As is normal for Colorado, we had a few days of beautiful weather this week that led into SnowMaGeddon, the Bombogenesis, Bomb Cyclone, whatever you want to call it. Snow fell. Wind blew. Reporters got great live shots. Airport closed along with schools. Suffice to say, it got dangerous out there. And then … it all went away. Colorado. 33 years and I still don't get it.
BUT -- BEFORE THAT:
Got the 1/2 railroad ties delivered along with 20 bags of 2 cubic foot Garden Soil. Anchored those together in a way I think will hold better than my original design. At least, I hope so. Laid the fabric and tossed in some bags of soil to hold everything down in the storm.
The new garden also has a birdhouse embedded in a dead stump I was too lazy to dig out. We're going to add 2-3 more birdhouses around the yard/house just to add some color to our lives. Don't necessarily want to put them too close to the gardens because in the past the little birdie bastards have gorged themselves on the tomatoes.
Said bird house. It's built into the stump that Fred and Ethel built their nest in last year before being driven off by dogs and squirrels, so we do have some birdie history there.
This was Thursday AM, 24 hours after the Bombogenesis began. Now, it's about 35 degrees and sunny. The ice is melting, the roads are drying and people are poking their heads outdoors like the Munchkins seeing Dorothy for the first time and taking tentative steps into their yards. As soon as the snow is gone from the scene, Mr. Bitterman and I will spread the new soil around, determine how much more we need and start plotting where the seedlings will wind up. Furious George will join us as soon as he returns from The Never Ending Cocktail Hour with the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbors.
The new garden will be named Asta, after the dog in The Thin Man movies. It goes along nicely with Nick and Nora, even though Nora, in this case, is named after my friend and longtime Cribbage Nemesis Nora Horan, who was also quite the gardener. (Truth be told, I can easily see Nora Horan talking back to Bill Powell and slugging down a martini as the two chase down criminals.)
Asta, whose real name was Skippy, also played George, stealer of the Inter Costal Clavicle in Bringing Up Baby. He also had a number of other roles in movies. After a while, the dog's name was simply changed to Asta.
Asta retired in 1941. I'm not sure what happened after that, or where he's buried, but his owners, actress Gale Henry and MGM prop man Henry East kept raising and training dogs for a number of years afterwards.
Happily, Asta didn't suffer the fate of Toto (Terry) the Cairn Terrier of The Wizard of Oz, trained by Carl Spitz, who had a long and successful career, passed to the great beyond, was buried on Spitz's property in Studio City, then had a stretch of the Ventura Freeway built over her grave.
I'm thinking that Asta, which is only half the size of the other gardens, will be given over to both Oaxacan and Hatch chiles, all grown from seed. The Oaxacan seeds have been a pain to get, but they are now on their way, passing imaginary money from my bank account on its way to the sellers.
Mr. Bitterman loves the idea, while Furious George thinks we should plant Vienna Sausages and Martini Olives.
When Furious comes home from drinking with the neighbors, he's no damned good for the rest of the day.
I had just sent off $400 that I didn't have to cover a Home Depot bill from last month. In honor of that momentous occasion, I returned to my local HD and spent $500 on stuff for this season's garden efforts.
This is the inexpensive part of it all.
I also ordered, for delivery, 8 4x6x8 redwood railroad ties with which I'll build the new garden (Another new one? Merciful heavens, why? You'll never be able to sell that place!) Plus -- 20 bags of 2cf Miracle Gro Garden soil for the base of the new one. I'll fill it out with top soil from Santa Fe Sand and Gravel and bags of Cow and Compost from O'Tooles.
This sort of thing does tend to get expensive.
The new garden will be half the size of Nick and Nora. They're 16x7.5x1.
Asta -- the new garden's name -- will be 8x7.5x1. All the numbers are approximate because while I was supposed to be learning basic math, I was reading back issues of "The Haunted Tank." I figured because I was going to wind up as a "tub man" at Michigan Brand Small Curd Creamed Cottage Cheese (the only job my mother was convinced I'd ever be able to pull off), I'd never really need to know how to measure the circumference of my backyard or the volume of dirt necessary to fill a new garden. (The current administration points to me as an example of the "kind of people" who have populated The Mainstream Media for the past 40 years.)
"He coulda been a 'tub man.' Sad."
The lower corner of Asta will go around that stump -- which will later hold a high post for a bird house or garden gee-gaw of some sort.
