Al Batt: I wrote this while not rubbing a potato on my eyeglasses

18 July 2023

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had a Great Uncle August. My mother talked often about his funeral.

When was his funeral?

I’m not sure what year it was, but it was the end of August.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. A country song says, “Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey…rain is a good thing.” I don’t care about the whiskey, but I’m a big fan of corn. I’d like rain enough to knock us off the drought map. Pema Chodron wrote, “You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.” That’s a lot of responsibility. I check the water level of the creek (pronounced “crick”), which was my boyhood Disneyland. It was the Le Sueur River running through the farm. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I’d yell “Save some for the fish!” to a friend drinking at a water fountain. Our nature walks were taken behind the school near the monkey bars and the puker. We looked at a squirrel, a couple of house sparrows and a dandelion as we listened to a John Deere Model B tractor pop. It was wonderful.

I’ve learned

Self-driving cars are never distracted or busy texting.

The stars in the sky are willing to let others shine.

A kind reader suggested rubbing eyeglasses with a cut potato to prevent fogging. That may have helped Grandpa years ago with the windshield of his old car, but I’m going to pass on using it on my eyeglasses.

Cats and dogs make capable assistants to an alarm clock.

Imitation is the second-highest form of flowers.

If you are flying, be sure to take a plane.

Three ways to pick a good watermelon are: 1. A yellow spot on the rind. 2. A brown belly button where the stem had been. 3. A hollow sound (as if it’s a barrel of water) when tapped.

You can’t be sure the toaster isn’t listening.   

Every receipt looks as if it contains an error.

Nature notes

I’m hosting a float on the Pelican Breeze on Albert Lea Lake on July 30, August 27 and September 10. Please call 507-383-7273 to book a seat.

I watched robins in the yard. Two males battled at the edge of their territories. One appeared to be slightly larger than the other and won every skirmish. I reckon the burly bird gets the worm.

There were blinking bugs—shining stars descended to Earth to keep us company. Fireflies or lightning bugs are quiet fireworks that prefer warm, humid environments, which means muggy June and July days are perfect for them. Look up and down around tall grasses or bushes and areas near water. A lawn could host fireflies, an identity mark of summer that evokes wonder in those who see them.

An eastern cottontail rabbit female is capable of having seven litters a year, but it’s likely to have only three, possibly four in Minnesota. Each year, about 80% of Minnesota’s cottontail population dies from weather, predators and disease. 

Crown vetch was planted along roadsides for erosion control and spread into prairies, forest edges and riverbanks. Its stems trail over other plants and can grow 2-6 feet long. Crown vetch has tubular white to pink to lavender flowers that bloom from May through August. Crown vetch can cover other plants and spread vegetatively over acres of land, outcompeting other plants, which reduces species diversity and habitat. As a perennial legume, crown vetch can change nitrogen levels in soils, which could make it difficult for native plants to compete. Birdsfoot trefoil was introduced to the U. S. for livestock forage and erosion control. Its yellow flowers are evident on roadsides. Foxtail barley, sometimes called squirrel-tail grass, is a common grass on roadsides. Its flowering spikes are attractive, silky and waving in the breeze.

Meeting adjourned

 “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That’s about it. Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides.”―Barbara Kingsolver.

The post Al Batt: I wrote this while not rubbing a potato on my eyeglasses appeared first on Austin Daily Herald.

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