Al Batt: Loving the nice weather

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What’s new?

York, Jersey, Hampshire, England, Orleans, Mexico, Delhi, Guinea and Zealand.

Why can’t your answer ever be “nothing”?

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I was hungry enough to eat a cloud. I was in line and I knew what I wanted. I typically need to scan the big lighted board showcasing the menu. The well-advertised sandwich I got was made from particleboard. “Fiddlesticks,” I mumbled, “I should have scanned the big lighted board showcasing the menu.”

I found another home for a tiny radio I’d purchased years ago at Tesco Groceries when I was visiting England. I wanted to listen to the BBC and the single-earphone radio allowed that. The first transistor radio was called Regency TR-1 (TR was short for Transistor Radio), was made by Texas Instruments and I.D.E.A. and hit the consumer market in 1954. The radio had low-quality sound, a 22.5-volt battery, was small, portable (measuring 3 × 5 × 1.25 inches and weighing 12 ounces) and was priced at $49.95. I paid a tenth of that for my ex-radio.

I’ve learned

Chimes aren’t that calming when the wind blows all the time.

When I was a boy, the good old days were Saturdays.

Despite old movie and TV show depictions, I’ve never known anyone who fell prey to quicksand.

Bad joke department

I always fall for a joke about gravity.

What is green, fuzzy, falls from trees and could crush you? A pool table.

If someone says, “Is it just me or is the cat getting fat?” “It’s just you” is never the right answer.

Hartland Harold’s news

Some of Hartland was gone with the wind of December. The post office and the Village Inn have been taken down. Holes filled with memories.

Nature notes

I love me some nice weather. On this day, the world was held in the wind. I watched the leaves blow by a window. We could all look through the same window, but see different things. A friend used to see Bambi out her window until the deer chowed down on her garden. Now she sees Dambi.

I appreciate bird feeders more each year. I want the common birds to remain common. Blue jays and cardinals have processed much of their molts and no longer look like messy birds. In 2021, there were 59,601 migrating blue jays counted at Hawk Ridge in Duluth. This year’s total (60,310) has already exceeded that.

Keep a sharp eye or two out for American coots (mudhens) to be on water or grazing on land. Native sparrows will become a diverse group. Meadowhawk dragonflies will continue to dazzle. Pied-billed grebes need long running/flapping starts to take off from water. The Latin genus name for “grebe” means “feet at the buttocks” which perfectly describes the body type of the pied-billed grebe and the position of their legs helps to propel them through the water when they dive after prey, which includes crustaceans and small fish. The rear placement of their legs means it’s difficult to lift the weight of their bodies, causing them to walk awkwardly on land. It makes it difficult for them to take flight from dry land. Sometimes, when in flight and looking for a body of water to splash into, grebes mistakenly land on wet pavement, which gives the illusion of a pond or lake from the air. Even if they escape from the crash landing unscathed, their unique adaptations for the water prevent them from getting back in the air, stranding them on the ground. Mark Sorenson of Hollandale found a stranded grebe. He planned to take it to the lake, but wanted to show it to his wife first. That proved to be a mistake. Once inside his home, well, let me put it this way—it should have been wearing a diaper. The grebe was released into the lake and Mark’s home got an unscheduled cleaning.

I worked in Colorado and had a handsome Canada jay land on my hand to pluck a morsel of food. The jay, also called gray jay, whiskey jack or camp robber, is known for this behavior. It made me smile for days.

The duck hawk is a nickname for the peregrine falcon. The American kestrel is the sparrow hawk, the merlin is the pigeon hawk, the osprey is the fish hawk and the Cooper’s hawk is the chicken hawk, although many other birds of prey have been called chicken hawks.

Gulls follow farmers working the fields. The gulls devour worms, insects, mice and waste grain uncovered by an implement.

Meeting adjourned

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”— Marcel Proust.