(Above) Man, I wish I still had that issue!
(Below) You know, Michigan Dairy woulda been a righteous and rollicking career! (But, then, I never woulda met Kathy Walsh at CBS4 -- unless, of course, I wound up in the hospital with some odd disease, like Creamery Nose, and she came over all the way from Colorado to do a story.)
That's the layout of the gardens below, drawn by Furious George, along with the path of the hoses for the water features. Because the small one is Asta, and Asta is a dog, I thought I might add a toy fire hydrant into it, though the effort to keep Roscoe and Sadie, as well as Furious George and Mr. Bitterman from using it on a regular basis, might be outrageously time consuming.
At the moment, Asta will be given over to beans and peppers, from Hatch Chiles and Anaheims to Poblanos and whatever Oaxacan varieties that we can find. Nick will have the pumpkins, squash and cucumbers, while Nora will have tomatoes and Lord knows what else. (Mr. Bitterman says he has some ideas, but they usually run along the lines of banana trees and rutabagas.)
Also purchased today, a self watering incubator from Burpee that should start everybody off on the right foot. All 72 of the little devils. What kind of little devils, I'm not sure as Becky put the seed packets in one of her famous and patented "safe places."
As for the boys, they've spent the winter in the basement, catching up on all their favorites, from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" to "Game of Thrones," "Killing Eve" and Bitterman's Favorite, "Sister Toluca Explains Hormones." (Furious George's favorite show appears to be something he calls "The Yelling Guys" on Fox. It's fine as long as he doesn't start to throw his poo at the screen.)
Okay, so I lied.
I've been doing it all my life, so you shouldn't be surprised.
And you aren't if you know me at all.
My mother didn't call them "lies," she called them Greg's stories. The problem for her, was, the stories I told on her and her sisters were true, if embarrassing, while the ones I told about an old pump out in the field that sent messages to a local Native American tribe were created simply to entertain my cousins, who would tend to buy just about anything if you added enough cheese.
That said, I gained quite a reputation around the family, if not the neighborhood, township, village, county and state, to the point where I wasn't called for jury duty until I was 53.
I did identify with Pinocchio.
I think, still, the best one I told was in the confessional one Sunday morning. Two things got me into this mess: 1) I didn't have any good sins for the week, and, 2) I had seen Perry Mason the night before which featured a very dramatic courtroom confession.
Though the details are hazy, My confession had something to do with killing somebody and tossing his body off the train just outside of Shanghai. Lord, you woulda thought I had killed the Pope's dog! The next thing I knew, I was being held by the collar, bouncing up and down like, well, a marionette, listening to an ancient priest scream "blasphemer!" while my mother wailed in the congregation.
My sisters shrank away, my brother burst out laughing (getting a slap to the back of the head for what I thought, anyway, was the proper response) and my Dad snuck out the side aisle for a cigarette.
Back to the subject at hand. I lied to you, my faithful readers.
Last week, or some short time ago, I wrote about the last harvest for Mr. Bitterman's Garden, circa 2018, I showed a few tomatoes and peppers and said, that was it.
I lied. I wasn't the last, very last, harvest.
What I had forgotten about were the Sweet Potatoes. Protected from the freeze, aided by the snow, the little devils just kept chugging along until we plucked them yesterday during a yard clean up. They were meant to be a side dish for dinner, but became the main course when the filet mignon I had bought to grill smelled like a cross between liver and ammonia.
Two bites in on the steak and I was done, finishing up with sweet potatoes, salad and grapes.
And the sweet potatoes were perfect. From our own little garden and perfect.
They may look like baby mice, but I can assure you they are Sweet Potatoes.
Up next is the ritual "Cleaning of the Garden," followed by the "Tilling of the Soil" and the "Placing of Winter Fertilizer" buried under 4-6 bags of Cow and Compost, provided by my year old cow, Eloise.
She even bags it up for me! You can't beat that! Furious George Flings His All Over the Place!
Meanwhile, I'm also in search of a new gardening hat for next season. Both of the above are in the running, but I'm leaning toward the porkpie hat, as it comes with vodka and less chance of being struck by lightning for impersonating Il Papa, Bouncing down the aisle of a church like a marionette was enough for an entire lifetime. I can forgo being blasted to atoms over a hat.
Although a Civil War kepi is always a possibility.
