Moist Ditches And Windshield Wipers

When the news of the world becomes as stressful as a large bowl of salmon scales, I often begin to reminisce about the good old days when lutefisk was worn casually in the shape of a man’s oversized basketball hamper while small, decorative houseflies jump though hoops of blazing oatmeal during halftime at the “Sniff Your Dog’s Crayons” Festival; which is held every 10th Sunday of Jangulary in the beautifully snail infested vegetable drawer of Nyvack, New Applesander.

This of course has nothing to do with messages like:

“I believe I’ll resume sleeping in moist ditches again soon.” Or

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow your windshield wipers for a couple months.”

And of course:

“Now that I’ve reached Mt. Agnes, my next journey will involve training my hair to light up during times of Zombie Invasions.”

All of these communications will be delivered to your screens long before you are able to discern the value of large piles of rusted pine trees. Please don’t attempt to erase this long standing lard hopper entertainment removal procedure. You’ll only end up with way too many roasted pick whistle shavings.

Speaking of whistle spray, I’m hereby reminded of a true (and probably completely false) recounting of our dear Grand Leaf Handler:

Long ago in Grandfather’s beard, a small squid died and stunk for days. All the village Elders offered him fire to drink and hid his remote control. Little children crawled up to see him and chewed off his toes. His own family sent for the Magic Bowl. They filled it with bird runch and mixed in pork, crayon shavings and geek fat. The ceremony began with the first three episodes of “Gilligan’s Island”; and when Grandfather started lusting for Mrs. Howell they fed him the Modongo. Very soon Grandfather blortled and fipped. He asked “What kind of bird runch are you feeding me today? Anyhow?” His family laughed at the snackwonder: “OH! AH! HOO!”, they bribbled. And that is how this Hay-Wy-Ann Island got its name.

I think…

Therefore my friends, dwell not on the nonsensical. Please do not try to extract any logical explanation for silly text that has no rhythm or sense of smelt. Additionally, remember that silliness is not at all similar to boiling marbles in chocolate powder. Lord knows only bicycles can endure that type of topical storm.

Thank you, and may all your blessings fly paper airplanes during important salamander conferences.

Yours In Deep Sleep,

Melbert “Whippy” Goatfinder

And now for the REAL taste test that was delivered many years ago in a dream I’d like to remember while grocery shopping.  Beware:  lots of slapstick in this one.

A Grateful Heart Has No Tonsilitis

Quote

Dear Ninks and Semmerflubens,

I am writing to all of you from the back yard where no children are stuffing bread into the worm holes. This week has been especially stressful in This Universe, what with televised evidence of the attempted democracy destruction and war and inflation and stuff like that there. Therefore, in the interest of clam flavored desserts, I feel the need to remove my corporate tortellini. Those of you who know me are aware that some stressfully sprinkled donuts prompt me to write letters to fire hydrants.

Let this past century of my 13 day week be no Oldsmobile to that incubation.

Four egg sample: I decided to purchase gasoline today. Thought $4.96 was a bargain!! I never thought I would think that the thought of thinking that gas less than $5 a gallon was a thought to be thought of. But I was grateful (?) to get the “bargain.” After I put over $70 into my Toyota Sienna Racing Van (which, by the way, gets about 30 mpg if I go just a smidge less than 65 mph), my Lovely Wife Person made a rather sacrilegious exclamation. As I opened the door to get back in,  I turned my back toward my Beautiful Girlfriend and asked, “Honey, is my hiney bleeding??” We left the gas station with a Holy Mackerel Price Rash, but soon found ourselves saying, “We must remain grateful that we are still able to pay our bills, and put gas on our table and put food in our car!!” After all, we are indeed very fortunate people who no longer require adult supervision at most Twinkie eating contests!! So yes, we are not happy that the oil companies are robbing us, but the bottom line is that we needed to get with the gratitude awreddy to prevent our heads from exploding.

My Self agreed that grouch makes ouch. I decided I really ought not allow this universe to remove my ventricles or extinguish my lapis lazuli.

