Al Batt: The honor of speaking at an Audubon event

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

My wife is mad at me and I don’t know why.

Why don’t you ask her?

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I don’t want to remind her of why she’s mad at me.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. The road was a little rough, but round tires would have cost more. I pulled into a parking lot with each space brightly corralled by yellow stripes. I parked in a crooked manner. I backed up and straightened the car. I’m not sure why I want my parking to be near perfect; I can’t even put my hat on straight.

I had my annual physical, a yearly oil change. Doctors are mystifying people—mine get younger each year. Life was good. What could I be missing in my splendid existence? The doctor came up with an answer. A hernia. It was better than eating pickled squirrel elbows. I heard the doctor thinking, “Just because you were suckered into buying the Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t mean you should try to lift it.” I need surgery. It won’t be a terrible ordeal, but I’ll need to behave myself for a bit. It’s a dented fender with excellent prospects for a soft landing.

A few days later, I walked along while wearing my favorite, faithful sandals, when one of them said, “Go on without me,” and broke. They were supposed to be good for 450 miles and I reckon they had been. It was no hernia, but it hurt.

And what hurt even more is when I felt as if I were dressed as a sandwich while walking a trail and was bothered by those dear deer flies, a prime source of pain and provocation. 

I’ve learned

I enjoy seedless watermelons and don’t miss spitting seeds at all.

We need the wrong people to do the right things.

I used to be afraid of speed bumps, but I’m getting over that.

A pastor told me that his great-grandfather was named Ignatz Batt. The only Ignatz I was familiar with is Ignatz Mouse who caused mischief or mouse-chief in the “Krazy Kat” comic strip. Ignatz isn’t one of the top 10 male names in the U.S. 

Drivers convicted of excessive speeding should have a governor installed in their vehicles.

I had a neighbor, Claudie, who had many dogs. It was a Roverdose.

If you can’t be in Who’s Who, be in Who’s That.

Nature notes

It was an honor and a pleasure for me to speak at the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland. Great birds, great people and great work. As the song goes: “Round on the end and ‘Hi’ in the middle. Tell me if you know. Don’t you think that’s a cute little riddle? Round on the end and ‘Hi’ in the middle. You can find it on the map if you look high and low. The O’s are round, it’s high in the middle. O-H-I-O That’s the riddle! Round on the end and ‘Hi’ in the middle. O-HI-O!”

I noticed small masses of sticky, frothy bubbles at the leaf nodes of plants. The nymphs of spittlebugs produced the white foam blobs. The tiny insects are named for the globs of foamy spit they create along the stems of plants. The foam shields the nymph from predators and offers insulation from temperature extremes and low humidity.

The second largest frog in Minnesota/Iowa is the green frog. Only the bullfrog, the biggest frog in North America, is larger. The green frog makes a sound like someone plucking a single banjo string. When you see a snapping turtle on land, remember that the length of its neck can be up to two-thirds the length of its shell. 

I’ve done a Breeding Bird Survey hoping to cross paths with June’s birds for 30 plus years in Freeborn, Mower and Steele Counties. I start at 5:02 a.m. and make 50 stops for 3 minutes each and tally every bird I see and hear. Like many things in life, it’s important to listen. In each of those years, the red-winged blackbird has been the bird I counted the most often. This year, the house sparrow, European starling and American robin followed it. The common grackle is usually the second most numerous species, but not this year.

Please join me as I host a float on the Pelican Breeze on Albert Lea Lake on June 25, July 30, Aug. 27 and Sept. 10. Call 507-383-7273 to book a seat.

Meeting adjourned

The kindest thing you can think of saying is what you should be saying.