Al Batt: The right feed brings the cows home

Published 8:42 am Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

I slipped and fell while ice fishing.

Did the other fishermen laugh?

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No, but the ice made a couple of cracks.

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: there are few more beautiful winter sights than a plowed road.

Cafe chronicles

I sat in the “come as you are” section. I ordered a steak as a birthday present to myself. The waitress brought a steak the size of Wyoming. I gave it a look. It reminded me of a chihuahua that once kept me company. The neighbor had 12 Great Danes. My young son called them deer. The chihuahua looked at them with that “What is that?” look. I gave that look to a steak bigger than its plate.

Orange they nice

The blizzard caused a school bus ahead of me to stop, back up, turn around, and head south in the northbound lane of the freeway. The bus carried the school’s name. Thanks to consolidation, the smaller the school, the longer its name.

I rode a school bus every day. I recall the day that I took a green snake to school for show-and-tell. I carried it in a box with holes punched in it so the snake could have all the air it needed. I had handwritten “snake” on the side of the box in burnt umber crayon. Arriving at school, I gave the box a slight motivational shake before showing its contents to my teacher.

I’ve grown accustomed to your faith

People talk about giving things up for Lent. Some people claim to be giving up giving up things for Lent. When I was a lad, we had meatless Fridays in the school cafeteria. We were served salmon sandwiches or fish sticks every Friday. It was a penance aimed at Catholics, but it crossed all lines of religious beliefs. We noticed the absence of meat, but in those days, there was separation between church and steak.


Years ago, I read “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, a story of a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, who awoke to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect-like creature, not necessarily a cockroach. Man is capable of turning into other things. Simon and Garfunkel sang about a man who turned into a sandwich. In “The Boxer,” the song began, “I am just a poor boy.”

A cow whisperer

Betty Morstad of Albert Lea grew up on a farm. As a girl, one of her jobs was to feed the cows. She gave them a special treat, a mixture of ground feed from a couple of 5-gallon buckets. The cows loved the stuff.

One day, the cows got out of the pasture and onto the road. The men in the family scurried about, ready to pursue the cattle on foot and chase them back home. They groused a bit as it was during a particularly busy time on the farm.

Betty grabbed the 5-gallon buckets, banged them together, and the cows came home.

Customer comments

Ric McArthur of Morpeth, Ontario, wrote, “Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.”

Paul Piper of Minneapolis said that while in college, he ate heavily-buttered and toasted, ketchup sandwiches.

Did you know?

In Minnesota, 16 percent of adults smoke, ranging from a low of 7 percent in Nicollet County to a high of 35 percent in Mahnomen County.

Minnesota ranks fourth and Iowa tenth in a Gallup survey, the Well-Being Index. The Index gave perspectives on 55 unique measures of well-being. North Dakota rated number one.

Minnesota ranked 11th for per capita personal income and Iowa 22nd, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Florida records more lightning strikes than any other state.

Wrigley Field is older than the Hoover Dam.

Katie Francis, a sixth-grade student from Oklahoma City, sold 18,107 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in seven weeks. Her secret was time, commitment, and asking everyone to buy. She sold 12,428 boxes last year.

Nature notes

“Last summer, I drove many miles with a lady beetle clinging to my car’s windshield. How did it do that?” The pads on its feet create surface tension. It’s akin to placing wet paper on a table. Dry paper would be easy to lift, but wet paper clings to the table.