Thankfully, I’ve acquired some tools during this Journey Called Life that give me the ability to cope with the smell of rotten eggs and other people who seem bent on ruining our everything. I smile and decide not to be El Groucho inside my brain world. At least not for 27 minutes, then I could reevaluate and perhaps even continue another 14 milliseconds. By golly, that may have actually worked. I try hard to not take the horrible events of the world too poisonously. Then perhaps I may also sprinkle some nonsense into the Happy Friday Writing Thing to make myself chortle and breep and hopefully help others to chuckle Chiclets while changing their socks. Of course I could take the alternate route and vehemently complain until my forehead has become inflamed with large pickles that fly violently in all directions. This of course would serve no other purpose than to unsuccessfully clone my onion rings before Hubert The Closet Painter arrives from Denderflaven. If he gets here before the sauerkraut capsules are fully declawed, there is absolutely no guarantee of the existence of any newly sharpened Jell-O forks.

And we all know what that means!!

So, I’ve decided to just be happy until I feel grouchy again, and thankfully The Grouchies are much fewer and farther between than previous infections. I’ve learned that I can start my day over again with a new happy and grateful attitude. Then if I get grouchy once more it will hopefully be a little less, and I keep practicing the gratitude thing. Then if people continue to get on my nerves, I’ll merely sing a pleasant song to them when their ears are not looking. Something cheerful like…

Leave me alone or I’ll bite you

Your ears are made of sticks

Why do you talk to ME like that

I’ll send you cat logs in the mail.

This of course is sung to the tune of “Leave Me Alone Or I’ll Bite You.”

Finally, and least palatable, is what seems to be an attitude of “Hooray for Me and to Hell with YOU” in our nation of freely expressive greedy stinkbottoms. I mean hey, I’m very grateful we live in a free country and hey, you know, when it comes right down to it, most of us are spoiled Americans compared to many folks on this planet. You know, hey? It’s just um… what troubles me, is um… you know, like um… wait a minute, let me hold my smellphone and text someone while you’re trying to talk to me and um… you know, this “America First” stuff seems to be causing a lot of resentment in the world and last time I checked, if a person is silly enough to proclaim himself King Of The Mountain then someone is gonna want to knock them down off the top of that mountain with a giant Tootsie Roll or something much more explosive.

Greed is harming all of us; and it ain’t no good for Mother Nature neither. We humans don’t own this planet, although we seem to act like the whole thing is ours. These things make me become very figgly and bickety-boo! So then I start getting more with the Grouch Ouch, and I want to go bite a bark flavored tricycle!!

Then I laugh at my silliness and life is once again refreshing and full of new opportunities to enjoy fruit and perhaps even the occasional flying insect.

Sometimes I restart my day 479 times or more.

So, how was YOUR week?

I think this cartoon was made when gas was just a wee bit cheaper than today…

Date Night!!

I’m a very fortunate fellow. I’ve managed to retire with zero debt. I am pretty healthy for an old fart. Cars that work and are paid for; and house that works and is also paid for, and also enough book-learnin’ to have the smarts to know that a preposition is a word one should never end a sentence with.

Oh carp, I flunked that one. Anyway…

On top of all this good fortune, I’m in love with a Beautiful Woman who actually loves me back!! Is that cool or what?? We are best friends; and it’s not very often a guy can boast that he’s in madly in love with his best friend. Depending on your orientation, you may not want to boast that you’re in love with your best friend. Not that I have any objection to such things!! But in my case, I am a man, and my best friend is a woman; and I’m in madly in love with her. I guess that labels me as a heterosapiens rather than a homosapiens.

Whether you like it or not, my best friend (who is also my Beautiful Girlfriend) and I still like to go on dates.  We’ve been doing this kind of thing for 50 years now, so we’re starting to get pretty good at it.   One of our favorite things to do is go to the drive-in.  Yes!!  We still have a drive-in!! Before the movie, you’ll find me at home, romantically shelling popcorn for our date. I’ve never romantically shelled popcorn before, so this would prove interesting. You see, I grow popcorn each year, and last year’s harvest is still hanging on the popcorn tree waiting to be shelled. The popcorn tree is actually a homemade coat rack that was given to us by our dear friend Mike’s father.  He was an amazing craftsman.  This coat rack, however, has many, many dowels sticking out; so not such a good coat rack but a splendid place to tie ears of popcorn together by the husk and hang them to dry.  Santa brought me a sheller several Christmases ago, so that provides the good excuse to get busy with the popcorn shelling in a romantic sort of way, whatever that means. No YouTube video will be permitted, thank you very much.

I will also be romantically popping some of this popcorn so we can bring a healthy amount of it to the movies with us. Most theaters would not permit this; but we’d be going to the Getty 4 Drive-In you see. And if you follow that link back there (click on Getty 4 Drive-In), you can see what’s playing.  We were hoping to see the new Doctor Strange movie, but I think we waited too long as it’s now preceded by the Bob’s Burgers movie, and my Lovely Bride has no interest in seeing that one.

