Brute's Bleat: July 2, 2014


There seems to be quite a few cottontail rabbits in Maple Lake and it isn’t uncommon to see them early in the morning like Vanna and I did one day last week. Apparently Vanna caught the rabbit’s scent before I saw it near the trunk of a spruce tree. It looked like a Mexican standoff with the rabbit and Vanna waiting to see who was going to make the next move. I grabbed Vanna’s collar about the same time the rabbit decided to make its escape and kept Vanna from giving chase. The rabbit was trying to dig a burrow next to the spruce and I can only assume she’s pregnant and about ready to add to the cottontail population on Linden Avenue North. I pushed the dirt back into the hole to discourage her from creating a new home and that is apparently working because I haven’t seen her since.  
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Friday night’s Laker baseball game with Howard Lake drew a fairly large crowd of spectators and both towns were well represented, as well they should, be considering both teams were undefeated. The Lakers, behind pitcher Jeremy Schmidt, won 10-0 in seven innings, but I don’t think there was a fan in the stands who felt the win would be so decisive. Both teams meet again at 7:30 p.m., July 2, in a rain postponement at Howard Lake and you can bet Mike Gagnon will have his Orphans primed for a revenge. On Sunday, the Lakers will host Loretto in a 6 p.m. game. The Lakers continued to extend their undefeated winning streak with a 5-0 win over the Cokato Kings on Sunday. 
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My walks with Vanna in Ney Park usually come up with watching for wildlife, which sometimes is great while other times it’s only so-so. Vanna gave me a solid point last week and, when I ambled over for a look, I saw four broken pheasant egg shells, but no chicks. We left that area not wanting to disturb the young pheasants who, with the wet weather, are having a rough time surviving this year. Another day, we met some folks riding horseback, something that doesn’t happen every day. Vanna isn’t all that familiar with horses and tends to hang back and give them a wide berth. Much better for all concerned than for her to challenge the horses. We’re still hearing some rooster pheasants crow, but usually they quit crowing about this time of year.     .      .     Vanna also gets a chance to socialize with other dogs and it’s amazing how they tend to recognize each other after only one or two meetings. 
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The Minneapolis Sunday Star Tribune’s story about the plight of the honey bees disturbed me as the writer pointed out just how important they are to the food chain all over the world and how their population is dwindling. Not only for the honey they produce, but their importance when it comes to pollinating fruit trees, vegetables, etc. As a kid, growing up in Ottertail County, it wasn’t uncommon to see swarms of honey bees flying in the air while riding in a car and hearing the stern order, “bees, roll up the windows,” from my dad. I can’t remember seeing a swarm in the air since moving to Maple Lake and that was more than 40 years ago. The Tribune writer’s story included an interview from a beekeeper from Eagle Bend, who transports his bees annually to the almond orchards of California. The numbers of hives he maintains has dwindled over the years, something he attributes to the farming practices in today’s world and the use of insecticides, which contributes to the demise of the honey bees. When I read accounts like that one, I can’t help but remember the phrase, “Man’s inhumanity to man,” something that relates to a host of practices, not only farmers. When did you last see a jack rabbit!?
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George Palmer and I fished Maple Lake last Thursday morning and we found the sunfish in 13-14 feet of water. We needed to do some sorting and, after a couple hours, we had 18 keepers. Our fishing was interrupted at 11 a.m. by an air conditioning service call to Dave Borrell. He traced the problem of the noisy unit to a dry shaft in the fan motor, which he corrected with several drops of oil. It’s something I should have taken care of it myself under periodic maintenance, but I didn’t. Hopefully there won’t be a next time, at least for the same problem!  
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Independence Day is Friday, the 4th of July, and that means a day of parades, picnics and remembering how our forefathers took it upon themselves to create a new nation with a Bill of Rights that have been with us since 1776. We urge everyone to join in this day of patriotism while remembering how this great nation came about. 
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