The big chill
Thanks to Mark Goodwin for sharing with us in the September issue the most chilling experience of almost shooting his own son. We all have to be careful. What you see may not always be what it really is. There is no substitute for safety.
Yasuo Ishida, St. Louis
I am a housewife and graphic artist with a disability that keeps me from long walks in the woods, so I watch wildlife in the city and along highways everywhere I go.
I was wondering how I could identify trees from a distance, when I saw Tim Frevert's article, "Tree Architecture." What a joy! Your magazine continues to be a great pleasure to me.
Deborah Wallen, Independence
In "A Quack in Time," duck carver McFarland says his calls are crafted after calls that were more "novelties" than working calls. Not so my dad's old call from the 1920s.
Dad said that along the Osage River in Bates County there was one duck call sold in all the hardware and general stores near the Osage. It was an "F.A. Allen, Monmouth, Ill." call that sold for 50 cents.
I have this call. It has a birch barrel, a wooden reed holder fitted into a silvered brass stopper and a brass reed. Although some hunters kept a few live decoys, they were used to enliven their set of cedar blocks.
Bill Kamm, Stockton
I'm a long-time reader of the Conservationist. I remember using articles out of the stacks of them that my dad had when I was a teenager. I always thought of them as a man's magazine. Now I'm 46 and my son and I enjoy each issue immensely. Thanks for the many hours of interesting reading.
Karen Kroeck, St. Louis
Please stop printing articles on fishing, hunting and trapping. I do not understand how hurting animals could be so much fun or good for the environment. Instead, print articles convincing people that you can enjoy nature without wounding and killing animals.
Gina Pupillo, Florissant
Editor's note: The Conservationist will not stop printing articles about hunting, fishing and trapping. We feel these are essential human endeavors and recreations that people use to maintain their connection to nature.
Someone either too young or too old wrote that the blue catfish being retired from the state fair was Old Blue I. It is actually Old Blue II.
I am enclosing an article from the Sedalia Democrat printed in October 1971, that said the original Old Blue's heart gave out after a 33-year career at the State Fair. So next year we will see Old Blue III, not II.
Laura Steele, Sedalia
Last of the ants
Editor's note: Many people wrote with solutions to the problem of ants raiding hummingbird feeders. The following selection should last us through winter.
Rub shortening on the chain or string above the feeder. I had 25-30 hummingbirds this year, but not one ant.
Gladys Kennedy, Fredericktown
I planted tansy around our house and feeders and no more ants in the house or around my feeders.
Betty Conness, Neosho
Every time my wife cleans and fills the hummingbird feeders, she sprays a little Avon's Skin So Soft on the top of the feeder and on the hanger. No ants and the birds don't seem to mind.
John R. Bushnell, Golden City
I use two eye bolts with a coupler and some soft rubber washers to suspend a tuna or cat food can full of water above the hummingbird feeder.
Red Howell, Cape Girardeau
Poke a hole just larger than the wire in a plastic hair spray can cover. Slide the cover on and fill it with water. It has worked for me for years.
Harriet Cremeen, Mount Vernon
Please reconsider using axle grease or Vaseline. When I used axle grease, a hapless hummer ended up in it and couldn't fly. I scrubbed off the grease and now let the ants share the bounty.
Gary Cochran, Bland
Cooking oil in a tuna fish can soldered to the hanger wire of the hummingbird feeder stopped the ants cold.
Jim Finley, Osceola
Put cotton on the wire holding the hummingbird feeder and the ants will not cross it.
E.L. Schrick, Wright City
The September article "Enchantment and Slapstick" caused me to raise a brow. I did some calling when I read about how a legal size bass, 12 inches, was cleaned by the streamside.
As I suspected, the head and tail must remain attached to the fish while fishing on waters where length limits apply.
Barry Armfield, St. Louis
Do you think any of your readers might have a photo of the Guthrie Mill or Guthridge Mill (spelling uncertain), which was located north of Keytesville on Highway 5? My grandfather operated that mill, but I have no pictures.
Zola Dickson, Kansas City
Thanks to information we found in the Conservationist, we recently took our children on a Missouri vacation. We hiked Elephant Rocks, swam and camped at Johnson's Shut-Ins, floated and fished the Current River and North Fork of the White River.
One question: we live near Diamond Grove Prairie. What are those little knolls or hillocks dotted across the landscape?
Mary Buffett, Joplin
Editor's note: No one knows the origin of Mima mounds (named after the town of Mima, Wash.). They contain no artifacts, and don't seem to be the result of any known species of burrowing animal. They may have developed during a drought period when earth tremors shook dust into piles.