Hurricanes typically inconvenience us Midwesterners by screwing up our Carolina/Florida/Caribbean vacation plans, but this week Ike somehow stretched clear up Ohio way from Texas to give us a serious wind storm. You fellow Ohioans already know this, and in fact might not read this for a while yet because of it. But let me tell my version, and you can do the same if you want…
As some of you know from experience, or at least know from me saying it before, my place is generally windy. In this hilly area, I catch a good breeze pretty much every day. (This has been a God-send this summer, giving me good hammock conditions even in 90-degree weather, but of course will be my demise come winter.) So waking up to a windy day Sunday wasn’t that odd for me. But by mid-afternoon the wind got rather crazy, more like it’s been during some of the stronger storms we’ve had this spring and summer. What was particularly weird though was getting such strong winds on such a nice day. It wasn’t remotely stormy; it was sunny and, from inside, a very normal, nice summer day.
Country folk participate in the same kinds of things as city folk, they just tend to do it sleeveless. For instance, I attended a rural fundraiser over the weekend. Fundraisers in big, glamourous cities such as Columbus, Ohio might involve wine and hors d’oeuvres and call girls, but let me tell you, fundraisers in Perry county involve all-day dollar beers, all-you-can-eat nachos, gambling, Daisy Dukes, and most importantly, firearm raffles.
I’m purposely leaving this thread open for expansion since I realize that my re-saturation into country living will likely produce many tales of redneckish pastime, but the activity in particular that prompts this post is the Perry County Gun Bash, and so for your pleasure I feel I must elaborate greatly. (*breath*) So while I imagine this thread will eventually broaden with the tales of a hillbilly’s life well lived, I must for the moment direct your attention immediately south of Boundaries Road…
Well, I met a girl tonight. Rudy and Maeby alerted me to her presence as she snuck past the house and back toward the grain bins just as daylight faded completely.
Now keep in mind, I’m allergic to cats. But I’m also an animal lover and a sucker, so I followed her out into the field to check on her, to make sure she was healthy and not starving or hurt. After considerable coaxing, slowly inching my way toward her, she started rolling in the dirt and allowed me to creep up beside her. Then I spent some time petting her and getting to know her.
I’m not averse to the idea of having a barn cat. I’m just concerned that come winter the thing will want to live inside and I’ll let it. That wouldn’t be good for my allergies. So I haven’t been seeking one out. But considering the circumstance, I figured this thin, feral cat should probably hang out in the barn, receive my affection, drive my dogs crazy, and take care of any unwelcome, rodental guests I may have living out there.
So I decided to carry her to the barn to get a cool drink of water and eat a little of the BBQ pork I made yesterday. She continued to purr and nuzzle me as I carried her toward the barn, holding her close despite the itching I knew would come as a result. And then I lost her and she darted out into the dark.
I suppose since I’ve moved I need a new thread for livestock stories; they don’t quite fit in the “pets” threads, you know…
The new place has some pasture and accommodations for critters of the barnyard variety, so naturally I wanted to get some livestock (especially since I’d grown up around all of that). The old owners had the barn sectioned off with metal gates, which they took, so we had to build some dividers in there to keep the beasts from overrunning the joint. And then the electric fence needed some minor patchwork. Other than that, I was pretty much ready for business when I moved in.
And I have heard your requests for ponies and chickens and sheep and horses and cybernetic goats. It would seem that everyone I know wants me to turn this place into a petting zoo, but I think for now I’m just going to stick to the tried and true.
So to keep the pasture mowed down (and to make some extra money in the long run) I got some grass-munchers last week. My folks and I went over to the Muskingum county livestock sale and picked us up some cows. It feels good to be around cattle again (although just a handful — we came home with five), and it really rounds out the experience.
Well folks, today was a big day for me. I closed on my first house. Most of you know that I grew up out in the country, out around Achey Breaky Buckeye Lakey. Many of you also know that ever since I moved into the city for school over a decade ago I’ve been trying to get back out that way, or at least out in the country in some direction. So after many off-and-on periods of house hunting I’ve finally settled on one, and I pulled the trigger today. I have officially signed away my soul to the bank, and the house is now mine (well, mostly the bank’s I guess).
So what’s the new place like? Rural, old, plain, secluded… pretty much what I wanted. The property itself is around seven acres, but it’s surrounded by hundreds of acres of farm land, so it feels much bigger. The house is surrounded by corn fields, which should be fun during the summer, and especially the fall. (However, I vaguely recall getting lost in a corn field as a child, so I guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for that…) There’s plenty of room for livestock, so I’ll be getting back to my roots and hopefully have some cattle loitering about before too long. The house was supposedly built in 1890, but there’s not much work that needs done there, as the previous owners upgraded about everything. It could use a patio, so I’ll be exploring that option soon, and of course a nice big front porch would be nice eventually. The barn is a different matter. The top level could use some attention soon, mostly in the roof department. But it should get the job done in the meantime. It is, after all, a barn…
Rudy is all geared up to be a farm dog; Maeby is pretty content just being wherever I am. Regardless, I expect some serious canine frolicking in all directions, so that makes me happy. I’ve told Rudy from day one that he’s not a city dog, so now I finally get to keep that promise.
