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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Terrorist Alert!


It came without warning and most surprising of all was the fact that the terrorist was ‘home-grown.'  I'm happy to report that no lives were lost and I'm certain such an outrage will not happen again, but the situation was certainly dicey.

Sunday mornings are when two of my dogs join my neighbor's two dogs for a long cross-country walk.  This past Sunday yet another dog that was visiting joined the outing, thus making a pack of five happy canines.  Our typical route includes about ¼ mile on lead up the road, then a raucous free-for-all through the woods and fields and down the long oil well road, culminating at the back section of my woods where we pick up the nature trail leading to the house.  Until this week the dogs are usually tired by the time the house comes into view. 

Perhaps it was the extra dog or maybe just the crisp weather, but upon completion of the Sunday constitutional my friend's dog Rosie (who has become Tess' BFF) decided to chase the chickens and as anyone who has ever witnessed frightened birds knows, their panic only incites a hotter frenzy.  Feathers were flying as hens raced frantically toward the barn.  Rosie followed, slipping under the barnyard fence, unaware that donkeys have an inherent aversion to unfamiliar canines, so now in addition to crazed chickens the bad asses joined the chaos, braying, bucking and intent on teaching Rosie a lesson.  Wisely she exited the barnyard as fast as she'd entered it, but the rooster was still fair game and he was headed for the woods.

Ignoring her mistress, Rosie urged Tess to join the fun which she happily obliged.  It was Tess' jaws that clamped down on poor mister rooster, yanking a large mouthful of beautiful plummage from the hapless victim.  At this point I was able to grab my rotten dog who was spitting red and black iridescent feathers.  She immediately feigned remorse, but I didn't buy it.

Meanwhile Rosie, sensing trouble allowed herself to be apprehended as well and the party came to an abrupt halt as all revelers headed for home.  The rooster wasn't moving.  He was hunkered down in a tangle of multiflora rose brambles and making a horrible sound.  I worked my way toward what appeared to be a bird in deaths throes and finally collected the big gasping boy.  His pathetic screams could probably be heard for miles.

At the barn I settled him into the calm of the coop and examined him for damage.  Amazingly there was none.  It was a miracle.  The entire flock retired very early that afternoon, apparently grateful for the safety of the coop. 

As for Rosie the instigator, she will be put on lead before nearing the house from now on.  Tess has apologized profusely and claimed she was a victim of gang mentality. She has pleaded not guilty due to temporary insanity. 


7:25 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Are you bothered by unwanted facial hair?  Do strangers mistake you for ZZ-Top?  Do your eyebrows look like Andy Rooney's?  If you answered ‘yes' to any of the above questions, not to worry.  There's an quick solution to all that unsightly growth... fire!

I knew that the dry leaves, now so lovely and tempting to shuffle through would become a heavy wet carpet when nasty weather arrives later this week, so what better excuse for a fire than leaf clean-up.  Last year I learned that using the tractor to chop thick layers of dry leaves is a bad idea.  That's how the old tractor caught fire--a very costly yard clean-up.

I like raking leaves.  The rustle, the slightly musty smell, the physical exertion.  It's an exciting prelude to a pyromaniac's reward; the first match!  Granted, in retrospect I see that setting the huge pile alight was not a good idea.  It literally went up in a flash; hence my face is now as smooth and hairless as a baby's butt.  After the damage was done I divided the remaining leaves into small, manageable piles.  The little fires weren't as thrilling, but the tractor was spared and I'm sure my eyelashes won't take too long to grow back....

7:03 pm est          Comments

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


The twisted gnarly old apple tree near the house was loaded  again this year with big ugly (by commercial standards) unsprayed fruit.  I can say with reasonable certainty that apples such as these will never find their way to any grocer and that's a pity.  As blotchy and dull-looking as these apples are on the outside, they are almost perfect and beautiful on the inside and they were the key ingredient of the best apple pie I've ever made.  It's pathetic that society has been so seduced by what media says is "beautiful." 

4:40 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Music is good medicine.


I've come to expect the unexpected whenever I open the door to Kenny's kitchen.  A couple of days ago I was greeted with loud lively harmonica music that clearly was not coming from the telly or the radio.  Quietly making my way around the corner to his bedroom I found the source standing next to the bed where my old buddy was lying with a big (and rare) smile stretched across his almost-toothless face.

It was ginger-haired Wally who drives the fuel oil delivery truck for the Elevator.  Applauding his performance surprised him just as much as his tunes had surprised me.  Wally was not a one song act either.  He sang, he yodeled, he belted out more tunes on his harp and I know he made Kenny's day.  Unbeknownst to me this stringbean of a fellow has been dropping in on elderly shut-ins for years and delighting a lot of sometimes-forgotten people, That's just the sort of guy he is.  I think the world needs a lot more Wallys.

I've been photographing this old building behind Kenny's house for a very long time.  When I began, the structure was just listing slightly to the west, but with each passing year it leaned a little more.  "Yeh, we used to keep about a hundred chickens in there," he recalled when asked about its history.  I think the old chicken sheds deterioration corresponds with Kenny's condition.  This year it collapsed; a bad omen.



7:12 pm est          Comments

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