Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Panters" in the mountains. Obnoxious tourist. Virginia Governor "93 million Americans killed daily by gun violence". Federal Reserve raises rate again.

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.

Oh, well.

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.

Thought for the Day:


  1. Maybe times are so tight that folks are buying up the hog jowl to flavor their beans. That's good eating even in high cotton.

    1. They do that even when times are not hard. The South has the highest incidence of stroke and heart attack of any region of the country. It's usually attributed to the fact that Southern cooking uses a lot of lard. I used to eat red eye gravy all the time until I had to quit for health reasons. Delicious, but it can kill you. I loved fried foods, but the same thing applies. Of course, as you know, the South has a very high usage rate for alcohol and tobacco, which probably doesn't help us out in the actuarial tables either.

      My dogs dote on hog jowls. You get them cut up into pieces about the size of your hand, four or five pieces to a pack, and they are just about 100% fat.

      I put bacon in my beans and tell myself it's not as bad as a good hunk of fat back or jowls. I know that's B.S. but I can rationalize the hell out of anything if I want to.

  2. It is amazing the range that cougars have...there has been one hanging around this area for a couple of months at least...took a blacktail deer within sight of the ocean and wandered across our front yard according to the neighbor who saw it early one morning on the way to work. Adaptable to pretty much any environment it seems...they were bawling about them coming into the fringes of Portland awhile back.
    We get our share of touristas coming by the place as we are not real far off of the main coast hwy...generally looking for directions. If I'm not handy and they talk to the wife they may wind up in your neck of the woods. I would call her 'geographically challenged'. Most though have been decent to deal with though.

    1. Well, I have always been careful about the woods because of the bears and the hogs. I always take the dogs if I go out of sight of the house. I expect the mountain lions will give my place a wide berth and it's a really big national forest. There's room for everybody.

      This guy in the truck wanted to visit and BS and that's not my thing. I didn't mind telling him where to go to get his specialty food but I didn't care to listen to his whining about having to drive so far. He knew he had the dog, he knew what it ate, he knew how long he would be here, but he came up without enough food. Prior planning prevents poor performance. I have little tolerance or empathy for people who make stupid mistakes.

  3. Harry,
    I believe they're large cats all around. Humans building and moving to the wilderness where cats reside are infringing on their territory which in turn causes the cats to hang around homes, farms, ranches, cabins, etc. We have a large cougar wondering on our property. We haven't physically seen him/her but have the evidence of large paw prints and scat. In addition to the cougar, there's bobcat (we have evidence from critter cams, paw prints, and scat). I was also told they're bear in this area. Several weeks ago, a bear was up in a tree at a cemetery 5 miles from our place. The bear and cougar are coming in from Arkansas and using the river to guide themselves over this way.

    Good thing you put the Minnesota dude in his place. He could have really turned out to be a real butt head. I'm surprised he wasn't prepared properly for his dog. I agree that dog food is very expensive.

    I'm wondering if you asked the butcher to save a few bones for you on the side if he would oblige. I buy all kinds of bones if we don't buy 1/2 a cow and place them in the freezer for bone broth making or for the dog. Usually my butcher will save them on the side for me.

    Go get yourself some fresh air, do a little site seeing, and get a meal out this should help you feel better. The heat here has been a bit much, we've been doing everything early in the morning or later in the evening.

    Give your family a hug.

    1. Sandy, the animal's habitat keeps shrinking as more and more of it goes under asphalt and apartments. I'm glad I live on the national forest boundary, as there isn't a lot the developers can do to destroy that. At least, not yet.

      He was what the British call "a crashing bore." Just my luck to hit the road at the mailbox the same time he did.

      They sell beef bones , and I get them sometimes for the dogs, but I don't like the give the dogs bones unless they are too big for one of them to choke on. Neither of my dogs are above getting a bone stuck in their throat. You only have to be forced to reach way down a dog gullet and yank a bone out once to want to avoid the experience.

      I haven't gone out yet. Every time I go upstairs to clean up and put on decent clothes, I see something that has to be done and I get side tracked. Now I'm not sure it's not too hot to go. Maybe I will wait for early tomorrow morning and get back home before it's so brutal outside.

