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The Shepherdsville Times: Critters

...The lawn looks like it was mowed in the dark. It was. I tried to wait until the sun was down. Had to turn the headlights on to finish.

But it is mowed. And the garden tractor lights work fine...

The amiable Jerry Selby sends another topical and thoughtful column from Indiana.

To read more of Jerry's entertaining words please click on The Shepherdsville Times in the menu on this page.

Soggy, foggy, cold damp weather. Ain't it great? Good weather for sleeping late and then napping early. That's what I did Thursday morning. I think that's mostly what Ave did too. Now, just after lunch, she's gone to take a nap, and I may take a little timeout myself. Princess the cat, and Sox the watchdog are sleeping too. It's nice to have a little break, even though you know summer is far from over. The lawn looks like it was mowed in the dark. It was. I tried to wait until the sun was down. Had to turn the headlights on to finish.

But it is mowed. And the garden tractor lights work fine.

Global warming

Brent Wheat wrote a very good column on this subject the other day. More and more who claim to know, insist global warming is here. They all seem to predict terrible consequences. I guess that's what sells.

But for any big change, there are always far more consequences than were predicted. The yin and the yang. The good and the bad. I remember what my parents told me about the reception the automobile got. My Dad, especially. He was a little kid who had the distinction of being the first pedestrian struck by an automobile in Danville, Illinois.

Automobiles were dangerous, smelly toys that should be outlawed. Farmers hated them even more than city folk.

I have read there was bloodshed over the introduction of trains.

I expect cave men argued bitterly over the introduction of bows and arrows, and what that new technology would do to their world.

If global warming does take place, I'm sure people will figure out how to make lemonade with the lemon. Why don't our great minds turn their attention in that direction?


Thursday I was finishing up my morning assembly process, installing removable parts like teeth, hearing aids, and glasses, administering appropriate meds, and eating my real breakfast. Our house is pretty well sound conditioned, but I kept hearing some loud bird noise. Then I realized it sounded like crow calls.

I rushed out to the front porch, where I was immediately greeted from the top of the old oak. I answered, and was treated to a string of glad crow. Scout and his buddy, maybe his wife, who are usually together. Hadn't heard from them in a long time. I cawed back, trying to repeat him, which is our customary way of talking.

They stayed quite a while, then swooped low out of the tree so I could see them, and headed across the cornfield on their food search. They used to be part of a small flock of twenty or so, and Scout was one of the youngsters who drew sentinel duty when they were feeding. More recently Scout seemed to be one of the leaders of a smaller flock. This spring there were three or four, usually. Now just the two. They say West Nile disease has almost killed all of them in some places. Same for ravens, fish crows, jays of all kinds, and other birds of the family known to the scientists as corvids, pretty much around the world, I believe. We still have a couple of jays around, but not many.

The half dozen or so hummingbirds who live here this summer are really active at the feeders. Trying to bulk up for their migration, probably. We have one, or maybe two, who must be something other than our ruby-throats, the only species which normally comes to our part of the country. They are much larger, and the male has a black throat, if our observation is correct. We have looked in our bird books but can't identify them. Migrating birds sometimes get blown off course and wind up spending a season, or a lifetime, as part of the flock of a related, or at least compatible, species.

Our red pine squirrels are still around. I saw one in the big oak while the crows and I were talking.

With a human on the ground, and two large and no doubt scary birds above, he was looking for a hidey-hole, apparently.

What if...

Did you ever wonder what you'd have been and done if you were born at a different place and time? I got to mulling a few days ago about what it would have been like to have lived right in this neighborhood a couple of thousand years ago.

That would have been during the time of the Mound Builders, so long ago that even the people who lived in this part of the world before the Europeans and Africans arrived knew nothing about them. Archaeologists have been trying to piece together the puzzle for years.

They labeled what they consider to be the two main cultures, which may have lived here for a couple of thousand years, as the Hopewell and Adena people. They seem to have lived pretty much all over the Mississippi and Ohio watersheds.

They apparently had a complex and rich society, especially after the corn-beans-squash farming technology came to this part of the world.

Considering my inborn lack of manual skill, I doubt that I'd have made it as a flint-knapper. I probably wouldn't have been more than average as a hunter. Or a priest or holy man.

Maybe with a little urging from an Avonelle counterpart, I could have recruited a few junior wives, and produced enough kids to run a sizeable produce business. I seem to have been good at that.

I suppose I'd have felt it necessary to join a warrior society and maybe a religious or political group. If I lived to be as old as I am now, I'd most likely have become a keeper of history and knowledge of other tribes and groups, or claim to be knowledgeable, which becomes easier as your contemporaries die off. As my old First Sergeant used to say, "I can tell you many interesting stories of my experiences. Some of them true."


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