Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Musings From The Back Porch or No, Really I'm Writing Today

This is my last day off of five, a mini vacation at home (I refuse to use that stupid computer generated word that begins with an “S”). I did manage to accomplish a few things and had some fun, too. Just this minute I’m on the porch enjoying our unseasonably cool day, reminiscent last year. I’m also contemplating ways to legally kill the squirrels that are knocking all the apples off my tree. This is the first year we’ve had apples and now most of them are ending up, green, hard, sour with the seeds picked out all over the ground. Have I mentioned how much I loathe squirrels? When we lived near a large city park, the squirrels almost outnumbered the people and they were bold and aggressive. I would cheer if I almost hit one and then when the boys were older and into a gross out stage I would act like I was going to hit them if they were in the road, just swerve a little and tap the accelerator. I’ve never actually hit one, though. Don’t worry, I’m not running up the street to Walmart for a small rifle so I can shoot the buggers. Having never shot a rifle I would probably kill the dog or a neighbor aiming for a squirrel. Wally’s a pretty good shot; he could do it for me. . .

Anyhow, the gardening is done; I’ve battled the dandelions and weird groundcover succulent looking things today. I contemplated taking a machete to the Bee Balm that is threatening to eat the front flower bed and our living room but TG likes it and so I’ll pull it out in October. I also harvested more carrots and two, TWO small golden beets. I’m waiting for TG to come home for lunch so we can have them with a salad of mixed greens and a vinaigrette I invented this morning. I’m very proud of this dressing: its balsamic vinegar, my herbs d’Provence infused olive oil, fresh pepper, garlic, a mixture of ground tarragon, chives, and oregano, topped off with a dollop of honey and yellow curry. This is an epic event because I really don’t like to cook and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese feels like a lot of damn work. My lunch was a roasted tomato drizzled with the dressing and topped with a sprinkling of Swiss cheese. Again, an epic event because the tomato didn’t come in a package or from a restaurant or as a result of The Girl. Not that I want a cookie for fixing lunch (although a cookie would be nice right now). I must confess I do like working with the fresh ingredients that come from our garden. It’s immensely satisfying to walk outside and pick things to eat. Which is why I am very excited our city has changed the zoning and is allowing people to keep chickens and pigmy goats in their backyards. Wow! Maybe someday we can have a Yard Cow and an elephant! I love elephants and fed one in Cambodia last month. Made my life complete! And when I stop foolin’ around and actually write the novel living in my head, there will be a yard cow based on a story I heard from an old friend of Ward’s.

I hadn’t even heard of a pigmy goat until we were in Texas last April. My stepmother’s brother (Step Uncle?) is a rancher in south Texas and told us during the drought people got rid of their cattle and started raising these goats. I asked him if he had become attached to any of them. He gave me a curious side long glance and quietly said: “Up until I take them to slaughter. “ Yeah, just as I suspected, he thinks they are adorable, too. Probably names them, worries after them like pets if it’s too hot or too cold or too rainy. They are cute little things, and always look at you like you’ve just said something wise which had never occurred to them and could you please elaborate on your philosophies and ideas. In other words, these little animals looked intrigued. My guess is they have an IQ lower than the average retarded dog but they still look intelligent. I’m not sure what we would do with this goat. Probably tie it up just on the other side of our fence in the green space and let it graze on the weeds. Little Goat would also eliminate the need to mow. Hopefully if the coyotes carried it off they would have the decency to eat it far far from the back fence so I wouldn’t have to clean up a carcass. Or listen to the crows as they fussed with one another over the carrion.

The coyotes are the most compelling reason why I haven’t found plans for a tiny chicken coop. Well there’s that and the dog. I have a hard enough time wrangling a wily old dog much less a clutch of chickens. But we could get those pretty little hens with the fancy feathers and free range them in our backyard. The poo would be great for the garden, too. Too bad I would be fighting the dog for the eggs and ultimately probably the chickens. So my adventure in urban animal husbandry is going to have to wait until the dog is dead.

This could be sooner rather than later because I’m going to leave him out for the aforementioned hungry coyotes if he doesn’t leave the damn trash can alone. I would like to blame his naughty behavior on the fireworks this past weekend but the fireworks are over and the behavior continues. Because I would actually miss the old goofball dog, the only other solution we came up with is just strewing the trash on the kitchen floor because that’s where it ends up anyhow. So last night before we went out for an hour or so, I put the trashcan on the back porch. TG thought she was pretty freakin’ funny when she calls downstairs to me: “Well the dog didn’t get into the trash but the squirrels did…Not really!” If I printed what I said before she alerted me to her joke, everyone’s net nanny’s would go “ping”.

But the idea of chickens has enormous appeal to me. When we heard this fortuitous news the other night, TG just looked at me and mouthed the word: “NO”. Butbutbut she is the one who in a moment of tropical fever or tequila induced insanity told me she would like to move to Mexico and raise chickens in the jungle a few miles from the coast. And then this spring we discussed the goats in everyone’s yard along I-10 in south Texas and again the idea of chickens was raised. I suppose wintering the chickens here would be an issue. I’m not too keen on the idea of leaving one of the cars outside so they can stay in the garage. The health department would look askance at us keeping them in the basement. Another dream dashed against the rocks of reality.

I suppose I’ll just buy my eggs at the store like most people. And mow the lawn. And dream of an elephant of my own.

image found here

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