  4. We have reports of mountain lions or panthers in East Texas. A friend captured a picture of an obvious large cat on his game camera. I was coming home right at dusk one night on a little country road. I saw something black cross ahead of me. It was not a dog and had the shape and movement of a large cat. I have no doubt that there are mountain lions or panthers in my area.
    I wish there was something we could all do to stop all this crap being put forth by the liberals. I write my congressmen and talk to others, but I feel as though there is nothing else I can do. I agree with others, that if things continue on, we could see a civil war. That is-if many Americans pull themselves away from the TV and get engaged. Jana

    1. I saw a British television show once about large black cats being spotted in English forests. They said maybe there were illegal pets that had been released, or animals that had escaped from a circus. I think big cats can survive in just about any environment where they are not hunted down. I know in California ever so often some snow flake out running on mountain trails wearing headphones gets yaffled up, but I try to keep an eye out for potentially unfriendly denizens out here.

      I think we are not far from a Venezuela style low intensity civil war where the different factions battle it out with varying degrees of violence while the vast majority of people have all they can do to find toilet paper and gasoline.

      I write to political representatives too. I quit for a long time after my brother told me they just throw all that in the trash unopened (he should know.) But I started doing it again out of a sense of futility, I guess.

  5. When the tourist showed up at your mailbox...that's all it took for me to think, "well, there's going to be trouble." I think I know you well enough by now.

    93 million deaths a day from guns? So about a third of the US population dead. And not one reporter even questioned that number from what I could tell. Idiots.

    Harry I hate poachers. But I do hunt game animals legally. And I think there is a place for "culling the herd". Even though we here have lots of predators, we still have too many deer and elk in some locations, and unless the wildlife officials issue "depredation" hunts, many of these animals will die of starvation in the winter. There just isn't enough winter range to sustain the level of animals in these small spaces. So if I can fill my freezer while helping the species, it's OK with me.

    I'm not for hunting panthers, or for killing anything that you would not eat. Wasting meat I find abhorrent. I realize many might disagree with my stance, that's OK too. Good day to you. --Troy

    1. I don't mind people who hunt to eat. I can't get with shooting deer from helicopters or just shooting them to let them rot. There has to be a better way than that.

      I don't like the "sport" of hunting animals with dogs so you can shoot the animal in a tree and then go back to the camp fire and booze some more. I'm not ok with "I'm going to shoot the red wolves because they might eat my goat" type of reasoning.

      I doubt many people here have a problem with subsistence hunting. I don't. I'm not much for the "let's fly over to New Zealand and shoot a red stag so we can put it's antlers on the wall", but my middle brother is and does exactly that.

      I won't go along with "let's illegally kill black bears so we can sell the body parts" or 'let's go shoot black bears with a bow and arrow so we can have the hide"

      My position is colored by the fact that I'm not a big lover of humanity, but I do feel connected to animals.

      No problem with hunting for food on my part, Troy.

  6. We have cougars here that wander thru town on occasion and go after small dogs and cats. We had paw prints going thru our yard one winter, but it bypassed our sheep and headed on thru. Maybe looking for new territory. Our deer population is down,,,not because of cats, but those dang coyotes. They feast on newborn fawns. We have some resident deer on our place and the new fawns are just now being born. So cute and unafraid of us as they are 7th or 8th generation here. Coyotes are smart critters and know that if they come on our place they will be shot. No hesitation. Of course now Oregon and the Feds think that introducing wolves would be the cute thing to do. Frankly, I think they should release a few in the parks in D.C....see how far that goes. Oh, brought back memories of when I was a kid. When my mom would get totally exasperated with my dad she would call him an arschloch, lol. Then he would say "abba Mammie"....wouldn't say shit if he had a mouthful. ha ha. We buy our Instinct cat food from Amazon on subscription because the nearest store carrying it is 100 miles away. Probably as expensive as Blue Buffalo, which we can't get here, either. Our critters eat better than we do, lol, and we make sure we always have enough on hand....cats are preppers, too...although they can get their own food if they had to. You are quite an imposing figure, Harry, and I would imagine that some guy who mouths off at you would stand down right quick if you got riled at him. Liberals are used to us polite conservatives backing down, but I don't do that. You gotta push back at them....hard. Then they slink away as they have no argument for logic. I have no patience with stupid left wingers, either. Take it easy for awhile and rest up. Maybe you are doing too much.

    1. I expect some of the dog ruckus at night might be due to cougars, but I guess I won't ever know. They have to really raise hell for me to get the flood light and the shotgun and go out to see what's going on.

      We haven't had any problem with red wolves killing stock, as the national forest is vast and the red wolves are shy animals. People here have lost cats and small dogs to the coyotes. I half way suspect that is what happens to some of my barn cats that just disappear.

      I learned some German words that come in handy when I was in Germany on Exercise Bold Guard/Northern Wedding. That was in 1977 I think. I have my troll who corrects my foreign words when I don't spell them right. She probably doesn't know it, but I always go back and correct the spelling she does that.