We try to do this at least once each summer. Brings back fond memories of childhood. Brings back memories of our early dating years too; when we would combine a trip to the drive-in with watching the submarine races (if you don’t understand, search the interwebs). So that being said, I have one complaint about these here modern-type vehicles. They make any attempt at watching submarine races rather difficult, unless you’re a contortionist.

When we were first dating, we took my father’s Ford Ranchwagon to the drive-in. It had long bench seats so me and my Honey Pie could snuggle and um… watch those submarine races. Now we have two choices of vehicles (remember? cars that work and are paid for!!): a Toyota Corolla IM, or a Toyota Sienna minivan.  Problem for a submarine race fan like me is that stupid console that either car has between the driver and the passenger. Sheesh!! Might be able to slide over for a smooch, but that’s about it.

I don’t, however, miss the speakers. They were actually still working when we first visited the Getty 4, but they’re part of drive-in history now.  They pretty much always sounded bad; and the volume control was always touchy. No, these days they have FM stereo sound sent right to your car radio; and digital projection!! No more scratched films.

But we’ll have popcorn!! With REAL BUTTER!! Oh yeah, we’re gonna party. Might even bring some fake wine (sparkling juice) (non-alcoholic) (we like it that way) (too many parentheses) (so stop already!!). Possibly even some chocolate!! I just don’t know!! Then we’ll head home after the movie and it will be really late outside. And after we get home… look out!! Time for bed!!

And you know what that means, right?

Sleeping!!

Sheesh we’ll be tired. As we used to say when I was in the Air Force, we’ll be getting home at “0:Early:30.” No submarine races or other such monkey business.

That’s OK. There are lots of opportunities on the horizon, and I plan to chase my Beautiful Girlfriend often.

Wish me luck!!

And now for the cartoon… here’s what they used to see at the drive-in!!

Buzzin’ In Bugville

Ah, summertime… cookouts, fresh berries, warm sunny days, and lots of BUGS!! Especially if you live in Podunk Swamp World, which is exactly where we live. The mosquito vampire bugs have been especially thick lately.  Soon their numbers will be joined by hordes of deer flies and black flies. Oh, not to forget the gnats. They all get hungry every stinking time I go outside. Deer flies are not too bad because they aren’t nearly as numerous as the stupid skeeters, and they’re dumb enough that you can kersmoosh them easily. Black flies are meany punk kakahead mooka flarns, because they hurt like crazy when they bite and I have yet to swat one successfully. You may be able to swat one if they have their blood sucking stabber thing deep into your skin, but I’m a wimp and don’t like the pain. So, I try to swat as quickly as I can and cry for OW when I miss them and hit me. Skeeters are the worst. I mean, there are so many of these stupid things that I swear to The Giant Rhinoceros Statue that I was lifted off the ground by a swarm of them the other day. I have killed many of them; often after they have guzzled a few milliliters of my red blood juice.

Holy Splatter Globs, Batman!!

One thing nice about living in the swamp: you’ll never go hungry. If you need a snack, just run through our yard with your mouth open, and you’ll get a meal and a half of all kinds of different flying meat. I eat them all the time… not purposely mind you, but it happens. Gnats seem to be the most common meal I ingest. I especially enjoy talking to someone outside and having a quick bug snack.  I’ll pause, then interrupt the conversation by interjecting, “I think I ate a bug!!”  Ah well. Summer also means that the dragonflies and their cousins the damselflies are hatching out. They eat skeeters. And gnats. And deer flies. And black flies. Simply put, THEY ARE MY HEROES.

Ants. They are also very friendly right now.  In the past, we had the privilege of a bunch of them coming to visit during a graduation open house, and boy did that give us the warm fuzzies inside. Nothing makes your self esteem higher than a bunch of ants traipsing about the house when you have company from all over the universe. I remember my Honey Pie asking me, “Where the *&%$ are all these ants coming from??”  Well of course, they migrate from Antarctica!  Except fire ants. They don’t like Michigan because our winters put their fires out. THANK GOD.  Those boogers are nasty.

For your enlightenment, I have gathered a few amazing yet little known statements about some of these bug things: Dragonflies, for example, are from a land called Onalee. If you get too close to them they will burn your eyebrows. I mean, hey, they are dragons!! Lightning bugs are, of course, from thunderstorms. I’m truly surprised that there is no loud noise when you see their hineys light up. But then, what do I know about all this?? Deer flies look nothing like deer and black flies aren’t very black. Gnats are tiny, so that one makes sense. And of course, gnats have very tiny hineys; hence the expression, “smaller than a gnat’s hiney.”

