Thursday, July 12, 2012

Florida, Ann Curry and the big's Midlife Crisis

I have a goal to spin these mindless yarns out quite a bit faster than it may seem to any of you who may be following my exploits thus far.  However, my first opportunity in five years at more than two days in a row of leisure time finally arrived when my lovely spouse and I took flight to the warm and enchanting state of Florida.  We have never been there, and the fact that my wife's sister and husband had recently moved to Tampa from Myrtle Beach, SC, gave us two reasons to take flight.  Myrtle Beach is the home town of Vanna White by the way.  Betcha didn't know that.

My wife had to just about drag me away from here, there is so much to do around this fledgling homestead.  And then there's the cats.  The chickens.  That rooster.  Plus there are a lot of fledgling plants that need quite a bit of attention during the hot summer months.  I have a lot of stuff on automatic drip systems, which helps immensely, but there are many odds and ends.  Like the greenhouse, and both the front and back decks, which are all sporting a vast array of flora and fauna this time of year.

Fortunately, a childhood friend of our daughter's has recently started her own house sitting business, "Pet, Plant and Home" and was available for our dates.  She took great care of all my concerns, all plants and animals were healthy and happy upon our return.  Well, all except for Tom Cat.  He always cops an attitude for a while after we return from a trip.  He cranks up a little Patti Smith and smokes cigarettes in the bathroom until he's good and ready to be friends again.

If you live in the Western Nevada County area and need a house or pet sitter I highly recommend Amber, she will assuage all your homey concerns as you prepare to set sail. She pays attention to detail, she spends time with your animals (as well as feeds them), knows plants, and has flexible rates and schedules.  Amber Boardman can be reached at: 530.913.4627 or  Her website (above) is under construction but operational.

With the home front secure, we took a red eye east to Tampa from Sacramento, via Houston.  My wife and I had not seen our brother in law since 2007, when we hooked up with them for a week in Amsterdam.  That right there is a whole nother story, suffice it to say we had a dandy old time.  Nuff said.

Our sis manages to get out west just about almost annually, but he's an ER Doc and it's hard for him to get away.  He's a dedicated soul, dealing with the human condition at it's most macabre, most guests he sees are in sincere trauma and experiencing the worst day of their lives.  And others he sees have a hangnail or belly gas.  You name it, he's seen it.  He's seen stuff you couldn't even name.  Or imagine.  Or want to imagine.  What we humans do to ourselves and others.  He needs to write a book (or blog) and call it "Pus Stories".  He's a very smart and funny man, it'd be a great read.

He did manage to get some time off while we were there, and we did some grand exploring, both couples enjoying the same pursuits.  We'd explored together before, just on another continent.  No big difference.  Museums and hand-rolled cigars from Ybor City here.  Museums and hand rolled something or others from some cafe there.  It's all about the culture.

We discovered there are a lot of amusement parks in the state of Florida.  They got the Disney, they got the Epcot, they got the Universal, they got the Everglades.  We didn't make it to any of those, we were too busy visiting, and they were too busy with summer vacation.  We did, however, get to the Dali Museum, and that guy had an amusement park going on in his head.   He was constantly amused.  So we did make it to one.                              
Dali once said, "I don't need any drugs.  I am the drug!"  How can you argue with that?  Can I smoke some of his brain?

                       Here we are at the Dali Museum in St Pete.  I'm the tall one.   That's a mustache.

Here's a link to another website with information on Dali.  If you are so inclined.

We dined fabulously, laughed a lot and got caught up with life in general.  It's nice to have some family members where both couples get along famously.  We're already talking about our next excursion to see them in that tropical lullaby, maybe take a jaunt out to the Florida Keys.

Speaking of me, I've had a bit of a bout of a midlife crisis going on since we returned.  My wife and I have been Today show fans since the Tom Brokaw/Jane Pauley days, the early 1980's.  I had my own business at the time and found it beneficial to be relatively up to date on the current head lines while conversing throughout the day.  It was perfect for us, listening while we did our morning routine, stopping to view periodically when something piqued our interest.  There's been a number of personal changes in the show over the 32 years we have been watching, but we've been happy enough to keep viewing.  Well, until recently.

My wife and I have both enjoyed watching Ann Curry, the newest latest co-anchor of the morning news show.  We found her intelligent, charming, a good journalist and well dressed.  (My wife is a fashionista, and she enjoyed viewing what Ann was wearing each morning.)  Having been on vacation we were unawares of the brew ha ha that was brewing right thar at NBC, until Ann's announcement that she was being "reassigned."

WTF?  This woman is a respected journalist and has been a part of that show for years.  Shame on who the fuck ever that allowed her departure to be such a humiliating experience.  I don't care about the reasons, that's business.  I'm talking about respect, the only fucking rule there is as far as I'm concerned.

Since that debacle, we have been boycotting the Today show, out of respect for Ann.  But it's been hard.  We have been loyal viewers for 32 years, so trying out Good Morning America is kinda like trying out a new leather barcalounger.  Doesn't quite fit right but you just keep on adjusting and hoping it will fit so you can stay true to your word.  Or have some new fabric in the living room.  What's so wrong with moss velvet?

