Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Asylum from the regard of others."

    In Walking Stewart's work on Moral Motion he writes about what he calls "an asylum from the regard of others."  He goes on for a while through several colons and semi colons,  and then he says this: "whereas, if I keep silence, I shall risk no criticism, and feel no mortifications of self love, by encountering an argument that may prevail and cause the impeachment of my judgment."  This 'asylum' is the pause to reflect, a moment to ponder the consequence of keeping silent, and a moment to ponder the consequence of adding to a discourse, and "mortification of self love" is a growling dog that makes you watch your step.. 
       For Walking Stewart a principle cause of unhappiness, or failure of Moral Motion, was being afraid or unable to risk "the impeachment of my judgment."  It lead to "servility," the "down cast stare," the "extinction of intellectual existence," and tyranny by "brutes of the forest." In the current era there are technical innovations, such as the one I so enjoy, that can pretty much do away with the "impeachment of my judgment" part of Walking Stewart's thesis.  Which I guess means that what I do here is a form of "self love" that can easily be made dangerously immune from any sort of mortification through the judgment of others, and therefore I would do better to think of these pages as an asylum rather than an intellectual existence.  But, if like me, you are haunted by Walking Stewart's materialism, worth remembering there is no record of his ever having spent a morning planting Beans, rather to "beguile himself of uneasy thoughts" he'd play the organ.

Monday, April 29, 2013


     Shulasmith Firestone, a very bright light in our world, came to her last day on earth recently.  Her book, The Dialectic of Sex, The Case For Feminist Revolution, argues for the elimination of male hegemony by doing away with the cultural distinction between boys and girls, and in discussing how that might be reasonably achieved she thoroughly pissed off the boys, pretty much all religious groups, as well as a majority of the girls. She died alone, her body wasn't found for a while.  And there is a suggestion that she had been suffering from a mental malaise that made her difficult to be around.  Toward the end of her book she decided that 'love' should be a principle around which the human condition might be arranged.  Nor is she the first to think that way, so probably worth wondering what she and others think 'love' might actually be, or mean, with respect to an organizing principle for our species.

    My understanding of the word 'love' and the various meanings associated with it has always been a hazy one.  Others look at the word and can see 'love' as something that might exist in and of itself, like a cloud, or a Vegetable Garden, or God.  And there are associations between 'love' and those sort of interactions between people that may or may not result in little people.  And sometimes too 'love' is thought of as a hopeless emotional condition that only time will cure.  But when I think about Shulasmith Firestone's book,  I think probably I should try to understand what she means in her use of the word 'love,'  by answering my confusion with a question that goes something like this: "I wish for an ideal state between you and I, and toward that difficult end I am prepared to compromise, are you?"

Sunday, April 28, 2013


     Now that I am no longer gainfully employed in the mail order retail industry, on a Sunday, I find myself glued to the television, which provides a choice between informational programming and a number of televised church services, some of which are conducive to foot tapping, and others of which appear to be wholly allied to some sort of frightening Nuremberg experience.  My own Sunday morning devotion, however, requires me to sit through  the hour or so that addresses the technical innovation of "induction cooking."  Which is up to twelve percent more efficient in its use of grid electricity than one of those glass radiant cook tops that can so suddenly  burn a person's hand when he is trying to make a point that has nothing whatsoever to do with cooking, and which can suddenly make him look rather inept, which thoroughly destroys any point he was trying to make, which in turn and for some reason, causes merriment in an observer.

      While there's no chance of burning a hand on an induction cook top, one of the issues with Induction Cooking is that you need pots and pans made from what's called ferromagnetic metal.  Otherwise a magnetic field will not be converted to heat by the pot, and the pot will just sit there looking shiny.  And I remember last year becoming enthralled by a battery operated weed eater that you could with just the two fingers throw from a fourth floor window onto pavement, and it would still do up to four hours of work without ever having to pause for tinkering.  All the same, this'll be the fourth year I've been  trimming the Vegetable Garden edges with the same pair of craft scissors. The blades are steel and coated with something called titanium nitride, which is a 'ceramic material' that  must have given the scissors a supernatural durability, because I can still cleanly cut my fingernails with them..

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Physics and Yellow Chats

     Time Space is one thing.  It's not two things.  And thanks to a star system that's seven thousand light years away from earth, I still have to think of gravity this way.  I am happily walking along toward a Dove. Something catches my attention.  It's over to my left, and I think it might be a Yellow Chat. And I can't help myself but tense up and creep toward what might be a Yellow Chat. 

