Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

Deb Geyen, Maple Lake Council-person who ended up injured on St. Patrick’s Day in Maple Lake, was reported in this column as riding a bicycle to watch the Scampers finish their 5K run. To my dismay, she wasn’t riding a bicycle, but was running to watch the finish. My apologies and we wish Deb well as she recovers from a broken wrist and injured leg. Geyen commented Saturday morning that she was having surgery on her wrist Monday, March 26 when she will receive a metal plate to help keep her wrist mobile as well as hasten her recovery time.

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My efforts to find a good meal of sunfish last week fell short of it’s goal when I first tried Maple Lake on Tuesday and Rock Lake on Friday. I still hope to get up to Rush Lake this week, but it sounds like the Ottertail weather will include some snow and wind, so we’ll play it by ear! That’s one of the nice thing about being retired! I tried Maple Lake again on Saturday in the late afternoon and sorted through a bunch of sunfish and ended up with four in my pail. A trio of anglers moved closer to the weeds and drilled a pile of holes in their efforts to find some crappies. It worked for them and I had a look at some of their crappies as I was pawning off my four sunfish. The fellow I visited with said the crappies were right under the ice and he showed me their size. They were all nice sized keepers and the largest was over 10 inches. He said they seemed to bite better when the sun was behind a cloud. I thought about giving it a go Sunday afternoon, but by then the wind was gusting pretty good out of the east and I chickened out. . .

Mike Muller sent me a photo on my cell phone with him, outfitted in his wide brimmed hat, holding a huge crappie he caught that day in Florida. He said it was 15 1/2 inches long, one of the 12 fish they kept. He said they felt the season was over for crappies and they’d have to switch to sunfish! I haven’t made good on my threat to head up to Ottertail County to fish panfish, mostly because of the unsettled weather, but it could be this week. Tom Neu played a practical joke on me when he suggested I have my brother Charles, who lives adjacent to Rush Lake, look for his red pickup Saturday when he planned to fish Rush. On Monday I asked Neu if Charles had showed up. With a sly grin he said his pickup is blue! He pulled my leg with that one and that only means I’ll have to get back at him some day! Who can you trust?

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The Canada geese are pairing up and that’s another sign that spring is just around the corner. On Groundhog day, Feb. 2, the official ground hog in New York saw his shadow. If you believe in legends that meant six more weeks of winter which has come and gone in the New England states as well as ML and we’re still having winter. While most of the snow has disappeared there’s still about 30 inches of ice on the lakes. Another harbinger of spring was hearing some flying sandhill cranes while Anna and I were hiking in Ney Park with Vanna Saturday. Jean Borrell said on Sunday she also saw and heard the sandhill cranes give their loud, rattling bugle calls. The internet says each call lasts a couple of seconds and are often strung together. They can be heard up to twoand- a-half miles away and are given on the ground as well as in flight, when the flock may be very high and hard to see. They also give moans, hisses, gooselike honks, and snoring sounds. . . Another sign of spring was seeing a road-kill opossum on County Road 7.

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When I wasn’t fishing I was watching the State High School Boys Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Both provided enough stress to give a person a heart attack, but it was fun. There was a sea of orange clad fans at Target Center who came to follow the Delano Tigers upset No. 4 seeded Columbia Heights 65-61 and rally from a 33- 20 halftime deficit. While their big man, Calvin Wishart, did most of the scoring in the state tournament, a senior forward Keegan O’Neill came on strong in the second half with 22 of his 30 points. Considering Delano wasn’t seeded, they have become the first unseeded team win a Class 3A state title in the 11 years of tournament seeded. It was a great team effort for the Tigers. . .

Basketball fans also saw some great basketball in the Class 4A finals when Cretin-Derham Hall defeated Apple Valley 79-78. The lead changed hands lots of times in the game which featured Apple Valley’s Tre Jones, Metro Player of the Year. Cretin-Derham Hall pull off a great play when Daniel Oturu’s took Ryan Larson alley-oop pass and dunked it for the win with only .05 seconds left.

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It’s unusual to have Easter Sunday fall on April 1 which is also known as April Fool’s day. Regardless of the day, Easter is a huge day in the lives of Christians and Jews. Easter culminates Holy Week with the rising of the Savior Jesus from his grave three days after he was crucified and ascended into heaven. That made a big impact on the lives of those living at that time and still does today. It’s also a day for families and friends to get together for a visit, and perhaps a big Easter dinner which includes ham as part of the menu. Of course the commercial aspect of the day makes Easter Egg hunts popular, especially with the youngsters, whether indoors or out in the elements. At one time the Maple Lake Jaycees sponsored outdoor Easter hunts regardless of the weather. We wish each of you a day of remembrance that features sunrise services in many churches.

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