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Al Batt: She’s my darling sugar lump

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m sorry for making you wait. I was on the phone with the clinic about my horrible cold.

Not a problem. I hope you don’t mind, but I ate all the peanuts in that bowl while I waited.

That’s OK. I’d already sucked all the chocolate off them.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I drove on peanut butter roads — they were both smooth and crunchy. I was searching for a store that didn’t sell CBD. They’re hard to find. I drove by a place where friends had a motorhome for sale. It hadn’t sold quickly. It needs balloons. Car dealerships are known for using balloons. Why? I suspect it’s because they help sell cars or they wouldn’t be there. Balloons must cause a Pavlovian response in us that makes us want to buy. I wish car dealerships had a $1 section with or without balloons.

A recurring red-letter day

My wife hit me on the head with a flyswatter. “Did you get it?” I asked. She said, “Get what?” We’ve been married forever and she thinks it’s 5-ever, but it’s a blink of an eye. Happy anniversary to my lovely bride Gail. She is the secret to my happiness. As sure as the vine twines around the stump, she is my darling sugar lump.

If I throw a banana, is it a fruit fly?

I bumped into Dave Wolter of Albert Lea at a farmers market. He was searching for zucchini so his wife could make zucchini bread. My wife and I pointed him in the right direction and he purchased two small summer squashes. I asked him if that was enough for Carol to make the tasty treat. Dave said, “If it isn’t, I’ll be back and one of these two will have a dent in it where it had hit my head.” 

Bad joke department

If you read the word “gullible” upside-down, it looks like a cat.

If you think we’re getting smarter, 80 years ago the owner’s manual for a car showed how to adjust the valves. Today, it warns us not to drink the brake fluid.

What was Yoda’s last name? Lady Who.

Nature notes

Sept. 1 is the end of summer. My ears gathered limited birdsongs, the music of the world. Robins are in flocks. Keen eyesight allows them to see worms, but their hunting technique includes the sense of hearing. A study concluded that robins successfully listen for prey when they can’t see worms.

There are many species of goldenrod and some hybridize, making identification difficult. They host many insects. A National Geographic article said there are 10 quintillion insects on Earth. A butterfly landed on my arm and mud-puddled in my sweat. Autumn meadowhawks are the last species of dragonfly I see each year. I’ve found them at the end of October and the beginning of November, as they are more tolerant of the cold than most odonates. They’re a red or yellow species of late-season meadowhawks identified by orange-tan legs distinguishing the species from similar species with black legs. Common green darner dragonflies are a major prey item for juvenile American kestrels, whose inexperience in catching birds and small mammals makes them more dependent on dragonflies. The young kestrels time their first migration to coincide with peak numbers of migrating green darners. 

Roger Tory Peterson wrote “A Field Guide to the Birds.” He explained his fascination with birds, “They are attractive, they sound off with spirit, and they can fly wherever they choose, whenever they choose. The truth is, the birds could very well live without us, but many — perhaps all — of us would find life almost intolerable without the birds.”  The leaves of white oaks have rounded tips, whereas leaves of red oaks have pointed tips. Acorns of white oaks germinate in early autumn and red oak acorns don’t sprout until spring. Gray squirrels eat white oak acorns as soon as they find them and store the acorns from red oaks to eat during the winter or next spring. Some scientists believe squirrels choose to store the red oak acorns because of their higher tannin content. Others conclude red oak acorns are better foods to bury because their winter inactivity makes them less likely to decay in the ground. They believe the reason squirrels consume acorns of white oaks immediately is that they germinate in the fall and grow thick taproots squirrels don’t find appetizing.

Meeting adjourned

“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.”—Estonian proverb