Individuals survey a replica of a 12-foot tall, 8.5-foot wide, 2,000-pound bald eagle nest in LaGrange, Ohio.  AL BATT/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS
Individuals survey a replica of a 12-foot tall, 8.5-foot wide, 2,000-pound bald eagle nest in LaGrange, Ohio. AL BATT/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS
Christian, a Minnesotan by choice having moved here from Florida, called to tell me that he'd found a young bird at his employer's, Burger King. That was nice of Christian, so I stopped by the fast food establishment and picked up an immature common nighthawk.

I saw that it wasn't far from flying. I had a decision to make - release the bird on a nearby flat, graveled roof or haul it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville. I decided to place it on a roof thanks to the kindness of Jon Rettke, who offered the cover of his service station.

Upon release, the bird decided on another location. It flew high into the air in graceful loops, flashing white patches on wings, and landed atop the Morris Furniture building. Where I hope it began a new and wonderful life.


Picking up sticks from the edge of the woods in the backyard is an endeavor otherwise known as trolling for mosquitoes. I noticed that some of the weeds needed flowering.

I'd watched a baseball game in Winnebago. Eurasian collared-doves cooed for most of the game from perches high on the field's light towers.

Fishing grackles

Jim Grotte of Fairmont wrote, "On a small dam on Amber Lake in Fairmont, I watched grackles catch, carry away and eat small minnows. The fast water would occasionally push a minnow to one small area on the spillway where there was room for only one bird at a time. Several grackles were lined up on the wall above the spillway, each waiting their turn."

Echoes from Loafers' Club

"I heard a noise in my kitchen in the middle of the night."

"What was it?"

"The leftover ham in the refrigerator."

"The leftover ham was making noise?"

"Not anymore."

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: If you ever become lost, follow the first pizza delivery car you see. At least that way you'll have pizza.

I've learned

You don't need Facebook to like things.

When it comes to half-truths, people usually remember the wrong half.

Locally grown pineapple tastes like corn.

The news from Hartland

Someplace Else Bar opens for those people who'd like to go someplace else.

Oops Tattoo Parlor opens and promises, "Tattoos while you wait."

Ug Lee's Junkyard offers the insides of the rusting hulks of cars as mini-storage units.

Ask Al

"Do you believe in Sasquatch?" Of course. It's a common creature that steps in front of people while their photos are taken for driver's licenses.

"Why would anyone eat insects?" It's simple - more drumsticks.

"Why are sleeveless shirts called T-shirts?" Why not? They don't come when they're called anyway.

The worst cold in history

I felt cold. I'm rarely chilly. That meant I had a cold. A summer cold. I put on warm socks and thought about eating horseradish on a wheat cracker. Had it been a foul tip that hit me, at least I could have rubbed a little dirt on it. I had chills, a headache, and aching joints.

My wife wrote notes she presented to me at the end of a 10-foot pole. I felt like a cat, useless if I didn't get my 23 hours of sleep each day. It was the worst cold in the history of mankind. It was. I looked it up. It was worse even than those TV commercials for lawyers.

My appetite deserted me. I had a breakfast of ginger ale and roasted almonds. I was in no danger of foundering. I considered using leeches to restore my pluckiness. I opted for eating all the pineapple I could to combat the cold. I think that worked, but I tend to be right or wrong.

I'm pretty sure I'm right about that. Or as my wife says, "That always happens sometimes."

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

I sat down on a beat-up metal chair outside the old farmhouse. The sun was still at work. I relaxed myself into becoming a passive solar collector. Whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot, we'll weather the weather whatever the weather whether we like it or not.

I was waiting for my date, who would later become my wife.

I could hear her mother talking, more than loud enough for me to hear, to her eldest daughter, "He doesn't sound like a good boy."

"Oh, he is," my future bride protested. "If he weren't, he wouldn't be doing 200 hours of community service."

It wasn't all my fault. When I bugged my mother when I was a small boy, she'd say, "If you don't stop it, I'm going to go crazy."

My response was always, "I want to go, too, Mommy."

To an English teacher

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


To who?

To whom.

Customer comments

Mike Bennett of Albert Lea is an avid golfer. He told me that he always shoots par. As soon as his score hits 36, he stops playing.

A reader from Madison, Wis., asked if I'd mention Delbert Willert and his 4-H project. The 16-year-old Lake Benton student researched the GSI Res-Q Tube. It's a device used to free people from grain bins. It's a long, lightweight aluminum tube that separates into four panels that are pushed into the grain surrounding a trapped person. The tube keeps grain from burying a person so that rescue workers can do their jobs. Willert raised $17,000, enough money to buy one for every fire department in Lincoln County. His good work has already saved a life.

Nature notes

Mallard ducklings are precocial. That means they are able to feed and move about on their own shortly after hatching. They remain dependent on their mother for guidance, protection and waterproofing for 42 to 60 days. Altricial birds are the opposite of precocial birds. They hatch naked, blind, and helpless. They are featherless except for sparse down. They move little and are dependent on their parents for care. Hawks, owls, jays, doves, robins, crows, and herons are examples of altricial birds.

Thanks for stopping by

"More important than talent, strength or knowledge is the ability to laugh at yourself and enjoy the pursuit of your dreams." - Amy Grant

"If you want to see birds, you must have birds in your heart." - John Burroughs


Meeting adjourned

You can't fix yourself by breaking someone else. Be kind.

© Al Batt 2013