Dimich Outdoors

When school’s out, what is better than summer waters and walleyes?

Although it has seemingly been around forever, rocker Alice Cooper’s anthem for summer vacation, “School’s Out for Summer,” was released in 1972 as part of his fifth album, “School’s Out.”

Not mentioned very often due to the horrific wave of school shooting that have plagued our country, the lyrics of “School’s Out” indicate that not only is the school year ended for summer vacation, but ended forever, as the school itself has been blown up as per the lyrics, “School’s out for summer/School’s out forever/School’s been blown to pieces.” Most of us, of course, focus on how the song incorporates the childhood rhyme from the 1930s, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks” into its lyrics. The song also features children contributing some of the vocals and appropriately ends with a school bell sound that fades out.

Rock enthusiasts cite how Cooper’s song segued into Pink Floyd’s 1979 benchmark for the often emotionally tumultuous high school years of being voluntarily or involuntarily anonymous, “Another Brick in the Wall.” Pink Floyd’s song also used children’s voices singing, “We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Teachers leave them kids alone.” The concept of being “another brick in the wall” is still used as a standard meme for the agonizing element of not being noticed. For those of us who are still social media non-savvy (either by design or being clueless), a “meme” is an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be passed by imitation, usage, a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. and is spread rapidly by Internet users.

One of our favorite stories from the big-hair ‘80s is of a high school teacher who while patrolling the high school halls encounters a senior lying prone against a brick wall. Upon questioning the horizontal student with the standard, “So, what’s up?” Without rancor, the laid-back student calmly answered, “Meaning no disrespect, ‘Teach,’ I’m just another brick in the wall.”

Summer is also the season garnering the lion’s share of seasonal quotes, ranging from the sublime to the not so serious. On the sublime end, many of us will remember Shakespeare’s, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” or Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s, “Then followed that the beautiful season…Summer…Filled was the air with dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.” Those who choose to be not overly philosophical might center on Snoopy floating on his back in an inflatable pool with the caption, “Ah, this is the life.” Those who are prone to the subtle, deadpan takes on life will surely advocate for comedian Steven Wright’s question, “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

As we have mentioned before, Nat King Cole’s (real name, Nathaniel Adams Coles) title of his 1963 quintessential summer song, “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” ranks right up there with how most of us describe summer. Moreover, even though summer doesn’t officially begin until the summer solstice (generally June 21), because we of the woods and water ilk would like to book favorable weather for the duck ducklings, whitetail fawns and grouse chicks, the first warm weather of late May or early June, when the mosquitoes buzz and gnats hover above the dandelion-spotted grass and below what Charles Schutz described as “cotton ball” clouds, pretty much signals summer’s start.

And, even though a bane to we who want to be outdoors, those ubiquitous mosquitoes that seem to be born full-sized are a food blessing to those little furry-like feathered land-waddling and water-scurrying ducklings. In addition to their early eating habits, goslings and ducklings share many unique traits necessary to survival. In its lesson on “Ducking Facts,” Study.com tells us that chief among these are because the little ones are born without their adult waterproof feathers, instead having fluffy fuzz-like (furry) coverings, they cannot be in the water all day and therefore become vulnerable to land-predators and cold rains until they grow their permanent feathers.

The site also informs us that even though many other birds lay just a few eggs at a time, a female duck can lay up to 15 eggs at one sitting. To keep them warm, she will sit on them for about a month before they hatch. In addition, like large fish eggs create bigger fry, larger eggs usually produce bigger ducklings. Amazingly, after only a day in the nest they head out to water with their parents. In a month or two, they are able to fly on their own.

Concerning whitetail fawns, “Outdoor Life” cites the following six fascinating fawn facts: 1. Fawns average 6-8 lbs. at birth. 2. Newborn fawns typically can stand and nurse within 30 minutes and are capable of walking within a few hours. 3. Does generally move their fawns away from the birthing sites within three hours and those with twins typically stash them in thick cover in separate locations, usually remaining within 100 yards of their fawns and are reunited and bed close to each other by 3-4 weeks. 4. For the first several weeks, fawns spend 90 percent of their time bedded, typically nursing 2 to 3 times daily, increasing to 6 to 8 times over time with nursing times averaging 20 to 30 minutes. 5. A 3-week-old fawn can outrun most danger. 6. The average number of spots on a fawn is around 300.

As for grouse chicks, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology explains that after mating, female ruffed grouse choose a nest site at the base of a tree, stump or rock in areas with sparse ground cover that gives a clear view of predators. Nests may be built in brush piles or at the bases of partially open, hollowed-out stumps. The nest is a simple, hollowed-out depression in leaves on the forest floor, reaching up to 6 inches across and 3 inches deep; females build the bowl-shaped nest, typically lining the bowl with vegetation they pluck from the edge of the nest site. Basic nesting facts include the clutch size is 9-14 eggs, the incubation period is 23-24 days, the eggs are milky to cinnamon buff and are sometimes spotted with reddish or brown and the chicks can walk and feed themselves within 24 hours of hatching. In addition, although predation is a major cause of chick mortality, cold rainy weather can be even more deadly.

We will leave you with a classic “Peanuts” dialogue involving Charles Schulz’s summer’s “cotton ball clouds”: Lucy asks Linus as he, Charlie Brown and she lie on a hill looking at the sky, “What do you think you see, Linus?” Linus responds, “Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean...that cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor, and that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen...I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side...” Then Lucy says, “Uh huh... That’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?” Dejectedly, Charlie responds, “Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!”

Nik and Rod Dimich are on the pro staffs of Mercury Marine and Ray’s Sport & Marine in Grand Rapids, Minn. Rod is also a pro-staffer for L&M Supply and his radio show “Woods & Water” can be heard each Friday at 5:50 P.M. on KQDS 95, 106.3 on “The Train Wreck’s Drive at Five.” To contact Dimich Outdoors, please email: rdimich@msn.com. Kristin Dimich contributes to this column.


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