Well, summer is in the rearview mirror, and autumn is officially upon us. Hopefully also left behind is all that wet weather we’ve been having. In the big scheme of things, we’ve been pretty fortunate. Yes, we’ve had some flooding in our area, but it definitely could have been a lot worse. I can’t even imagine cleaning up the mess Hurricane Florence left behind. What a great job by the First Responders of that area, and the men and women of the United States military, many stationed out of Fort Bragg. When the final numbers are tallied, it’s estimated they will have rescued nearly 5,000 folks during the hurricane and the record flooding that followed.
The economic impact of Hurricane Florence is still being evaluated. It is estimated that over 759,000 homes were affected by the storm. The rebuilding and repair costs will push towards $200 billion. I have also seen estimates as high as 50,000 vehicles will be totaled out from the effects of the hurricane. Imagine just dealing with that aspect of the storm? How the heck do you tow and dispose of 50,000 vehicles.
Moving on to fall in the West Branch Valley. What an absolutely wonderful time of year. Don’t let all the political negativity that can be found on the news channel of your choice or at the tip of your finger on your smartphone drag you down. Get out and about and enjoy all our area has to offer.
Enjoy the autumn harvest at your favorite produce stand or farm market. Buy locally in support of those that put so much time and effort into our fields and orchards. It is a labor of love that only gets more and more financially difficult in the world of today.
There’s nothing like that first glass of apple cider from Marshalek’s Orchard or Wentzlers. While you are there pick up an apple of the day to keep the doctor or PA away. While you’re out and about, take the kids to pick out that perfect pumpkin. Let Mom get one of her own; usually her taste is a little different than the little ones. Later you can carve out a whole family of jack-o’-lanterns when the time comes.
You can also keep the lady in your life happy by letting her pick out some mums and the fall decorations of her choosing. It amazes me all the different shades of chrysanthemums that can be found in today’s world. Again, there are many local growers and providers of these great flowers.
Moving back to the cornucopia that is the fall harvest. Whether you are looking for just a side to go with dinner or bushels of your favorite vegetable to be canned and enjoyed all year long, now is the time. There’s nothing better than last summer’s sweet corn to go with your holiday dinners, or those hot peppers from the jar on a cold winter’s night. I know canning has sort of become a thing of the past, but these two products are still pretty prevalent. If you are looking for someone to sample a jar of your hot peppers, I’m your guy.
Tip of my John Deere cap to the ladies at Tebb’s and the great job they do — especially with the store’s autumn appearance. I look forward to it every year. I especially enjoyed making that stop this time of year when the boys were young. It became a family tradition.
Speaking of traditions, the Pennsylvania fall hunting season is about to kick off. You can find many great stories about hunting and outdoors within the pages ahead. I can’t wait to get out in the woods with my son Jimmy. This is some of the best hunting and fishing time of the year when you can enjoy both on the same day. Hopefully, we get some great fall weather and colorful foliage to enjoy the season by.
Jimmy, like almost all hunters entering the woods, will be driven to harvest that monster buck. A funny thing has happened since I got older; getting that big buck has become far less important. I’m looking most forward to sharing time in the outdoors with my Son. Enjoying all the beauty that can be found on God’s green earth that then changes to the vibrant hues of autumn. Please make the time to get out and take in the brilliance of Penns’ Woods, whether it’s by biking or hiking. Maybe it’s a family drive or that long-awaited trip to the hunting camp. The most important thing is to spend time together with family and friends. No cell phones allowed! Except for picture taking that is.
Back to those lucky enough to have their picture taken with a monster buck or any buck for that matter. We will again be having the Webb Weekly Monster Buck Contest. I will have more on this in a future article. The details can be found on page 39. As always, let’s be careful out there and good luck!
God Bless America.