Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Stroll Through My Piece of Paradise

It is such a pleasure to be able to rise, fix a cup of coffee and wonder through my own little garden of Eden, in my PJs if I want to!   I may not have material wealth; but what I do have is priceless.

Here is my typical day.

For years I had to get up  around 4:30 am to  start my day.  It’s already been  almost 5 years that the necessity no longer is there; yet the habit persist.  Now I go to the computer and work for awhile til daybreak.

Bully Boy, the rooster, announces  the day is about to begin.

I can gallivant all night and not worry about consequences

Tigger, my big  orange use to- be- tom cat, howls from the porch outside my room , that he wants in.  Why has he been gallivanting all night?  At least I can be sure no Mama cat with a yellow brood will show up on my steps demanding upkeep, legitimately.  No way! No how!

It is 6 AM.   I wait for it to start.  Linda and Ms  Vicki are about to begin their day.  Ms Vicki, our little orange 6 month old Pomeranian is  being (not too successfully) potty trained.   Here’s the routine:

(Just before Linda’s alarm goes off), a piercing “YIP! YIP! followed by two or

three mournful whining sounds, then YIP!, YIP!

That translated:  “MOMMY! MOMMY!  i gott’a pee, hurry pleaaase, open this cage, MOMMY! MOMMY!”

MOMMY! MOMMY! Pleeeaase hurry!

When the door is opened Ms Vicki races madly around the house, all sense of bathroom urgency gone.

Linda coaches:  “Pee pee on the paper for Mommy.  Good girl.”    MS  VICKI, BAD GIRL !!  YOU KNOW YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO USE THE PAPER TO POOPSY, BAD GIRL!

Ms Vicki looks up at her with that  cute little pom grin and watery brown eyes, bouncing around as if to ask, “Don’t you think I am cute, Mommy, I go to the same spot every morning.  (Bouncy, Bouncy)  Can I have a treat, huh? huh?


YIP! YIP! YIP!   (Translated:  Yeah! Yeah!  CEEZE!)

Both of  them go about their business, now that the ritual is completed.  I sit, listen and grin…………aw, the blessings of well run home!

A multitude of winged creatures chirp and sing as the dawn breaks.

Stepping onto the kitchen steps, I spray myself with mosquito repellent look at the fish, pick up my bottle of Sevin spray to use against landlubber grasshopper hatchlings; I wonder around the yard, inspecting plants, birdhouses,

What a peaceful sight to begin a new day!

chickens;  all the while sipping my coffee before I set the cup down, and promptly forget what I did with it.

Here’s what I see:

That is part of the beauty of being able to do what I want, when I want, and be responsible just to me ( and my patient, understanding, loving wife.   She has learned to tolerate the new me.)


Go Ahead Grandpa, You Can Chuckle

Grandpa was a one-mule dirt farmer

He grew an acre of corn and was allotted two acres to grow cotton. His garden was enormous, with rows that seemed to go on forever, when I was sentenced to hoe them.

Plants growing in pots were strictly a diversion for the women and their flowers.   No self-respecting man put plants in a pot (so named because  usually  discarded chamber pots were used (my theory).

Now, three generations later, a friend and I are actually admitting we use containers (can not find chamber pots anymore) to plant, of all things, vegetables in!!

(Huh! Huh! Huh!)

(Grandpa did not actually laugh, at such foolishness,  he just made low kind of “huh! huh! huh!”; you could see his belly bounce under his overalls).

“The young fools grow’d up on a farm and they didn’t learn a darn thing.”

(Huh! Huh! Huh!)

Container gardening has become the rage for “want’a be farmers,” willing to dole out cash for seeds, containers, dirt and cow or chicken poop.

Oh, we spend our money for bags of potting mix and organic compost; we feel less foolish than admitting we pay for dirt and poop!

And the containers, oh my! some people will dole out $20 for a couple of planters, then,  still have to buy the dirt and poop (I mean potting mix and compost)!


Well, back in April a couple of “foolish” ex-farm hands decided to  come into the 21st century.

Growing  vegetables  in containers

Shoot, THEY claim you can make tomatoes grow upside down!

Grandpa, stop laughing and look’a here!! Time has come to show you, all ain’t lost!

The other guy had the intestinal fortitude to admit he paid $19.95 for his two up-side down container bags  (now mind you, he did get two tomato slicers, and 2 cookbooks with them, I think).  Still had to buy dirt and poop ( I mean, soil mix and compost)!


(Between you and me, that sounds like the country boy trying to impress the city girl with his new suit!)

.I threw together two old pots with some duct tape, used a piece of chain to fashion my upside down container.     My friend  actually had the nerve to say the thought his was prettier.   I made the local newspaper for my efforts.

