Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wrestling Fans 1, Ceramic Clowns 0

I haven't seen my cousin Hoyt in a long time - he's MIA; perhaps he joined the witness protection program. Nobody's seen or heard from him in forever. My old friend Phoenicia and I have been waxing nostalgic about him lately. We've left messages for him at his job but he doesn't return calls. He is on of the most fun people I've ever ever killed time with, so in honor of Hoyt I'm going to dust off this story about him:

In the late 80s my cousin Hoyt was a scrawny-assed kid who drove a big-assed former church van. Eventually the brakes went out on it and he crashed into someone's house, but that was after all this happened:

Hoyt and his friend Cliff were in the van and in search of pro wrestling memorabilia. This memorabilia was located at someone's house waaaaay out in the county on such and such road, and they were looking for it in vain and getting frantic like you do when you're sixteen and thwarted in your search for a movie poster signed by Rowdy Roddy Piper. Cliff suggested they stop at an upcoming house for directions.

A sweet older lady answered the door. She said she wasn't good with directions, but she did invite them in and offered go and ask her son if he could help. They stepped inside and were treated to the most impressive display of weird clutter they'd ever seen. The walls of the home's living room were hung floor to ceiling with shelves, shelves crowded with ceramic clowns.

Sweet Older Lady must have seen the stunned looks on their faces because she beamed and started talking about her clown collection. She pointed to the first one she'd gotten, said it was a wedding gift from fifty million years ago, blah blah blah, I just get up and see them every day and they make me happy - you can imagine the kinds of things a clown-collecting woman would say about her hobby. Pretty soon she was talking to a couple of sets of glazed eyes, but finally she went down a hallway and up some stairs to talk to her son.

She was gone what seemed like a long time. Too long, anyway, to leave a couple of 10th grade knuckleheads alone with all those clowns. Cliff picked up the wedding gift clown and the one next to it and used falsetto voices to make it seem like they were having a conversation about cocaine and hookers. Hoyt became hysterical immediately, then Cliff fell apart because Hoyt was so funny when he laughed like that, but then all the laughter stopped when the wedding gift clown slipped out of Cliff's hand.

They only had time to look at each other before Sweet Old Lady and Burly Middle-Aged Son came down the stairs and saw the shattered pieces on the floor. Sweet Old Lady became Pissed, Outraged Old Lady and her son said he'd give Cliff and Hoyt a two-minute head start before he came after them.

A former church van is not a good thing to get chased in, so they scrambled out the door and Hoyt almost backed into the ditch because he was in such a hurry. They never found the house with the Rowdy Roddy Piper poster. Ultimately that was okay because soon Hoyt outgrew his pro wrestling fan phase, but this phase came back on when he was about 30.

Squirrel Stomachs Are Bottomless Pits

Anybody have ideas about how to keep these guys out of the bird feeder? How can so much food disappear into such a small animal?

Monday, April 4, 2011

My neighbor, Mrs. Brown Snake

Was excited to find this Brown Snake under a paving stone in the yard. I hear they eat slugs. Yesterday was fabulous. I planed 3 Nanking Cherry trees and 3 American Plums. I have raspberry, elderberry, and dwarf blueberries on the way. I wanted to plant some apple trees but now I don't think I'll have the space. I moved a small mulberry tree from the north side of the house near the AC unit to the back yard, where it should get at least a little southern light, even though it will be shaded at least part of the day.

Seedlings are coming up in both raised beds. They need to be thinned out badly, but I'll do that tomorrow. Fortunately I've changed jobs recently and my new schedule should allow for better use of daylight.

No groundhog sightings yet.

I gave up on covering the back yard with mulch. I finally found somebody who could borrow a truck, and we went out to the landfill to get a $20 load. Since she helped me rake and shovel the load off the back of her mom's truck, I gave my friend $20, and paid for an automatic car wash. It seemed like it took forever to move the mulch from the truck bed to the ground. Then I had to shovel it into a wheelbarrow and distribute it over the areas of yard I'd already covered with boxes, most of which had been waiting for mulch since December. It's been looking pretty trashy in our backyard. Once I'd spread it all, I realized that a truckload of mulch is not very much.

A couple of weeks later I realized pine straw is cheaper and easier to transport. I felt like a total dumbass. I'd have made so much more progress by now if I'd had that brainwave a lot sooner.

My most excellent husband bought me two rainbarrels for my birthday, and he installed them while I was at work Saturday. I think they were originally used to ship pickles from India. Gherkins are pickles, aren't they? One of the other barrels said "GHERKINS - PRODUCT OF INDIA" on the side. So that's cool.

I hope in a couple of months we're in good enough shape to have people over.