      Now if I was physics, I would say the mass of a Yellow Chat puts a slope in time, down which I roll toward the Yellow Chat.  I know the Dove is still over there, but the Yellow Chat is not often seen.   Then if the Yellow Chat moves away, the slope he's made in time for my attention also moves away, and I turn back and move toward the Dove.  Trust me, we're not complicated.

Friday, April 26, 2013


    A Butterfly tastes with her feet. Human finger nails grow faster than their toe nails, and of Human finger nails the middle finger of the dominant hand grows faster than all other Human finger nails.  It's these bits of random information that interrupt progress when a person is trying to find out what a "Maypop" might be.

   The long answer is rather tedious, involving as it does my own reaction to any thing described as 'tasting like Blackberry,' as well an opinion or two on the the Goji Berry, along with the allergic reaction to the words "health food." The short answer is much more straight forward.  A "Maypop" is a Passion Fruit.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


    Recently, in the far reaches of what I guess is called "The News,"  there have been a number of references to research projects on a  'life crisis' that hits a being in 'later life.'  The observation has been made that "two or more stressful life events" trigger a mental and emotional crisis in two out of three people between the ages of sixty and sixty five, who then may have to seek help from the professional class, which I suppose would be the class of psychologist.  Apparently it's "nothing to be ashamed of."

     I'm going to quote Dr. Oliver Robinson who claims the later life crisis..."precipitates... a couple of years of struggle to find meaning in life, questioning yourself and your identity.." He goes on to add: "If you handle it badly it can accelerate your decline."   My own contribution to the research is to offer myself as someone who has been stressed out by meaning for well over half a century and who despite having handled it all very, very badly is somehow still here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Good Rain

    It's a rain day, with wind.   And when you see 'mostly clear' and 34 Fahrenheit there's a good chance of some kind of frost tomorrow night.  And too, the men and women in the high chairs anticipate this clear night and chill will be accompanied by a slight west wind, which might be of encouragement to those of us who insist patching frost is an east or north wind blight.

     However, some of us already have Oregon Spring in the garden. It's an early Tomato which a demon has persuaded The Artist, 'does just fine in the cold.'  As well there are little things here and there poking their way toward a vision of fulfillment.  And maybe one day I too will end up in a salad spinner or boiling water or mashed with something that's not even remotely related to butter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


    Crayons are not something one expects to find while digging holes.  A person can expect to find bits of pottery, glass, flattened beer cans, tractor parts, door hinges and the odd Potato rock.  He can expect nuts, bolts, useful looking springs and bits of wire.  A pair of pliers that he thought someone had stolen from him,  nails, but not crayons.
    There have not been crayon people round here for a great many years, and this particular crayon looked in remarkably good shape.  It's a yellow.  Might even come in handy, and I would have kept it had the white feather not reappeared in the barn.  It was there in it's usual spot, and I am absolutely beginning to believe that there's an Elf with nothing better to do in springtime than  mess with my mind.

Monday, April 22, 2013


    Some of us have spent the past month, or is it two weeks, in a high dudgeon against species in the Vegetable Garden that are shall we call them "Independent of politeness."  Or perhaps "Tunnel Dwelling."

     The Google Doodle this Earth Day includes a representation that I will call "Scampering Tunnel Dwelling Dots."  They could be Turkey Mites, or Tics because I experience a twitch reflex when I watch them. But more likely they are Voles, because Moles don't often move that quickly.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


    Average rainfall where I live for the month of April is around four and a half inches.  Next month the average is around five and three quarter inches.  And this year we are doing OK for rain.  A North East Wind in April clears away cloud, turns the sky very blue,  and brings chances of frost.  A South Wind brings up warmth, and as it does so it offers a little protection from the Sun.  A West Wind gives chances of rain.
     Today wind is from the East.  The air has a chill.  The sky is very blue.  The sun has a brightness  that requires blinking and moments of stillness when you come inside otherwise you bump into things, and knock stuff over.   Then there are sunglasses, which are often difficult to find, but worth going to the effort otherwise a glint from the breast of a Tree Swallow or a dew drop will blind you momentarily.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Twiddling With Wire

    There's two options with Rabbit.  One is to move to some part of the planet where there are no Rabbit.  Which would mean something like The Seychelles or Antarctica, or perhaps high in the Andes where Potato came from..
     The other is to spend a major portion of your waking hours twiddling around with bits and pieces of wire while praying to the God Lord that next time he considers creation he'll do some basic thinking before waving his wand.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seasonal Change

    The Rabbit of Usk is struggling with the seasonal change. He's got himself stuck in the desert, and there he is, yearning for winter so that he might again control his destiny by dominating my thinking.  He had this moment with a Leopard when he was a young Rabbit of Usk.  She followed him when he escaped from his boarding school. And now she's suddenly back  to haunt him.  It's so confusing.  And there's a strong possibility my head will explode, "flip out" along with the Cedar Rust Galls.