I have to admit, this has been one heck of a year for the garden. Solid early growth, late fruit from the tomatoes, a place we discovered where pumpkins will actually grow (taking over 2-3 acres of prime real estate) and a first crop of sunflowers that grew beautifully and then disappeared in a heartbeat.
I have to ask, do they do that? Is that how they work, quick to grow, bloom and wilt? The fields of flowers I saw in Europe last summer were amazing -- full, strong and seemingly long lasting -- what's the deal with mine? Well, I do have all winter. Mayhaps I should read up on them and discover all the things I'm doing wrong. I'll see what Katherine White has to say about them …
(Oooo. Thinking of her, it's almost time to get on the waiting list for next year's seed catalogs!)
Last Saturday, all the little weather people, in agreement for a moment, predicted a hard, hard freeze on Saturday night, along with a pile of snow, our first of the season. With that in mind, I went out and plucked the last viable tomato and the last peppers, Poblano, Jalapeno and Lunchbox. The Jalapenos have been vicious this year, turning my hair bright red for an afternoon. The Lunchbox variety are delightful.
This is what greeted us on Sunday morning. A sudden blast of winter cold, with a blanket of snow just to help everything along to that great greenhouse in the sky. I swear we got down to 13 on Sunday night, but the little weather folks say it was 17. Their instruments said it was 17, while my instrument said it was 13. I believe mine before I believe theirs.
The sweet potatoes appear to have survived the cold without cover. Though they, along with everything else, could still surprise me by dying off. The one thing that hasn't died off is the mint, in a pot next to the house. It appears that you can't kill mint, no matter how hard you try and no matter how many dogs pee on it during the season.
I've had parsley and oregano that fainted dead away if a dog even looked in their direction, but mint, no, mint will survive the coming apocalypse, right along with the cockroaches. At least the roaches will have fresh breath.
Furious George is actually thinking of sticking around during the winter. He seems to appreciate that in subzero weather his poo hardens to the point that he can fling it farther and with greater result than when it's "Fresh From the Florida Sunshine Tree." Besides, he has grown quite comfy in the basement bedroom now that we've taken care of the radon problem. He also loves watching "Game of Thrones" on the basement big screen and heading next door to the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor's House for martini's and Fox News. Although he does come back screaming, "It's Nancy Pelosi! Run for Your Lives!"
How she can be any worse than Paul "My Kid Needs Braces, Lady, Give Me Your Social Security" Ryan and Mitch "Tooter Turtle" McConnell is beyond me.
As for me, it's time to pull the plants, fertilize the soil, clean the garden mess that is our garage and find a new sun hat for next year. I don't know about the one I used this year. It was cool, it was hip, whenever I wore it I enunciated quite clearly and distinctly -- but I was just never sure.
And so, the search goes on ….
I should have known that something was up when TCM ran "The Rains Came" (1939) with Tyrone Power, Myrna Loy and George Brent (for it was, after all, George Brent Day). Little did I realize that we were fully in line for the thunderstorm that had skipped past us, north, south and east, since May.
It arrived just as we sat down to dinner (Sea Scallops on Oranges with Jalapeno Vinegar Dressing -- not bad, if I do say so myself). The skies opened up, the hail began and even the new gutters couldn't handle the deluge. Sheets of rain and hail blocked our view of Platte Canyon Road. Water went everywhere. It looked like a spring snow storm, with bits of green popping out amongst the white.
Even Sadie was shocked.
The tomatoes, honestly, fared pretty well, as they're bunched up enough to provide some shelter to each other. The crawlers, however, cucumbers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and acorn squash, all took it square to the chin.
I'm not going to pull anything for the next week or so as I have come to firmly believe that plants are hardy little bastards and will surprise you in how they cling to life. Yes, Ian Malcolm was right, "Life finds a way."
Out front, the flowers were nailed. The Koleas was shredded, that will have to go -- too bad, as it was one of the highlights of the front yard -- other than me watering the lilacs in my Ben Franklin Boxer Shorts.
The front flower pots got nailed as well. The three small ones in front are trashed, while the two at the end of the driveway look like a chopped salad. We were going to pull those anyway for a Fall planting of ornamental Kale. We had just about talked ourselves out of it when God stepped in with a storm of Biblical proportions and made us stick to the original plan.
"Thou Shall Plant Ornamental Kale! 16 Cubits by 18 Cubits … wait, no … that's something else. Two Pots Will DOOOOOooooo!!!!"
