Thursday, July 24, 2008

God versus the Chicken

It's 7 a.m. I don't have to pick the garden vegetables, because I did so last night. Living large off the garden in summertime. To get chickens next or not get chickens is the question. Free eggs aren't free, I argue. Aside from the small cost to buy the original four or five chickens, it's the daily chore of scooping up the eggs while being pecked to death by a lethal weapon. While the poop is great fertilizer, I bet the deposits will be like Sydney, our pet cockateil, presents--distributed indiscriminately and often on my shoulder. I swear I can hear him chuckle, "I want more mashed potatoes!" Then there's the foxes, raccoons, and wild dogs. One more reason, they do not need to climb over or burst through the fence that seems so impregnable at the moment. And I know they will be named, and there goes any hope of a free Sunday dinner.

Nope. I have to draw the line at chickens once again and enjoy the guest bedroom for a few days will I chicken scratch a few more words on the topic of God's grace in my next novel.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Recorders versus Blogging

Hard to blog at 28.8 modem while downloading massive YouTube recorder concerts for your wife. The tropical storm fizzled and missed us. No large amounts of rain as desired. Now the furnace is turned on for the next two days, 100 or so. Time to hibernate inside after picking vegetables, chopping wood, pullling weeds, moving mulch, stacking concrete, running from moisquitoes, slapping at horseflies, shooing away deer, drowing squirrels, feeding fish and birds, and weedwhack the weeds. Hey, at least the late summer corn crop is growing like a weed. I cannot believe it, eight days planted and six inches high. Must be the potent squirrel poop in that part of the yard. Oops. Gotta go throw the laundry in the dryer and pretend I've written 500 words today. "Really, Mr. Barretta. It's all in my head."

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Mafia and My Garden Wall

76 days to go...Hauling concrete chunks from a nearby construction site so I can continue work on my garden wall is my equivalent to working out at the gym. I just wonder when I'm going to find an arm or a leg or a decomposing Mafia hit. Why do they always show up buried in concrete?

Snakes? I've seen a few. One or two brown haired rodents, also. Mice or rats or muskrats, I don't know. The wall is starting to take good shape after years of working on it. And yes, three days ago she approached me with the inevitable, "Can we move this thirty foot section of the wall six inches in this direction so I can put in more daises?" I'm beginning to understand the Mafia a whole lot better.

Come on rain. I don't want to water tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Third Graders and the Playboy Centerfold

77 days to go...Okay, I finished Elizabeth Lyon's book, "Manuscript Makeover" today in between scoring Connecticut third grade narrative papers about the most exciting day in kid's lives. Can you say these kids have yet to live, well, except the kid who's been to the moon, Jupiter, and Pluto causing NASA to re-establish Pluto as a planet based on the space debris he brought back to earth. That kids been around.

EL's book has be almost excited to revise my three completed novels. Need to chose one and make a go of it. Her book is excellent, and it is dogeared worse than a teenager's copy of Playboy with Barbie Benton inside. Bonus points for anyone who can tell me who BB was without goggling the Internet.

Also cut all the grass along the road when I got home. Zen and the art of grass cutting. Did mine, the common area, my next door neighbor, and kept on going and did the guy's down at the end of the cul-de-sac. Then I cut my yard, weed whack a sensitive area, burned some invasive weeds in the burn pit, watered a new area where I planted corn six days ago. The corn is already four inches high! Thems some good seeds.

My foot hurts. A gout attack is in my near future. It is off to bed I go to dream about monsters, snakes, and clam bakes with a girl named Becky. (Don't tell my wife.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Writing and Shouting

78 days to go...Man, that teleportation really messes with the ability to write. Anyone doing any writing worth shouting about?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Teleportation Achieved

93 days to go...

...I believe I've sufficiently recovered from my drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Apex, North Carolina to report that I drove the 2,236 miles in 38.5 hours. Why did I do it so fast? I don't know, but I told my wife I would stop once I got tired. That didn't happen, however, until Charlotte, North Carolina. That's when I found out that the car had a teleportation device button. Next thing I know, I'm home in the driveway. Now I'm mad at my niece for not telling me about this device. Now, my left wrist hurts. I'm not sure if it is from the drive or a lingering affect of being teleported those last few miles.
* EATS: What a shock! Only three diet cokes and two candy bars consumed for the entire trip. That's an amazingly low amount of caffeine.
* TOLLS: There were no tolls along the roads I took, though I did see a troll under the Mississippi Bridge at Vicksburg.
* FASTEST SPEED: 82 mph while getting out of the way of a car approaching from behind traveling over 100 mph. Her curly blonde locks were corralled twenty miles down the road by the state police. Hope she shows up on C*O*P*S.
* WORST CITY: El Paso...Nasty accident and zero options to squeeze by because the town hugs the mountains/desert and the Mexican border. Runner-up, Shreveport, LA. One butt ugly town, twisty roads with quick speed changes; however, it is a small city and the pain is over quickly.
* ODDEST SIGHT: From a distance, the lights of Florence, Texas seem to flicker on and off. Once you got right up to one of the lights, you realize it is hundreds of wind turbines with their nightlights flickering off and on in an enormous display of pale yellow-reddish Christmas lights.
* ANIMALS SEEN ALIVE: Ostrich (hundreds of them), two jack rabbits trying to pace me, a huge alligator turtle trying to cross the Interstate, an armadillo sniffing for clues at the scene of a crime (dead rabbit), a hawk eating a rat on top of a cactus, llamas, alpacas,
* ANIMALS SEEN DEAD: The usual suspects (squirrels, rabbits, turtles, domestic animals) and an alligator.
* Texas never ends.
* The Mississippi was really high, but everything else looked parched and all rivers looked low.
* BIGGEST SURPRISE: How lush and productive the Rio Grande Valley is from Las Cruces, NM, until I left the river valley 100 miles later. Lots of produce, trees, and cows where nothing would be without the river.
* WORST DRIVERS: Atlanta...Yeah, I know that there are a lot of damn Yankees there, but the indigenous population has accepted the awful driving skills. Atlanta drivers are as fast and dude as anything I've seen around Chicago or Boston.
* PHOENIX-to-HILTON HEAD FUTURE TRIP FOR THE LEONARD'S (niece and hubby and kids): Go the southern route. The roads are better; the traffic less. Maybe you'll get a tail wind like I did to smooth out the ride. The northern route (I-40) is almost guaranteed a crosswind. Gas is generally cheap by 5-20 cents a gallon in Texas compared to the northern road. Passage through the major cities is fewer and generally better. As always, go through them during off-peak hours.
* BEST SCENERY: Toss up between AZ/NM border area and where I-10 heads away from the Rio Grande in Texas. Panoramic majesty for both. And I saw my first real mirage. I could swear the lake was there, but there were dust devils coming off the surface of the "water". A true indication that it wasn't water I was looking at.
* BIGGEST BUMMER: No alien encounters or hot, gorgeous hitchhikers. (The two ZZ-top look alikes under a bridge in Mississippi don't count.)
* BIGGEST REALIZATION: You CAN jog in the driver's seat to prevent blood clots in your legs if you're inventive enough, but expect other drivers to give you weird looks and drive far away from you.
...Hey, let's do this again sometime soon.
According to Webster's, soon is an adverb meaning "...really, not in this lifetime." ;-o