And then that dang new show brought my mid-life crisis to light.  They had this journalist named "Major" something or nother, and I got to thinking.  I've been getting called "shit for brains", among other monikers and sobriquets, for the past forty years.  I think I'm getting tired of that.  I think it's about time to change the current course of them appellations.  Or Appalachians.  Or Nebraskans.  I get confused.  I've known guys that changed their name from Larry to Lawrence for instance.  Or Bill to William.  Or Cathouse to Canary.

I think Major sounds too formal.  But I do like the sound of Kernel.  I think I'd like to be called Kernel.  My daughter thinks I should adopt a title too, she thinks I should be called Major Kernel.  But I don't want to be rank, so I think I should just be called Kernel.  Or big.  I've always been called "big", but that's usually followed by another colorful noun.  Like asshole.  Or shithead.  It all gets too confusing.  And complicated.  And life's too short.

That's why I prefer cruising the ambiguous nebuli, where everything is nothing, and life is absurd.  And I get to be the big nothing here, or kernel, whichever you or I prefer.


Rooster Update

It's been almost two months since we discovered our Rooster in the Hen House, and Goldie has grown on us immensely.  His voice has matured, and he now crows loud and clear.  He will generally start around 5:30 in the morning with a fifteen to twenty round chorus.  Then he'll quiet down for the most part for the remainder of the early morning hours.  He does crow periodically throughout the day, and he doesn't appear to have any reason.  Cock a doodle do.

We've started to grow accustom to his crow, much like one grows accustom to the chime of a Grandfather clock.  Both drive our guests crazy, so we turn off the chimes and will now make sure there is a fan in the guest room.  Our daughter informed us the white noise of the fan easily drowned out Goldie's roar.

He is very protective of his harem, and that has garnered him a lot of respect from me.  It seems we are both in the mode of protecting those hens.

I have built in several layers of protection for those birds.  They have a twenty square foot two story house, (a remodel of a goat pen) that will be the subject of another post very soon.  Attached to that is an outdoor forty square foot roofed cage with wire cemented a foot into the ground around the perimeter.  From there is a large six hundred fifty (or so) square foot fenced pen.  As I mentioned, the previous owner once had goats.  I essentially converted that space into a chicken kingdom.

I have recently been letting the harem roam and graze free and unabated around the house and yard while we are home.  It's been a hoot to watch, and they have been fertilizing and de-bugging as they go.  There is not a lot of landscape yet for them to destroy, as they will root around, destroy small plants and dig holes in the yard.  But right now our land is still not totally deer proof, so our unprotected landscaping is minimal.  Our battle with those flea ridden parasites (Yes, I said it.  I have grown to detest Bambi and her buddies.  Be gone I say!) will be the subject of yet another post.

But I digress.  Several weeks back I was in the house and the harem was roaming free.  I suddenly noticed the dark shadow of a large bird fly by our eastern bedroom window, the side of chicken world, and immediately raced downstairs to make a commotion.  I didn't need to.  Goldie was beside himself, flapping his wings and looking large, jumping around like crazed lunatic.  He was a major commotion!

It turned out to be a couple turkey vultures flying low to check out the scene.  They are generally not considered a threat to poultry, but you couldn't tell Goldie that.  It was clear the way to the girls was going to be through him, and he welcomed the opportunity.

While he certainly can exhibit explosive aggression, he has only blustered his form with us.  He still allows my wife to pick him up, and he has only pecked at her once, when she encroached upon his roosting hens in the early morning hours.  A learning experience for all.  

He is usually the last bird standing in the evening when I go up to lock them in for the night.  Most of the hens are already up and roosting by the time the sun goes down, but Goldie is still walking around.  They are a self-regulating bunch, whether roaming freely outside or within their fenced yard, when the sun goes down they retreat to their safe nestled world.

They have total access to the house, but during these warm months they prefer roosting on perches outside within the cage.  I have four perches of manzanita of varying length, and a few can also be found on the top of the open door to the hen house.  This will change when the weather turns colder, as that door will only be open fur human access. 

                                                   The Gold Man and a few of his girls.

The hens have also started laying eggs, and because of this, unfortunately, for a while, they're going to have to stay in their fenced-in universe.  I have built several lovely, elevated nesting boxes for them to lay comfortably.  There is also nice, soft rice hay all over the bottom of their house.  Some have obligingly decided to utilize the lovely, soft nesting boxes.  Others have chosen the nice, soft corners of the hen house.

There are other, much more challenging layers that have decided the wood pile is a good place to lay.  A couple others have chosen to lay underneath our garden shack.  Until they learn to lay in the soft lovely hay, to their dismay inside the fence they must stay.  There, I said it.  Again.

I have also found another alternative use for one of them handy dandy little litter grabbers: fetching eggs from tight quarters.  The other alternative use was fetching a rattlesnake from underneath the deck, but that's the subject of yet another blog, dare I bore you yet again to death. 

Fresh Egg Alert

For all you local folks, and you know who you are, we now have unpolluted and undiluted medium sized farm fresh free range ranch eggs available for $3.00 per dozen.  You know how to get a hold of me.