Al Batt: Let’s not do anything to scare the warm weather

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Is your refrigerator running?

Yes, it is. Why do you ask?

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I’m going to vote for it.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I enjoyed a church potluck complete with lefse. Lefse is the tablecloth, plate, silverware, napkin, bread and dessert. The weather can be temperamental. I should have been wearing a coat, but I didn’t want to scare any warm weather away. Traffic wasn’t a nightmare on Elm Street. I came out of a clinic after visiting my friendly neighborhood oncologist. The world was bright and beautiful. It was the Taj Mahal in the Grand Canyon. Health concerns concentrate the mind and I’d received sublime news. A fellow patient had jimmy legs. His legs bounced due to an ailment or the approaching election. You can tell it’s election time. There is a shortage of sheep’s clothing. All the wolves are wearing it. Honesty alone doesn’t win major elections and we must vote between the lies. T.S. Eliot wrote, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them.” This country needs a break between elections. George Washington said this before the advent of modern dentistry, “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East or West. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in union. In one word, be a nation. Be Americans, and be true to yourselves.”

I’m cuckoo for this timepiece

My father-in-law, Gene Nelson, gave me a bird clock in 1997. It’s a ticking field guide, featuring audio from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and images of the birds. A different songbird gives voice at the top of each hour. The bird singing at noon is a house finch, an American robin sings at 1, northern mockingbird at 2, blue jay at 3, house wren at 4, tufted titmouse at 5, Baltimore oriole at 6, mourning dove at 7, black-capped chickadee at 8, northern cardinal at 9, a white-throated sparrow whistles at 10 and a white-breasted nuthatch heralds 11 o’clock. Darkness deactivates the sounds, allowing sleep. I know when I hear the house finch, it’s either time to eat or to go to bed. When I hear the Baltimore oriole, it’s time to eat or to think about getting out of bed. When I hear the chickadee, it’s time to smile. I had a cuckoo clock in my youth. We weren’t fancy people, but an aunt gave me a used discount cuckoo clock that took a few hours off each day to rest up so it could utter a sound as if it were choking on a peanut butter on Wonder Bread sandwich. I’d miss the sounds of those birds if the clock my father-in-law gave me wasn’t hanging on a wall of my home. I miss my late father-in-law. It helps to listen to his birds.

Nature notes

Juncos, with pink bills and white outer tail feathers, are apt to feed on the ground. The earliest arrivals tend to rank higher in the pecking order than those arriving on later flights. I saw a dog drinking out of a toilet. Was it a lavatory retriever?

Hummingbirds don’t migrate on the backs of geese. It’s a myth. Other persistent myths include: Parent birds will abandon a nestling touched by humans. Purple martins eat 2,000 mosquitoes a day. An owl can spin its head completely around. The fruit of an Osage orange tree repels spiders. I’ve visited Osage orange trees and have seen spiders on the fruits (called Osage orange, hedge apple, monkey ball, horse apple, hedge ball, mock orange or spider ball).

I detected no panic in the arachnids and I suspect this misbelief began because spiders are in natural decline when the softball-sized hedge apples fall to the ground in September and October. Be careful around the fruit as its juice could irritate the skin. I have a pen made from hedge apple wood. It’s a great pen, but it doesn’t repel spiders. The Osage orange tree, also known as bow-wood, bodark, prairie hedge, yellow-wood, Naranjo chino, boduck and bois d’arc, is a durable hardwood used for many things including fence posts, archery bows, cutting boards and musical instruments. It was used for railroad ties, wagon wheels and natural fencing.

Meeting adjourned

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”—Mary Oliver.