Dorothy Sime of Alden shared this photo of a Harris's sparrow.
Dorothy Sime of Alden shared this photo of a Harris's sparrow.
I've lived here all my life. I've traveled a bit. I've learned that there is no good weather. There is no bad weather. What there is, is unique weather.

I listened to a pastor read one of my favorite poems recently, "Present Tense" written by Jason Lehman.

"It was spring. But it was summer I wanted. The warm days and the great outdoors. It was summer. But it was fall I wanted. The colorful leaves and the cool, dry air. It was fall. But it was winter I wanted. The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season. It was winter. But it was spring I wanted. The warmth, and the blossoming of nature. I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted. The freedom and the respect. I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted. To be mature and sophisticated. I was middle-aged. But it was twenty I wanted. The youth, and the free spirit. I was retired. But it was middle-age I wanted. The presence of mind, without limitations. My life was over. But I never got what I wanted."

Stalking goldfish

The morning chorus of birds has been called nature's symphony. Some mornings, it's more of a jazz-like potpourri. Delightful riffs.

Robins feed heavily on the wet ground. Red-breasted worm munchers. Long-winded robins sing early in the day and early in the year. They are extraordinary songsters.

A yellow warbler flits among the fallen branches in my yard. A bright yellow, tiny fellow that my father called the summer warbler.

The sun was hiding behind rain clouds, but when given the opportunity to shine, was very hot. Soon, drivers will consider shade when selecting parking places. Leaving the car windows open a crack will become a good idea.

I've been spending more time inside than I'd like, but with so many bald eagles about, my goldfish has been looking worried.

May 12 at 9 a.m.

It was sunny. The brightness enhanced the beauty of the goldfinches, grosbeaks, buntings and orioles feeding at the troughs. A Harris's sparrow brightened my day. A little bit of sun is better than a lot of none.

Customer comments

A reader from Ohio sent this recipe for feeding the birds.

Mix 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 cup vegetable shortening, 1 cup white flour (not self-rising) and 3 cups yellow corn meal (not self-rising). Make a suet log from an 8- to 12-inch long branch that's 3- to 6-inches in diameter. Drill a few 1-inch diameter holes to a depth of 1 inch in the log and smear the mixture into those cavities. Attach an eye screw to the top of the feeder and hang the feeder within eyeshot.

Echoes from Loafers Club

"I watched the movie Groundhog Day last night."

"Again? You watch that movie every night. Why don't you watch something else?"

"Because I like Groundhog Day. I might not like a different movie."

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: there is something about us that makes us tell someone who is stuck indoors because of a job that it is a beautiful day outside.

I've learned

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't.

Antiques will be things of the past in the future.

Letting the cat out of the bag is easier than putting it back in.

Cafe chronicles

It was a big day at the cafe. There were new nails to hang the coats on.

There was a birthday party for a gentleman there. He told me that he was "eighty-something."

"What do you know?" I said in response.

"A lot," he said, "but I can't remember most of it."

His memory didn't appear to be in embers. "I remember a lot of things that are gone, but I can't complain. I get around much better than I did when I took my first breath."

Mother's Day in rearview mirror

Mothers get flowers, candy or dinner for Mother's Day.

On Father's Day, fathers get something, too. Usually, it's a collect phone call that goes something like this, "Hi, Dad. Happy Father's Day. Let me talk to Mom."

That is how it should be.

Storytelling stories

I had told a story about my uncle Bill. Bill was a barber forever in Burt, Iowa. Like many barbers, Bill enjoyed telling stories. The longer his stories became, the shorter my hair became. I love visiting barbershops. They are purveyors of infinite wisdom.

Loren Opdahl of Woodbury was in the audience and after my talk, Loren told me that I could get a BS by spending enough time in a shop. I don't think he meant a BS in Barber Science.

Customer comments

Laura Luehmann of Gaylord told me that when she and her husband, Al, moved from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Minnesota, she thought Marty Robbins was singing, "A white fur coat and a pink carnation."

Kurt Lehmkuhl of Arlington told me that when his son was quite young, the boy had a nightmare. While being consoled, the youngster was asked if he'd been scared witless. The lad admitted to losing one wit.

Nature notes

"Do robin eggs all hatch at the same time?"

Until they've laid a full clutch, robins allow the eggs to stay cool so embryos don't develop. That way all the eggs hatch at about the same time. The mother robin may start incubating her eggs after the second egg is laid or wait until all the eggs are laid. The female usually does all the incubating for 12 to 14 days. She rarely leaves the nest for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time. She must turn or rotate the eggs several times daily. Some birds like hawks and owls that lay eggs in cold weather, start incubating as soon as the first egg is laid. The eggs hatch in intervals, so that the oldest hatchling may be much bigger than the youngest.

Heard at a combined meeting of the Bird Club and the Liars Club

"I saw a crow feeding on a dead deer today."

"Crows kill a lot of deer."

Pelican Breeze

Please join me as I host Pelican Breeze boat cruises on Albert Lea Lake at 1:30 p.m. on June 22, July 13 or Aug. 24. Call (507) 377-4370 to book a seat.

Thank you

It was my good fortune to be on the Over the Back Fence variety and radio show in Lanesboro. A sublime endeavor.

Thanks for stopping by

"The question for each man is not what he would do if he had the means, time, influence and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has." - Frank Hamilton

"We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts." - William Hazlitt

Meeting adjourned

It is the time to be kind.


©Al Batt 2013