All posts by Barbara in Rivertown

Are You Batty?

I’ll bet you didn’t realize that October is National Bat Appreciation Month, or that October 24-31 is Bat Week http://www.batcon.org/ . I learned this when I clicked on Tuesday’s bing.com photo https://www4.bing.com/search?q=Common+pipistrelle+bat&form=hpcapt&filters=HpDate:%2220181030_0700%22 

 where I learned that bats:

– help us by devouring tons of insects and forest pests

– and by pollinating some of our favorite fruits

– are one of the largest and longest living species on earth

– the smallest bat – called appropriately enough Bumblebee Bat – has a body about 1 inch long

– white-nosed syndrome has decimated some bat populations since being identified in 2006

When I checked in my Mammals in Minnesota Field Guide (by Stan Tekiela), I found that Minnesota hosts both the Big and Little Brown Bats, the Northern Myotis, and the Red, Silver-Haired, and Hoary Bats.

– these live 15-20 years – females often gather in “maternity colonies” of between 30 and 75 bats, depending on species

– some species live in holes in trees or even under bark, and either migrate or hibernate in winter

– others make their summer homes in attics, church steeples, barns and other buildings; spend winters in caves and mines

– most Minnesota bats are between 1-1/2” and 4”, with wingspans between 8” and 16”

Bats are our friends. One way to help them is to build or buy a bat box, giving them a safe place to roost:

http://www.batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses

Got any bat stories? What actor played your favorite Batman, or your favorite Count Dracula?

Regionality

While on our recent road trip to visit relatives in central Georgia, I was able to take a side trip to Greenville, SC, for a reunion with nine friends from college. We do this every couple of years now, and one of our rituals is a Saturday night book swap. The book I offered this time was Gardenias, by one of my favorite “regional” authors, Faith Sullivan of Minnesota. I’ve loved her books since one of her earlier publications, The Cape Ann; in fact, I included a used copy of that book for background, since it has some of the same characters.

Wiki has this to say about American literary regionalism, or local color: “In this style of writing, which includes both poetry and prose, the setting is particularly important and writers often emphasize specific features such as dialect, customs, history, and landscape, of a particular region.”

I was delighted to find that the book I drew, One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash, was also by a regional author – Carolinian Appalachia – and now that I’ve finished the book, I’ve learned some background history of the area I just visited. I also got to hear some local dialects; got to know some characters whom I would probably not have found in, say, Minnesota; and read descriptions of places I’ve seen only from a distance. And although the ending to this tale was sad, I would probably read another book by Ron Rash.

I have found (and loved) over the years several authors I whom I consider to be regional writers, but will wait to see if other Baboons name them before I do. To that end:

Do you have a favorite regional author? Is there a region of the USA that you would like to learn about through reading?

Some Truthiness

Friday during Sherrilee’s “Destructo Kitty” post, I referenced one of those scroll-through-25-pictures articles, which wasn’t a very grown-up thing to do – who (besides a retired person) has time for that? The list (of truths to accept if you’re a real adult) was clearly compiled by a much younger person, but I did find some of the “truths” that resonated with me.

I also found one or two that made me snort tea. Here’s the link if you want to read the commentary, but the “truths” are listed below.

You’ll know you’re a real adult when you accept these 25 truths:

  1. Life’s tough. Get a helmet.
  2. If you want to play hard, you really do have to work hard.
  3. If you mess up, it’s your responsibility to fix it.
  4. Your driver’s license photo will never, ever be flattering.
  5. Sometimes you have to give people the benefit of the doubt.
  6. You have control over your life.
  7. Making compromises is a good thing. Compromising yourself is NOT.
  8. Success is just about perception.
  9. Some people are just big jerks.
  10. School doesn’t come close to teaching you everything you need to know.
  11. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a choice you make.
  12. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.
  13. Money won’t solve your problems.
  14. You are not the center of the universe.
  15. Things are rarely as cool as they seem.
  16. You can’t make everybody happy.
  17. Sometimes you have to put yourself first.
  18. Jealousy is a huge waste of time.
  19. Change is good. Sometimes.
  20. You’re not getting any younger.
  21. Sometimes you just don’t have the answers.
  22. It’s never too late to change.
  23. Even if you have “more important” things to do, you NEED to get a good night’s sleep.
  24. You can’t have it all.
  25. The only time you should look back is to see just how far you’ve come.

Which one (or two, or more) of the above resonates with you?

Sky Wonder

Although it peaked Sunday night, Aug. 12, the Perseid meteor shower sounds like something worth staying up for this week.. Found this piece on Space.com:

“According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year; and in 2018, they’ll be the best shower of the year. During the Perseids’ peak this weekend, spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower’s peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, Cooke said, but he’s inclined this year to lean toward the night of Aug. 12-13 for the better show.”

