August 2020 News/Columns

The Great Outdoors, by Larry Whiteley

The Great Outdoors


 August weather has a way of making us all become slug-like, tired, sweaty and irritable. During the day I sit in the air conditioning pounding my thoughts out on my computer for another outdoor article. Sometimes I pause and look out the window at the hot sun. It won’t be much longer until fall is here.

When night comes you will often find me out in my boat on my favorite crappie lake with my son and grandson. We motor into a cove with lots of standing timber and crappie lights are hung out over the water. It isn’t long before flying bugs of all kinds come to the bright lights. Then come the crappie to feast on the bugs. Some of us use jigs and some use minnows and we drop them down into the light. The crappie always responds.

As we fish, we listen to the sounds of bullfrogs, katydids and owls. Between reeling in crappie, I sometimes look up into the dark night sky filled with thousands of twinkling stars and say thank you to the creator of it all and for this special moment on an August night.


“Fishing is much less about the fishing, and much more about the time alone with your kid, away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday. “   Dan Pearce



A bullfrog’s diet includes insects, crayfish, amphibians (including their own young), fish, birds, snakes, small turtles, bats, shrews, baby muskrats, baby minks and hummingbirds.


Crappie should be prepared as simple as you can. Tampering with it as little as possible allows its natural flavors and textures to come through. Crappie meat is fragile, the muscle fibers are short, and the fat content is low. So, it can be really easy to overcook it which will draw out its moisture and tenderness, and the texture will toughen or fall apart.

There are lots or recipes online for cooking crappie. You can bake it, fry it, poach it, grill it, smoke it and more. You can fix blackened crappie, crappie tacos, make crappie sandwiches and have them for breakfast with eggs or biscuits and gravy. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try crappie different ways and I have. My favorite is still fried crappie, potatoes and onions, baked beans and corn bread. It always will be.


What would campfires be without roasting marshmallows while out camping or around a fire pit in your backyard?

Cut a stick or get out the marshmallow skewers and impale your marshmallow on the end. Don’t hold the stick directly over the fire. That’s too much heat for the perfect roasted marshmallow. Hold it to the side of the fire and slowly rotate it, so it browns evenly.

As the marshmallow turns a tawny golden color, it will sag. When a vertical slit appears where the stick or skewer and marshmallow meet, it’s ready to eat as is or put between a sandwich of graham crackers and chocolate for a delicious, gooey s’mores treat.

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