      How much simpler it is to pick stones from the Vegetable Garden. And I have found that a galvanized metal bucket works best. This way when you toss the stone up into the air there's the reward of hearing it land with a tin crack sound.  A sort of 'loud plink' of satisfaction, that can sometimes aggravate fellow gardeners. And when it rains an inch of rain, the hole in the bucket has an unpremeditated usefulness.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fear Ye Not

    Of late I have been Fruit Cake and Mistletoe.  Frilly in my dress, prancing around, and I put the square blame upon the seasonal change, which tardy though it might have been this year still brings out a bloom of good humor in me.  In a sense I should offer gratitude to the fates for landing me upon this particular compass point, which for six months of the year is basically leafless and frost plagued, because otherwise frilliness and prancing could become ordinary.  But probably more important to the security of the flame of my revolt is an outside intemperance that regularly occurs, a result of which can be a straight line wind, or some sort of spiraling vortex offering opportunity to enter some other dimension, or nine inches of rain in an afternoon, or a wind so dry it blanches the Laurel. 

      I guess it was the Tree Swallow's arrival that put a gooiness where my spine should have been.  Sent me slack jawed toward a look at me and how happy I am.  Saw me skittering with tiptoe and without socks between my feet and my shoes. A cordial of romantic impulse between myself and this earth. Kind of like a fifties musical with tap dancing it must have sounded and I'd heartily apologize if it wasn't for the sense of possibility contained within the nonsense from what must amount to at least several days by now.  But fear ye not this valley of the shadow of bliss because I have watched the television news and I have seen the weather forecast.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How The Foot Slips.

    Me, I become agitated by clods of clay and stones brought to the surface by veneration of soil through the practice of double trenching.  There's hours of raking, there's toing and froing with wheel barrow containing the product from hours of picking off detritus while pondering the value of a technical device that might sieve soil, and how I might make one that actually works.  Then I consider the readiness of  a Vegetable Bed, judge its slope and flatness, and continue to rake until I get the sense of how the water will flow. After which there are probably two seconds of 'bliss' during which I conclude the bed is ready for planting. I stand back and marvel at my achievement.  I feel the smile of Angels, see the sunray from above, know that I am worthy, and I clear my throat and look around in the hope that someone else might notice.  And in the end, those two seconds of bliss contain the sum total of fulfillment from the area that comprises the Vegetable Garden and beyond, toward Orion, as the Ancients might have concluded, or one or other of many somber, hallowed and distant places.  

     I could call those two seconds of fulfillment a "sense of property." I could wander into 'being,' see the flint knapper become a rocket scientist and clap my hands for lawyers and sense envy.  But how the foot slips in the next morning. And how the mind gazes star-wards at the soldiers of equal-ness, because there's fresh tunneling from my subterranean comrade, straight through the Beet Row, back stroking into the Carrots. As well, there's a strong possibility Voles have eaten away the Asparagus Crowns.  I look up see a boy Rabbit daring me to chase him, his aim in life is to see me trip and fall onto something sharp. I hear the Turkey and Barred Owl call. I hear Old Bluey's suitor bellow in the pipe that feeds her 'water feature.' I see what most likely are Hoppy Bug bouncing around pining for Eggplant and heading for the Potatoes where I am in no doubt emerging Colorado Beetle have the redoubt where their stories of valor keep young Squash Bug wide eyed and ever more determined to boldly go where no Squash Bug has gone before. Something leaps from the fence line and scurries up the trouser leg intent upon my jugular.  I open my arms in surrender, I give the smile of born again, because yes indeed, I know what happiness is.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


    Easy enough not to use the back door when there is a chair that holds magazines in front of it.   This chair is tricky to move without spilling magazines onto the floor, which means having to bend down to pick stuff up, and which also involves the inevitable pause to wonder why magazines are stored upon a chair.  But worse, following extravagant seasonal out door excursions,  bending down to do anything has to be negotiated according to a set of priorities, and  picking up magazines is down there with the clean socks or anything the wind hasn't yet had it's chance to blow away.