Well, worn out overalls never did look as good as a new polyester suit did it?   Me, I am too old and cheap to be trying to impress anybody.

 you can grow vegetable in containers

Poor guy has had to protect his  plants from storms, raccoon,  ( he claims  bears, too!)

I live in town,  storms are my main concern, haven’t even had to worry about bugs!!

Okay, I admit,  I bought  the soil mix  ( would call it dirt if it was free)

I got beat in the “I got my first tomato in the upside down container contest”;  I am looking forward to a later harvest.   My plant has big tomatoes and is full of bloom.

Tomatoes growing tall in a box!

Put together another container. Just a storage container with a false bottom  supporting soil mix over a reservoir of water.

Look at what these two plants did !

These two plants are 10 feet tall. Yes I am getting tomatoes.   So far, over three pounds!

Here’s the latest harvest, with a squash that also grew in a pot, Grandpa!

From plants in pots, Grandpa, would you believe?

Gardening has changed, Grandpa

Do not have to hoe long rows in the hot sun. Don’t even have to plow the ground anymore.

Why, I even have corn ready to tassel. You would belly laugh at this. It is in a container! Tall, healthy and green, looks like most of the stalks will have two ears.

Who would have dreamed the difference 50 years would make!

You may have laughed and called us fools who “never learned nothing”; but you see we did learn:  to love the land and our heritage.

We can not connect to the land as you did but we can try.

Using our “pots” we again work alongside you, dirt in our hands, a precious memory in our heart.


 first published 6/25/2009  using the title “Grandpa Would Have Laughed And Called Us Fools” (Original blog no longer available)


“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” Robert F Kennedy is credited with this profound statement;  his brother,Edward Kennedy  applied it to him at his eulogy.

Bobby says “No, I was just quoting.”

I ask “Who cares?”

This question, in a simpler form  challenges all gardeners  one way or another.


Dirt diddlers  are bombarded with do’s and don’ts by experts and  hands- in- the- dirt everyday Joe Clodhoppers.   Each  alternately snickers, or pooh-poohs, what is considered the absurdity of the other at the moment.

Hey, guys! There is value in each experience.

Benefits that can make the complicated facts of educated experts palatable to us overall wearing, dirty- nailed, barefoot dirt turners who see the practical value of our experience every day in our gardens.

Okay, so this is a little over the line, idiotic generalization.  Do you get the idea I may be a little ticked off?

Well, you are correct, let me vent for a moment; this is my experience, so I can fume if I want to!

I am a subscriber to one of the larger garden forums;  I love it.

Generally, no matter how simple the inquiry, an encouraging remark swiftly follows.   Nobody is belittled for  his inexperience, everybody is invited to speak up, if only to say, “that’s interesting”.    Readers are urged to ask “What have you done that works, here’s what I tried and it didn’t. ”

There is a valuable exchange of information.

What  really surprises  me is that many times I  correspond for a period of time with gardeners who obviously have great practical knowledge.    They know what they are talking about;  they make me feel I contribute to their experience.

What a surprise to find later, from outside sources, that these people are well educated experts in their fields;  yet, not once have I felt belittled or uneducated as we communicated.

These people represent the very best such an informal forum has to offer.

But then…….there are a few others.

I  garden using homemade self sustaining containers,  last year our  group was discussing our limited experiences.   For beginners, we had all had very good results, as we bumbled  through.

A couple guys were obviously experienced and shared their container, soil, water, and weather results.    Yep!  turns out they are professional experts.    Modestly they deny the fact.

These folks are  asking  what we think,  how we manage our containers!!

Viewing their results speaks  volumes;  yet, many times, our suggestions are  followed by comments such as “that is a fantastic idea”, “why didn’t I think of that” from our teachers.

Then one day the soil mix hit the screen!!

A newly interested container gardener asked, what seemed a simple question to me:  “Do any of you reuse your soil mix after the first crop is harvested?”

There is no request, that I discern, for an explanation, pro or con,  on the value of the practice.    Several participants answered, some did reuse the soil mix, others did not.

Just so happened,  I had used a single box for tomatoes two previous seasons; had not changed the mix even in this, the third season;  simply amended the mix.  Two lush plants  were already over my head height-wise.

Now remember the question:  “Do any of you reuse your soil mix after the first crop is harvested?”

All I said was yes I do; this is the third time

My answer was short (and I thought, sweet) “yes, I do; this is the third time, here’s what happened.” (Posted the photo shown on the right)

The response to the forum (not to me) came from someone who had not previously been involved in the discussion; it   really let me have it!!

I will paraphrase what I remember as the flame (the part in quotes are the posters description of me).

The forum was informed that my “uneducated response” showed a lack of understanding of soil structure and breakdown; that the simple fact, that it seemed to work for “her”,  could in no way be construed as proof that this was a practical experiment.

