Friday's Weekend Column
We Turned On The Sound

by James Glaser
April 25, 2003

No snow any place around here! Sure the lake is still covered with ice except for a ring of about fifty feet of open water, but this is our first weekend without the white stuff. I should be working like a dog on the gardens and I have a whole workshop of projects to do. Sometimes though your body does not let you do anything.

Last week I was loading bags of topsoil into the truck and on Saturday I couldn't get my back straight. Every day since then I have gotten a little better, but not much. Today I can type with both hands, earlier this week I was sitting kind of to the side, holding on to the desk and typing with my right hand. If you would notice, all my columns this week are very short.

A couple friends called and told me they were having similar problems, one with his neck, while the other was having knee problems. People tell me it is the change in the weather. I like that as it lets me off the hook for being so stupid as to jump out of the truck and start throwing 60 pound bags into the back, instead of getting the store to load them, which they would have done. A guy hates to admit he can't do that stuff any more and asking for help is so hard.

Charmaine has been a Saint and has never said, "I told you so." I tell you though, if it was the change in the weather that makes the bones ache, I would go through it again just to have nice weather again. No buds on the trees yet, but a few bulb plants are starting to show and I am sure if I went out to look I could find weeds coming up all over.

Having the bad back this week put me in the recliner with the binoculars. Ducks are swimming in that ring of open water on the lake, and many strange birds are hitting the feeders as they make their way to Canada. I have the bird ID book sitting next to me, but it seems like many of these are not in there. At least they don't look like the picture in the book.

I'll tell you that a whole new dimension has been added to our nature setting that we watch out the window and that is Sound. Now we can have the windows open at least during the day time. Some times the feeder is empty and there are no birds in sight, yet with the windows open, you can hear lots of birds singing to each other.

I did see something pretty cool this week, two Bald Eagles in the air with their claws locked one above, one below in a mating flight. Saw the same thing about a week ago over at the workshop.

Have you ever wondered what people did for entertainment a hundred tears ago, no radio nor television? Well they watched what was going on in nature. Thousands of years ago they would lay down at night looking at the stars making up stories about the constellations. I used to call the kids to tell them every time there was going to be a meteor shower, but they tell me in the city it is hard to even see the stars. Truthfully I think years ago people worked from dawn to dusk and were too tired to be looking for entertainment, but I also remember that is can be quite romantic under the stars. In fact it still is.

Now in the spring it will actually start to get pretty loud in the evenings with all the animal noises. Ducks and loons on the lake can make quite a racket, but the real noise makers are the birds, ducks and frogs across the road. It sounds like there are thousands of them all yelling at the same time and there are thousands. Some times the hum of the bugs can drown out all those other animals and as luck would have it, being high above the lake like we are there is always a nice breeze that keeps them away from our house. When I lived north of here in the forest, a person would have to get inside after the sun set behind the trees. That was usually a couple hours before dark, if you stayed out the bugs were so bad you went nuts trying to do anything. Down at on this shore of our lake we can stay out till just before dark and then the bugs start to get bad. Who ever invented screens did the world a real favor.

In the cool of the morning the mosquitos are never bad unless it is overcast and warm and for some reason that I don't know, we do not have wood ticks right around here. Don't pass this lack of bugs around or we will have hordes of people moving up. Maybe the threat of mosquitoes keeps our property values down, but after a few years you learn the times they are in charge and you live around them. If we didn't have them, Northern Minnesota would be thick with people. Every year lots of young people come up camping. Some get drunk and fall asleep with the tent door open a little bit and by morning they almost need a blood transfusion. Those people go home to the cities and not only will they never return, they also spread their fear to others.

Right now, new birds at the feeder. Not really at the feeder but sitting in the trees above it. Some birds are so timid they will sit there and watch other birds eat, but will not come down for the longest time. Now tell me are we starved for entertainment or what? You know though, I don't care I really enjoy it. My Daughter Nikohli, at the age of about eight would sit on our deck and feed all the birds out of her hand. That is a memory worth having. The sound of birds singing and the frogs croaking become a source of relaxation and when they all of a sudden stop you know you have visitors.

Soon the new baby loons will be calling to beat the band after the sun sets. Some are pretty funny as they are trying to sound like mom and dad, but don't have it down right yet. Early in the morning you can almost tell what time it is by which bird is singing. They each get their turn, but I don't know how the later ones sleep through those that start before light.

Nothing will wake you faster than a few mangy crows on your deck, "Caw Cawing" right in your bedroom window. I think they know exactly what they are doing.

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