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January 16, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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January 16, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VIEWPOINT Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Battle of the squirrels ... For many years I have put the feed bag out for our feathered friends, and to a lesser degree squirrels. Of course if you are a bird feed supplier, you know that keeping squirrel s from raid- ing your feeders is a daunting task at the very least. I have several devices I use for feeding both birds and squirrel s, some are so called squirrel proof7. I suppose there are some high tech feeders out there that actually are squirrel proof, but I don t own one. I think it would really be fun to create a reality show called Are you smarter than a squirrel? Perhaps I could get Jeff Foxworthy, or Larry the Cable guy to host it. People would send in their video showing how they out fox or fail to out fox these furry little critters. At the end of the program the stu- dio audience would pick up their voting devices and determine the weekly winner of the submitted videos. Of course once a year they could have a playoff of all the weekly winners for a grand prize of, say 100 grand. I do have a couple of feeders that are, I think, squirrel resistant, but certainly not squirrel proofl One of my feeders has a cage surrounding the feeder. It did not take long for my furry friends to find a way onto the feeder and reach through the one inch grid to plunder their booty. I like to think I am a bit of an inventor when it comes to solving mundane problems. So I figured out the squirrel s could not reach the ports of the feeder. But they figured out when they cling to the feeder, feed falls out into the bottom of the feeder, making it easy for them to reach in and grab the spillage, ah ha I thought. I decided to attach a piece of metal screen on the outside of the bottom two Tribune inches of the cage. thinking what a smart boy am I NOTI The very next day I looked out and one of the fat little critters was hanging on and somehow eating like nothing has changed. After scolding and chasing the little critter off of the feeder I took it down and discovered he had chewed several holes in the bot- tom of the screen! Well it was back to the draw- ing board for me, this called for more drastic measures. Undaunted I took the feeder into my workshop and removed what was left of the screen. Then I replaced it with some quarter inch wire mesh. That ought to stop them I thought. Just a couple days later I spotted the fat little critter hanging on the feeder again! Somewhat astounded I took the empty feeder down and found the little critter had managed to somehow remove a couple of pieces of the wire near the bottom. Back to square one, I thought the only way to keep them from getting the feed was to find a way to stop the flow of feed on the bot- tom ports. So I took the feeder apart and closed off all but a little bit of the bottom ports and patched the mesh. I have not seen them on the feeder since, but I would not be surprised to see them back any time. Will this solution work? I don t know, but I have another plan if this one doesnt work. I still have four days before this goes to press, so we will see how it works or if I have to go to plan F. Another problem with that feeder is, grackles also use the same tactic, but I don t think they are quite as smart as the squirrels because the wire mesh seemed to do the trick with them. Have a great week and do good! AI Bait... "Stories from the Cave" The blizzard worsened and turned into a column The wind was up to no good on a rural road. The fog had cleared just in time for me to see the snow. It snowed hard. Snow swirled in an effort to find a place to hide. The snow moved as if it were in a hurry to be somewhere else. Snowflakes are fragile things, but they aren't to be trifled with when they stick togeth- er. Somewhere, in a freeway car- pool lane, someone was using a snowman as a qualifying passen- ger. The conditions were perfect for being home. Teach a man to drive and he'll be forever on the road. Teach him to drive in a blizzard and he'll want to drive home no matter what. After John Prine fin- ished singing, "I was doing pretty good, not bad, I can't complain," I tuned in a weather report that pro- claimed nasty things. I never know whether to believe weather reports. They put me somewhere between hope and doubt, promising what weather sometimes delivers. Winter has the last word. Mother Nature always bats last. I turned offthe radio. Silence helps us see better. That's why we turn the radio off when we search for a street address. As long as I kept my lights on dim, I could see a bit of the road. To drive with bright lights was to be blind. I grew up along a gravel road that was OK, as long as it didn't snow. Now I live along a hard-surfaced road where things are OK as long as it doesn't snow. As I drove home in a blizzard whose name I didn't know, I met another car and won- dered, "What's that idiot doing driving around in weather like this?" I'm sure he wondered the same about me. It doesn't matter what we call it, the blizzard isn't coming when we call it anyway. In a blizzard, every way home is the long way. There are two kinds of blizzards- -bad and worse. A blizzard is defined as a violent winter storm that combines subfreezing tempera- tures, strong winds, and snowfall. To be an official blizzard, a storm must reduce visibility to less than one-quarter of a mile for three hours. Others say a blizzard is any snowstorm with high winds in which drivers flip each other the bird covered in a mitten. I've learned that the best thing do when it snows is to let it snow. Then