I take the county newspaper from five counties. The only thing I usually read in the papers from adjacent counties is the "for sale" and "estate sale" columns and the pet sections. I am always looking for guns I might want, and the papers are cheap . My wife likes to go to estate sales. I look for ferrets that need a home in the pet sections.
This week, however, the front page of the North Georgia News caught my eye. There was a story about mountain lions. Here, they are not called mountain lions, or cougars. They are "panters." This is the Appalachian derivative of "panther", pronounced "painter". If you get way back in the woods and talk to some of the oldsters still living out on possum trails, the dialect is so strong you can hardly understand them.
There were lots of these animals here until the 1920's, when they were hunted to extinction along with the red wolves. But unlike the red wolves, there's been no effort to reintroduce them to the mountains.
Still, people would see them from time to time. My wife and I saw one crossing a newly mown hay field back in 1988. We drove to the forest service station to report it, and they said there were no panthers in North Georgia, and that we must have seen a yellow hound dog. That aggravated me to death. I know the difference.
Then five years ago, an irrefutable game camera photo of a panther was taken in Lumpkin County. The state had to accept they existed and even put one on the cover of the annual fish and game laws pamphlet.
Now another one has materialized. I sure wish they hadn't put it in the paper. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry with a hunting dog will be out trying to kill them. Doesn't matter if they are protected, doesn't matter if it's illegal. People here (the old time local people) will kill anything on four legs , legally or otherwise, and they don't mind using bait , dogs, or even poison to do it. They kill Bobcats, Bears, Coyotes, you name it. The reasons run the gamut from "they eat my chickens" to "it's fun."
Trail cam catches Panther in Owltown backyard
(from the North Georgia News, Union County, Georgia)
Panthers are a thing of legend. After all, the panther is the school mascot, and one might think that would make Union County a haven for the big cats. It is a haven for at least one big cat, caught on a trail cam in the Owltown community last week.
The Copeland family sent the newspaper a photo of the mountain lion captured on their trail cam.
“We have two game cameras set up because we do have bears, and (we) got several pictures,” the Copeland family said. “We were out on the deck on Wednesday the 7th and heard this weird noise.
(We) thought it was a bear, but a deep cat-like growl alerted us that was not a bear.” The Copelands did not see anything that night, however, when they took the photo cards out of their game cameras, they found an image of a large cat.
“We have concluded it’s a mountain lion,” the Copeland family said. The newspaper has forwarded the photograph to Union County Sheriff Mack Mason. This image of this mountain lion was captured via trail cam in the Owl Town district.
Personally, although I wouldn't want to encounter a panther , I think we could use a few to keep the deer population in check. One of the reasons Georgia has used the disgusting "controlled harvest", i.e. using professional hunters to slaughter deer left and right, is the lack of natural predators.
As for the pompous bureaucrats who told people up here (from their air conditioned offices in Atlanta) that they could not be seeing panthers, surprise , surprise!
Oh, the Humanity!
Virginia Governor reveals 93 million Americans killed daily by "gun violence."
(God, what an idiot.)
Attack of the Obnoxious Tourist:
Went down to get the mail yesterday, and some guy from Minnesota stopped me at the mailbox. He had a giant truck with three off road bikes in it. He'd been out on the old closed- forest service roads, where it's illegal as hell to take any motorized vehicle. The Forestas have berms built across those roads but it doesn't stop any off road transportation.
This guy had an ancient pit bull in his truck cab. He said he needed "Blue Buffalo"dog food and wondered where he could get some. This is the same stuff my daughter feeds her German Shepard, it costs an arm and a leg. I told the guy where he could get it, but he was going to have to drive to Murphy, North Carolina to the pet shop. This aggravated him. He started giving me a ration of s**t about our county not even having a decent place to eat or get groceries. I liked his dog but I didn't like him. I told him maybe he should go back to Somaliland, we'd get by without him.
Strangely, he suddenly seemed to realize he was being an "arschloch" , said he was sorry, that he was tired and hot. Ok by me. I'm rude sometimes too. He set off for Murphy to get his special dog food. I wondered why the guy didn't bring enough with him. Did he really think he could just drop into the doggy bistro and pick up a sack?
This stuff isn't cheap. They want an arm and a leg, or your first born child.
Who needs the Federal Reserve?
Federal Reserve raised rates a quarter of one percent yesterday. If you have any variable rate loans, that's bad news.
rate increases in 2016 and 2017 (so far)
Dec 15, 2016 .25 percent
March 15, 2017 .25 percent
June 14, 2017 .25 percent
The fed Chairman, Janet Yellin, said in January she expected four rate increases in 2017.
Traditionally, the Federal Reserve tries to keep the rate around 5 percent. That's "the sweet spot."
But in 1979-1980 it hit 20 percent as inflation was rampant.
Back in 2007-2008 the fed had a ZIRP plan (Zero Interest Rate Policy). Just off the cuff, if you took out a mortgage or business loan for 1.5 (lenders add on percentage plus a fed rate of 0) percent back during the great 2007 -2008 debacle, when the federal rate got down to zero you did ok. But if they get to five percent at the fed, your new loan rate would be 6.5 percent. Run that on a loan calculator and you will see why variable rate loans are a big risk in uncertain times.
Inflation today is below the federal reserve goal of 2.5 percent annually, so I don't know why they would want to raise it again this year. Over time, it will really put the screws to the middle class, who are the only people who tend to have variable rate loans other than credit cards and car loans. But they will.
I'm not feeling so hot today. Don't know why. My plan is to go into town for lunch, then to the park for a walk. After that, I'll go by our one remaining grocery store and see if there are any new magazines , and check to see if they have any hog jowls for the dogs. The last few times I have been in there, they didn't. I asked the butcher what the deal was and he said people are just buying them as fast as they get them in. This just feels like a good day to get out and go meandering around.