The respondent went on:  since “she has chosen to set herself up as  spokesman for the group” scientific facts on the subject should be addressed.

Geez!! I did not realize a simple  “yes, I do; this is the third time, here’s what happened” could say so much!!

My ears got red, muscles in my neck constricted, steam came from my ears!!

I wanted to say a lot, but I restricted my response (through the forum to the respondent) to the fact  I thought the question requested a simple “yes” or “no”;  so I had answered without discussing its value (or lack thereof).


Did not bother to mention, the last time I checked, I am not of the female gender!

The sad part of  this is, I am stubborn,  I am the real loser.

This person authors a very detailed technical discussion of soil properties that I found interesting and scientifically accurate;  yes, this  uneducated, wheat straw chawin’, country bumpkin does understand the contents!!

Will I continue to follow the author’s post to glean useful  information?

Never!! You have made me mad!!   So okay!    I am a bastard, get used to it!!

Don’t Call Me A Dumbcluck

Dumbcluck always seemed an appropriate designation for a chicken.   When I got to know a few, up close and personal,  my thinking changed completely.

Domesticated pet birds provide endless  entertainment;  our bantams  give us  eggs; it takes three of the little globes of protein to make a serving, but –hey, they are from my  own little flock!  They give this country boy, living in town, bragging rights.

Linda gets especially close and friendly with this feathered  menagerie.

Each youngster is named.  Each one’s  nom de plume is chosen to reflect its personality.

Yes, chickens do have definite and distinct personalities!

Let’s see, in our flock of regular breed bantams  is  Napoleon,  Big Boy, Henny Penny, Lil Red, Mama’s Girl and the infamous Bully Boy.

When the kitchen door opens,  all around the  yard heads  jerk to attention.   They are hoping a treat might be forthcoming.

A black fluff ball that moves like a bulldog

I hear Linda  call, “Come to Mommy, Big Boy!!”

The first time I heard her call, I came running , a big , silly grin on my face!

She gives me that  disgusted  look (reserved just for me);  “Not you, you old  fool!”,  looks past me, to  this big black fluff, moving with the rolling motion of a bulldog.  Racing  toward us is  Big Boy, the silkie rooster; he is followed by his harem.

About  four  feet in front of Linda he stops, turns sideways, lifts  his head high,  stretches his neck and crows!!

Arrogant, aggressive!! One mean bird. I am Bully Boy!

It is always the same ritual except for me, (I stay put) and Bully Boy, the half-bred.

None of the flock allows us to touch them;   all gather  round , except Bully Boy, eager for whatever morsel is being offered.

(Frt - Bk) Screech, Lucy, and Tiny Mite

The half-breed, has big plans; he will dominate the flock one day; for now he bids his time outside the circle. Bully Boy’s  arrogant, combative,  attitude broadcasts his intentions, loudly and clearly!!

These small bundles of energy are the first echelon  in our feathered kingdom.

Serama are promoted as the smallest chickens in the world; weight range for a  ‘champion grade’ rooster is from 8 to 12 ounces; hens range from 6 to 10 ounces.

None of mine qualify as show material but they  stand  up front on my  list, as favorite feathered pets.

Our three, Screech, Tiny Mite, and Lucy  amaze us with their intelligent, resourceful actions.  They are said to descend from tiny birds from  Malaysia.

It is sad, that a few weeks ago, all but three of our flock was destroyed by two ranging dogs, set free to roam the neighborhood.

Why Build?

Received a comment on one of my blogs the other day that got me to
thinking. This post, which appears to come from someone with
a vested interest in another product,  states that while he finds my instructions detailed
enough, he does not have the time or tools to spend on the
project. He is very happy with another product.

I say “Good! I have no difficulty with your position.”  It makes perfect
sense to me.

This post did get me to thinking. Why do I spend time and
money making things that I can  just as easily buy?

There are reasons:

. Outrageous pricing, add shipping and handling, the money
spent borders on being ridiculous. An item that works for
less money is a source of satisfaction.

. Creative pride. Commercial garden products are items marketed
as necessities. Very few are original items, most are simply
Grandpa’s practices dressed with today’s look. Ask “What would
the old folk have done?” Maybe, I can do something similar.

. Excited anticipation. The anticipation of,will all this come
together or is it a stupid idea? Will it actually do what it is supposed
to do? is much more satisfying than “Will UPS ever get here with
that package?” and the letdown of “Oh, for pete sake, I could have
made this thing, for a lot less money!” that is a part of so many

. Victory dance. “That is never going to work, I have never heard of anything
so ridiculous!” The smug “the poor ole fool” looks that I get, with some of
my projects, make the success even sweeter than the produce! Braggin’
rights for a whole next season, when I will try  something stanger!!

