Summer Adventures

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Photo by Getty Images/dianazh
A bucket of wild blackberries sits on a wooden table, waiting to be eaten fresh or used in cooking.

Since the time I was a kid, poison ivy rashes and bug bites have plagued me during the summer months. Poison ivy rashes can lead to several days of misery and make a person gun-shy of the outdoors. The same can be said of tick bites, mosquito bites, and chigger bites.

I remember well the time I weed whacked a patch of poison ivy with the string trimmer. My legs were a weeping disaster for days, and it took just under a couple of weeks to recover from it – lesson learned! I can also easily recall tick bites and having poison ivy rashes on parts of the body where you really don’t want bites or rashes. Oh man, there are few things worse.

Still, just like with the threat of the occasional mountain lion during hunting season – or last fall for me in Kansas, even a transient black bear, so they say – you can’t let things you don’t care for prevent you from doing the things you love.

Late summer and early fall is firewood season in my part of the world, and hopefully we’ll get out fishing. Might even get a wild hair and go looking for blackberries to pick for a pie. And what’s summer without a camping trip?!

As I flipped through the pages working on this issue, it occurred to me that from ticks and poison ivy to tornadoes, tomato tips, and fried chicken recipes, we’re celebrating all parts of summertime country living in this issue, good and not so good. And it never fails that those parts of the season we don’t find as enjoyable never ruin the rest of it, even when I’m tending an itching rash for a few days – though I have made it my business in recent years to become better at identifying poison ivy as a preventative measure.

What are your favorite parts of summer? Have any especially cool do-it-yourself projects on the farm you’re working on? We’re always on the lookout for interesting and unique ways of doing what we all love, from gardening to building a chicken coop to, yes, even keeping the black rat snakes out of the henhouse. If you have any cool projects or do-it-yourself article ideas, send me an email (cregan@cappersfarmer.com), with photographs if you have them, and the whole works might just wind up in a future issue of the magazine.

Keep cool and roll on,

Caleb Regan