Al Batt: Yellowjackets on the move

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I dropped my gym membership.

Those memberships are hard to cancel. How did you do it?

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I gave my too-weak notice.

Driving by

Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. While narrating a boat tour, I pointed out evening primrose with its lemon-scented yellow flowers opening in the evening and remaining partially open until noon, especially on cloudy days. A popular song said, “Primrose Lane, life’s a holiday on Primrose Lane.” I’ve always thought my hometown’s streets should include a Lois Lane and an Either Way.

I watched the others in my large group walk chopsticks across their plates. My fellow board members and I had ordered by the number from a menu and passed our meals around so everyone could place a bit of each onto their plates. It was a cooperative buffet. I used a fork.

I told a couple of stories at the delightful Farming of Yesteryear in Kiester. The tractor parade had ripe tractors and some that were green. I watched sorghum making. The plant was cut and the seed head and leaves were removed, leaving a long sorghum cane stick which was fed into a mechanism called a mill, similar to the wringer mechanism of an antique washing machine. This sorghum press was powered by a horse attached to a long pole. As the horse walked slowly in circles, it caused the equipment to squeeze the juice from the sticks.

The juice was boiled over a fire and the impurities skimmed off, causing the juice to thicken to the consistency of syrup before bottling. I was told sweet sorghum syrup is also known as molasses, but it’s not the bitter-tasting blackstrap molasses made from sugar cane. Grain sorghum (also called milo) is shorter and used as livestock feed. Its seeds are round, reddish and resemble BBs, and are used as a filler in birdseed mixes where they go uneaten.

I’ve learned

Being out of style never goes out of style.

Life is much easier today. When I was a young man, I’d have to rip the phone from the wall to drop it into a toilet.

It’s difficult to look refined while drinking gravy.

Five out of every four people are bad at math.

The turn signals never work on shopping carts.

Exit signs are on the way out.

I told stories in Yuma, Arizona. It was so hot, people stopped telling me it was a dry heat.

Bad jokes department

Will glass coffins ever become popular? Remains to be seen.

The chiropractor’s family was well-adjusted.

What do you call a potato without any feet? A potato.


need a bank, too

I attended the grand opening of a bank. A great number of yellowjackets attended as well. The wasps were attracted to the delicious sweet rolls that were served outdoors. The yellowjacket colony had stopped production of new wasps and the staff was laid off. The workers were left on their own, trying to establish their fastballs. They can sting multiple times. A couple of days later, I visited the Farmers’ Market. So did the yellowjackets.

Nature notes

Flickers migrated through the yard. The handsome brown woodpeckers with a white rump fed upon ants on the ground. I saw many flower flies mimicking bees or wasps and lots of flying ants, and watched American kestrels perched on utility wires. Falcons have small bony protuberances in their nostrils that baffle air flow and allow them to breathe while flying at high speeds. I saw leopard frogs hopping across the road. They live in wet meadows and open fields near wetlands. In the fall, they move to the bottoms of lakes and ponds to spend the winter.

Male and female mourning doves look similar. An adult male is slightly more colorful than a female, with a pale rosy breast versus the tannish female breast. A male’s head has a bluish crown and nape, the female’s is brownish.

Bumble bees don’t maintain colonies over the winter. Each new queen mates and then finds a safe place (a small hole in the ground or another protected spot just big enough for her) to hibernate until spring. The rest of the colony dies.

Skunks make a shallow hole surrounded by a ring of loosened soil on the lawn. Chunks of sod ripped up and flipped over are the work of raccoons. They’re hunting for grubs, earthworms and other soil insects.

Meeting adjourned

“I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found that kindness is the best way.”–Lady Gaga.