Or something like that…

Although I have nothing but hatred for mosquitoes, I also resign to the fact they are useful because they feed not just dragonflies and damselflies, but also bats, swallows and other wonderful animals. And of course the mosquito wrigglers (larvae) feed fishies. Swamp World contains many many amazing wild critters.  And in spite of all the bugs that are buzzin’ around our house, we will likely never leave. We just love being part of the swamp family.

However, my professional opinion is:  the stinkin’ skeeters, deer flies, and black flies can leave any time!

And now for an interesting example of how onions can get rid of bugs.

Clumsiness Is Next To Oldliness

Yes I am aware there is no such word as “oldliness,” but guess what, I typed it into the title anyway whether you like it or not. So there. As some of you may have surmised, I am playing with that old 18th century saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” That’s because although I’m pretty good at staying clean, but it seems as I get older I’m becoming annoyingly clumsy.

Getting older… GACK!! What a pain in the hiney. And often literally!! Seems like every time I do a day’s work at the wood pile or in the garden, I can feel really good about what I’ve accomplished, but not so good about the fact that every joint in my body is yelling “ouch!!” at me. Mind you, I am indeed old enough to remember when The Beatles came to the U.S. on the Mayflower (I was not quite 10 when they landed in 1964… that tell you anything??). Nice thing is that I’m still in good enough shape to do pretty much everything. Sometimes it takes longer, and as I mentioned earlier all my body parts seem to enjoy screaming at me when I’m done.

Another “fun” thing about getting older, at least for me, is I seem to be getting clumsier. I get great “enjoyment” out of smacking my little toe on furniture a couple times a month. I’m surprised it’s not jutting out at a right angle from my foot!! Seems to happen most in the evening… could it possibly be due to low light levels at that time of day? Gee… maybe I should carry a flashlight to go to the bathroom or something. Nah…

On the other hand, you have the pepper grinder. Anyone else prefer their pepper freshly ground? My Beautiful Girlfriend and I are still using the same salt shaker / pepper grinder set we got for our first wedding anniversary. Is that cool or what? Of course, once you fill these, they eventually run out (duh). So this evening I had the pleasant experience of losing my grip on the jar of peppercorns when trying to fill the grinder. Did you know peppercorns can really travel?? I’m serious!! And once they get rolling, they do not travel together!! Very independent little rascals. I spent several minutes chasing down peppercorns. I know, they were not moving any longer, but it sure felt like I was chasing them anyway. Then of course when I figure I’m all done, out of the corner of my eye I see yet another peppercorn!!! Oy yoy yoy…

Now let’s visit the coffee pot. The old reliable, automatic Kitchenaid jobby with the wire basket for the grinds. No more coffee filters for us kids, ya know. I set the timer for the crack of noon (OK maybe a bit earlier) (I’m retired ya know) (there he goes with the parentheses again…), then get ready to fill the basket with fresh coffee. So there I was, minding my own business, with the first scoop of grinds, and HOLY CARP WHAT THE FLARN I TOUCHED THE RIM AND BONKED THE SCOOP AND NOW THE GRINDS ARE EVERYWHERE OH MAN THIS IS ANNOYING!!! Clean up time. Very nice indeed.

Have I mentioned that another cool thing about getting older?? My skin is now only 0.007 millimeters thick!! I mean sheesh!! All I have to do is walk past a rose bush and I have gashes all over me!! Not sure I even touched the darn thing!! Oh and I have these wire fence thingies in the garden I use to train my tomato vines. They have little stabby sticky-out parts that can really make me bleed if I brush against them. Oh and speaking of tomato vines, I had to replace one plant already because I accidentally stepped on its head and made it (and me) very sad.

So, for this boy, oldliness seems to be arriving with a little extra clumsiness. Hey I was probably clumsy like this my whole life. But now that I’m nearing the age of OLD PEOPLE, it just seems like all these delightful distractions are wasting precious time. Oh well. I know I’m not alone in this. Friends of mine talk about the same things. They say things like, “I hate this getting old business!!” And you know what I tell them??

I try to reassure them and say, “I like it better than not getting old!!”

Speaking of clumsy….