      And I guess there should be a chair on the other side of the back door, holding perhaps light bulbs, so that after a spell in the outdoors there is upon return to the domicile yet another reason not to use the back door. This way perhaps a person wouldn't have to use valuable bending down time to pick up unnecessarily.   However the act of picking up magazines from the floor is, in and of itself, so daunting a prospect that it serves as what some might call an "Aid Memoire."  Which, if you are a smart arse is an irritating way of saying "A Reminder." But which in the annals of diplomacy is a contribution, or prelude to negotiation.  A sort of list of things to be discussed in the coming game of chess, rather than a document you signed containing your terms of surrender to Nesting Carolina Wren, one of which was never to use the back door until maybe the middle of May, on the off chance a glove box becomes a primary nesting site.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fallen Angel

    I have raged against The Mole.  I have said bad things about him.  I have strung him up in effigy and poked him with sticks.  I have wasted laborious days digging subterranean fences to deter him, and to no avail.  I have spent hours with weapon in hand, staring at a square inch of ground, waiting for someone to move, like a mental patient, and without a cigarette because I was told Moles can smell tobacco smoke.  I have almost cut off my toes with a jembi,  and I have nearly shot myself in the foot with a shotgun, so tunneled has my vision been made. I have written long incomprehensible tirades to complete strangers venting spleen upon the uselessness of their Mole Deterring Product, the puerile nature of their instruction booklet and otherwise wishing them an early grave.  I have sneered at Mole Removal Cream and realized I was in a Pharmacy getting my photograph taken so that I might say farewell to the status of Resident Legal Alien.

     And I have most certainly done and thought things that I ought not to have done or thought. I once drove the Artist close to insanity by the random 'pinging' of a battery operated sonic device that you stick into the ground and are supposed not to be able to hear, but for some reason I too could hear and insisted I couldn't, so she was probably allergic to something blooming in the river or maybe a distant neighbor had a dog whistle.  I have tried Garlic, Tiger Urine Pellets, Chewing Gum.  I have considered a series of pipes attached to the exhaust of a mowing machine.  But all that's changed, because when put beside a Vole, The Mole is now my friend, my comforter and my hero.  And thank God, he's back in the Vegetable Garden, reclaiming his tunnels from the menace of fast moving, keen eyed and quick talking hordes of Vegetarian Vole who are apparently driven passionate by Spinach seedling and seem to work only at night so they are obviously agents of  The Fallen Angel.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A spritely Resident

    A great while ago I came to the conclusion that I shared the passages, tunnels and corridors of existence with a lonely and sometimes embittered object.  I pictured it with eyes and teeth, but I could never see it, I could only ever feel it or hear it.  For a while I was able to think of it as traveling through my veins and arteries, and when it became particularly anxious it would lodge itself in my wing, or my knee, or my heel, or up and down my back and along one or other of my thighs, or in the more elegant of my two wrists.  And there was little doubt in my mind that  somewhere just to the south of my ears this object was attempting to reproduce. I chose to think this because it certainly spent a great many of it's waking hours on that particular street corner, loitering around the base of my skull, where I could hear it croon and catcall, gnash its teeth and I imagine it winked at passersby. 

      Then, - (and this was many years ago, in the last century when a medical professional would shake your hand, say hello, and at least give off the impression that you were something other than a minor flow in the game of wits between themselves and the insurance industry) - I fell to a dizziness that suggested I might have a brain aneurism, which, it was explained to me, was like a hemorrhoid in the head. Or, the medical professional continued in that excited way, it was possible I could have very expensive brain tumor developing, and this, it was explained to me, might be better understood by a lay person as a whole lot of stuff growing uncontrollably inside someone's  head.  Or, the medical professional sighed, it could turn out to be nothing more than something a layman would call 'not worth the paper work.'  Back then of course I was innocent and rather sweet, and prone to suggestion, much moved by peer pressure and the interpretation of others.  Now days I prefer to speak "me." And over the years, my friend, the embittered object, has clearly had many spritely children, one of whom now resides happily in my right shin.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Caramel Easter Egg

    So I shaved and shampooed my hair for the big day in town.  I went to the Southern States, they called me 'Buddy,' and I came away with two bags of modified Coir and the smaller packet of Roma II Bush Beans.  Then I went to the Post Office, they called me 'Madam.'   When I replied, 'Yes indeed! I feel cute today,' there was profuse apology, some blushing, much use of the word 'Sir,' but no one in ear shot smiled back at me.  And I came away from the Post Office with two weeks of what I guess is called  'mail,' a book of the very dull 'Freedom' stamps, and the certain knowledge that I really have to watch my tongue when out and about, otherwise if ever she returns from her travels The Artist may have to decide whether or not to retrieve me from somewhere in Lexington that has in its title the word 'behavioral.'