"Oh, for heaven's sake, would you put some pants on? On the sixth day, I created an Old Navy just down the street from The Garden of Eden. (Mumbles) …"give them everything and the dumb bastards don't know enough to put on trousers."
"HEY! DON'T EAT THAT FRUIT … (Mumbles) Me damn it. One damned rule … ONE!"
(That, my friends, is what is known in my brain as "A Reverie." Back to it:)
The lilacs did okay … just some minor shredding issues on the leaves. (I can hear the lilacs saying to me now, "oh, why didn't you stand out here last night … get a little minor shredding issue on those elephants ears of yours!"
Don't worry. We argue like this all the time. There's nothing to it.
You see? This is what I call minor shredding issues. The lilacs are calling for major surgery.
Furious George continues to drink. He says it's to make him forget. He also does it when he wants to remember. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a problem.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bitterman sat on the back porch last night staring at the remains of his hard work. He's not taking it well, but I assured him that it's not a total loss. The sweet potatoes are still viable and as for the cucumbers, well, we've already had a bumper crop and the neighbors won't take any more. If that's it for them, we can handle it.
He then bit me, which makes me think he's well on his way back to his old self.
One final note: The hail damaged our Vladimir Lenin water feature, knocking the spigot off. (It was pretty flimsy, I must say.) I ordered a new one online from AllThingsPutin.com. They had one in stock, but I've got to go to Washington, DC, to pick it up.
I guess they've got a warehouse there.
Somewhere, buried in the closet about four feet away, is a picture of my Grandmother Moody standing in front of tomato plants. They dwarf her. That always impressed me. She always seemed to me to be a giant of a woman, but could just be a kid's perspective. (Although I never thought that of my other Grandmother, who was basically 4 foot nothin' and whom I passed in height on like my 7th birthday or something. Naturally, I got the "grow" genes from her, so I'm 5'5" on a good day, and shrinking.)
Anyway, I wish I could find that picture, because that's what got me interested in gardening in the first place. She was, obviously, a great gardener. Then, my mother informed me that, no, it wasn't her, it was my grandfather, who grew such a great garden every year. He grew up on a farm. It was in his blood.
What he did with that background and talent was to grow tomato plants that made Grandma Moody look like an Oompa-Loompa.
I wanted to do that.
And this year, I did.
Here's me standing.
Here's me leaping. (I don't leap like I used to …)
And what did we get from all this growth? Yes -- two little tomatoes. Which I now figure cost us $123.50 apiece.
Still, I've gotta admit, I'm pretty happy with everything, as the tomato plants now dwarf me, a simple accomplishment, but, hey, and, we've got tons of flowers, so I'm expecting a good crop.
As for the cauliflower, they got away from us while we were on vacation and went from small heads to tall, flowering, really ugly looking plants in the course of 10 days. They are a wash, which was just fine with Mr. Bitterman as he hates cauliflower.
Furious George, on the other hand, hates broccoli, which he says is a Republican trait since President George H.W. Bush turned up his nose at it during his administration. Furious it seems, doesn't have a problem with potato -- or -- potatoe, as he thinks Dan Quayle was an idiot, Republican or not.
Oh, yes. Since this is titled "Farm Film Report," go see "Ant Man and the Wasp." Furious George gave it 4 Flung Poo's Out of 5. (You oughta see what he gives Fox News.)
In May, we got cooler temperatures and rain. Come June 1st, we got temperatures in the high 80's to mid-90's, and bone dry air, thus making the entire state of Colorado a tinder box.
Just to give you an idea of the fun, my water bill, May to June, shot up from $20 bucks to $144 bucks -- and that is with all the high priced water saving sensors the sprinkler guy talked me into buying two summers ago.
There remain dry patches and flopped over cauliflower everywhere.
I shouldn't say that about the cauliflower. They've been nothing but nice to me.
Some of the cauliflower are looking great. Others aren't forming solid heads as much as individual florets. I was wondering if this was common -- maybe the ones that break apart become chopped up into frozen cauliflower pieces by the Green Giant. All my reading has told me pretty much zilch about care and feeding. Just that they don't like hot weather. Too late! Get used to it, kids!
Here's the guy who keeps passing out mid-afternoon. Give him an additional drink and he perks right up. Notice how the florets are separating. Don't know how I'll ever be able to enter it into the Denver County Fair (also don't know how it would ever be able to win beside all the pot entries).