When “The Boss” Is Away

“Well I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.” If you remember that from a song, you may not want to admit it; because it probably means you’re as old as me. And as many of you know, I’m old enough to remember when The Beatles came to the U.S. on the Mayflower.

You see, my Beautiful Girlfriend is “The Boss.” And no, for you older people like me, I do not mean that my Beautiful Girlfriend is Bruce Springsteen!! Ock!! Ptoo!! No, I mean she really is the boss of me; pretty much… and to a much lesser extent, I am the boss of her. This wonderful compromise was reached many years ago in the interest of domestic tranquility.

“The Boss” is on a 3 day sojourn with two of her women friends. They decided to drive up to Mackinac City to enjoy the rain (pea sized hail from what I’ve heard).  Well, I’m sure the trip’s fun did not include rain, but that’s what they’re getting up there.  My Honey Pie mentioned she was looking forward to some caramel corn “because I’ll be on vacation.”  We have pretty much cut sugary stuff out of our diet these days you see.   Her anticipation of goodies got my mind whirling about a bit.  You know, like hey, I think it’s a good opportunity for me to enjoy some not-so-normal foodstuffs.  Anyway, there’s some old saying like, “when the boss is away the mouse will eat greasy foods and other delicious things.”

Or something…

My thoughts also started dashing about with ideas.  Some things like: “hmmm let’s see… what kind of FUN can I have while my Beautiful Girlfriend (The Boss) is gone?? OK… there’s still some tilling waiting in the garden.  Gotta get those potatoes in the ground, way overdue!!  Guess I better scoop the kitty box so Freddie the Freeloader (our used-to-be feral kitty) doesn’t get bummed out.  Maybe I’ll watch one of those 1930’s horror movies. OH FOOEY!!! My Honey left her lunch bag on the counter!!!”

She wasn’t due to leave on her trip until after work today, I’m sure she would have gotten a bit hungry in the meantime.  So what did I do when I saw that bag sitting there?  I grabbed it and hopped in the car for delivery!!  Twenty two miles round trip… and gas is not really cheap right now but hey, this is my Honey Pie we’re talking about!!

I’m very grateful that I don’t get irate about such things anymore. When I was young and foolish, that would have been fodder for a nasty exchange of crab sauce, which would have done little more than perpetuate the stereotype of male verbal flatulence. I’m not so young anymore but I still know how to be foolish. But no, I just basically left it at FLARN!!(or something), zoomed up to her work place, and continued dreaming of more fun stuff I could do while The Boss was gone. I mean, hey, this is party time!!

Let’s see… maybe get more tilling and planting done if it’s not raining… maybe get the trailer and go get compost from the dump… it’s free you know.  Oh wait, the politically correct term for the dump is “the transfer station.”   Oh and I’ll have to mow the lawn before she gets pack. Ssshhh don’t tell anyone but I sneaked up to the local ice cream joint and got me two scoops of Deer Traxx on a waffle cone.  Oh and I may have accidentally bought some garlic bologna and some salami from Mac’s Meats.  Oh and tomorrow… hold on to your hats kids… tomorrow I’m getting some take out pizza!!   Am I a party animal or what??   But hey, The Boss is gone, so I can party!! My party days may have shifted somewhat… believe it or not I’m looking forward to all of those things.

Well…maybe not that “scooping the kitty box” part.

Speaking of parties…  If you’re old like me, or even if you’re not, you can’t hold a candle to a Betty Boop Hallowe’en party.

Greens: Good For What Ails Ya

I love to cook. I especially like to eat good food, meaning fresh stuff.  As fresh as possible anyway.   Now that garden season is on the rise, the fresh stuff will be zooming into our kitchen and then our tummies.

I’m retired now, but while I was working my microwaved creations would rouse curiosity among my friends.  For example, a fond memory…  So there I was, cooking my food for the normal 2 ½ minutes. When I pulled my lunch out of the microwave, some friends got a whiff and expressed envy. “Wow that smells good!! Whatcha got in there??” I’ve been asked a few times. Then I rattle off the ingredients and I get that “deer in the headlights” look.

“Well let’s see,” I’d reply, “I chopped up some greens, some onion, peppers, tomatoes, a little soy sauce, a little sesame oil, then smoosh a little dead chicken meat or maybe some dead shirmp on top and nuke it for 2 ½ minutes.” “Greens? What kind of greens??” I get asked in return. “Oh just stuff from the garden,” I said, “some Swiss chard, wild cabbage, and pak choi.” More deer in the headlights lookings. Many folks haven’t heard of any of that stuff.  One nice lady told me she really loved the smell, but after she learned what the ingredients were, she gave me a chuckle when she said, “Oh I would never eat that.”