     In the Grocery Store, I stared at sausages, bits of Cow and something called 'Bison Burger.' Not because I am passionate about these things, but because a younger man was engaged in what I will describe as 'obviously surreptitious discussion' with a younger woman, and I was suddenly nosey.  From what I could glean, someone had died and there was a cruel quarrel about where the deceased should be 'put to rest.'  I could feel my own contribution emerge.  I could hear 'Kentucky's Statute KRS 367,' which contains the rule that takes a dim view of the  Zoroastrian tradition of  'putting to rest,' dart toward the vocal chords. Briefly I thought my own predicament might give the grieving younger people comfort. Then as a reward for controlling my tongue, I decided to spend fifty cents at the check out counter on an Easter Chocolate Caramel Egg.  The check out person charged me sixty cents for it. When I raised an eyebrow, it was explained to me that to get the fifty cent rate on an Easter Chocolate Caramel Egg, I'd have to buy two of them. And against that sort of unnatural obsession with even numbers I took a stand. "Have a blessed day," I said. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rain Day

    A good wet day should be spent in something like a garden shed. Listening to rain, in company with a push mower blade, drinking cold coffee and blowing cigarette smoke at Bumble Bees.  Then, naturally enough, a person feels something crawling up his leg, he rips of his trousers, loses his glasses, gets bitten by a Spider and the day begins to deteriorate. 

      Quite why it is Spiders bite people I don't know.  It's possible they think of us as huge meals. Great big jelly roll doughnuts with the Raspberry flavored filling, very prominent and noisy in the grocery aisle, with just enough sugar and deep fried bleached flour to cause salivating of mouth parts, a box of them on sale for two ninety five.  It's also possible Spiders bite people to discourage us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dance Phrases

    Of the things I can remember,  most of them appear to reside in the years prior to about 1985.  I have a sense that perhaps eight years ago this statement from me would have been inaccurate.  In the meanwhile, I have achieved a worrisome state whereby I can look at the place where I have now lived for most of the current century and feel as though I have been here forever, yet I remember very little of it.  The sense of being here forever, and the closeness of memories prior to about 1985, leaves a void of around twenty six years.  So it's possible that by this time next month I might have further deteriorated, which means I should quickly join with the political class and consider the word legacy.  What will I say on my death bed.  And so far, in this area, I have spent more time than is perhaps natural allowing my mind to become diverted by a list of faults in the various absurd rules and regulations that govern the practices of financial interests in that area of activity which ends with a "funeral."  I am sure you too will be shocked to hear that I'd have to be flown to somewhere in Asia so that I might be "funeral-ed"  as Zoroastrian.  And the Asian Gyps Vulture is no more deserving than the Turkey and Black Vulture here in my own sweet state of Kentucky.

      To be remembered for something like "I wish I had been born in a nest ninety thousand years ago," is not well tuned to the angelic chorus of coin and mortgage rates and the tapestries of hell which have been knitted for us by those who will insist in the progress of our species.  Nor might promulgating a view of the political impulse as a psychosis with it's root deep in a paranoia issuing from technical innovations that began with perhaps mastery of fire and the idle curiosity of early flint knappers, or what others might call, "Property."  Which is as good an explanation for the "Expulsion from Eden" that I have come across.  But as a rule, in the matter of legacy, these sort of antithetical views, unless properly couched by provenance, mark a person as leaning toward nut case.  Such statements lack the positive flare, there is no suggestion of 'determined contribution,' or 'good news.'   There is no hint in them of an energy that might persuade a population to leap for the telephone and randomly call complete strangers.  However there is an evocativeness from certain song phrases that I have found most useful in maintaining a more reasonable tie to being upon earth.  "Give me a String Bean," from Bob Dylan's song.  Up there also is, "keys in the ginger jar,"  a refrain from South Wales that still rings the chime in me.  And high in this list of brilliance are the words, "Don't Tempt Me," from the twenty first century song Flip Out by Slipperz.  And it's possible too that beyond such phrases and the odd rain shower, it's not worth travelling.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


    I have no doubt I'm an innately ill tempered, bad mannered, and thoroughly disgruntled member of my species.  All of them vices I am convinced were written into the genetic codes I inherited, which because I have blotch and redness I am content to blame upon Vikings.  