Peppers are doing well. The little Lunchbox Pepper plant, down center, is taking its own sweet time in getting started. I had to tell Furious George to stop yelling at him to grow. I think he's given it a complex of some sort.
Also doing well is the cucumber bush. We had a complete failure with it last year, but this year we're getting solid growth and the start of flowers.
The container sweet potatoes have also rooted well. I just hope we have enough room for them to grow. We got a great harvest of potatoes last year and they were absolutely delicious. ("What? You're going to eat us after it took us all summer long to grow?")
Mr. Bitterman has taken a great amount of pride in Nora, the lower garden, this season. Just about everything has really taken off. All the tomatoes this season (with the exception of the Sweet 100s) were grown from seed starting in February.
My wife, Becky, is just happy to have the kitchen table back for family dinners, even though the family now consists of her, me, one Proboscis Monkey and one Foul Tempered Chimpanzee.
("That better be chocolate pudding you're flinging, Mister!")
The beans, cucumbers and acorn squash plants are also doing well in Nora, as are the weeds. I don't know where the darned things come from, but we've certainly got 'em by the score. Mr. Bitterman is happy to work on weeding Nora, while Furious George bitches and moans like crazy when he pulls them from Nick (the upper garden). I don't know what he's complaining about -- Nick has about 1/10th the weed problem of Nora.
Still, I really can't complain. Both gardens are off to a great start this year.
And so is the butterfly garden. We fixed the watering problem we had -- adding a hose, a sectional sprayer and a timer. I wanted to put the Uncle Joe Stalin sprinkler in here, but I was voted down by Becky and a super-patriotic, bad-tempered chimp. I think the two are conspiring against me.
I just like it down here. It's great in the evening, after the heat of the day has passed, and the bunnies like to hide in here from Roscoe, who can't figure out where everybody went. It's a good situation.
The Elmer Fudd Sunflower Garden ("I'm hunting wabbits. Heh, heh, heh.") is also doing well, although a microburst the other night not only took out the power for about 4 hours, but the second bud, right next to the main plant. Sheared the top right off. This is one of the joys of Colorado gardening ... just when you think you're home free (We've passed hail season!) everything goes belly up.
I'm also very pleased with the herb containers. The chocolate mint has taken off, even though the peppermint is lagging behind, somewhat. I don't know if an animal got to it, or it just suffered transplant shock. It seems to be coming along now. The herbs, mainly parsley and basil, are doing great.
(The indoor basil in the AeroGarden was taking over the kitchen. When we cut it back over the weekend, we found one of the dogs it had snatched off the floor. She's fine, if shaken up a bit.)
The boys are once again in an argument. This time, I figure it's heat-induced. Also, Mr. Bitterman has begun to hang out with a pack of Howler Monkeys from Jefferson County who keep interrupting Furious George as he tries to binge watch "Killing Eve," his new favorite.
To get some privacy, Furious also wants to build a one man bomb shelter underneath Nick, the upper garden. After the President pissed off Canada, Germany, Japan and every other friend we ever had at the G-7, Furious figures he might need it if Trumpolini pisses off somebody who already has a grudge against us.
He likes this model shelter. He's just wondering if the suit is required.
One of the wonderful things about gardening in Colorado is the ever present threat of hail. Not just itty-bitty pea sized hail, or, itty-bitty hail sized peas, my favorite vegetable, but hail the size of regulation baseballs. Hail that takes out roofs and cars and recently planted, expensive seedlings that have been nutured better than the children ever were since February.
Now, this is not to make fun of hail. Hail is a dangerous, and potentially deadly, weather phenomenon. It can mess up a home, a head or a garden very quickly.
"Motherscratcher! And I just got the little bastard paid off!"
Read stories of Colorado back in the day and you'll find tales of horses trying to outrun hailstorms, trains stopped by piles of hail, homes, lives and livelihoods destroyed by the aerial ice cubes.
Naturally, the weather folks in the region have been threatening severe weather and heavy hail all day long -- first, because alerting people is a public service, and part of their jobs as meteorologists, but also because, talking about hail and lightning and four feet of snow tends to scare people into watching longer for the next little tidbit of information. (One guy here in Denver is a master of the "I'll have more in my NEXT segment ..." pitch, thus getting people to stick around LONG past their bedtime, which for me has come within hailing distance of my late afternoon nap and is reaching epic proportions.)