So we’re into our final week before Christmas. There’s probably a lot of shopping yet for some of us, cooking, entertaining, traveling, and certainly eating. We have a couple Christmasy threads on the site, for Christmas movies/cartoons/specials, Christmas carols, and just general Christmas humbuggery. But this here shall be the official Christmas catch-all for years to come, or at least until my site breaks completely and laziness prevents its resurrection.
Some things that I don’t think have been brought up elsewhere:
Favourite Christmas memories (or worst, I suppose)
The typical Christmas gauntlet for you and yours
Preferred holiday foodstuffs
The glorification of obesity through Santa Claus imagery
Thoughts on decorations/using mistletoe to snare love interests
The effects of unregulated toy factories on the polar ice cap
Advances in caribou nasal oncology
These subjects should be discussed in great detail, as well as any other related topics you can think of. Holiday well-wishing and general online merrymaking is encouraged here, and of course links to anything humorous that in some small way can be connected to Christmas.
I seem to remember hearing that it’s the little things that make you the happiest. That in this world of colour TVs, stereo boom boxes, and fashion knickers, it’s the simple, often overlooked things that produce real joy in you. I know that sounds lame, and it probably is to some degree, but this is the thought I’m going with so lay off.
I have no intention of getting philosophical or deep, or breaking it down to simple things like basic food or clothing that we American fat cats take for granted. I know we suck here in the take-it-all-for-granted Western world, but that’s a rant for another thread (that I’ll probably never start, so what do I care, talk about it here if you really want). I just wanna know what little things get you every time, which often-overlooked things in life make you happy.
And since all of us here are quirky in our own special ways, I’m guessing our various simple, “little” things are probably pretty different or unique. Or maybe you’ll find that you really love something that someone else here enjoys, but it’s so little that you’ve overlooked the beauty of its wonderful simplicity.
Let me give you an example:
A teacher and friend to many on this site — and many, many more elsewhere — has passed away, and I’d like to take a minute here to salute him.
Marlowe Brainard, Millersport’s long-time band director, died this morning after a long battle with ALS. He was a good guy and a part of many great memories for me and my friends. He taught me a lot about music and was always willing and eager to be much more than just a teacher to us kids, and I’m very thankful for that. I feel very fortunate for having had so many awesome teachers at Millersport, and Marlowe was certainly one of the best.
I’d like to point out a few things in particular about Mar, El Hombre, The Chancellor, etc. Actually, the monikers here make a nice segue. One thing I of all people have to note is Mr. Brainard’s patience. He was always such a good sport, which if you’re familiar with me and my cronies of the day you know says a lot. He was always one of our favourites, and that affection manifested itself in some bizarre ways. We gave the man way too many nicknames, spent way too much time jotting down, compiling, and organizing his quotes, and just generally let our good-natured fun get out of control on a regular basis. Looking back as adults we know now that he was much more savvy than we assumed, and that he let us get away with murder. He was a catalyst for so many great times, and he was always willing to be a direct or indirect part of that. I know I wouldn’t begin to have the patience to put up with a group like us, nor the balance to ride the line of friend and authority as he did for so many kids. It’s one of those things you appreciate after the fact, when you’re mature enough to look back and understand.
I’ve been meaning to put a Halloween thread together, so here we are. Anything related to pumpkins, tricks or treats, cross-dressing, mild vandalism, etc. goes here.
My initial thought was to get a thread started so you all can help me figure out what to be this year, but it’s getting kinda late for that, huh? I think I have a fair amount of creativity, but every year I have such a hard time thinking of a good costume. I guess that’s just the curse of my constant search for excellence. Of course not going as anything is the exact opposite of excellent. Last year I tied a table cloth around my neck. I’m sure that’s not that surprising to you, but what I bet you’re saying is, “Bill, you actually own a table cloth?” Yes I do. It’s plaid and it has the power to make me a super hero.
But I digress. What I would like from you is your costume for this year, costumes from past years, or a solid reason for being lame and not dressing up anymore. If you have pics email them to me and I’ll add them to your comments for you (or you can link to them if they live elsewhere on the interweb and I’ll take care of it). You peeps with kids, let’s see some cute kid pics. If you send me photos of your pets dressed up I *might* post them for you, but if I do it’ll likely be used as evidence in your animal cruelty prosecution case. You can also share Hallow’een stories, funny costumes you found elsewhere, general gripes about the holiday itself, or anything related like that. I’ll bring over any related comments too.
Oh, and go ahead and give me some costume ideas. Maybe I’ll have time to throw something together. Don’t make me wear the table cloth again, people.