Russ Batenhorst Keep eye out for fancy foliage, darting deer


So, as I plop myself down in the chair to begin writing, a realization comes to me. As always, when it’s late at night and I’m home for the duration, I’m making myself comfortable. On this particular evening, that means a pair of wind pants and a slightly heavy, threequarter sleeve T-shirt. That’s when it hits me: “These are my winter lazy-around-the-house clothes!” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was in shorts and a T-shirt?

Things are changing too fast.

FALL FLOWERS

An electronic message board caught my eye last weekend while I was driving through downtown Lincoln. It was one of those changing signboards that part of the time was advertising for the business it fronted, and the rest of the time, it was waxing philosophical.

It was the philosophical display that got my attention. I won’t attempt to quote it verbatim, but the gist of the message was that autumn is the encore or repeat performance of spring.

In this case, the sign said, the role of the spring flowers is being played by the leaves of autumn. Cute thought, I said to myself, if you can discount that whole “spring is a rebirth” and autumn is stuff dying and ushering us into winter thing.

But a look around this fall indicates the sign guru may have been on to something. I think it was last fall that we kind of were robbed of the color of the season. I don’t know if it was the dry summer or an early frost or what, but last year it seemed like the trees went from green to bare overnight. This year, we’re getting a show. It has come on strong in the last week or so, but trees are changing colors in a spectacular kind of way right now.

You can see with just a little drive around town, but to get the full effect I think you should go for a ride in the country. I have to most every day to get to work and the drive is getting more colorful all the time.

You don’t have to get as drastic as I had to earlier this week with a drive to Broken Bow and North Platte for work, but you get the idea. It’s not much more than 10 miles either north or south from Hastings that you hit a river and there are lakes and recreation areas all around. They all seem to be teeming with color right now.

If history is any indication, it can change real fast and we’ll soon be looking at bare branches, but, for now, pause to look around and enjoy the “flowers.”

The sign writer would probably appreciate it.

HELLO, DEER

One other thought while you’re cruising around the countryside: Watch out for deer.

I mentioned being in North Platte earlier this week. On the drive home on Interstate 80, which basically follows the Platte River, I lost count of the number of deer I saw in the fields, but it was somewhere around 60. It was later in the day, so they were just starting to hit the fields for dinner it appeared, but they were plentiful.

One group had at least 20 (it’s hard to count while doing precisely 75 mph).

They all at least stayed a good distance from the road. Earlier in the day, on a much less traveled road through the Sandhills, I had a staredown with one that decided to stop in the middle of the road to check me out. I think he blinked first.

Anyway, I was just glad none of them ended up hood ornaments on my car.

BLIND LUCK

Here’s another reason I’ll never make it as a professional gambler. I’m in one of those “pick the winners” football leagues for the NFL (for recreational purposes only, of course).

Each week you’re paired against another to make the most accurate picks and accumulate points the value of which you assign to each pick.

Last week, I forgot to submit my picks. The league “commissioner” then uses my picks from the previous week regardless of matchups.

I won my match — with the previous week’s picks. Only my second win of the year. I hear the other guy was pretty bummed.



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