With all that in mind, as well as my paranoiac personal personality, I will be standing outside all day, sheet plastic in hand, ready to cover anything and everything as quickly as possible in the hopes of saving one of my easily $40 tomatoes. Yes, I know that they are informing me and playing me at the same time -- I've been in the TV news business, watching and listening to them, up close, for 43 years -- but I still buy into it each and every time, just cuz a few of them I trust ... with my gardens, my family and, occasionally, my life.
As for the boys, they both wanted hats to fend off possible hail attacks this afternoon. Mr. Bitterman chose the hat on the left, as it would take some serious hail damage before anything reached his noggin, while Furious George insisted on the hat on the right, as it was "stylin.'" He refused the fur stole as he already has his own.
I don't care what anybody tells you, nobody can truly predict the weather. Any more than 48 hours out and they have no idea. "We've got a good guess," but that's about it. Watch the three day. Pay attention to that. 7-10 and 15 day forecasts are about as reliable as Sarah Huckabee Sanders doing her Alfred E. Neuman impression.
Naturally, for two weeks, I watched the 3-7-10 and 15 day forecasts and convinced of the overnight lows, I jumped into planting. Put in the garden and voila! Sunday night, as I poured the last of the compost out of my shoes and into the carpet, the weather folks said that Friday night the temp is going down between 36 and 40, depending on who you listen to ...
It's not freezing, but it's close. I just hope I can hardy the kids up before their chilly sleep over.
Most accurate forecast my ass.
The gardens went in Sunday in two sections: first, came the home grown seedlings, 7 tomato plants, two bean plants, one acorn squash. (The beans and squash were amended by new seed plantings.) We've been building up the soil all winter with compost, all the various fertilizers that have been sitting in the garage, fish spray and prayer.
Now, we wait to see if any of it works. (I'm betting on compost and prayer.)
As you can see, King Kong eating gnomes has taken his place in a prominent corner of the lower garden (Nora), once again in an effort to keep vegetable predators at bay.
In an effort to keep the ravenous squirrel and bunny (Kneel! Kneel to your Rabbit Overlords!) populations from eating the seedlings, Furious went around pouring red pepper flakes on everything, followed by another jar of animal keep away he found in the garage and about two gallons of Liquid Fence. The Liquid Fence smells horrible and Furious got it all over himself, but I must admit he smells better now than usual.
The gardens smell like an Italian salad.
Mr. Bitterman planted sunflowers in a small plot we have up near the house. He covered them with the red pepper flakes and Liquid Fence, then wrapped a wholly inadequate fence around them which should hold the squirrels and bunnies out for about 3.5 seconds as they ask themselves, "What the hell?"
You'll notice the fleur de lis on the cobbled together fencing. This is in honor of a distant family relative, Marshal Phillipe Petain, the hero of Verdun in World War I who said, "They shall not pass." Sadly, he was still around and in charge in World War II when he looked at the German Panzers and said, "Yeah. For sure. Come on in ..."
I just hope these are not German bunnies we are trying to keep out.
We finished off the gardens with a quick trip to Walmart, buying cucumbers (3), peppers (8) and cauliflower (6). The cauliflower might be this year's zucchini, as I like it, but am not crazy about it, and, without looking, we bought a six pack of it. Bitterman thought it was one big plant. It was six little ones.
Looks like a lot of cruciferous vegetable dinners this August.
Mmmmmmm. (Followed by a concert by Le Petomane, flatulist extraordinaire.)
Whatever you do, don't pull his finger.
One of the three acorn squash plants (the rest are in seed form) and two of the cukes.
And, then, there's this guy -- we really have no idea who or what he is. It would serve me right if it was a zucchini as they took over the garden last year. We're waiting to see. No hints!
Furious is convinced that he can keep the squirrels and bunnies out of the sunflowers and gardens better than Marshal Petain. He still has the cap guns and the hat from a Disney photo shoot he did some years ago. He lost the scarf and I replaced it with a long chunk of paper towel. It has got a floral pattern on it and he's not happy at all.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bitterman took us to Walmart Sunday afternoon in his new car, a 1950 Chalyabinsk Krakozyabng. He got it for a song. A Russian song, but, as we all know, those have become very popular in Washington lately.
The thing drinks oil like a drunken sailor on liberty in Iraq and has a turning radius of about two miles, just slightly less than an Iowa-class battleship, but the radio's great and he loves it like it was his first car.
