Men of the House

I went out to water the garden this morning. Unrolled the hose, watered, started walking back to turn off the water. That was when I saw it.

A clump of feathers lying in the middle of our driveway. I peered closer. It was a dead sparrow, looked like it might have been there since yesterday morning (when I didn’t water), ants all over the place. I turned to the dogs.

Me: “Lily! Daisy! Come!”
Them: come over and sit.
Me: (pointing to the bird) “Did you do this?”
Daisy: slinks off
Lily: looks away guiltily
Me: sigh.

Dad, our designated picker-upper of dead things, squisher of bugs, etc, had just left the house and was expected to be gone for any length of time. So I found Mom and informed her of the problem.

Mom: “Have the boys do it. It’s a man job.”

I found my brothers playing a video game upstairs…
Me: “Hey guys… Mom has a quick job for you to do.”
Dodge: “Oh great.”
Poncho: “Me too??? She said ME??” He jumpes up. “Are you sure she said Poncho???”
Me: “Both of you.”
Dodge: “Okay, fine, what is it?”
Me: “Go outside and get the flat shovel–”
Dodge: “Already not quick.”
Me: “–and pick up the dead bird lying in our driveway.”
Dodge: “Are you serious?”
Poncho: “Eww!”
Dodge: “Why did they have to kill a bird again? Why?”

I think it was last summer that there was a smiliar incident where Mom saw Lily tossing around a dead bird, got it from her, then said, “oh, where’s the bird?” and Lily ran off and returned three seconds later with a second dead one. Don’t ask me how they do it– kill birds like that. Although Daisy is a good stalker, and Lily likes to snatch things out of the air (she eats butterflies!). It was after that first incident that Dodge took this picture:

in case you can't make it out, the sign on the fence reads: "Instant Disposal-- DANGER!" which is apt.

So anyway. I followed the boys out to the back yard where Poncho strugged with getting the bird onto the shovel, succeeding only in pushing it (and the ginat crowd of ants) halfway around the yard. Finally, the bird was shoveled into a plastic bag, which Dodge used to transport the bird out front, where he dumped it into the sewer drain.

Mom: “Why the sewer?”
Dodge: “That’s what Dad does!”
Because everything Dad does is a good idea. But I digress.

I am so, so glad I have brothers. They shoot thousand-leggers and clean up half-eaten sparrows. Thanks for being guys, guys. :)

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Garden Update

All the peas in my garden sprouted! Yay! Now I’m waiting rather impatiently for my Aztec beans to come up… I got out there and stare at the dirt muttering, “Please sprout, please sprout, please, please sprout.” So maybe that was accidentally interpreted as “peas sprout”?

The lettuce is coming up like crazy, too. (“Lettuce pray” as Dad says every time someone mentions it.) I think I may have actually squealed with delight when I first saw the little sprouts… Hard to believe I could be this excited about lettuce, of all things. I guess it just seems so random; one day you’re throwing seeds on some semi-cruddy soil, the next you’ve got dozens of miniature plants looking up at you. Plants that need watered… All I have is a plastic, kid-size watering can that’s been lying in our yard for the better part of a decade. But oh well. I work with what I got.

My seedlings are currently in intense hardening-off bootcamp. Well, bootcamp run by a kindergarten teacher, since I dashed out there to water the ones that were wilting in the heat yesterday. Soon, they’ll be on their own…

I’m getting kind of garden-hyper (like I wasn’t before, right?) and I want to be out there all the livelong day.
Alas, I get too hot really quickly, and have to come inside for water and hair scrunchies. Or I take a break and practice flute on my front porch. Currently I most like to play “Geese in the Bog”, “Blackthorn Stick”, and “Old Favorite”. And “Rights of Man”, which is Daisy’s favorite as well. She sings rather loudly and sounds like a wolf of yore. Kind of scary, until you look down and see her wearing a big yellow bow around her neck, her dainty paws crossed quite lady-like.

