Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Days of Wine and Chickens

This is a great day. Any day I get dirt all over my body is a great day. I love to garden. I even love tending my chickens.

So, today is my first day to begin planting my garden – one I haven’t had for over 2 years now, ever since our house fire that pretty much sunk us in every respect, not the least of which is financially. But I digress…

I’m thinking about posting “Ode to Spring” things, but I can’t wait to get out there and get my hands and face dirty. For over 2 years my chickens have had their way with my garden—ate all my rhubarb, asparagus and artichokes—things I had grown for years, and things they told me at Western Farm Supply they wouldn’t touch. They even ate remnants of catnip and ALL my horseradish, although it took them 2 years to do the latter. I don’t think any of them could ever carry a disease—it’s been burned out of them.

They’ve given me a bumper crop of colorful eggs I trade at the local Farmer’s Market, for veggies and veggie/flower starts. Okay, fruit, and organic sheep sausage, English pot pies, fresh fruit turnovers, hot sauces, lemon and orange-flavored olive oil (try using it in your favorite corn bread recipe and they’ll never figured out how you did it) and occasionally cheeses and fresh crab. I’ve also traded for wind chimes that drive my brother crazy (he hates noise) tablecloths and cutting boards.

So my beautiful soil, with all the chicken poop and sawdust shavings from 2 years of henhouse cleanout, the virgin soil every gardener loves, rich with compost, and free of a single weed, rototilled to perfection (it was my valentine’s present from my hubby) is ready for my touch.

I am orgasmic!

So, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m in the garden, caked with mud. Entertaining my chickens.

Oh, and here’s a little secret I’ve learned about chickens, lest you think I am a Pied Piper or witch or something. They line up for certain things. One of them is $1.00 loaves of bread from Bimbo Bakery. God bless Bimbo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

End of A Love Affair

Somewhere in the green countryside, in the bucolic hills of Sonoma County, my car is dreaming. It hugs the road, as only a $70,000 car can. It has more horsepower for the dips and valleys than it has a right to. It owns the road. It owns the driver. It used to own me.

Not any longer.

I truly loved this car. I loved it the day I picked it out at the showroom. The faded blue fed my need to buy a car that wouldn't do well at resale. I wasn't going to re-sell it. I was going to keep it forever. Some day I was going to be a very spry senior citizen, driving her little antique sports car, hitting people with her cane when they touched it, unwilling to let anyone else drive it. Certainly no future grandson or daughter, God forbid. Maybe not my husband, if he didn't improve his driving habits and need for spine-tingling speed.

Sound system was superb. The stylish sporty chrome dials and buttons were specially designed for the AMG package. The dealer told me how wonderful the car was every time I took it in for service, that I should run the wheels off of it, that I should take it out, like a good racehorse and let it rip.

And I did. I explored the roads of Sonoma County, drove to and from Los Angeles a couple of times and did a trip up to Portland and Las Vegas. Fun to let your hair fly in the breeze. Suntan your face. Let them watch you go by in that one of a kind car, and say, "Wow. Look at her."

In the process, I hit every pothole between here and LA, most of them in Northern California. I hit the parking barriers, even ran into the valet parking sign at the hospital the night my granddaughter was born, and nearly took the thing home with me. Twice the front low-lying bumper cost us $2900. I once had to duct tape it on my way home from a writer's meeting in the East Bay. Although the duct tape was metallic silver, it didn't quite match.

At a whopping 9,000 miles on it, new tires were needed. All around. It cost almost $1800. I've gone through four of those now. Sets. The front passenger seat sticks. The windshield cracked a month ago. The registration is due in April, for another $500. The services are at least $600 twice a year.

And I'm done.

Oh, this car has been fun, don't get me wrong. I've loved nearly every minute driving it. But we don't live in Germany where you can go 120 mph, and, with the state of our freeways, even if you could, it would be worth your life. One of the other beautiful cars I bought, about five years ago, the one I thought I would keep the rest of my life, my husband picked up from the dealer. Five minutes into his ride home on the freeway, he got rear-ended at 34 mph and what was once a sleek, beautiful 4-door sedan suddenly became a compact Peugeot - 70's style small. We didn't get to drive our "new" car for nearly two months. The 120-point owner education session had lasted twenty times his ride home that day.

So maybe God has been trying to tell me something. It's been a wonderful lover. But it makes me choose between my pocketbook and my ego. I could have it as a trophy lover, someone to parade around in front of everyone. But I kissed him goodbye.

Like an unfaithful lover, he wasn't worth the real cost of ownership. It's been one of the best things I've ever done for me.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Preternatura: Free Reads

Preternatura: Free Reads: "The man outside Baronne Boat Rentals in Delacroix, Louisiana, aimed a mouthful of mahogany-hued tobacco juice in the vicinity of ..."