Darcy Sime of Alden shares this photo of a fox sparrow.
Darcy Sime of Alden shares this photo of a fox sparrow.
A woman from Mankato told me that she had slipped on the ice and fallen while letting her dog into the house. She ended up at the emergency room where it was determined that she had a broken wrist.

When she first went to the hospital, she told the nurse, "I just want to know if I hurt myself."

"Does it hurt?" asked the nurse.


"Then you hurt yourself," said the nurse.

Echoes from the aisles

I was in a store, doing some light shopping. It was so light that I hoped the store had a "one item or less" checkout lane. After finding the thing I needed, I walked toward the checkout area.

On my journey there, I encountered a young mother in the company of four small children who were heavily into wanting and needing. As I walked behind them for a bit before I could find a passing lane, I couldn't help but hear them asking for this and that.

During that short period, the mother recited the "shopping with children" haiku. It went like this.

"No no no no no.

"No no no no no no no.

"No no no no no."


Vultures, crows and a red-tailed hawk were feeding upon dead deer. Nature's undertakers. They all appeared to be getting along. The vultures soared overhead. Their aerial ballet looked effortless.

Robins were everywhere. Their flight plans put on hold because of the weather. The robins sang. Fox sparrows joined the choir. Juncos had become the most numerous birds at my feeders as they sometimes do in the spring. Their incessant twittering was good company as I walked. As was a hermit thrush that hopped along the road I strolled upon.

The sun peeked out. It was welcomed by an increase in birdsong.

The sun was in my ears.

Nature news

Carrol Henderson of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent me this.

"I wanted to share the good news that John C. Goetz (of the Twin Cities law firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben) has donated his 549-acre tract of land in northeastern Freeborn County to be designated as a new Minnesota Wildlife Management Area. The dedication of the property (Wo Wacintanka Wildlife Management Area) will be at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 6.

"John has worked with local DNR wildlife managers, Rick Erpelding and Jeanine Vorland, to convert this area into wildlife habitat consisting of wetlands, grasslands and scattered clumps of woodland. All the land is in Reinvest in Minnesota, Wetland Reserve Program, and Minnesota Land Trust easements. The area holds potential for restoration of oak savanna and provides public access for wildlife observation, nature photography and hunting opportunities.

"John Goetz was particularly interested in the potential that this area will have as a destination for local children and nature study groups from the nearby Hormel Nature Center to explore the outdoors and learn about wildlife."

More nature news

The Raptor Center's Spring Raptor Release is on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the program starting at noon. It's at Hyland Lake Park Reserve located at 10145 Bush Lake Road in Bloomington.

Lincoln Brower is concerned about the declining numbers of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico. There are 2.94 acres of roosts this year, containing 60 million butterflies. That is down from 1 billion monarchs on 52 acres. Brower blames the degradation of the forest in Mexico and the reduction in milkweed population in the U.S.

Echoes from the Loafers' Club Meeting

"My brother thinks highly of you."

"I don't even know him."

"That's why he thinks highly of you."

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors - both named Bruce - who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: An optimist invented the airplane. A pessimist invented the parachute.

I've learned

The only way to be sure of winning a lottery is to buy all the tickets.

I want my bed warm and my pillow cool.

To never argue with a cook.

The news from Hartland

The Eat Around It Cafe reminds customers that club sandwiches are for members only.

Trampoline Land stops serving prune smoothies.

Neighbors chip in to pay college tuition for teen with nine electric guitars.

Tales of a traveling man

I was speaking in far-flung places. I went through airport security. I hoped that I'd remembered not to forget to remember to remove everything from my pockets before going through the metal detector - a full body scan bully. The security folks were apparently searching for stuffing.

I flew in a cramped plane. I sat in coach, but my feet were in first class. I mumbled, "Turn here," for most of the flight.

It had been a tiring day on the road. I checked into a hotel and, because the dining room was closing soon, left my luggage at the front desk and went to eat.

After a good meal, I reclaimed my luggage and realized that I'd forgotten my room number. I went back to the desk and asked the clerk on duty, "My name is Al Batt, could you please tell me what room I am in?"

"Certainly," said the clerk. "You're in the lobby."

A sign on the door to the room next to mine read, "Disturb at your own risk."

A man snored in the room on the other side of me - or there might have been a chainsaw-carving contest in progress.

I wasn't surprised by any of it. I don't expect apples from an oak tree. Despite all these things, I enjoyed my trip immensely. I always do.

Did you know?

The Tobacco Growers' Mutual Insurance Company of North Canaan, Conn., wrote the first hail insurance policy in 1887.

Rapper Kanye West doesn't read books, but wrote one that he wants you to buy. West is the co-author of "Thank You and You're Welcome." His book contains 52 pages - some blank. One two-page section reads, "Life is 5 percent what happens and 95 percent how you react!"

Another page reads, "I hate the word hate!"

Another says, "Get used to being used."

He calls these "Kanye-isms."

West adds, "I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff."


Crash Davis, in the movie "Bull Durham," said, "Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic."

Bluebird (BBRP) Expo tidbits

Mike Jeresek of Rushford said that bluebird chicks are able to fly about the length of a football field when they first leave the nest box.

Kelly Applegate, Purple Martin Working Group director, said that during its fall migration, a purple martin flew 2,000 miles in seven days. Martins spend two to two-and-one-half weeks resting (vacationing) before flying to their winter home in South America. In spring, one martin flew from Costa Rica to Brainerd (3,300 miles) in seven days. Purple martins don't always arrive here during the best weather. They aren't good at predicting the weather.

Keith Radel of Faribault said that vent holes are unnecessary on bluebird boxes, an entrance hole for chickadees should be one and one-eighth inch, and that cats live three times longer if kept indoors.

Meeting adjourned

Do not hold grudges. Let go of what steals your joy. Be kind.

Thanks for stopping by

"A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all - he's walking on them." - Leonard Louis Levinson

"I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs." - Joseph Addison


©Al Batt 2013