    But it strikes me that Vikings, because they appear to have spent most of their non-drinking hours aboard open boats in the gales of the North Sea, would have developed a tolerance for windiness. Classically enough the sole useful element of the Viking within my genetic make up is absent.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hoisted by a Petard.

    The line between the menace of Moles and the evil of Voles, is a very thin one.  If you have Moles in the subterranean caverns, they frighten away Voles.  If as a result of a blind rage that led to a murderous interlude, which resulted in your Vegetable Garden Mole being dispatched, then Voles soon dominate.  And very obviously, Voles are little yellow teethed demons that adore Spinach, and  like to travel the underground superhighways nibbling off the feet of Carrot simply because they are able to. Not a blatant act of vandalism that might be expected from a Mole.

    I dream of the day when we can all get along.  When each of us shares, and the idea of 'mine' drifts toward Barbary, as the running Hyenas are silenced permanently by their own petard. From the Latin, 'peditus,' which in Latin days meant 'to break wind,' before ever it became a temperamental bomb for knocking out a castle gate or doing way with a  Shakespearean character, or a French word for marijuana cigarette.  Meanwhile I have sent letters to the High Council of Kestrels, and to the Wigwam of Barred Owls, pleading for their assistance.  Kestrels however, are currently obsessed with copulating and Barred Owls have asked me to remove all fences, leaving only the fence posts, which is just so damn typical of them.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Luddite Heart

    One alternative to Peat - or Sphagnum, or the thousands of species that comprise Moss Bogs - is the part of a Coconut between the hard internal shell and the slightly less hard outer part of a Coconut.  This fiber has to be washed to reduce levels of sodium and potassium before it can be used in soil, or in what a shovel-less  fascist might call  'growing medium.'  Another name for this fiber is Coir.  When you prepare Coconut fiber to make ropes and mats or stuffing for mattresses, there's a left over that gathers.  Much of this left over is a dust.  Some will tell you this Coir Dust can take up to twenty years to become one with the universe. A claim that so grabs at my Luddite heart, the claim can only be a figment from an advertizing agency.  

   It doesn't matter what the rulers of the Peat or Sphagnum industry tell you.  They employ miners while they themselves spend their vacations in Cancun because after a Peat Bog is done with, the view at home is unpleasant and you have to wait about two thousand years for the bog to re-grow.  I'd say people who grow Coconuts have the distinction of being tropical gardeners and have no need to ever climb aboard a bloody airplane to get away from their view, but  who knows now there's a Coconut husking machine that does the work of twenty highly trained men in an afternoon.  Yesterday I was again made emotionally distraught by the condition of the soil in the Vegetable Garden.  Despite the barrow loads from compost piles, I have seen more humus in the sand of the Sinai Desert.  There are two kinds of Peat in the USA. The stuff from Canada which serves the soil here for about six months and the stuff from Florida which serves soil here for about two weeks.  These days where I live you can get Coir Dust, it's more expensive than Peat, because the interest that sells it doesn't open on Sunday afternoon. Sadly that part of the Vegetable garden where Coir was applied sometime last year, is now where Moles go to learn ballet dancing. Which I'd guess is some sort of a tribute.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Snurk Factor

    Snurk Factor is at level ten.  A complicated  technical expression, I know.  To give it a perspective I guess a level ten Cold Factor is something in the region of minus one hundred Fahrenheit and you'd have to be in somewhere like Vostok, Antarctica, where the coldest temperature reading ever on earth was made by Soviet scientists in July of 1983, a reading of minus one hundred and twenty eight degrees Fahrenheit.  In Vostok the record high is around ten degrees Fahrenheit, which in Cold Factor equivalence for Vostok would be about level one, or a good day to take off a couple of layers, get out and about, do a little shopping, walk the Husky.

   Another way of thinking about Snurk Factor at level ten, is to take an old feather pillow, put it in a very large plastic bag, add something yellow, like mustard powder, or brush a couple of tablespoons of pollen off the bonnet of the vehicle, maybe add some dirty socks and a few toe nails lost to foot fungus, and for about ten years keep it in a warm cupboard. Then remove the contents of the plastic bag, send everything through one of those noisy electrical devices that can make milk shakes and when necessary can turn rock into dust,  return the pulverized remains to the plastic bag, then  climb into the plastic bag, have someone seal it up with one of those horrible wire ties and you just roll around taking deep breaths for a about eight hours.  Dangerous you might think. Not for small children and old people, you might think.  But trust me, Snurk Factor 10 is a warm day in Vostok if put beside the end of this month when Tics hatch and The Twitch Factor can approach level ten.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


