Al Batt: Certain bird seeds are better fits for types of feeders

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

The world is becoming too crowded.

That’s true.

Email newsletter signup

Yet, it could use a lot more like me.

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: How the roll of toilet paper hangs doesn’t really matter. Over or under is but a tiny comfort. What matters is that the toilet paper is there.

Thanksgiving memories

I was thankful. No one had burned the gravy. I’m thankful all year. Especially about gravy. Gravy covers a multitude of sins.

One day, she was counting her blessings. The next day she was sleeping on the streets. She was waiting for a store to open. A hunter-gatherer, one of millions shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. That’s what Black Friday does to a somewhat sane individual. She’d taken a self-defense class in preparation of going shopping on Black Friday. Sleeping on the streets for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate or to pay for a trophy TV. George Carlin said, “Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”

I’m thankful that shopping makes people happy. I’m thankful that I don’t go shopping on Black Friday.

I’m thankful that things that shouldn’t be flavored with pumpkin will no longer be flavored with pumpkin.

We’re never far from where we’re from

We played musical chairs in school. Yes, chairs played musical instruments in those days. Our mothers offered meals with two options — take it or leave it. We ate hotdog relish, mustard, catsup, and onions without the hotdogs in restaurants that advertised “Free condiments.” We listened to cassette tapes intently. You never knew when you were listening to a fragile tape for the last time. A black magic marker that had run out of ink was kept in a drawer as a historical marker. Fishing wasn’t catch-and-release. It was catch-and-eat.

“What seven-letter word becomes longer when you remove a letter.”


That passed as intellectual conversation during the year that one of my classmates at Summer Bible School ate my macaroni art project. It was a compliment.

It was that summer that I found a 50-cent coin on the sidewalk. Fifty cents bought a lot of black licorice or baseball cards accompanied by bad bubble gum. That coin was walking around money that inspired me to walk around. After I’d discovered the money, I spent the rest of the day walking around with my head down, searching for more money. I missed seeing many wonders of the world by concentrating on monetary rewards. I learned my lesson when I saw stars. No, they weren’t the stars that come out at night. They were the stars that suddenly appeared when I walked into that street post.

Ferry tales

I’m a member of the Ferry Tale of the Year Club. Each year, I take a couple of trips on a ferry operated by the Alaska Maritime Highway. It’s a delightful way to travel. The last ferry I was on was the LeConte. It had no gift shop. I like that, although offering a postcard or two would be a nice touch. I send at least one postcard a day to someone who made a difference. I led tours for years, going here and there. I spent so much time in gift shops while doing my job, that I was purchased four times by tourists.

On the ferry, I talked to a fellow who told me that when his father was dying, he’d asked his son to bury him the cheapest way possible. The dutiful son said he would, but admitted that he didn’t get the cheapest casket available. He couldn’t do that to the old man. He bought the second cheapest casket.

I met Jay Proetto in Haines, Alaska. We talked and I enjoyed his company. We’d both worked with sandhill cranes. We were strangers no more. I expected to see the retired park ranger again, to visit with him again. He died a couple of days later. Endings speak of beginnings. We’d better enjoy the day. It might be all we have.

Nature notes

Birdseed mixes with much millet are good for platform feeders, not tube feeders. Seed blends high in sunflower seeds and peanuts work well in tube feeders.

Meeting adjourned

Olin Miller said, “You wouldn’t worry about what people may think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” Be kind anyway.