Brute’s Bleat: January 28, 2015


 If all Minnesota January’s were like what we’ve experienced this year, there wouldn’t be the large exodus of people heading for southern climes each fall.  The warm days, up to the high 30s and sometimes 40 degrees helps shorten the winter. How quickly we have forgotten how cold it was in November! I can’t remember a January when I could wear street shoes and not boots in my daily walks in Ney Park with Vanna and not get cold feet.  I noticed the two park resident Eagles were perched near their nest Saturday, apparently getting the nest ready for laying eggs in March. We heard a pheasant rooster crow as we crossed the bridge next to Potter’s corn field and I haven’t seen Vanna get so excited since the fall hunting season. She literally went bananas at the raucous sound and was fun to watch as she was in and out of the cattails trying to pick up a scent.    .     .     I spent some time on Rock Lake a week ago Tuesday and nailed a few keepers around 11:30 a.m. when they seemed to put on the feed bag. A fair amount of activity for about 45 minutes and then it was all over. Timing seems to be as important when fishing sunfish as it is when fishing walleyes. Lake Osakis was good to our local postmaster, Ed Trager, recently when he had a field day fishing crappies and limited out with his son. He said it was hot middle of the week, but not so when weekend lake traffic seemed to cut off the bite.     .      .     Maple Lake will be the place to be Saturday for the annual Lake Association fishing contest which tends to attract crowds estimated at over 7,500 people. Anglers will be concentrating on the Northerns in an attempt to come up with the magic one (40th Largest Northern Pike) that will win them a deluxe Ice Castle fish house on wheels. The day gets underway at 9 a.m. with the annual Arctic Plunge at 10:30 a.m. and the fishing contest starting at 1 p.m.   
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Last week one of my readers questioned the time I had the Super Bowl beginning at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1. You might say I inflated the time, but this year that only applies to footballs! Anyway, he put it nicely asking if that was an attempt to find out how many people read the Bleat! I told him that wasn’t my intention, but it did have results. So to correct the error, the starting time for the big game is 5:30 p.m. (CST). Incidentally, I’m not buying Coach Belichick’s explanation about atmospheric pressure having an effect on the air pressure in a football.     .      .      I was a Patriot’s fan, but I’m putting my money on the Seattle team. Emotionally that’s not the way to place a bet, but so far I haven’t had any takers, and incidentally, I’m on a $5.00 one bet limit!
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I hadn’t been to a Maple Lake Irish boys basketball game yet this year, but Thursday night’s game with Eden Valley-Watkins was a barn-burner.  It was a well-played, defensive game by both teams and at one point the Irish were down by 10 points in the second half and by one with two seconds to go after the Eagles scored. Coach Tim Staloch came up with some great strategy for the Irish who used the half-court inbounds pass (1.8 seconds) and one more quick pass giving them a jump shot which swished through the net for the one-point win. They are a team-orientated, ball hawking, scrappy bunch and definitely like to go to the basket. Needless to say, the near capacity crowd went wild as did the student body which swarmed onto the floor. It was the best $4.00 of entertainment I’d had all winter. A fellow sitting next to me was from New London-Spicer, a friend of the Eagles coach, and a student of the game. So much in fact, he showed me a couple of photos on his phone taken at a Duke U. game he attended with his pre-teenage son recently. I asked him how he managed to get tickets which brought out a smile and a slight wince. He said he anticipated they would be $50-$60, but in reality the four had to pay $250 per ticket!  He felt Thursday’s game was as good for both teams who were evenly matched.