Monday, March 30, 2020

New on the Farm!

Seven guineas have been added to  our critters.

It's been many years since we had any and I'm delighted to be able to enjoy their strange chatter and dinosaur-like appearance once more,

They are very good at pest control and act as watchdogs, setting up a great cry at any disturbance in the force.

Their eggs are small but rich -- if you can find them. They make nests wherever they like. And they roost, not in the chicken house, but in nearby trees.

We got them on a whim because a friend had a good deal on a bunch of them them and offered to share and to deliver them.

Long may they roam our fields!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Now, More Than Ever

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, precious life?"

link to Mary Oliver's poem HERE

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Catalog Nostalgia

In the mail yesterday: "Our most essential styles for Right Now"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry so I fixed it.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Take a Deep Breath and Repeat After Me

All shall be well

and all shall be well

and all shall be exceeding well. . .

but it's going to take some time.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Josie Has a Little Cold but She Feels Better

Thanks to Claui for the pictures!

Hey! I have a little cold and am socially isolating at my house with my mama and my daddy so the old people don't catch it. 

I can wear pajamas all day long, just like some of you, I bet. I also keep up my strength with lots of food. You too?

Ali feels a little puny too so I am taking care of him.  

Time for a banana break! They always help my mood.

When it gets warmer, I'll be able to go outside and check on things. 

Stay safe, everyone! And, by the way, grandparents are NOT expendable.

UPDATE: That was on Tuesday. On Wednesday she felt better and went outside. Meema went down to get some pictures.

I woke up from my nap and felt much better. I wanted to go outside so Daddy put sunblock on me and brought my snack out.

Forsythia is my favorite.

I moved my snack out to the picnic table.

It is nice to sit in the sun.

I picked some daffodils...

and sat under the pear tree. It looks like snow under there.

Time to do some tractor work.

It's good to feel better!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Staying Apart -- How's It Going?

How is the pandemic changing your life? 

It's been over a week now since we began the stay in place thing.  John has made a few runs to the grocery and feed store for for essentials -- all of which he was able to find. My weekly class in online now and going pretty well; a workshop I was scheduled for this weekend is cancelled; and John C. Campbell, where I am scheduled to teach in late May is closed for the foreseeable future.

I haven't had Josie since last Wednesday -- I know some of you all are missing pictures of our girl but she's had a cold and her daddy is keeping her home.  He's been rained out of work anyway.  I did bake some cranberry muffins and take them down down.

I've been busy though. Finished yet another read through of CROWS-- this time in the advance reading copy. I found thirteen small goofs and one rather major one. Folks at Regal 
House are proofreading too. I hope we catch them all. 

And I edited the forty pages for my class and am in the midst of editing a novel for an ex-student. Fortunately, it's a good story and I like editing. And this is paying work which is good  since the money I might have made teaching those workshops is in doubt.

I feel a little guilty at how normal -- baking, bird-watching, reading--my life is just now--except for that constant hum of existential fear in the background--worry about friends and family, and the fear that, encouraged by the Orange Disaster, people will cease the social distancing and our hospitals and health care, already on shaky grounds, will be overwhelmed.

But, hey, I'm old and expendable, and maybe a little bitter on learning that Some People are willing to accept a die-off among the elderly if it will boost the economy.

May those Some People (and not the rest of us) reap what they sow. 

Only pandemics don't work that way. Like the rain, the virus will attack the just and the unjust alike. But

'The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella'
But chiefly on the just because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella ventilator."

Monday, March 23, 2020

A Lucky Son of a Bitch

So many folks are sharing mini concerts etc. to help pass the time during social distancing, I thought I'd share a short short story . . . it was on my blog years ago but here it is again,

"Oh, come on with me, Travis, honey. It'll be fun and maybe we'll get to be on TV."

Loreen reached over and trailed a suggestive hand down his chest. "Travis, honey, pleease . . . . I'll say thank you real good when we get home . . . You know . . ."

Travis considered, watching the throng of people pouring into the Civic Center. The big sign on the marquee said "Antiques Road Show ~ Last Day!" 

He sighed deeply. If he just stayed in the pickup in the parking lot, she wouldn't say nothing but like as not she'd cut him off for a week or more.

