Al Batt: Baffled squirrels

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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Echoes from the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

It’s like my father always said.

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Which was?

I don’t remember, but he always said it.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. I bought a squirrel baffle. The label proclaimed, “Stops squirrels when installed.”

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I wanted a baffle that began working the minute I purchased it, with no installation required to make it functional. The baffle was cone-shaped like a volcano and wrapped around a feeder pole or shepherd’s hook to restrict squirrel access from below. When a squirrel climbed the pole and got to the baffle, it couldn’t find its way past it. A steel baffle prevents squirrels from chewing through it. I used to create temporary baffles out of large plastic pop bottles. They worked for a short time before the squirrels chewed them away.

Why did I need a baffle a squirrel? I told everyone I wanted to keep the squirrels from damaging my birdfeeders. But I needed a baffle because I didn’t want a squirrel to summit a birdfeeder only to slip and fall. I didn’t want a squirrel’s voice saying, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” haunting my dreams.

Wearing a belt with suspenders

I led a walk in a park far from home. One of my fellow walkers, who wasn’t far from his home, wore both a belt and suspenders. He erred on the side of caution. In the movie “Once Upon a Time in the West,” Frank, a ruthless gunslinger played by Henry Fonda, said to a fellow named Wobbles, “Wobbles, how can you trust a man that wears both a belt and suspenders? Man can’t even trust his own pants.”

The man I walked with was a swell fellow. He wanted a backup plan, but a visit to a restroom needed to be planned well ahead of time to allow dealing with belt and suspenders. He might have worn both a belt and suspenders because someone told him that the combination looked good on him. Perhaps he wore a belt and suspenders out of habit. Maybe he wore that duo on a day that had been a memorable one. We are all creatures of habit.

When my father-in-law died, it left empty spaces in many places. One thing he’d always been in charge of was putting gas into their car. My mother-in-law had never pumped gas. Her kids showed her how to fuel the car. She was hesitant but did fine. But being a creature of habit, she’d fill the car only at that same pump at the same gas station where she’d learned to perform the task.

I’ve learned

When Kenny Rogers sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run,” he was singing about folding fitted sheets.

The small town had a couple of cemeteries. The sparsely populated city had an extremely high mortality rate. Probably 100%.

I enjoy the instant messaging called turn signals.

Bad jokes department

Entomologists and etymologists both like spelling bees.

In the English language, nothing begins with N and ends with G.

Why was it called the Dark Ages? Because there were so many knights.

What do you get when you cross a wolverine with a cottontail rabbit? A wolverine.

What has three arms and four legs? A terrible drawing of a snake.

Nature notes

I saw so many deer that I expected to see one at the gas pump. Karl Miller, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources and a foremost authority on whitetail deer, estimates the U.S. deer population was 25-30 million in Christopher Columbus’ time. Hunting and habitat loss reduced deer populations through the years. By 1900, the numbers had declined to 350,000. Since then, deer populations have surged to 30-35 million as a result of the elimination of predators (like wolves), wildlife conservation efforts and controls on hunting.

I heard a barred owl call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” Harriet Tubman gained recognition for her work on the Underground Railroad and as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She was also a naturalist who used the call of an owl to alert refugees and freedom seekers to come out of hiding and continue their journey of escape from slavery. The call was believed to have been that of the barred owl, sometimes called a hoot-owl.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind when it’s needed. It’s always needed.