The simple fact is, gardening is a hobby, not a necessity. I know  when the crop
fails, I will not starve; the grocery store is right down the road. The prices are outrageous,
the produce tasteless many times, but it is there.

When I can produce a few dozen ears of corn, a few servings of beans, or a plate of sliced
tomatoes and cucumbers, I feel an indescribable pride and connection with the earth  I
never get from pushing the cart through the produce section.

When these things are grown in containers and contraptions that I build, well, there
is a warm feeling of “gee! maybe I am not as lost as I thought I was. I can do somethings on
my own, I do not have to depend on “big business” for everything”.

I can dream.

What the heck?

I am having the oddest experience this morning, since about 3 am.

I am conscious that I am dreaming; one of those dreams where  I recognize people  from many points in my life. The circumstances are completely unrealistic; the snatches of situations  could have happened,but never did.

I am trying to protect someone from something. In this dream I am telling myself, this is just a dream; it’s not really happening; even though I awaken and sit on the edge of the bed, my mind keeps struggling with whatever is happening.

Keep saying to myself this is not real; when I  settle my thinking and go back to sleep it starts over, at the point I was when I woke up! The mental struggle starts again, until I awaken.

Three hours later, I have taken a shower, shaved, brushed my teeth. I can no longer remember the details, just the desperate, helpless feeling of not being able to help whomever I am trying to shield from unremembered danger.

This is weird. It is not a nightmare. I am not terrified, just disturbed, by what I know is not reality.

A Shrink would have a field day with this, I bet;  if a Mormon Missionary or one of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows up on my doorstep later today and introduces himself,  as either Joseph or Daniel, I am really going to freak out!!

In the light of day, and after a cup of coffee, I think I have figured this out.   Last night just before I went to sleep I spent 2 hours watching CNN and HLN coverage of the Haitian tragedy.

This was the first time I allowed myself to concentrate on this horrible situation.  The rescue of a 24 year old man being pulled from the rubble after 11 days entrapment was very disturbing, though gratifying.   He is in very good shape after all this  time because he was trapped in a tiny space  on a  side of the building where some coke, beer and a little food  was available.

I Rule The Roost

The neighbors could hear the screams! “No! Stop! Oh, nooo!! Stop it! Get away from me! Oh! Oh! No! No!” It was unmistakably the sounds of abuse.

If this continued some one was going to call the police, I had to quiet her. “Oh! No! Get away from me!! Don’t! Stoooop it!!”

I am Bully Boy, don't forget the name!

I rushed to the door, wondering what is going on. Oh, man! Bully Boy, a 3 pound bantam rooster, is showing my wife, Linda, who is cock of the roost!

When he spied her crossing the back yard, her plastic bucket in hand, immediately he goes on the defensive! Nobody, but nobody, is encroaching on his territory!

Rush, fake attack, back off; rush, fake attack, over and over. Here is a 3 pound bird, sending a (…..let’s just say healthy),  woman into panic mode as she attempts to shield herself by poking at Bully Boy with the bright pink bucket!

Now, we all know, when being attacked by a ferocious creature we must make one of three choices.

  • Weakly resist, cower,  submit;
  • Run like the devil acknowledging  subjection
  • Boldly assert  dominance

Trying not to appear amused. I shout, “Don’t let him do that; knock him down with the bucket, Show him who is boss, or you will never be able to cross this yard again!   Hit him!”  I feel like a spectator at a gladiatorial event.

She continues backing, poking, yelling! “No, shoo! Get away! Stop it!”

“Linda you have got to knock him down!” I yell.  I am unprepared for female logic.

“But I’ll hurt him! I don’t want to hurt Bully!”

“Duh! Isn’t that the whole idea? You have got to show him you are top rooster and the only way to do is with a knock down. Geez, woman, haven’t you ever watched the fights?”

Well, with that bit of advice the adrenaline kicks in; that bird ain’t got a chance in heck now. Here he comes; a pink haze from the left sends him to the ground! He looks surprised, stunned; he not giving up that easily.

Bully Boy shakes his head, ready for another round; he attacks.

He is still trying to figure where that right side bolt of pink lightening came from as he waits there on the ground, in defeat, for the countdown.  

Okay, she won. It’s official, that woman is top rooster!

“Nobody likes me, nobody loves me, think I’ll go eat some worms”; he mumbles as he sulks away.

The ultimate insult is  to come.

Big Boy, a black silkie rooster, who has adopted Linda , since dogs killed his mate, has been watching the battle. Big Boy’s heroine is victorious!

He sees Bully slink away. Big Boy attacks, duck running toward Bully, he stabs him in the butt several times; all Bully can do is tuck tail and get out of the way!

He does not rule the roost!