Each of the golden-crowned kinglet's nostrils is covered by a single feather.
Each of the golden-crowned kinglet's nostrils is covered by a single feather.
The cat looked out the window with awe like the one I possessed the first time I saw Harmon Killebrew play ball in person.

The cat's tail didn't whip about furiously as it did when she spotted another cat. Her mouth opened in an attempt at meowing, but no sound was produced. I noticed she was looking up slightly.

I peered from the corner of another window, trying not to frighten the visitor - whatever it was.

It was a crow that had landed in a tree near the house.

The cat found the crow amazing. So did I.

At least he didn't have two guns

The Iowa DNR reported that a man from Redfield accidentally shot himself while trying to kill a raccoon. Larry Godwin had a raccoon in a live trap and fired his .22 caliber pistol at the raccoon. The ricocheting bullet struck Larry in the lower abdomen. Larry dropped the handgun, which fired and shot him in the same region. He was treated at Des Moines Mercy General. There was no report as to the condition of the raccoon.

Echoes from the Loafers' Club Meeting

"What are those?"

"Those are the parts left over after I fixed the tractor."

"Will it run without those parts?"

"Probably not, but it didn't run with them either."

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: at a four-way stop intersection, the vehicle displaying the most duct tape goes first.

I've learned

1. A do-it-yourself project must be prepared to self-construct.

2. Never yell "Fire" in a gun shop.

3. Dogs always think that a knock on the door is for them.

My neighbor

Old Man McGinty, the youngest Old Man McGinty ever, told me that one of the unfortunate things about outliving the high school classmates that he was trying to impress way back when is that they will never know just what a good, smart, happy and loving person he really is because they will never have the chance to read his obituary.

Old Man McGinty said that he was pulled over for speeding recently, but the police officer let him go when Old Man McGinty pleaded that he didn't have the memory he once had and if he did not hurry up and get there, he might forget where he was going.

A fuel's paradise

I was pumping gas. I watched the price of my purchase climb precipitously high. I once claimed that filling the gas tank doubled the value of my car. I said that because of my math ability. I always had two A's on my report card - one in "Allen" and the other in "Batt." Now I've realized that when I fill the tank it comes to an amount so high that I've paid less for a used car.

Fine

"Fine!"

My wife said that. That meant things were not fine. When a man says, "Fine," it means fine. When a woman says it, it's the anti-fine - a dictionary away from a man's "fine."

"What's wrong?" I ask, realizing too late that silence might have been a better choice.

"Nothing."

"Are you mad?" I persist.

"I'm not mad."

Men know instinctively that if a woman might be mad at us, she is.

"What are you then?" I wonder aloud.

"I'm not mad. I'm miffed, nettled, peeved, displeased, annoyed and irritated, but I'm not mad."

Thank goodness.

A sign

I signed the credit card signature pad at the supermarket. What I scribbled looked nothing like my signature. I could have just as well drawn a smiley face. It was a sad thing to do to a signature. I recall practicing how to sign my name so that it would look outstanding on my driver's license and on other important documents. I wrote it with and without my middle initial.

My signature has eroded with time and use. If I continue to use the credit card signature pads, it will soon be reduced to an X.

Getting my goat

Years ago, I bought a pair of goats from Larry Bartness. I paid cash. It seemed like the proper way to buy goats.

The goats were both females. One was white and one was black. I called the white goat Blackie and the black one Whitey to differentiate them.

The goats made interesting company. They were stubborn, mischievous, and loved to eat things they shouldn't. We butted heads, metaphorically, because we had too much in common.

I showed a different goat at the county fair. The fair brought in doofuses like me to show animals so that fairgoers would understand that "dumb" animals were smarter than I was. The goat I showed (or tried to show) in the 4-H ring had apparently corresponded with Blackie and Whitey. It wouldn't do anything I wanted it to do. It wouldn't do anything but poop where I could easily step in goat exhaust. I was good at doing that.

I didn't win a ribbon, but I had that hircine stink. I gave my two goats back to Larry Bartness. I lost money on the goats, but it was worth it to lose the goats.

Nature notes

In wild animals, rabies is most common in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. It is found in deer, woodchucks, cats, dogs and cattle. Chipmunks, opossums, mice, rabbits, rats and squirrels rarely get rabies. Birds, fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles do not contract rabies.

Nature lessons

A survey conducted by the University of Minnesota and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Chippewa National Forest and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest found a direct link between invasive European earthworms and reduced numbers of ovenbirds in sugar maple and basswood forests. Earthworms consume the rich layer of leaf litter on the forest floor. Herbaceous plants that thrive in leaf litter and provide cover for ground-nesting birds are reduced. As a result, ovenbird nests become visible and vulnerable to predators and there are fewer insects for the birds to eat.

BBRP Expo

The Bluebird Recovery Program Expo will be held on Saturday, April 14, at Byron Middle School. It will feature the Minnesota Raptor Center, Tom Comfort speaking on the key factors in bluebird nest box locations, Keith Radel talking on fledgling rate improvement and safety, Mike Jersek on buffalo gnat control on baby bluebirds, Kelly Applegate on purple martins, Roger Strand on wood ducks and hot air from this hick from Hartland. Call (507) 332-7003 or email jmmclm@localnet.com for information. A registration form can be found at http://bbrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Expo-Printable-form1.pdf

Thanks for stopping by

"Birds are an ecological litmus paper." - Roger Tory Peterson

"To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness." - Robert Muller

Meeting adjourned

Kindness comes more from tiny pushes than from mighty shoves.

©Al Batt 2012