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Thai Girl Tattle: Checking Outside For News

...Off in the distance I heard that young crow who is new to me. I cawed back, just a friendly “Caw, (pause), Ca-aw, caw.” ...

Jerry Selby, a man who appreciates the real "treasures'' that the world has to offer, tells of communing with crows.

This morning Sox and I went out, just before daylight, to gather in the news. We sniff the weather, measure the wind on our faces, and estimate the precipitation amount and kind — stuff like that. Sox, endowed with a much better sense of smell, checks out the favorite watering spots, rubbing posts, and other headline-producers of her world. I look at the important part of the newspapers; look up and down the road, and to the sky for the news it can offer.

Off in the distance I heard that young crow who is new to me. I cawed back, just a friendly “Caw, (pause), Ca-aw, caw.”

From on the wing, but nearer, we heard, “Caw-caw, Caw-caw ca-aw. Caw. Caw.”

Then a higher pitched adult, “Caw. Caw. Caw-ca-aw Caw.”

Scout and Mrs. Scout, swishing over to my earth-bound spot for a morning chat.

Scout and I have been acquainted for at least four years. He is patiently trying to teach me to speak crow. We haven’t got far, when it comes to exact crow words or Hoosier words either. But there is more to conversation than is ever conveyed in words. That’s true for both of our species.

Scout and I have become friends, with much more understanding of each other, and of each other’s cultures than when we started. And now Mrs. Scout, and that young crow are joining in. Sox isn’t much of a talker, but she cocks her head, waggles her stub tail, and doesn’t even startle when Scout and his mate do a goodbye fly-over at high speed and just a foot above my head.

“Nice talking to you, Crows. Thanks for stopping by.”

More for less

I see that one supplier, or maybe several, are being sued because their bottled water is alleged to be less (or more) than just aqua pura. A potentially widespread problem, leaving many people worried about the safety of their drinking water.

Drink tap water instead? How Neanderthal! Where does it come from? What’s in it? Is it guaranteed organic?

I heard a skit, (or maybe it was a real, live conversation), the other day where someone was telling another about the opportunities to make a fortune selling pure canned air. Direct from a pure mountaintop in Montana, or maybe Wyoming.

Canned under low pressure, in containers convenient for desktop, back-pack, or even, with a tasteful container for the container, presented as part of a formal meal.

You’re crazy, said the listener. Nobody would buy it. No retailer would sell it.

Oh yeah, said the advocate, what would you have said 15 years ago if someone had offered you stock in a start-up business selling bottled water over the counter in handy 12-ounce plastic bottles for less than a dollar a bottle?

You know, said his friend, we could probably get a mining lease on a 5-acre plot in a national forest. I think that’s still possible. And how is mining air above your lease any different from mining for rocks under it. Clean, ecologically friendly, no waste or spill problems. I think it has possibilities.

Waiting for the plumber to call

Another do-it-yourselfer’s defeat. I just left a distress call on Nance Plumbing’s answering machine. I’m in trouble again. The faucet at our kitchen sink is a Delta or Peerless. Simple, reliable, easy to repair or maintain. But I must have crossed a thread or something. Because when I tried to disassemble it after my first try, the locking ring for the cap is beyond the powers of me and my water-pump pliers. And of course my pipe wrenches are not to be found when I need them.

I left a desperation call on Mr. Nance’s answering machine. As luck would have it, he called while I was typing this. He will be out some time this afternoon to rescue me.

I’ll never win any prizes for writing. But I’m a lot better writer than a plumber.

Did you know that plumbing is one of the oldest of the building trades? The Romans, and maybe even the Egyptians, were quite sophisticated plumbers. In fact, the world “plumb” means lead in Latin, because from their times right up to last week, lead has been used to seal joints, and often to make pipes, basins, and other containers for liquids.

And from what I’ve read, plumbers were much more honest, skilled, and respected than other professions like medicine, law and politics. Still true, far as I know.

Farewell to a ’possum

Yesterday evening when I was out in the barn looking for my pipe wrenches, I found something, or someone, I didn’t expect. An adult ’possum, middle sized, with brown and black patches. Unusual, but not very pretty. I never gave it a name, but it was a fairly regular customer at the coon café all last summer and fall. In fact, I believe it’s the last possum I’ve seen since winter arrived.

It is still there, lying in a twisted position next to my saw base. Probably died sitting up on the barn beam overhead. No obvious sign of trauma. I’ll have to wait a while to move it.

In our human world, ’possums don’t count for much. In the ’possum world, people probably are rated about the same. But I’ve never heard of a ’possum intentionally inflicting any pain or suffering on a human.

I hope, when it’s my turn to check out, the ’possum world will say as much for me.


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