    Don't remember ever feeling like a Gazelle. I am sure there are some who can.  I imagine it to be a combination in ebullience that includes clear eyes, a spring in the step and a level of energy those who have never felt like a Gazelle might call an irritating restlessness accompanied by fidgeting and highly imaginative reasons to transcend the physical.  
   Ebullience comes from the Latin word to bubble. A boiling up that might find release in levels of activity such as running around like a mental patient with a wheel barrow. However I am able to say that the compost piles are pretty much moved, and I believe I have always known what it feels like to be a Gazelle run over by a steam roller.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Woody Perennials

    I'd like to think the neat pile of  droppings could be traced to something polite with feathers, not to something with beady eyes, four feet, hairless tail and an ancestral memory of carrying the cross of  the Black Death to one half the human population of Medieval Europe.  As I tiptoed around,  I looked on the bright side. That population collapse in the fourteenth century resulted in an increase in the price of labor, or labour, which ushered in a more equitable life for those like me who belong to the thoroughly disgruntled laboring class.  And if yesterday was a recipe, I'd call it seven damp hours, two trips to town, two band aids for cracked thumbs and one over-stretched vocal chord. All of them damned good reasons to not answer the telephone.

   Worst of all was a battle of wills against the new fangled tubeless tire which had naturally lost its capacity to seal.  Nor is the insertion of inner tube an easy thing for an elegant wrist attached to a mind that thoroughly distrusts the motivation behind anything made in China.  Then there was the pathetic cough associated with drained battery syndrome, which I tried to explain was something that we all just had to live with.  These preludes to spark plug removal, were wasted effort, so I threatened a cold and lengthy spray of ether up the carburetor.  But more likely when waking a dormant mowing machine the better place to start is with an understanding of the internal combustion engine that includes the knowledge it requires at least some gasoline in its tank before it can concentrate. And if I have any advice for the younger generation it would be to enjoy an ability to remember the obvious while you still can.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


    I'm going to call today the Third Day of Spring.  It has a certain damp chilliness, with forecast for paltry showers, and I remember last April was dry, an ill wind for summer rains.  But grasses that do not belong to the class of Creeping, have decided to green up and grow.  With the result that a being becomes inextricably drawn to search out hammer and tong with which to reacquaint devices that cut grass with their original purpose.

   All very well sitting there on a flat tire, gathering mouse nest, hoping to be mistaken for an ornamental. And true there is a part of me that also yearns for a bio-engineering miracle of a grass that can cut itself.  But I have found that when approaching a dormant mowing machine, who in mowing machine years is venerable to the point of geriatric, best to do so with the absolute confidence of a drill sergeant, otherwise things can get very ugly, cruel words exchanged, and terrible grumpiness. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lost Ward

    My Woo Mockingbird sang sweetly while I worked the compost piles.  She'd dot down to pick at things that wriggle or might once have wriggled. And I felt proud and important, and very male.  Sadly we boys are fickle, passions attached to us become like Grasshopper legs. At first I thought it was a shadow in the eye of old age, or perhaps something mold wrapped on the spectacles that had flicked my way while doing masculine battle with a stubborn root of Poke Weed.  But it was nothing so expected, and the Woo Mockingbird became silent, which can be depressing, when your elegant and aristocratic wrists ache and your wing twinges, and you're fairly certain you've just laid hands upon Poison Ivy and there's a thorn in a finger tip you lost twenty odd years ago, and you're trying to think of ways to recap the thoughts of an entire winter without mentioning Popes, or Saints, or the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, or the Rabbit of Usk, or Ptolemaic Kings, because you've realized you only like the word "transgression" when it's joined to "Dunkirkian."

   She was there on the fence post, her back to me, staring west, so I followed her gaze.  Of course all Mockingbirds and Spiders see better than I do, so I persevered and suddenly I saw what the Woo Mockingbird had seen. Like a slow Butterfly almost, floating through air. Sun caught a royal sparkle of blue, and a knife sharp scissor of tail that becomes dainty when it twists and turns.  Her breast was almost sleet white and the curve of her wings dark against the horizon. Inches away from me, she looked me in the eye, so the universe might know stillness.  She was up from the distant south where the Parrots live, and in no hurry, a stroll I guess, looking this way then that way. And then, as she remembered us, she thought it a "welcome home" when the Woo Mockingbird gave her a chase, and she came back for another touch of affection. I turned toward the bloom of Forsythia and decided that if I died at three in the afternoon, I'd die happy. But, if it so happens that my heart doesn't burst sufficient to end me, and you spot me in the Lost Ward please don't touch my feet or pat my head, just pull out the plug of whatever it is I might be attached to so that I might gurgle my last breath in bliss.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Heaven and Hell

