It’s cold, about as cold as it gets. But it’s also mid-January, typically the coldest time of the year. There’s hope, though. Strengthening sunlight and longer hours of daylight can do much to soothe us despite the cold.

Besides all that, while the calendar says that we have two more months of winter to go, remember that for meteorologists, winter consists of the months of December, January and February. This makes March the first full month of spring. To me, this simply underscores a larger truth and that is, every day is what we make it. So for me, each day is one day closer to the reappearance of warmer weather.

Perchin’ prediction

My ice-fishing trip last weekend was a complete failure. We hit the ice a day before an approaching storm system was supposed to land. And while the pond was full of people fishing, nobody caught anything. This was despite all the signs pointing to a productive day.

Quick barometric changes, though, can sometimes have a profound effect upon how fish bite or don’t bite. Which leads me to just one conclusion. In order to do well at ice fishing or any kind of fishing, go out every chance you get. The same goes for hunting, but we’ll save that for a future Pa’tridge Prediction.

Red squirrels

Red squirrels have descended upon my place. These vermin raid bird feeders, destroy things in my greenhouse and even get under my house and scratch about, often waking me from a sound sleep.

This has become so bad that the first thing I see in the morning is a red squirrel on my doorstep, munching birdseed. Thank goodness there is no closed season or bag limit on red squirrels, because I see only one way around this and that is to kill as many red squirrels as possible.

The vast extent of this red squirrel infestation has me searching for answers, none of which so far seem at all reasonable. But the fact is, these nuisance animals are like the creatures in the movie, “Gremlins.” They are everywhere. And my place isn’t the only one to suffer, either. So load up on .22 and .410 ammo. You are going to need it.

Tom’s barbecue

No, I’m not opening a barbecue joint. But I did buy a stovetop smoker. This rig allows us to smoke foods inside without smoking the place up. It’s not quite like an authentic outdoor barbecue, but for January it’s not too shabby.

See my From the Ground Up column in this paper for more on stovetop smokers.


It has come to my attention that many readers assume that I voluntarily quit writing my conservative column, “Conservative to the Core.” Ending the column was not my choice.

I’ve had people accuse me of everything from being a quitter to being too old to write. Let me assure everyone that my health is good, even better now that healing from a recent surgery has progressed so well. And while I’m no spring chicken, I hope, if God wills it, to be able to write, teach, lecture, fish, hunt, play music and everything else that ranks of high importance in my life for a very long time to come.

Weekly quote

This one comes from Albert Einstein: “The question that always bothers me is, am I crazy or are the other guys crazy?”