Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sleeping with Linda Blair

That's what it's like sometimes. Big Dog has such restless body syndrome that sharing a bed with The Dog is like sleeping with Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

"The power of Christ compels you!" I feel like shouting at the twitching, flailing, jumping, levitating, restless form. Especially if it's been spinning around like that for hours.

Sometimes the flailing arms will hit me in the head. Sometimes the twitching legs will kick me.
Maybe I need some Holy Water. Maybe I need to stab him with a crucifix.

Maybe we need to find separate beds. Or better yet, bedrooms.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Plotting and Planting

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they garden.

J&R (that's "Glass Guy and his Girlfriend") have expanded their vegetable garden by almost 100% this year and it is giant. They labored for days in the planning and preparation -- digging, raising, installing gopher barriers (and more traps), planting and mulching with hay. Everything is labeled and looks very pretty. This year, they also have their extensive irrigation on timers.

They're quite academic about it all and seem to have done a lot of reading on "How to Grow Big and Tasty Vegetables."

The McC's, on the other hand, have little plots scattered throughout different parts of their zone. A bed of strawberries here, a forest of artichokes there, an L of berries, a plot of tomatoes and squash. Different stuff growing in different spots. Daddy McC fenced off this formerly untamed field for their garden and built a cute wooden gate with cut-out hearts. (At first, it even had a lovely stained glass circle in the middle but it kept falling out and breaking.)

Mine is even more scattered. It's looks like I have no idea what I'm doing. There are tomatoes, squash, peppers, peas and an assortment of greens in the regular vegetable plot but there are also more of them in the fringes of my strawberry bed. And this year, there are several containers growing vegetables around the house. It's a Hedge Fund of sorts.

"It's an experiment to see where the veggies grow best," I tell the curious.

The chickens are quite a nuisance. The Original Three weren't interested in pecking at the vegetables, but the Voracious Seven who are here now are tearing the place apart! They've made a total mess of the compost pile, pecked all of Mommy McC's spinach, lettuce and my chard. J&R already have their garden fenced. I haven't gotten around to fencing mine yet and have upside down gopher cages protecting my babies from the Terrible Peckers but wonder how long it will take before they figure out a way to lift those cages off...

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Eyeful of Iris

Irises are a-bloomin' all over the ranch, in every size and color.

Flowers are so erotic. And why shouldn't they be? They're the sex organs of a plant, after all.

I laugh at Big Dog (and my nephew, the Pupster, and our old friend RB, and....half a dozen other guys...) and their love of trains. "It's so Freudian! Guys are attracted to phallic shapes! And don't you just love to watch those trains go through tunnels? Ha ha ha!" But women are drawn to the vulval, like these gorgeous flowers. Whether you realize it or not, we're all gay.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

News from the Front

I may not be winning the Gopher War, but I think I am making headway in holding my own. The Solar Powered Gopher Repeller, a plastic stake about a foot long that makes this strange high-pitched giggling sound (like those laughing gophers in Caddyshack) seems to be working!

We put it in just before leaving the ranch for several weeks and when we came back, all the new gopher holes were on the perimeter. You could almost see the active area for this Repeller! For a while, though, I think the Mama Gophers were actually drawn to the noise and I was able to trap a couple more right by the device. Now, I have a new type of Solar Powered Repeller (different sound -- more like an electronic beep) in my rose bed which was just out of range of the other.

Which is all great news because Big Dog managed to pick up a shotgun from his dad's house and I really didn't want him using it. The rifle was bad enough.

"We have gophers in our yard, too! For the first time!" exclaimed T, wife of Big Dog's high school buddy, B, who made a surprise visit last weekend. She winced when we talked of trapping and shooting and I knew she was in her First Year of Gophers.

"Wait til the third year or so. You'll be shooting them, too!" we laughed.

T&B live in a nice residential neighborhood in San Diego and they never had gophers before.
"Now everyone's got them!"
"Was there a new development outside of town that destroyed their natural habitat?"
"I don't think so. We think maybe it's the water shortage."

All over Southern California, there is major water rationing. A bit late, we'd add. All the new residents, with all their water needs, plus the traditional lawn yard has sucked up all the ground water and then some. Limiting watering to the evenings isn't going to solve the problem. And now, it seems, it's driving the gophers to where there IS water. Where there's water, there's yummy green food.

"I heard that you can kill them with saltine crackers," T shared. "They can't drink water so that extra salt dehydrates them."
Sounds cruel...but effective?

But the best Gopher Extermination Plan was the one my friend told me about:
"I saw a clip about a year ago where some guys were getting rid of gophers using a high powered vacuum thing. They stick the hose in the hole and vacuum the bastards. The clip showed an amazing amount of them being whacked into the gadget," she e-mailed.

Now, where do you find this Gopher Vacuum? And once the vacuum is full, then what?

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Dispatches from the 20th Century

Life on The Ranch is often an 18th century experience, but regarding communication and information, we are definitely 20th century. We get radio, some cell phone connectivity and dial-up internet -- at the amazing speed of 28800 baud! Kids today probably don't know what a baud is. Or maybe even dial-up. We have 2 barely watchable terrestrial tv channels, but they'll soon disappear, too.

It's too easy to make my lack of a real internet environment an excuse for not blogging, but in reality, I just didn't feel like writing much the last month. After a couple of sleepless nights, though, I am feeling like updating this thing. Finally.

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