    Difficult to get away from Jeremiah when attempting to understand what it is a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew means by heaven or by hell.  I read recently from a reputable, if rather elitist and very pompous source, that basically anyone who might have "graduated from a secular college" is unlikely to hold the view that Heaven and Hell are real places. An infuriating assumption, for which he presents no evidence whatsoever. Kind of like me, in many respects.  But the correspondent also suggested that if Christians or Muslims believe something, then odds are secular Jews are apt not to.  The more diligent reader of scripture however, will find an idea of heaven and hell in the Old Testament Book of Daniel.  Essentially it has to do with dying for the cause under circumstances where the cause appears hopeless, so dying for it could be no more than a pointless act of stubbornness, or an heroic moment that becomes the light of the world, or righteousness.  And around this dilemma, for Jewish people, arose the festival of Hanukkah.   The battle celebrated was between traditionalist Jews and Hellenized remnants of Alexander's Empire who in attempting to secure their newly acquired territory as a bulwark against the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt, had joined the long list who for some reason decide to take Judah out of Judea by messing with who did what in the Jewish Temple, thus riling the Fundamentalists and creating a moment of decision for Secular Jews.

   Despite being greatly outnumbered, the traditionalists recaptured their Temple, and they produced the miracle of a lamp that apparently stayed lit despite its shortage of oil, which was certainly a sign from God that the traditionalists were on the correct path.  Also they produced, from a passage in the Book of Daniel (12:2), an idea that martyrs to the cause of retaking and protecting The Temple, would awake to everlasting life, where they would become like stars in the dark night, and lead many to righteousness. Those who preferred not to risk such a fate, just because cloven hoofed creatures were being sacrificed in a Temple that Jewish people had built for their own precious moments, would probably not gain everlasting life as a lead star, and instead would gain everlasting life as something less savory.  In my reading, heaven and hell were descriptions of legacy, rather than actual places.  But it was Jeremiah, who like Daniel, lived his life some four or five hundred  years before The Maccabean revolt against Hellenist thoughtlessness, who asked the "why me?" question. And he came away with the mostly paranoid answer, "because the universe knows my name, my address and my thoughts, even though I have done absolutely nothing to attract his, her or its attention."

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Weeping Prophet

    A recent estimate suggests that there are twenty six and half million cubic kilometers of ice on the very large continent of Antarctica, which is about five percent more than previous estimates.  Further estimates suggest that should this ice all melt, sea level would now rise by fifty eight meters.  And I too share the opinion prevalent a little to the west, to the east and to the south of where I live that the metric system is not only the principle reason President  Jimmy Carter served just the one term, it is also a communist conspiracy and quite obviously yet one more manifestation of Sharia Law, as well as being a threat to the Second Amendment's rules about who is and is not permitted to load a musket.  So, in order to give fifty eight meters a perspective the Weeping Prophet Jeremiah and I might both understand, fifty eight meters is somewhere between ninety and a hundred ells or amahs or cubits, or about half a stadium, or about as far as you can walk in a minute at a rate both Jeremiah and I, after much debate, have decided to call - 'prophet with large shaking stick, long beard and poor knees shuffling pace, when he is being chased by barking Beagle puppies which have rabies.'
     Which basically means that if all the Antarctic ice were to melt, Greece and France would remain much as they are today.  But Lake Galilee, or the water Jesus walked upon, would probably join the Mediterranean at the town of Haifa, a little north of Mount Carmel, an area which prior to the Roman occupation was generally called "mound of the fish." Lake Galilee would then stretch all the way south, almost to  the Gulf of Aqaba. The English, not the Scots or the Welsh, would lose at least half of their land mass. That bedrock of freedom, the Netherlands would become two small marshy Islands off the crocodile infested Coast of Germany, and here in the United States, Huston, Sacramento, New York City, pretty much all of Louisiana and Florida would be underwater.  Meanwhile, Richmond and Washington DC would have become Mosquito ravaged seaside towns, and the Mississippi River would enter the Gulf of Mexico somewhere in the middle of that part of the world that still thinks it's 1913 and would much rather it was 1813 when  a slave owning Madison was president, and poor Dolley kicked out of the Quakers for marrying a Deist.  But, if Hippo are ever signed into Kentucky's Category II list of  invasive species, unlike Jeremiah, I'll not be blubbering on into the night about my personal relationship with the universe, or what Jeremiah calls his Creator.