Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bats, Dragonflies,Ear Worms and Mosquitoes

I've been trying to sneak a picture of the Pooch sleeping in his box, on his back, feet up in the air. It's a visual image of total relaxation. Carefully I walk to the worktable in the garage. If I don't have a camera in my paws, he'll be sound asleep. I peer over the edge of the cardboard, put my nose close to his fur and snurfle him. "Oh, it's you," he says, not bothering to move. Repeat the same movement with a camera in hand and he'll roll on his side.

I walk quietly to the basement where he's fled to escape possibly the hottest day of the year. The only sound in the dark basement is the whir of the dehumidifier. Ditso the dog lies in the yard opposite the kitchen window. Her black fur is hot to the touch. I order her inside out of what the weather service calls a heat advisory. The dog lies sprawled on the hardwood floor, occasionally lifting her head to watch my movements. I'm guessing that sitting in the sun outside the kitchen window allows her to keep an eye on me as I wash dishes.

Today's run for raw milk is preceded by a visit to Crazy Franks, the overstock emporium. We've run out of toilet paper and there's no trip to the big city in the offing. Franks sells TP by the large double roll. I crunch the numbers. Number of sheets per roll, price times 12 equals slightly less than the 1000 sheet double rolls in the big city grocery store. I rationalize that the dish washing liquid at $1.29 is a bargain because we use dish detergent by the healthy squirt. It doesn't matter that the green goo is watered down. I check the off-brand canned goods. Too expensive compared with the Amish discount grocery called Bent and Dent. Everything at Franks is suspect because the merchandise bought in truckloads from bankruptcy sales or discontinued merchandise is off-brand and of poor quality. The store is empty save for myself. The competition from the Amish may be the reason the store is up for sale.

At Dent and Bent I find $14.65 worth of canned beans, black olives, major market dented merchandise and slightly out of date items like whole bean coffee. A two liter bottle of diet cola sells for 75 cents. I've previously taken a chance and sampled the soda. "Not bad" taste wise in my estimation. At the Kwikstop the new fountain soda machine is doing a brisk business selling 32 oz. soda for 99 cents. As I belly up to the counter with a 30 pack of light beer going for a ridiculously low price of $9.97, a woman tells the cashier there are no lids for the 32 ouncers. She uses a cappuccino coffee lid instead.

Up on the hilltop at the Amish farm, Mandy races to the wraparound deck to greet her momma. The matriarch is sitting on a deck chair cooling off. It's strange that there's no breeze compared to the usual brisk winds that'll rip the hat off your head. I ask for an additional quart of milk. A half gallon costs seventy five cents. I make a joke out of the cost of an additional quart-37 1/2 cents-and toss a dollar bill and a dime on the kitchen table. I try to get my milk early since the Amish keep the ice cream pail of milk they get daily in a back room without refrigeration. Things that need serious refrigeration are kept in an ice house with a used truck condenser refrigeration unit run off a gasoline engine. In winter I marvel at the practice of filling a twelve by twelve area lined with heavy plastic with water during below zero days. Like the old days, the ice is cut into blocks and stored with sawdust insulation for the hot months.

By one thirty in the afternoon, I've washed the breakfast dishes and any leftover pots from dinner, put away canning items, thrown three loads of laundry in the washer and hung it in the backyard to dry, made my milk, grocery and cleaning supplies run, stopped at the bank to make a deposit, helped a slightly addled old man driving a red van I notice running a stop sign find Main St.(Main Street is not the main street of town) and delivered a quart of milk to my library angel.

Toward dusk I call the cat in for dinner. He comes running across the front lawn leaping in the air at a swarm of circling dragonflies hunting mosquitoes. As dusk turns to a rouge studded sky of puffy cumulus clouds, I hear scuffling behind shutters on the bathroom and hallway window. I scoot the dog inside to get away from the swarm and watch bats emerge from behind the hollow red metal shutters. After a few take flight and circle the area that is the run for our dog, I start counting. Six, seven, then twelve. I stop at seventeen because the mosquitoes just won't quit. The backyard is filled with circling bats. "Way to go you guys," I think to myself. I promise them that I won't bang my fist on their hideout in the afternoon to determine which shutters house the colony.

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