Tis all…

~Pen

Nice Holiday Traditions

Dodge: “Come here come here come here! Look!”
Me: “Huhhh?”
Dodge: “Okay, you stand behind that wall, and watch the stairs…”
I looked at the stairs, and Dad was standing at the top of them, looking down. The box containing the fire-retardant tree was balanced at the edge of the upstairs landing, and Dad had a mischevous grin on his face…
Me: “NO. You wouldn’t.”
Dodge: (evil laughter)
Me: “It’ll break!”
Dad: (evil laughter)
Dodge: “One, two, three, GOOOOOO!”
The tree fliew down the stairs in a spectacular flip! And Poncho screamed as the box landed at his feet.
Me: “Oh my…”
Dodge: “We did it last year too. It’s a tradition.”

Later…

Dodge was beginning to actaully build the tree, when he noticed that the stand was not in the box. Meanwhile, Dad was lying on the couch with a footlong piece of floss in his mouth. (Don’t ask.)
Dodge: “Where is the stand?”
Dad: “In the box.”
Dodge: “No it’s not. It must be upstairs.”
Dad: “Well, it’s supposed to be in the box.”
Dodge: “Well, it’s not.”
Dad: “Well, it should be.
Dodge: “Well, it’s not.”
Dad: “I’m not going to get it.” He started to play guitar using the floss as the string, pulled tight from his front teeth.
Dodge: “You are such a child.”
Dad: “Am not. Ow, I think my tooth is loose now.”
Dodge: “Hmm.”
Dad pretended to sleep, leaving his floss hanging out of his mouth. Daisy came along and smelled the minty flavor… and started to chew on one end of the floss.
Dad: “Ehhhhhhhhhh! Ehhhhhh!”
Dodge: “I’ll save you if you’ll go get the stand.”
Dad: “EHHHH!”
Dodge (takes the floss): “Go now or I’ll drop it on your face.”
Dad: “I’m going, I’m going!”
He finally got the stand… It is quite beautiful…

Dad: “Hm, I think it needs more tape.”
Dodge: “Really?”
Dad: “Yeah, I put a new piece on every year. It’s a tradition.”

What a night. Phase One of putting up the tree is now complete.

Zee Professional

Well, lately I feel like “zee professional” as Eliza would say. First of all, school is off to a brilliant start due to: My mom giving me 9-12 as my daily writing time. That’s right, 3 whole hours of undisturbed writing. (Dodge says, “You sound like a train in there!” because of the loud keys.) No one is allowed to disturb me unless they are gushing blood or the house is on fire. I get to wake up, eat, and go off into my own little writer world. I am actually productive! I actually have work hours in which I do actual work instead of just work avoidance!! Now I feel like a professional writer. Yay.

Then, yesterday, I learned how to can tomoatoes!!! I took a big basket of my dear heart-shaped heirlooms to Marie’s and she helped me can them! Well, really we put them in jars, so we jarred(?) them. I was soo excited, and it was a lot of fun. Awesome day. I will definitely be doing that again. They look so pretty in the jars! It took a long time but really it’s just timing, and the rest is oddly simple. Then while we waited for the jars to boil we talked about gardening and the Lady of Shallot.

But who hath seen her wave her hand? /or at the casement seen her stand?/ or is she known in all the land,/the Lady of Shallot?

Sometimes I feel like that part of the poem, not going to school. Who hath seen me wave my hand, or at the porch rail seen me stand? or am I known in all the land, the Lady of… er… Nothing rhymes with Shallot!

Sigh.

Anyway. Just wanted to share my happy news. 
Yours till the bumble bees,
Pen

PS: Oh, I nearly forgot. The bumble bees reminded me. Daisy got stung yesterday, on her nose. Now it’s all swollen and puffy and I think she finally learned not to toss bees around and then sniff/eat them. Now I call her Princess Puff-Nose.