Can’t help it, I’m a weirdo. While we love our cukes, tomatoes, corn, green beans and such; my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have also become very attached to greens. Happened when we lived in Tampa, Florida for 3 years while I was in the Air Force. We got hooked on some southern foods like collard greens, for example. When we moved back north, I learned pretty quickly that greens are a perfect crop for our unpredictable weather. Collards, kale, wild cabbage (ancestor to kale and collards), all do very well all summer long; and they even survive the winter quite regularly. We also have been growing Swiss chard for many years now. That stuff is easy to grow and is also quite hardy.

More recently I’ve started growing pak choi (or bok choy as Americans often call it). It’s an asian vegetable in the cabbage family; and it’s grown for its white crunchy stalks and nice green leaves. All greens, by the way, are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pak choi is excellent in salads, and also great for stir fry dishes and soups. Unlike other greens, however, it does not freeze well (unless of course you like it mooshy).

We also eat “wild” greens like purslane and lambs quarters that are yummy and packed with nutrition. I put “wild” in quotes because both of these plants have been revered for their food value for eons. However, they are considered weeds by most farmers. Once we learned more about these, we began allowing them to share some the garden real estate with other crops. So yes folks, we are weed eaters.

The picture below shows, from left to right Swiss Chard, pak choi, and lambs quarters in the foreground. As I looked more closely I noticed some purslane in the picture too, growing on the edge of the bed. Aren’t they pretty??  Click on the picture for a better look.

pakchoi+swisschardWe blanch and freeze several gallon bags of greens every year. The quantity can, at first, be misleading; because a whole wheelbarrow full of greens will cook down to maybe 5 or 6 gallons of stuff for the freezer. The beauty of it, though, is we know we are getting very high quality food that was not grown with chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Greens, as Grandma Loftus (and of course our Mom) used to always say, “are good for what ails ya, and if nothin’ ails ya, it’s good for that too!!” And of course our friend Popeye says “I’m strong to the finich, ‘cuz I eats me spinach.” Speaking of which, let’s see what Popeye is up to… Or should I say was…

Random Silliness

Dear Pasta Snarfers,

Some or none of you may enjoy pasta snarfing, but regardless, I felt it was time to inject some laugh time into my (and hopefully your) day due to the crazy goings-on we are seeing on the radio and hearing on TV; and although you may not be aware of it, all that gives me the ability to insert a time-honored run-on sentence-with hypens-that don’t-really belong-where I’m-putting them-but I-really-don’t-care because hey, it’s just-for-the-fun of it, ya know??

Please be advised that I will rent you some chocolate ear mite remover if you vow to stop wearing
socks for 134 days. Nobody says any other removal tool will have any effect on plant life in
Nairobi. Nobody can convince me of any other software in these times of uncertainty
and battered hamster hocks. I don’t know who Nobody is, but I hope they’re happy!!

If you don’t want to focus on all the yuckity-poo news screamings, please remain calm and toast your noodles for an inexpensive treat, gently throw spoons to the dog, and use a dustmop for cleaning those hard-to-reach nasal passages. Personally, I really need to quit stuffing donuts in my ears. But they are so soft!!

At least 47 times I wanted to make music, but all I had was a bent kazoo and a drum made of an oatmeal container. The only song I could play was “Doot Doot Bonk.” However, during my years of practicing that broken oboe I was never able to find, I envisioned a small pepper clown foraging in the wilderness. Not sure what the pepper clown was seeking but I know from a complete lack of experience that hidden in the leaf piles there may be invisible ink with which to write secret recipes. I hope there are also returnable bottles available for spare change!! This would give a happy pepper clown great enjoyments of candy and other immune system sanitizers.

Looks like I’ll need to stop eating drywall chips. I thought they would help my tummy’s rancid reflux, but now my hiney seems to think it wants to be a building contractor. After the disintegrating drywall diarrhea disturbance, please come over to our house and enjoy some dust muffins we made several weeks ago. We’ll wash them down with a nice hot cup of Crampers Cream of Toenail Soup, giggle heartily, and run wildly to the nearest receptacle. We’ll have fun!!

Some of the finest cheeses are kept in my sock drawer. This serves two purposes: A) they are aging nicely and 12) they are giving my socks that “nicely worn” fragrance. Some of the best cheese I’ve ever eaten was not found between my toes. However, if I could learn to play guitar with my feet I could invite my musician friends to a Toe Jam.