We plan to go out Sunday or Monday night after 10:00, find a darkish spot in the country, and follow these guideline I heard at the above website:

– take a comfortable chair or sleeping bag for viewing

– New Moon will set before midnight, allowing for more darkness

– find a spot where you can take in as much sky as possible, with as few lights as possible

– wait ½ hour for your eyes to adjust to the dark (avoid looking at cell phone, as the bright display can prevent your eyes from adapting)

– if you need a light, use one with a relatively low intensity and a red filter

– the show starts around 10 p.m., with #s of meteors gradually increasing as dawn approaches

Have you ever gone out of your way to view an astronomical wonder, or an earthly one?

Summer Guests

First week of August, our quiet little lives will be interrupted by five visitors – Husband’s son and his fiancé, and their (combined) three girls, ages 15, 12, and 9. Though I’m pretty relaxed when having just one or two guests, I tend to get somewhat anxious with lots of company, and am trying to think ahead – prepare now so it’s a bit more manageable while they’re here. (You can also read this as: I like to be in control of things.) Since our place is just 900 sq. feet, and we would be practically on top of each other if we all tried to stay here, we’ve arranged with a friend two blocks away to sleep in her guest room – let them have the house – on the nights they are with us. (They will spend some time with other family.)

Average temps for this time of year are around 83˚ F., and we do have A/C if needed. We have enough beds, if we include futon, and bedding. I’ve deep cleaned recently, so can do a surface cleaning before A-day (A = arrival). We can stock the fridge and pantry. We have been exploring places in the area that this family might like to visit.

I’m sure there are things I could prepare ahead of time. Several of you baboons have had grandchildren – or other family members or friends – visit you, and probably have some coping mechanisms for when you have guests for more than an afternoon.

Any ideas that might help things run smoothly?

Got any visitors coming this summer or fall?

Life Imitates Art?

Many babooners will remember in Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacree from the late 1960s. One detail that always tickled me was that The Police located them after finding one of their names on an envelope at the bottom of the pile of garbage they’ve thrown over a cliff.

Well, laugh all we want:  I found this recently in the Police Blotter from the Winona Post (our twice-weekly rag also called “The Shopper”):

  • At 6:21 p.m. deputies received a report of garbage dumped illegally on McArthur Ravine Road. Deputies located a shipping address in the trash, and made multiple attempts to reach M___ A___ of Plainview, MN, without success. M. A. was mailed a citation for illegal dumping.”

Husband and I have been reading the Police Blotter lately, mainly for comic relief from the grim and alarming news that we encounter elsewhere. Here are some gems (italics are my own reactions):

  • At 10:07 a.m. an adult male moved furniture from a vehicle and dumped it on his lawn…  (More shades of Alice’s Restaurant)
  • At 3 p.m. an adult male reported that the key to the trunk of his vehicle had been stolen from his keyring inside the vehicle, parked on the 650 block of W. Sarnia St.  (Remind me to not leave my keyring IN the car…)
  • At 8:46 a.m. officers received a report from an adult female that her car had been scratched on the hood and door while parked near County Road 12.  (Must have been a slow day.)
  • At 7:30 p.m. deputies received a report of the theft of a goat from an adult female in Altura. The woman reported that one juvenile presented the goat to another juvenile, and when the two ended a relationship, the first juvenile requested the return of the goat, but the second party would not comply. Deputies recommended that the parties involved resolve the matter civilly. (If this solution works, maybe we can do away with courts, jails, etc.)

And my personal favorite:

  • At 5:03 p.m. an adult male on the 200 block of E. Garvin Heights Road reported that 40 goats with pink spots were in a field near his home.  The reporting party believed the goats had been fired on with a paintball pistol. (I am speechless; for the entire story: )

Anything fun or interesting in your paper’s Police Blotter report?

When have you noticed that life imitates art?

The Fugitive

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

I came across an entertaining article recently called “30 Illegal Things Practically Everyone Has Done”   https://bestlifeonline.com/crimes-everyone-has-done/   The following is a list from that article, though I’ve edited it by combining some items, and adding the language in italics.

-using public WiFi

– using a fake name online

– downloading music (w/o paying), movies, TV shows

– drinking underage

– playing poker with friends  ($2000 or more revenue)

– eating something before you bought it

– sharing your password

– using your cell phone while driving

– not updating your driver license when you move

– sharing medication

– jaywalking

– smoking marijuana

– not getting a license for your dog (or cat, in some cities)

– possessing a permanent marker (in Florida and NY)

– writing “disturbing” material (I don’t think this blog counts)

– littering, esp. throwing away a cell phone

– driving over/under the speed limit

– turning right on red, or rolling through a stop sign

– driving through a red light in the middle of the night

– doing a u-turn when it’s illegal

– rolling through a stop sign on your bike, biking on a sidewalk

– not wearing a seat belt

– public intoxication, OR drinking in public (out in the open, away from a bar or restaurant)

– making a meme  (Heck, I still don’t even understand what a meme is.)

Let’s have a little contest – we don’t necessarily need to know WHICH of these illegal things you’ve done, but I think we’ve all done some of them.

How many of these illegal actions have you accomplished?

Any good stories that come to mind?