Which it is.
Best thing about it is that the front is the back and the back is the front. You climb in through a little hatch in the front which looks like the back, then, put it in Drive (Reverse) to go forward (backward).
Nobody ever knows if you're coming at them or going away. He caused a hell of stir Sunday on I-25.
Until next time, kids! (Tomatoes not shown to scale.)
The wind has been blowing like crazy today, just as the Weather Folks predicted with their Super Duper Doppler Look In Your Bedroom Radar. They actually did predict high winds today, which makes them 1-for-45 this month.
Last time we had winds like this was last May. I had just put out three new containers of ladybugs, one for each garden, and the wind blew them all into the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor's Yard next door.
By the time the wind died down, I just had Mortimer, who threatened to leave if I called him a ladybug. (Touchy masculinity issues, I'd wager.)
Furious George suggested we brand our ladybugs from now on for identification purposes. Problem is, he wanted to use HIS brand and the damned thing is about four inches high. Mortimer took one look at that and booked it for Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor Land. He obviously wanted to retain what touchy masculinity issues he had.
Mrs. Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor, who we were convinced was buried under that fresh concrete patch in their garage, stuck her head over the fence and crowed, "Oh, Mr. Bitterman! You wouldn't believe the ladybugs we have this year!" Bitterman was not amused. Nor was I as that was just about $30 dollars worth of ladybugs gamboling in her pansies.
The problem this year is not ladybugs -- yet -- but fresh topsoil in the gardens. It's flying into the neighbor's yard like nobody's business. I had just put down six bags of Cow and Compost (Richlawn -- again, not a plug for freebies, but a damned fine product that I could certainly use more of ...) and have watched it sail nowhere near gently over the neighbor's fence.
Also flying today is the fertilizer I put down yesterday. (Tractor seen is not to scale, as it is just a big Tonka I stole from a kid down the street, but, the fertilizer is true to scale as it covered me from head to toe as I tried to keep it in our yard, rather than let it jump the fence to freedom.)
By the way, did you know that there are images on the interweb of "German Girls in Manure?" No, really. It is amazing what modern technology can bring to us these days. My education is now complete and I can die happy. I found the site while I was looking for the above pictures. I only stopped for a minute. And only for the articles.
What President Trump was doing in a few of the pictures, I don't know. Maybe he was the Manure Magazine Interview of the Month. That guy is everywhere.
The newly rediscovered wife of the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbor (whether actual or a "crisis actor" brought in to replace the one buried in the garage) leaned over the fence this afternoon to exclaim, "Oh, you wouldn't believe the top dressing the good Lord left us this year."
Yes, I would. I would. And I would also hope that the good Lord would blow $147.35 into MY yard to pay for his neighborly largesse.
As for us, all that's blown into our yard is the expansive sand box for the grandchildren four houses down, fourteen newspapers with the puzzles completed, and, a copy of "Girls of Manure Magazine" (really, it exists!) But, Becky said that she would take care of that nasty magazine and I shouldn't worry about it anymore.
I wasn't worried. I just had my "concerned husband face" on for protection. I was just wondering who in the neighborhood gets it.
The guy I needed to really predict this high winds stuff is Buck Matthews, who did the weather for WOOD-TV8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for nigh onto 42 years. (I don't know how long he was there, but as 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything, I thought I'd just toss it in.)
Matthews, or Buck, as my mother called him, didn't use fancy-dancy electronics to tell you the weather, he drew on a glass board with a marker and made it look all the more real and impressive. It's easy when you've got a computer doing all your drawing for you. He did it by hand and he was right a lot more often than the guys we've got now -- especially that one locally I just can't stand.
(Go ahead ... try to figure out who I'm talking about ...)
And, believe me, the computers get confusing. All these computerized wind gusts suddenly resemble little spermatazoas heading toward some mystical Ovum of Denver. (In Milwaukee, that's pronounced Spermatosa and it refers to a small suburb on the west side of town.) I think its a shameless attempt on the part of the liberal media to induce viewers to stay up past the latest news of the Great Orange Circus Peanut and watch the weather.
Buck didn't need that nonsense. All he ever had to say was, "It's going to snow tomorrow, friends," because it was West Michigan and that's all it ever did there.
Until next time, kiddies! (When we might actually have some gardening to talk about ...)