Perhaps a poem should be inserted at this point…

Gravy

by Me

Gravy in my armpits, syrup on my knees.

Buckets full of macaroni hanging from the trees.

Images of all these things will stick inside my head.

Hope I have a different dream when I go back to bed.

Please remember: You’ll never get anywhere in this life if you don’t go where you are trying to go. If you are already on your way, please stop at the nearest Caffeine Kaboom and tell everyone I said howdy. Also, please get me one of those fizzy cookies.

Thank you.

As you all know, this Sunday is Mothers Day. To all of you Moms out there, Thank You and God Bless You.

Grandsons On The Giggle

Well here we are on another late Friday night when the grandsons finally made it to our house. Because of Covid and other such nasties, we’ve been staying clear of them whenever they have any cold bugs or sniffles. We’ve learned the hard way that a bug they might have can turn into something more serious for us old farts. Last time we had a happy enjoyment of bronchitis!!

They are both getting older now, so bed time is not so easily achieved as it was in previous years. Rather than be the ogre I summoned them to contribute to Happy Friday!!! with a few random thoughts. I think they were a bit tired from a long day so getting ideas out of their heads was a bit like pulling cheese out of a broken saxophone (or something). Anyway, what follows is a composite of ideas, theirs and mine, in a mixture not at all resembling American Breadsticks And Gravy.

“Hey guys, if you can’t sleep, how about helping me with a few story ideas?” I asked. Silence followed. I waited. As they started talking I started typing.

“I had something,” said Ollie.

“I’m thinking,” Gabe said.

Ollie noticed I was typing every word, and exclaimed, “Papa, what are you doing??” Then an idea that was stirring vanished. “Dang it…!!!” Ollie uttered in desperation. Finally I typed furiously as the spurt of “creative” thoughts emerged.

Herman and Karle were two chickens whose favorite thing to do was eat a cheeseburger stuffed inside a pizza stuffed inside a turkey with butter on it, deep fried and covered in chocolate. “This is the healthiest food in the world, totally,” said Gertrude.

Any other time they weren’t eating this marvenkulous snack, they would be hunting down roadkill. Upon finding roadkill, they would poke it with frogs. The frog would try to hold its nose and would often yell while barfing, “ARGHHH why do you force me to poke these dead possums???” “Be quiet you toad, you are not allowed to complain per our agreement.” “I am not a toad, you overcooked poultry excuse for a human.” the frog bribbled.

When they got bored with poking roadkill with frogs, they would run through the aisles of the local Meijer with a fire extinguisher. Whenever they saw somebody they would hide behind the nearest row of pickle jars and giggle while trying their best to play songs on the fire extinguisher. “This is a brief concert in the key of no fire.” they shouted while giggling into the marshmallow bin.

Upon being discovered, they would yell “FINDERS KEEPERS!!” and run out of the store with the fire extinguishers hidden inside their sneakers.

What would you say to a cat that finally quit smoking?? Does anyone hear my silent motions?? I’m having great difficulty seeing in this small bottle with all the noise in the garage. Tonight the robots will be serving Wild Lego Surprise. Hold the whipped cream on mine please. And please don’t rub it in kale juice like last time. For myself, I have always known that zebra mussels are very yummy in cake. Proving this has not been easy; but when I have friends over for tea and slobberfood they smile sheepishly and say “What’s crunchy?” When I tell them they are snarfing down thousands of little zebra mussels in each bite, they say “O” and excuse themselves out the door very quickly.

Well I hope by now that none of you have learned your lesson. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a bread whistle perched atop an inkjet printer with that smug “ha ha I’m a bread whistle” look. So if you ever come upon a singing centipede during your travels, please call the nearest Yo Ho Da Knee at your earliest inconvenience.

Thank you and please enjoy what follows; unless you’d rather not.

Talkin’ ‘Bout My (Re)Generation

I’m a little bit concerned about Earth Day. Not because I think it’s a bad idea; it’s just that I have this silly conviction that every day is Earth Day. Of course it’s a wonderful thing to raise awareness about our ailing planet. But once a year is probably not often enough. Maybe we could increase the frequency and make it a monthly event!

