Al Batt: Diving by the light in the corner

Published 7:28 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

When my wife married me, she got a real prize.

A toaster?

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Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I bought a night light to illuminate a dark corner of our abode. I think the little device has a bright future. I’m going start brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand. Theoretically, this could strengthen the pathways on the other side of my brain. Maybe I’ll be able to do some divining or dowsing by using a divining (dowsing or witching) rod to find underground water. Such a tool is a Y-shaped or two L-shaped twigs (Where there’s a willow, there’s a way) or rods that have also been used to locate minerals, oil and gravesites. My grandfather could do it. My father could do it. I could watch someone do it.

It’s the berries

I fooled around with the calculator app on my cellphone, pretending that I was a mathematician.

I was at the clinic. I had some parts that needed tightening on my recently repaired body. As they, whoever they are, say, “Life is like underwear, change is good.” Life doesn’t pass you by, it runs you over Some bales had tumbled out of my hayloft. I can stay longer in a half-hour at a clinic than I could anywhere else in a full day.

I was feeling old everywhere except in my memories. A doctor mentioned something about getting older. I suppose he was hinting I should find a younger physician. I hate to abandon the old coot. He’s nearly as old as I am.

One of my herd of doctors told me that tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds and pistachios) are good for fighting and/or preventing cancer. Not long before that, I’d received a wonderful gift of cashews in the mail from friends. My wife has been giving me nuts and telling me that I’m nuts for a long time.

There was a thing. There is always a thing. The doctor told me that he wouldn’t worry about it. That’s my job.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

The whistle blew at noon. I thought it was an alarm to wake the people who lived in town. I told visitors that the whistle was a curfew for dairy farmers.

I raised Sebright chickens. Miniature poultry that were adorable and inquisitive. They had sweet temperaments and sported lovely, patterned plumages. When I’d rush about the yard in pursuit of work that refused to wait up, the Sebrights would scurry from my path noisily. They were pipsquawks.

From the mailbag

Neil Case of Albion, Indiana writes, “An uncle, when he was 96 years old, told me he was living to be so old because he was so ornery. Then, pointing a finger at me, he said, ‘And you’re going to live longer than I will.’”

Nature notes

“How can I tell if my yard is being tormented by voles, moles or pocket gophers?” Moles are typically gray, black or deep brown in coloration. Their smooth coats sometimes feature white markings. They generally grow to lengths of 6 to 8 inches. Moles have tiny eyes and ears, wide front feet and angular snouts. They make their homes underground, searching for food by digging around in the soil. Their favorite foods include earthworms, snails, beetles, ants and centipedes. They leave evidence of their digging in the form of dirt mounds shaped like volcanoes or surface tunnels.

Voles, often called field mice or meadow mice, usually have grayish-brown coats. They are usually between 5 and 7.5 inches in length, including their tails. They have notably short limbs. Like moles, voles also have extremely small eyes and ears that are hard to discern amidst their coats. Unlike moles, voles don’t create soil masses on the surfaces of landscapes. Voles eat seeds, tree bark, plants and insects. They can be bothersome to young trees, often girdling the bark.

Pocket gophers are typically between 6 to 12 inches long, including their tails. Their short coats are usually a lackluster brown. The coat has no pockets. The pockets are the large cheeks that are fur-lined pouches. Pocket gophers have squat bodies, beady eyes and yellow teeth. If a pocket gopher is present in your yard, you might notice fan-shaped soil heaps that have diameters between 18 inches and 2 feet. Mounds and runways can cause damage to livestock and machinery, and may lead to a reduction of crop yields.

Meeting adjourned

“Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.”— Leo Tolstoy