"Okay, I'll do 'er but it's a waste of time. I'll tell you now, Sugar, that stupid doll ain't gone be worth more than a couple of bucks. Fact."

That got Loreen riled.  He had to hold back from laughing as she swole up all huffy and snapped out, "You think you know so much. You wanna make a bet?"

She didn't even wait for him to answer but plowed right ahead, the words just sputtering.

"How about this? If my doll's not worth more than fifty dollars, then I'll buy you that big screen TV you been carrying on about -- right out of my own savings. And I'll go you one better, Mr. Smart Ass; if she's worth more than fifty, I'll still buy you that TV. . . But, for every dollar over fifty that they say she's worth, that's one whole day that I get to pick what we watch."

"Deal," Travis said, grinning to himself. He'd been dreading the fight it was going to take to get that TV he wanted so bad. And here it was, falling into his lap.  Looked like this was his lucky day after all.

They climbed out of the pickup, Loreen carrying the big bag with her special treasure -- the Barbie Doll in its original box.

As they made their way to the entrance of the Civic Center, Travis stopped. "You go on ahead, babe; I gotta have a smoke first" and he headed over to the side where there was a convenient wall to lean on. 

Pulling out a Marlboro -- Loreen was after him to switch to those cheap generic cigarettes but she could kiss his ass -- he put it to his lips and clicked his Bic.

Piece of crap. Probably been through the wash one too many times. Travis slapped his pockets but it wasn't no good --no matches.

Then he saw it. Proof that he was still a lucky son of a bitch. Right there on the wall beside him was a box of matches. Hotel Something or other -- weird looking black-tipped matches but the first one fired right up and he sucked in the smoke greedily.

Five minutes later he was in the crowded hallway trying to figure out where Loreen might have gone. The place was like an anthill some kid had kicked -- people swarming every whichaway, each one carrying some kind of treasure.

"Through that door and to the right." It was a geeky-looking guy standing next to him with a couple of big scrapbook-looking things in his arms.

Travis frowned.

"That's where the philumeny experts are," the geek explained. "I couldn't help noticing your matchbox . . ."

He nodded toward Travis's hand which still held his lucky find. "I collect covers myself, but sometimes those foreign matchboxes bring amazing prices. Good luck with it!"

Luck . . . well, what the hell, thought Travis and went through the door and to the right.

It was another geeky guy he finally talked to and he was sorry that Loreen wasn't around because while he was in line, the TV cameras had started rolling.

Just like he'd seen watching the show at home, there was lots of fancy talk -- how long had he had the matchbox (he said a friend had given it to him,) any idea of its worth (he could be honest here and say none at all.)

"Well," said Geek number 2,  setting the matchbox on a black cloth and looking at it like it was some kind of big ass diamond, "it's a very special matchbox, even though it's not an antique. But the Trans-Canada Swapfest is coming up in May and there are several collectors who would be very interested in a Hotel Forum ~ Bratislava."

The Geek, who was wearing white gloves, for crissakes, very gently pulled open the box of matches and delicately spilled them onto the cloth. His finger quivered above the matches and his lips moved.

" . . .  twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine . . ."

His brow furrowed and he counted again.

The Geek sighed. "Unfortunately, collectors demand a complete box.  If all thirty matches had been here, I believe that, at auction, the box could have fetched two to three thousand dollars. As it is, however . . ." he shrugged. "Worthless  . . . just not your lucky day, I'm afraid."

 Above the sound of many voices, Travis could hear Loreen's shriek of delight all the way across the vast hall.

"Five thousand dollars! For my Barbie? Really?"

Five thousand. Minus fifty and that made four thousand, nine hundred and fifty days when she held the remote -- four thousand, nine hundred and fifty days of movies about women talking about their problems and handsome vampires talking about theirs. It meant hot and cold running Oprah and Martha . . . shows about fixing up a house and shows about kids and more shows about women, talking about their problems . . .

"Sir? Sir? . . . are you all right? "

The floor rose to meet him and the babble of voices grew farther and farther away. All the light in the room seemed to gather into a ball of fire which flared up briefly then diminished to a single pinprick which pulsed . . . and fluttered . . . and went out . . .

"Somebody call 911! . . . Sir? . . . Sir? . . ."