shovel. The shape of a snow- flake depends upon: the temperature and moisture content of the air mass in which it forms. Snowflake crystals that grow in temperatures of-20 degrees or lower form pen- cil-shaped, six-sided columns. At -20 degrees to 0 degrees, most crystals form as flat, six-sided plates with no branching at the cor- ners. Wanner air holds more mois- ture for crystal formation. Classic six-pointed crystals, with intricate branching, form at temperatures of 0 to 20 degrees. Above 20 degrees, splinter-shaped crystals form. Like Tupperware lids, no two snow- flakes are identical, but we should keep shoveling anyway. As I drove, I recalled a day of similar weather when I was on the way to the farm. I'd stopped by a car in the ditch. My truck was decked out for the winter warrior-- chain, jumper cables, and shovel. I jumped from the truck and grabbed the scoop shovel from the box. It was meant for grain, but worked on snow. I tried to keep my back to the wind, but it was impossible. The wind was so strong, it nearly blew the stocking cap from my head. I don't know what the visibil- ity was. I couldn't see anything. I had a chain, but my truck could barely pull itself, so I shoveled. The snow gained on me. It began to get dark. It was a darker dark in those days. I told the shivering couple inside the car, "I can't get your car to where you want it to be, but I'd be happy to take you where you need to be. At least you'll be out of the weather." Their destination was a bit out of my way, but I was happy to drive them. The truck's heater worked and the radioplayed a Beach Boys song about surfmg. Their family, in that pre-cellphone era, was relieved to see them. A rusty shovel and a battered Chevy with a bumper held in place by a bumper sticker may not seem like much, but it can be a great gift. We never get help from a strang- er. Anyone who helps is a friend. AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 Weight Loss Surgery Support Group offered at SWMC The Sanford Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Program and Sanford Worthington Medical Center is offering a weight loss surgery support group. The January session will be held on January 21, 2013. All classes are held from 7 - 8 p.m. in the educa- tion conference room via video- conference at Sanford Worthington Medical Center. Videoconference is a telephone or video meeting between participants in two or more locations. The presenter will not be located in Worthington but will be shown through video on a television. The topic's vary. There is no cost to attend and reg- istration is not necessary. The bariatric back on track class is a quarterly class held by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Program in Sioux Falls. This is for all weight loss surgery patients (regardless of which sur- gery was done). It is lead by Stephanie Wessels, RN, Bariatric Coordinator, Learme Chesshir, Sanford USD Medical Center Dietician, Kristin Turek, Sanford USD Medical Center Nurse Practitioner. The basic agenda is as follows: 1. Personal Accountability 2. Goal setting and written com- mitments 3. Nutrition Review: portion control, sabotaging foods and drinks, fluid intake, food diary, and realistic weight loss goals 4. Exercise resources and accountability 5. Exchanging bad habits for good ones- identify goals, Emotional attachments to foods (trigger foods), barriers to change 6. Overview of potential com- plications (that could lead to weight gain or other medical costs) 7. Follow plan, support person, support groups in their area The Sanford Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Program has received designation as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. Bariatric surgeons Dr. Dennis Glatt, Dr. Curtis Peery, Dr. Donald Graham and their team would be happy to discuss weight loss sur- gery option for better health. For a consultation, please call (605) 328-3840 or 1-800-727-0670. For more information, call Michelle Poppen, RD, Sanford Worthington Medical Center Dietician at (507) 372-3329 or Stephanie Wessels, RN, Sanford USD Medical Center Bariatric Coordinator at (605) 333-2249. Subscribe to the Sentinel Tribune Celebrate the New Year in Minnesota With 10 Free Flowering Trees from the Arbor Day Foundation Residents of Minnesota can ring in the New Year with 10 free flowering trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation any time during January 2013. By becoming a part of the non- profit Arbor Day Foundation, new members will receive two white flowering dogwoods, two flower- ing crabapples, two Washington hawthorns, two American redbuds and two goldenraintrees. "These beautiful trees will give your home in Minnesota lovely flowers with pink, yellow and white colors," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, 'These trees are perfect for large and small spaces, and they will pro- vide food and habitat for song- birds," The free trees are part of the Foundation's Trees for America campaign. The trees will be shipped post- paid at the right time for planting, between February I and May 31, with enclosed plant- ing instructions. The 6- to 12-inch tall trees arc guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Members will also receive a subscription to the Foundation's bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care. To become a member of the Foundation and to receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution (0 TEN FREE FLOWERING TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by January 31, 2013. Minnesota residents can also join online at Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out o! the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. Newstand price is $1.00 per copy. 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