• 36°

Al Batt: Winter’s insistent nature

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What are you smiling about?

I wore this when I was in high school and it still fits.

It’s a hat!

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I was idling rough. I’d slept too little at both ends. I stumbled outside. I’m no longer all that excited about the weather setting any records on my watch and I can wait for snow. It was time for the changing of the guard. I moved the rain gauge into the house and the ice scraper to a prominent position in the car. We always get one more nice day until we don’t. That’s the way of fall. I must come from people who enjoyed scraping windshields. Fall would last longer if winter didn’t insist on snapping it with a frozen towel.

Town ball

I was fortunate to travel through Union Hill and St. Patrick one day. These are ball towns I think of as having a baseball field, a bar, a Catholic Church and not much more or in that order. I recall being a batboy years ago for a local squad in a town slightly larger than those, but lacking a Catholic Church. I offered bats to batters and retrieved foul balls and home runs. I snagged a ball and 25 cents became involved. I didn’t last long at the task. I couldn’t afford to pay a quarter each time I returned a ball.

I’ve learned

It’s not a good idea to have the Ne’er Do Well Company dig your well.

“The weather isn’t usually like this,” says everyone to an out-of-state guest.

No matter how cheap it is, a bottle of wine with a corn pad in it isn’t worth the price.

Underwear should have an expiration date.

I wonder

Why pears are pear-shaped?

How many syllables a word could have and still fit into Rhode Island?

Did people hoard toilet paper because they had a great need to leave a paper trail?

An ambling Alabaman

Geoff Hill, a professor at Auburn University in Alabama, visited his 50th state this year. Most people guessed it was North Dakota. That’s unfair. I love visiting North Dakota. Geoff told me his 50th state was Nevada. He’s not much of a gambler. Hill has written 12 books. His most recent is “Mitonuclear Ecology.” It’s not a murder mystery. I’ll stick with his “Ivorybill Hunters: The Search for Proof in a Flooded Wilderness.”

In local news

Weasels vaccinations available at the clinic.

The city of Two Bits votes by paper airplane.

A visitor to Two Bits is injured when hit by the sidewalk being rolled up.

Slick’s Carwash reminds those who want the inside of a car cleaned to leave its windows open.

Bad joke department

What’s it called when one banana eats another banana? Cannibananalism.

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? Kohlrabi.

“What vest is most common in the fall?” The harvest.

“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Billy-Bob Ignatius Throgmorton Poffenberger-Musslewhite.” “Billy-Bob Ignatius Throgmorton Poffenberger-Musslewhite who?” “You know more than one?”

Grandma cooks carrots and peas in the same pot.

Give a man a shirt and he’ll wear it once. Tell him it looks good on him and he’ll wear it a lifetime.

Things to note in nature

1. Gray squirrels build leafy nests called dreys.

2. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels begin to hibernate.

3. Cattails shed seeds.

4. Short-tailed weasels (ermine) start changing from brown to white.

5. Barred owls call day or night, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you, all?” The barred owl is opportunistic in its feeding habits and preys upon fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and insects. I don’t doubt it’d take a skunk out to lunch, but maybe not a full-grown adult. Great horned owls eat both skunks and barred owls.

6. Chipmunks gather food to store in their burrows and collect leaves for bedding.

7. Restless flocks of robins. Robin migration is complicated by individual variations as to where they spend the winter. Robins are nomadic, short- to medium-distance migrants with most of Minnesota’s breeding robins wintering in the southern U.S. and Mexico. Males are more likely to remain in the north than are females. In the spring, males need to find and defend territories as soon as possible. A female’s job is to lay eggs, which requires good nutrition, so they go where they find abundant food in winter.

8. Pine siskins, resembling goldfinches in striped pajamas, proliferate at the feeders.

Meeting adjourned

Write down three things you are grateful for and be kind because of them.