Even though I’m an old hippie tree hugger peacenik guy, I’m also a consumer; so that of course means that I am not completely innocent of crimes against Nature. But I also try to do things to give Mom Nature a helping hand when I can. For example, I try to buy stuff that’s made as close to home as possible. I tend to seek out U.S. made products, even if they cost a bit more. Here in Beautiful West Michigan, we have a good selection of produce; especially during the warmer months. Lots of the extras are stored, so when I go for apples, I buy nothing other than Michigan grown apples. Same with potatoes. I’m sorry but I think it’s a bit silly to buy apples from Washington state or potatoes from Florida.

My wife and I have been eating veggies from the garden since we first were married. Back in 1973, the type of horticulture I practiced was called “organic” gardening. That meant no herbicides or pesticides. No commercial fertilizer. At the time, those products were shunned by “organic” gardeners because of their toxicity. Now that we are a bit more carbon conscious, we also understand that since anything that is mined, manufactured, packaged and transported makes an ever growing carbon footprint; it also makes good environmental sense to avoid such substances.

A friend of mine and I were talking about the term “organic” recently, and she surprised me a bit when she said, that “Organic is a capitalist term.” I’d never directly associated capitalism with the term “organic” before she said that; although I was keenly aware that when food products are labeled as “Certified Organic,” it means there were some strict administrative criteria (as well as a healthy outlay of cash) that had to be reckoned with. Hence, many growers at farm markets can say their stuff was grown “organically” but don’t have to jump through the certification hoops.

The new term for the type of gardening I and many others do is called regenerative farming. And yes, even though my plot is a mere 70 feet long by 30 feet wide, I raise quite a bit of food and have even sold some. So hey, as an old song goes from The Who, “Now I’m A Farmer.” (And thanks to my friend Ed who first turned me on to the song.) So one might ask, “What the heck is regenerative farming?? Anyhow??” Well even if you didn’t ask, I’m a gonna tell you about what I do anyways; because that’s a big part of how I celebrate every day as Earth Day.

I grow food in beds, not rows. Beds are 3 feet wide, walkways are 2 feet wide. By using this method, the soil is not compacted so the roots are able to flourish more easily. By careful companion planting you can grow much more stuff in beds than in rows. Companion planting?? OK you didn’t ask about that either but that’s where you learn what grows well together. Some plants complement each other, like lettuce and beets. Some hinder each other like onions and legumes (like peas or beans). Companion planting makes for healthier plants, making them less prone to damage by pests and disease.

As far as fertilizers, I use two basic ingredients: leaves and compost. There is no such thing as bad leaves for the garden; and yes that includes oak leaves. Friends bring me leaves from their yards; but I also pick up as much as I want at the local transfer station for free. Leaves are tilled into the soil and boy do the earthworms love it. When the worms are happy, the soil is happy. If I plant something that needs an extra boost, I dig a hole and fill it with compost, then plant right on top. Then I take more leaves and use them for mulch around all the plants. That keeps the weeds down, preserves moisture, and the creepy-crawlies that dine where the mulch meets the soil make even more happy soil. And when the soil is happy, the food plants are happy.

Weeds are tolerated and sometimes eaten. HUH?? Yes that’s right, many “weeds” are actually very useful plants that folks have simply chosen not to learn about. Of course I remove any weeds that are competing with what I’m trying to grow. If they are too close to the plant I’m trying to save, I simply lop them off right at the soil level and the remaining roots die off and add organic matter back to the dirt. A friend of mine freaks out when she sees creeping charlie in her garden. I pointed out that as long as it’s not choking any food crop, I let it grow because it provides a living mulch. I also let purple dead nettles live in my planting beds for awhile, because they’re one of the first plants that bloom in the spring and the bees love them. And yes I let the dandelions bloom (much to the chagrin of my neighbors I think maybe), as well as the white clover I planted in the lawn. I cringe every time I mow; I’m always on the lookout for bees so I can try to miss them. (If I wasn’t married I would have much less lawn, but that’s another story.) Of course I intentionally plant lots of sunflowers and other flowers to encourage pollinators.

And what kind of regenerative farmer would I be without giving huge credit to my friends the bees, the brown and black beetles, ladybugs, praying mantis, spiders, butterflies, robber flies, soldier flies, centipedes, millipedes, sowbugs, and moths, to name but a few?? They are the composters, the pollinators, and the predators of pests. All are welcome in the garden and of course the yard.

I could probably type several hundred more words about all this; but I’ll hop off of my soap box for now. Suffice it to say that I really do try to celebrate Earth Day every day. If you’re curious about some of my other garden adventures, you can find some here: www.kennysgarden.com

In the meantime, please be kind to Mother Earth each and every day. She’s the only planet we have.