Local shooting matches are held just about every weekend and provide not just a test of marksmanship but food, fun and camaraderie.

For more information on fall activities, call the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 547-7933 or visit www.perrycountyindiana.org.

Forest Tour

Thanks to the Hoosier National Forest for the Sept. 9 tour of timbering operations recently completed or taking place now in the forest.

Watch for a future story on the harvesting operations and the reasoning behind the sale of timber. I know the cutting of trees on public lands is a touchy issue with some people. There are those who believe all of the forests should be off limits to cutting, even salvage work to remove downed trees. Others believe the valuable lumber resources in the forest should be harvested more than they are now.

I have faith that forest officials know when and where timbering operations should take place. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be plenty of public input, discussion and even debate.

Bruises Be Gone

In a crash that might have heard about, I took a mighty tumble off of one of the Tell City Police Department’s Segways a month or so back. I’m an occasional reserve officer for the department and was riding with another officer after dark along the Tell City River Walk. It had rained hard that evening and quarter-inch layer of mud covered the river-side lane of the two-lane walkway.

I was by no means speeding on the two-wheeled vehicle, but lost control when the Segway hit the patch of mud. It went one way and I went the other, falling hard on my right hip.

Being the tough farm boy I am, I bounced right back up. I was sore and my hip and thigh hurt like hell, but I wasn’t injured.

I did develop the biggest bruise I’ve every had. It started out in the middle of my upper thigh and spread day by day until it was a dark purplish color from just above my knees totally across one buttock. I bared most of it for co-workers, who cringed.

Some police co-workers, once they realized I wasn’t hurt, laughed until their sides hurt. I had to adjust my sleeping habits, learning how to slumber on my left side instead of my right. The bruise changed color each day until the final discoloration was gone just a few days ago.

The Segways are safe and I’ve never hot-dogged on them.

I do have more respect for them. Other officers do, too.