Teenager's athletic stamina causes envy in grandfather


A cicada killer wasp is not usually a threat to humans. They are so focused on cicadas or other cicada killer wasps, they could care less about a human. Sure, if you step on one, squeeze one in your hand, or otherwise harass the insect, it might sting you. Unlike other wasps, it will not usually go out of its way to harm you.
By : 
Al Batt
For the Birds
I watched a teenage granddaughter play nine basketball games in three days. She played all but several minutes. I’m impressed by her stamina and distressed by my own. I was exhausted after sitting and watching her play. 
Swanny Tollefson of New Richland asked me if I was still playing softball. His question caused me to pull a hamstring.
Putting the hick in ‘Chickago’ 
I spent my time in downtown Chicago being in someone’s way. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere they knew how to get to. I was in a hurry, too, but wasn’t always sure where I was going. The sidewalks were so crowded that it was like being on an aboveground subway. Someone was always standing on my foot. That someone was usually me.
A woman was writing my name down on a form in an art gallery I’d visited. She asked my first name. I told her that it was Allen and spelled it correctly for her.
“Allen, that’s not a name you hear every day,” she said.
Yes, it is.
Echoes from Loafers’ Club 
I booked a packaged tour.
Way to go.
It includes flights, bus trips, a cruise, shopping and food.
If they’d be willing to eliminate four of those things, I might join you on the tour.
Driving by Bruce's drive
I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: The word on the street was that an opossum had been run over by a car. I drove past twin Harveststore silos on an old farm site. They were once towering blue landmarks that have become towering blue tombstones. The dairy barn was gone, but an old farmhouse, no longer inhabited, remained as evidence of the thinning of the herd of dairy farmers. I remember visiting farms featuring the big blue silos sold by the A.O. Smith Company. I recall the sweet smell of corn silage and the hope for better days. 
I drove by an old-fashioned gas station. I wanted to stop for gas and directions, but I was rushed. I once had a part-time job at a gas station in a big city. I wasn’t a grease monkey. I was a purveyor of gas, clean windshields and jokes. Drivers stopped to ask for directions. I didn’t know any. I could barely find my way to work. I was used to giving directions that involved herds of cows. When someone asked for directions, I’d assume a look as serious as a man wearing a shirt with Ralph’s name on it and inquire, “Do you know how to get to where you’re going?”
They never did.
I’d say, “Then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
The clownfish tasted funny, too
My wife found a box of crackers in a hidden corner of a cupboard. The expiration date had been in early 2015, but it hadn’t been opened. I love crackers. I really love cheese and crackers. It’s impossible for me to throw crackers away without tasting them. I tried one. It was OK, but a bit soggier than I like. It needed cheese. Lots of cheese.
Nature notes
I did a scientific and precise survey of the number of rabbits in my yard. I came up with way too many.
I watched a pair of eastern kingbirds harassing a crow moving along the ground. The kingbirds kicked the corvid's butt. The scientific name of this kingbird is Tyrannus tyrannus. Tyrannus means "tyrant, despot, or king," in reference to the aggression kingbirds exhibit with crows and others they perceive as enemies. I see them attacking hawks and squirrels. I wish they held a grudge against eastern cottontails.  
All insects change in form as they grow. This process is called metamorphosis. Butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis, in which there are four distinct stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult. Monarch development from egg to adult is completed in about 30 days. The egg stage takes three to four days, ten to 14 days as a caterpillar and another ten to 14 days as a chrysalis.
The breeding population of western meadowlarks has declined over 1 percent a year between 1966 and 2015, a cumulative decline of 48 percent according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The decline may be caused in part by the conversion of grassland breeding and wintering habitat to commercial, housing and agricultural uses. Other factors affecting meadowlark populations may include pesticide use, habitat degradation due to invasive plant species and fire suppression that alters native grasslands.
Naturally
A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2 percent of its weight, the largest of any bird proportionately. Our brains are 2 percent of our weight.
I saw a snapping turtle looking like a lizard that had stolen a turtle shell and a large, black and yellow, cicada killer wasp. Cicada killer females can be about two inches long, males about half that. The males have no stingers. The females can sting, but aren’t inclined to do so. Females sting cicadas with a paralyzing toxin and carry them to burrows in sandy or loose soils. They lay one egg on a cicada in a nest chamber. A second or third cicada is often added, because female larvae are larger than males and require more food. The chamber is sealed and the egg hatches in one or two days. The larvae consume the cicadas before spinning a cocoon and overwintering underground. They emerge as adults in July or August and live two to six weeks.
Thanks for stopping by
“Up with life. Stamp out all small and large indignities. Leave everyone alone to make it without pressure. Down with hurting. Lower the standard of living. Do without plastics. Smash the servo-mechanisms. Stop grabbing. Snuff the breeze and hug the kids. Love all love. Hate all hate.” - novelist John D. MacDonald
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.“ - E. O. Wilson
DO GOOD.
Meeting adjourned 
“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” -Jean Jacques Rousseau
© Al Batt 2018
 

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