Brute’s Bleat: April 30, 2014


Watching the local lakes is kind of a spring ritual for retired folks like myself. Ramsey, Rock and Mary were free of their winter ice on Thursday morning, but lakes like Maple didn’t give up until late Saturday.  I’m guessing the extremely thick ice this winter has something to do with that. Another item that has come up around the coffee table was the story about wild parsnip in Wright County, a concern of the county board. Wild parsnip fits into the noxious weed category and is invading our county. The problem we had is none of us knew what the weed looks like. The U/M Extension Service has information and photos of the weed, a roadside version is shown here. 
   Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall with erect/stout/hollow stems and alternate compound leaves (fern-like) and yellow flowers in a distinc-tive terminal umbel (upside down um-brella). It reproduces by seed. Compounds in plant sap can cause severe skin burns – HANDLE WITH CARE! I’d suggest don’t handle at all, but use any proper method to destroy the plants. 
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In the turkey hunting department Joe Rassat and Tom Neu each bagged large Toms in Ottertail County last week. Rassat’s was the largest, 22 pounds and a 10-inch beard, harvested on Monday; and Neu’s was 21 pounds with an 8 1/2-inch beard, harvested on Tuesday. Ken Hennen didn’t get out because of a respiratory problem, so his turkey was the winner.  Considering it’s a sport that requires making very little, if any, noise, his persistent cough would have probably given him away. Maybe next year, Ken! 
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Last week’s rains put kind of a kink in my walks with Vanna in Ney Park, but on those days we did get out there the usual waterfowl were milling around, Mallards, Wood Ducks and Teal and quite a few Canada geese. The Sand Hill cranes numbers seem to have grown to five birds and we also had two turkey vultures soaring above us. A hen and rooster pheasant busted out of some brush and we heard a couple of other roosters crowing one morning.  There are a fair amount of deer tracks on the trails and once in a while turkeys leave their foot prints.  In the early afternoon on Friday we had a pair of deer watching us until we got too close and they bolted off into the Lake Mary swamp. About the same time a large turkey followed them. The turkey scent tipped Vanna off and she took a few steps into the swamp when the turkey flushed. Of course, we meet other folks who are out walking their dogs or just enjoying the fresh air.  Dogs like to socialize, just like people, and it takes only a couple of meetings and the dogs seem to recognize each other. I haven’t noticed any yet, but the word I got was the woodticks are out and that means it’s time to check over the pets and yourselves. Wright County is in the area where Lyme disease is a threat and deer ticks are the carriers which can infect people and dogs. One of the spray products available for people is Permethrin. I use Front Line on Vanna throughout the summer and the fall and winter hunting seasons as I have with previous dogs and so far we’ve escaped the tick problem. “Knock on wood”! you might say. 
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Norm A. Holen said it years ago in the Thief River Falls Times (from the April 23, 2014 issue): “Retirement, we are advised, is the period when a woman complains of having twice as much husband and half as much income.”