Hartland isn't small. It has a population of 315. You stuff 315 people into your house and tell me that's not a lot of people.

The vicious rumor that Hartland is small was started by 8,244,910 residents of New York City. Envy is a terrible thing.

The Hartland post office has a large mail route that sometimes leaves our dependable rural carrier, Bradley Spooner, exhausted. It wasn't due to a spike in jack-in-the-mailbox incidents. It was because the mail order brides had come in.

It's hard work stuffing them into mailboxes.

Six-layered Claire

I traveled from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, to Harlingen, Texas, to Haines, Alaska. I flew to the cities and then traveled by car while there. Driving in the south is no problem for someone who drives in the north.

Claire Floyd moved from Louisiana to take a job with the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines. She thought that the electrical plugs hanging from the grills of cars meant that the cars were electric-powered. She'd had no experience with engine block heaters.

She survives Alaska weather by wearing six layers of clothes at all times.

Nature by the yard

I threw some stale bread out for the crows. It's basic recycling. It might not be the best food for them, but it looks good compared to some of the other things crows eat.

When I see crows surrounding roadkill, I imagine one saying, "Let me through. I'm a scavenger."

I watched the crows sneak in to investigate the tossed bread. They pretended to steal the slices. It gives their lives purpose.

Where I live, it typically takes four crows to eat lunch. Two to eat and two to watch for cars.

Fall threw warm days at us and the boxelder bugs were appreciative. They live rent-free in my garage. They are not feeding. They are seed feeders - boxelder and maple trees. They don't bite, sting or reproduce indoors.

A friend told me about his spider bites. It's not normal for a spider to bite a human. Reaction to insect bites can be delayed for up to 48 hours. If it is multiple bites, it's not from a spider. A spider bite typically shows two tiny fang marks. Spiders are often blamed for fleabites or those inflicted by other insects.

Alaska again

There is a book titled, "Salmon in the Trees." Salmon are in the trees along the Chilkat River. The salmon are carried there by bald eagles that feed heavily upon the fish.

I saw a cat alongside the road a few miles outside of Haines, Alaska - the Valley of the Eagles. The cat was either brave or desirous of becoming an eagle or coyote sandwich.

The five types of salmon can be remembered by looking at your hand. The thumb is chum. The index finger is something you might poke someone in the eye with - sockeye. The middle is the largest finger - the king is the largest salmon. The ring finger is for silver. The pinkie finger is the pink salmon. Chum, sockeye, king, silver and pink.

I enjoy seeing harbor seals in Alaska. Their numbers have declined, possibly due to diminished food supplies. Killer whales prey upon the seals that dive as deep as 1500 feet. As I looked at the seals, I recalled the legend of the selkies that are said to live as seals in the sea, but shed their skins to become humans on land.

Echoes from the Loafers' Club Meeting

"I was kicked in the head by a snake."

"How could a snake kick you in the head?"

"Two of his friends held me down."

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: a temper is too valuable to lose.

I've learned

1. Sports teach teamwork, but so does moving a sofa.

2. I don't care about the pattern on a paper towel.

3. I maintain a landline to help me find my cellphone.

The news from Hartland

Man, leaving paint store, hit with fur coats.

Grandfather clock for sale - complete with black socks and sandals.

The Pall Mall opens for smokers.

Cafe chronicles

The cafe was situated on a one-way street. It ran north one day and south the next. The Heimlich maneuver was printed on a menu that advised getting a tetanus shot after using the silverware. The day's special was a clean plate.

The coffee pot was on and trouble was brewing. Paul Cyr of New Richland says that all coffee should be made strong. If it's too strong, water can be added, but if it's too weak, all a person can do is to gripe.

I was at the top of the food chain, so I ordered a piece of pie. I considered getting dessert with it, but did not. One year, my mother made me a birthday pie - cherry. I love cherry pie. Mom made a birthday cake, too. What's the point of being a great cook if you don't cook? The cake was for everyone. The cherry pie was for me.

Did you know?

According to Men's Health magazine, the worst food in America is Outback Steakhouse's Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing.

A survey of adults found that 49 percent are unable to complete the line, "O Romeo, Romeo ..." from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" with the correct answer, "Wherefore art thou Romeo?"

Noah had two of everything on the ark, except matching socks.

Lost and found

Larry and LK Stevenson of Cedar Point, Texas, were birding when nature called LK. She and her husband spotted a small building that looked like an outhouse. The small building was some distance away, so LK hiked towards it while Larry continued to look for birds.

Considerable time passed, Larry began to wonder about the whereabouts of his wife. He walked to the suspected outhouse and discovered it was a mere pretender. Larry hoofed it to their car to see if LK might have been waiting there. She wasn't and the car was gone.

Larry fell into a panic. He'd lost both his wife and his car. Just as he was about to contact the police, his wife drove up.

Discovering that the outhouse wasn't one, she'd walked to the car and driven to the nearest building containing a restroom. It was a hotel. She pretended to be a guest. She didn't need to pretend that it was an emergency.

Nature notes

"What makes a good Christmas stocking stuffer for a birder?" A birding group membership. State park sticker. Duck stamp. Field guide. Gloves. Warm socks. Hand warmers. Ice cleats. Travel packs of tissues.

"What is our largest owl?" A great horned owl is 22-inches long and weighs 3.1 pounds, a snowy owl is 23-inches long and weighs 4 pounds, and a great gray owl is 27-inches long and weighs 2.4 pounds.

Thanks for stopping by

"Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else." - Leonardo da Vinci

"The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be." - Leo Buscaglia

Meeting adjourned

Treat another's dreams kindly.


©Al Batt 2012