Our morning routine these days involves a 2+ mile walk/jog. We head up our driveway, which is a half mile gravel township road, another half mile north on Highway 281 to the implement dealership, a half mile back, and then I jog down the driveway by myself and then back to meet up with my husband, whose knees don't agree with jogging, and then we walk the rest of the way home together. It's a good enough workout (I'm 55, 3/4 of a mile running, even at my snail pace, is plenty), and our summer has been a long time coming, so it's not too hot yet (though the mosquitoes are awake and hungry).
On our walk, we love to watch the slow changes in the countryside- the emerging soy beans, the wheat headed out, the tent caterpillars in the crab apple trees along the highway. We watch the birds and the clouds, and the traffic (which has lessened considerably in this era of $4 per gallon gas). And we play Spot The Balls.
Hundreds of them. Little white balls, scattered all over the highway shoulder and into the ditches (though the ditch grass is too high to see them there now). They're made of either ceramic or porcelain, uniformly sized, about 1/2" in diameter. Some are new and unmarked, some are pitted and stained. A few, here and there, are cracked in half.
We've asked around, and no one knows what they are, or where they came from. Obviously, they blew off (or dribbled from) a passing vehicle. Someone suggested the Ethanol Plant (about 2 miles up the highway, and another mile East) as a possible source, though that person did not know what little balls had to do with the ethanol manufacturing process.
We're stumped. Anyone got any notions of what these are?