‘Incorrect’ password helps jog a person’s memory

Published 6:02 am Sunday, March 10, 2013

Column: Nature’s World, by Al Batt

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I say.

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“Everything is nearly copacetic. I read yesterday’s horoscope to see what I did wrong. Then I watched TV while taping another show by the use of three remotes while eating pizza that I buy by the pound. That’s why America wins. I’m as old as dirt, but not nearly as rich. Weasel is weighing a land purchase. I wonder how much 160 acres weigh? I called one of my boys and left a message, ‘Windows frozen. Won’t open.’ He called back and told me to pour some lukewarm water over it. I did that and now I’ll have to get a new computer. I got a statement from the bank. It said that I needed to make more money. I’m ambitious. I’m planning to win the lottery. The statement had a little insert that claimed that I could do much of my banking business online. I’m always forgetting my password when I try to log onto on my computer. It was ‘IFMP,’ which stands for ‘I Forgot My Password.’ I tried using Mr. Green Jeans, Grandfather Clock, Mr. Moose, Captain Kangaroo, and Bunny Rabbit as passwords, but my password memory is so bad, I changed my password to ‘incorrect.’ Now when I enter the wrong one, it tells me, ‘Your password is incorrect.’



I saw two deer and two pheasants. I was happy to see them, especially the roosters. Pheasants can be scarce. One of the deer stopped in the middle of my lane as if she were daring me to hit her. She didn’t know that I’d seen the movie “Bambi.” I slowed to nearly nonmoving before she bounded away.

Al Batt took this photo of a Canadian goose.

Al Batt took this photo of a Canadian goose.

To the deer, my car is a predator, not unlike the accipiter that patrols our yard attempting to capture songbirds. The crafty hawk hunkers down in the brambles and waits in ambush. The presence of that hawk makes for quiet feeders.

Bob Ward of Byron told me that the feeders in his yard are just outside his kitchen window. Bob said that his wife, Marge, enjoys watching the birds so much that as long as Bob keeps the feeders full, she forgets to ask him to help wash the dishes.


A happy ending

Years ago, I was taking some binoculars for a test look in some woods adjoining a campground, when I happened upon a skunk acting strangely. The skunk had its head caught in a mayonnaise jar. I felt the need to free the skunk. I walked softly to the animal and placed my foot firmly down onto the jar. The skunk pulled its head from the predicament. Then I turned tail before it could raise its tail.

I recalled the scene in the movie when Bambi began smelling flowers and came face-to-face with a little skunk. This dialogue ensued.

Bambi: “Flower!”

Skunk: “Me?”

Thumper, the rabbit: “That’s not a flower! He’s a little ­—”

Skunk: “Oh, that’s all right. He can call me a flower if he wants to. I don’t mind.”

Bambi: “Pretty. Pretty flower!”


Q and A

Harlan Lutteke of Alden asked when opossums and raccoons have their young. During the mating season, February and March, the male raccoon travels long distances and mates with many females. After a 63-day gestation period, the female has a litter of two to six. They find shelter in hollow trees, woodchuck burrows, culverts, chimneys, under buildings, etc. The young raccoons become independent at four to six months. Opossums mate between January and May, producing two litters of 6 to 20 young each year. The young are not fully developed at birth. They remain in their mother’s pouch for 60 to 70 days. When about mouse-sized, they climb onto their mother’s back.

Tom Jessen of Madelia wrote, “I got to witness two cottontail rabbits doing their bunny hop. They seemed to like performing out on the shoveled driveway, as it afforded room for the leaping and bouncing. Are these two males trying to prove who’s the better guy or is it a male and female out on the dance floor?”

What a cool thing to see. The answer to your question would be yes and yes. During the mating season, males often fight with one another. The male and female also perform a kind of mating dance. The male chases the female. Eventually the female stops, faces the male, and boxes at him with her front paws. At some point, one of them leaps into the air and then the other does the same. Sometimes a number of males pursue a single female. As mad as a March hare is what they had become.

“Someone told me that Minnesota has more bird species than any other state? Is that true?” I wish it were. These numbers might have changed slightly, but California leads the way with 644 species followed by Arizona with 551, New Mexico 532, Oregon 520, Florida 512 and Washington 502. Minnesota has 438.

“Do great horned owls mate for life?” They are known to do so, but it’s not always the case.

“Where are all the birds?” Research has found that many birds prefer natural foods over the fare we offer at our feeders. If the food is good and the feeder secure, the birds will be back and spread out like beads on a necklace.


Nature lessons

Baby mice are called pinkies or pups.

The McIntosh is considered Canada’s “national apple.”

Canada geese begin leapfrogging their way north on thawed water. Mated pairs claim nest sites.

Robins, common grackles, red-winged blackbirds, killdeer and eastern bluebirds return. Male red-winged blackbirds claim territories in marshes by making “look-at-me” calls. The brown, streaked females arrive a few weeks later.

The bills of starlings begin to turn yellow, as does the plumage of goldfinches.

Snow fleas hop on the surface of the snow on sunny days when temperatures rise above 27 degrees.


Thanks for stopping by

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” –Epictetus

“If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere.” –Vincent Van Gogh




Al Batt of Hartland is a member of the Albert Lea Audubon Society. Email him at SnoEowl@aol.com.