Father’s advice lives on, remembered on special day

Sedges have edges and sedges have sedge wrens. AL BATT/BLUFF COUNTRY READER
By : 
Al Batt
For the Birds

Father’s Day

It was the day before Father’s Day and work had taken me to Jamestown, N.D. It’s the hometown of prolific author Louis L’Amour, who wrote over 100 books, most of them western novels. I enjoyed visiting a display recalling his life. I’ve never read any of his books, but my father had been a huge fan of the cowboy genre, particularly enjoying those novels authored by Zane Grey.

Not long after that visit, I was in the greeting card aisle of a store, reading Father’s Day cards and wondering which one I’d have given to Dad if he were still alive. Dad was a good man with a lifetime dedication to his craft (farming). He did positive things and could be counted on. He gave me wonderful advice such as, “Try not to be a knucklehead.”

Echoes From Loafers’’ Club

I’m going fishing on St. Olaf Lake today.

Good for you.

Have you been able to do much fishing this year?

Not as much as I’d like, but more than my wife wants me to.

Meeting minutes

I was at a meeting, seated with fine folks who had drawn the short straws and found themselves at my table.

One fellow said that his neighbors go either to Arizona or Texas for the winter. He goes to Fleet Farm. His grandchildren relished Disney destinations. He asked them what the difference was between Disneyland and Disney World. They told him that one is Tractor Supply and the other is Fleet Farm.

Another man at the table explained the 50/50/90 rule to me. It means there is a 50 percent chance you’re right, a 50 percent chance you’re wrong and a 90 percent chance you’ll get yelled at.    


It’s summer, the hot season of our year. Summer comes from the Old English sumor, from the Proto-Germanic sumur, Old Saxon sumar, Old Norse sumar, Old High German sumar, Old Frisian sumur, Middle Dutch somer, Dutch zomer and German sommer.

A robin had begun singing at 4 in the morning. The bird had a strong work ethic. Each season of every year, I watch birds come and go. They are the heartbeats of the world and weave wonder into my life.

It was nearly bird-melting hot as I walked wet ground. Sedges have edges and clamorous sedge wrens. Insects hadn’t thoroughly bested me, but the deer flies were unrelenting as they tormented me. They go for the head and neck when biting people, inflicting a painful bite using knife-like mouthparts to slice the skin and feed on blood. Fortunately, deer flies aren’t a disease vector here, but some people suffer allergic reactions to the bites. In addition to humans, these biting flies also attack cattle, deer and horses. Deer flies are most common in June and July.

I visited a county park just to listen to the ethereal, flutelike songs of the wood thrush. Thoreau wrote of the wood thrush, “This is the only bird whose note affects me like music, affects the flow and tenor of my thought, my fancy and imagination. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It is a medicative draught to my soul. It is an elixir to my eyes and a fountain of youth to all my senses. It changes all hours to an eternal morning. I long for wildness, a nature which I cannot put my foot through, woods where the wood thrush forever sings, where the hours are early morning ones, and there is dew on the grass, and the day is forever unproved, where I might have a fertile unknown for a soil about me.”

Thoreau was singing my song.

Dave Lewis from Ohio told me that he had a collection of photographs of fake owls on docks. He said they must be attracted to boats. I saw three on a dock recently. The imitation owls are like pet rocks. They do no good and they do no harm.

A cat prowled nearby. Australia has built the world’s longest cat-proof fence, hoping the 27-mile fence bordering the Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary will help save endangered animals like the mala, a type of small wallaby, from feral cats. Researchers estimate that cats kill over a million birds each day in Australia.

I walked a trail in Wisconsin as winter wrens sang loud and endlessly. Three male scarlet tanagers landed on a log. Their vivid red colors made good company for the wren serenade. Good news of the family kind arrived via cellphone. We don’t get many perfect days. That was one. I was and am most thankful.
Thanks for stopping by

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions.”― Will Smith

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Meeting adjourned

"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." —  Franklin D. Roosevelt 


© Al Batt 2018