      Probably the guy in the truck thought I was a homeless bum camping out in the woods. I don't dress up when I'm at home. Just a t shirt, a pair of old walking shorts, and sandals. I haven't had a hair cut or a beard trim since the wife went up North. I'm actually surprised he wanted to talk to me at all.

      The only time I can remember backing down from a problem with leftards was the four goblins in Chattanooga. My failure to blow them away constitutes backing down, but I didn't want to go to jail. Maybe if I could have shot a dozen of them, but just four wasn't worth it.

  7. We have repeated sightings of the big cats around here. Fish and Game is still pretty much in denial. I can't see any of the local hunters going after one though. What's the percentage in that?

    93 million a day. In less than 4 days the country would be empty. Sheesh.

    Plenty of clueless tourists here. I keep waiting for one to get stomped by a moose.

    1. I've heard moose kill more people than bears in the United States. I have never seen a moose in the wild, but they look fierce in pictures.

      That Governor of Virginia was so ecstatic to get some face time on the tube I guess he let his stupid factor kick into high gear.

      People here will hunt animals they can't eat just to shoot them. Raccoon hunting, where everybody sits around a big fire in the woods getting drunk until the dogs tree a coon is a major sport. Then they go out and find the dogs, shoot the coon so it will fall out of the tree and the dogs can get it, and then they go back and get drunker.

  8. Funny how all these rate hikes are occuring now. I wonder if inflation would still be zero if hilary was elected? I am not going to hunt during deer seaon, too many people of questionable breeding sitting in a stand with a gun. I still would like to see landowners be able to manage their own land.


    1. I'm sure the high prows in the Fed will not be sorry if the constantly increasing rates hammer people who supported the President. I hadn't heard that any members of the Fed were conservatives.

      A couple of years ago, just up above my house toward the Appalachian Trail, a guy was out hunting. He lit a match to light a cigarette across a clearing ,and a hunter from Atlanta fired at the movement and hit him square in the head. Killed him dead. When the forest fills up with hunters I stay out of it.

      I can do pretty much what I want with my land here. We don't have a BLM to contend with.

  9. haha, yeah ol terry went over the edge at the prospect of getting some guns. we should all be dead in 3.5 days, so no more "gun violence" problem. but we'll still have a thieving yankee carpetbagger problem. sadly he'll be running for prez next time. nobody, not even the gop, mentioned his thievery nor his selling visas to high ranking chinese spies. he was hillary's number one fund raiser until she came up with the "charity"...had my own experience with panters. much like everybody else, officials denied it but couple years later had to admit it when one got hit by a car....our obnoxious tourists take the form of drivers taking the "scenic route" over the mountain, at 30 mph in a 55 and never pull over. then when you get to the only passing lane for 20 miles they race you to the end only to slow down to 25. grrrr.

    1. That guy, like most polticians of either party, is both an idiot and a crook. Maxine Waters is back in the hot seat, having taken money from a black California Congress woman running for reelection. Maxine got the cash, her daughter got paid for setting up "appearances and endorsements" (to the tune of $700,000, and the Congresswoman got reelected. There's a really good segment on it on OAN, but they haven't posted it on line yet.

      Panthers may be making a comeback. I hope so, since they have a place in the natural order of things. At the same time, I hope they don't start coming down here and gobbling up my cats.

      I drive pretty slow up here, but I always pull over and let people go by. Not so much because I am being courteous, I have to admit, as because I don't like people tail gating me.

  10. Hey Harry,


    'My position is colored by the fact that I'm not a big lover of humanity, but I do feel connected to animals'

    Great line from a comment above 'Harry. I'm big on rescue dogs that no one wants.

    On another note. I like to hit the button and open and close the garage door with the garage door opener because its fun:)

    1. I had a weird dream last night. I was at a house in a subdivision, and it had a garage with an automatic door. I went into the garage to feed my ferrets, but instead of just two there were hundreds of them, and the garage door started to open. The ferrets were all escaping out of the garage and I was trying to catch them. Something about a garage door must have inspired that, but I can't think what.

      I read five papers every week from around here, but lately no one has any ferrets they don't want anymore. The last ferret I got was Percy from Chattanooga. He was just in here, in the computer room, turning over the "burn bag" full of paid bills and statements. After he made a hellish mess he got bored and went into the family room to play with the cats, and I can hear them all rousting around in there now.

  11. Some "painters" have been spotted in WNC but forestry officials deny.