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Monday, July 15, 2013



You might say that the trouble-or at least the most recent trouble-began when the tractor started to shudder.  Actually that would be an understatement.  The vibration was so intense that it was impossible to keep my foot on the accelerator, yet the tractor was hardly moving.  T. diagnosed the problem as a drive belt that he was unable to fix, so J. the tractor guru was called.

The belt was just one of many broken things on the Cub, but all were repaired/replaced and my nemesis was returned (accompanied by a hefty bill). Since the place was beginning to look like a big hay field I was somewhat eager to try out the refurbished machine by mowing the pasture which is usually not an unpleasant task.  I'd completed the upper field, but something was wrong.  It was suddenly taking a longer than usual time because the 42" cut was only about 24" wide. 

That's what happens when one of the blades goes missing.  Of course I called J. who was as puzzled as I.  He said he'd come over and have a look.  After a walk-about the pasture he found the escapee blade.  It seems a spindle had broken, but that was nowhere to be found.  He'd have to take the deck back to his shop to repair it. 

"You drive the tractor and I'll get the gate," I advised, knowing I'd also have to hold Tess to keep her from taking advantage of an open escape route.  That's when it happened.  Frightened by the roaring tractor the powerful pup bolted, thus knocking me off my feet before racing off.  Face down I found myself enveloped by a smell that defies description.  My initial thought was that I'd fallen into a bad ass barnyard deposit, but no. 

My face, hair, chest and arms were coated with a vile oily substance that only dog owners would recognize.  Tess had released an incredible reservoir from her anal glands before escaping my grip.  There is no more disgusting stuff in the world and my hair, face, arms and clothing were covered in it.  Needless to say J. was eager to load the mower deck and leave and I was more than eager to get in the shower.

Repeated shampoos and body washes finally finally rendered me clean. I was padding barefooted up the stairs when I spotted what looked like a big black fly on the landing window screen.  No insects are permitted in this house, so of course I hit the unwelcome intruder with the butt of my hand and the not-quite-dead bug fell to the floor where I foolishly sought to finish it off with my foot.  That's when it revealed itself to be not a fly, but a stinging wasp which took full advantage of my bare instep before making a full recovery and escape.  Limping up the remaining stairs I got dressed and prepared to deal with the fifty pound sack of bread left by my old boyfriend Kenny.

I'd been away prior to the tractor incident and returned home to find Kenny's latest ‘gift' laying in the middle of the yard where he had apparently just shoved it from his truck.  Two of the monstrous loaves had fallen from the bulging bag and the chickens had done their best to clean things up, but alas they said they couldn't eat one more crumb.

Dusk was falling and after the anal gland shower and the insect sting I just wanted the day to be over, so I lugged the heavy bag up to the barn intending to deal with it in the morning.  I should have guessed that was inviting trouble.  Upon entering the barn this morning I found the fan turned on, the bag ripped to shreds and partially-eaten loaves of bug-infested bread scattered all over the feed room.  The coons had partied well before heading down to the garden shed.

In the shed they dumped a small can of gasoline onto a pile of catnip I'd cut to dry.  Flower pots and garden tools were everywhere but where they were supposed to be and poor Rattycat's bowl had been used for a toilet!   While hauling the gas-soaked catnip to the burn pile I noticed that the little straw-filled dog house near the wood pile looked odd.  The house has been a popular retreat for napping kitties since I put it there for anyone seeking emergency shelter, but I'd not seen anyone using it lately.  I pulled the roof off the two-piece house and was instantly greeted by an army of yellow jackets or bees or ???  Being allergic to such creatures I didn't stick around to make a positive ID.  This is a dangerous situation that must be dealt with ASAP, but how? 

It wasn't even 8:30 AM; not a good way to start or end any day. But, I should also mention that in addition to the buggy bread, Kenny left a pile of books, some very nice one, some that are now in the recycle bin.  As if all this were not quite enough there was also one very old jar of sandwich spread and a jar of energy nut spread which the wild birds will enjoy this winter.  As for the old jar of Durkee's spread, maybe the coons can make sandwiches.


10:26 am edt          Comments

Friday, July 12, 2013



She arrives as silently and suddenly as a ghost, but unlike a ghost I expect her at dawn and then again at dusk.  The doe stands motionless. Only her jaw moves horizontally as she chews apples that are not quite ripe yet in the old orchard.  She stares toward the porch where the dogs and I stare back at her.  She is lovely.

Such quiet times of the day are fleeting and cherished.  During those minutes (for they are never hours...) I can forget that Little Ivy is dying.  I can glance over at Tess and forget what a terror she will be the rest of the day.  I can choose not to think about all of the things of the past months that have disrupted my life; things I don't want to acknowledge.

The good news is that this unpleasant and unhappy time seems to have run its course.  Life is looking brighter. 

7:21 pm edt          Comments

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