Archive for June, 2009

Destroy the poor in entry level unskilled jobs

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Clean House

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Trouble began when pigeons woke to coo at the crack of dawn, disturbing the sleep of those in the bedroom just inside the wall and the rain spout that a pair of pigeons favored. I never thought of myself as a house wrecker and in truth I did not actually wreck the house personally but I stood by encouraging the destruction.

At the first try to reach the offending squatters, Dan’s resident step ladder only took him as high as the fence. He tore down a chunk of shag carpet someone in the past thought would discourage the birds. Were they ever wrong! It appeared to be a flag to signal the place most suitable for a permanent abode. And birds obviously had been industriously adding material ever since. But reaching into the protected area was not possible from that ladder. So off we went to procure a ladder that would reach the required height.

That’s when the labor really started. Not mine. With a long handled old kitchen spoon to be sacrificed to the cause, Dan scooped out several gallons of debrie, consisting of sticks, twigs, poop, bird spit, and what ever. Gallons of water were zeroed in through the garden spigot to remove the residue and stench and prevent future damage to the wood. More than removal was required, Dan realized, therefore he had wisely purchased steel mesh to fasten over the protected cove not only as a discouragement but as a complete deterrent to further occupation.

Stapling the mesh was more work. Technology came to the rescue in the form of an electric staple gun. I stood by as a gopher to fetch, carry, and hand the tools. I encouraged lockout of the noisy birds whose small heads and tubby bodies distinguish them from ordinary garden birds normally seen in residential areas. In taxonomy the bird falls in the order Columbiformes, which includes the well referenced Dodo bird. And remember that order falls in the class of Aves, which includes all birds and incidentally is just a hair’s breathe away in natural selection from the vertebrate class of mammals — you and me.

It was no surprise that the displaced couple flew back and forth from the rain spout to the neighboring roof with the air of total confusion. What happened? Why were we shut out? Where do we go from here? Well that is what they appeared to be thinking from my viewpoint on the sidewalk below. They are not pretty; dark colored with iridescent color evident only when hit by the sunlight.

Today in the early light, they perch on the rain spout, making noise as before. How long will it take for them to make a new search, if they are forced by instinct to reproduce — never mind the call they make in the process?

Burbank to Burbank

Monday, June 15th, 2009

From Burbank to Burbank

I’m destined to flit

by auto or airliner

I just get to sit

By car scenery flies right by

By plane I see the full scene from on high.

The how is adventure one way or another

destination is more dear to this mother.

Burbank California the target I boast

More transport to Daniel on toward the coast

Oxnard — city built on the fertile plain

agricultural products had most to gain.

Sugar beet factory gave city its name

Four Oxnards, Ben, Robert, Henry and James.

Acres of strawberries a few blocks away

can be seen from Melito Drive any old day.

But I digress from the city I come

Burbank where my Refuge is home.

Incorporation, the city has not,

just Roadhouse Cafe with burgers hot

a Post Office and Grange Hall and schools for kids all.

Grain terminal on one end of the town

stores and ships grain that is grown.

The soil in this region does make things grow

and honors the Burbank who invented potato.

Clean Sweep

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Well I wasn’t playing cards, that’s where one can make a clean sweep isn’t it? but the clean sweep had more to do with actually cleaning things up, down, and around. Started first thing upon getting into the bathroom, taking off the fuzz that grows on the back of my neck. Out came the trusty dog clippers and I did the deed. That was before I took a shower and scrubbed the bath tub and sink. I had to watch Hillary on the Stephanopolus hour (good excuse to rest) and then out came the vacuum and I buzzed around the furniture on all the floors.

Did the dishes after eating oatmeal, spices, and last years apricot sauce. Golly there is just no limit to what needs cleaning. The wind blew again last night and the yard is cluttered with cottonwood branches and spent blossoms from Wade’s Buckeye tree. The huge tree was pink a month ago with large bright flowers which since turned to grape shaped stuff that is all over my yard, roof and steps.

I did take time out to visit with Freethinkers at Hastings Book Store, and realized how badly my car needed a washing (I hadn’t seen the car for 24 hours). The near-rain over night left little polka dots in the dust that settled after the wind the day before. There has been 48 hours of lightning, low rumbling thunder but nothing sharp and ominous and certainly no rain. Back at my house I swept pine needles and Buckeye junk off the steps. I just didn’t quit.

That made lunch late and I wished for time out to play but instead took everything out of the refrigerator and wiped the inside down with soda. Wiped all the jars and put everything back except for the paper and cardboard that seems to hold an unhappy smell. Well the smell makes me unhappy but all is fresh and clean for now.

By then it was late afternoon and quite cloudy so I got around to soaping the Hyundai and hosing it off. Wiped down the windows but the rest had to air dry. I watered some dry spots in the front flower bed as long as I had the water on and one thing leads to another. I couldn’t resist pulling the quack grass that looked so healthy. There were still some leaves hunkered down in the Valeriana — that’s the name of the thick leafed plant that comes up all over and blooms constantly. Pretty cool, huh. Anyway I cleaned up all the debrie I could grab with my fingers. I gather the stuff in a five gallon bucket and I collected five of them full so I will make a good showing for the garbage pickup Wednesday. Those were on top of the tree trash I picked up earlier.

Can you guess what that kind of work does to fingernails? Fills them with dirt, that’s what. Another cleanup job. Cleaned my feet too. I wouldn’t take time out to eat but I can hardly drag myself out of my chair so supper will be modest. With the house so clean it is better that I do very little and not mess it up.

Undoubtedly will go to bed tonight before the birds.

Gift Horse

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I picked up Jaynee, a fellow worker, and dropped her at the airport on my way to work. She is anything but a horse — shorter than me, she is dark, slender, and runs 5 miles before breakfast like an antelope. She asked for a ride for the usual reason of avoiding the cost of a taxi. I refused to take money. But she did offer me a gift. With that comes good news and bad news. The good news is that I was the recipient of the fresh greens from her refrigerator because they would deteriorate into uselessness before she returned.

The bad news is that the greens are collard greens. If you are unfamiliar with them I can say they have nice white stalks very much like celery or Swiss chard. The leaves are more leathery, like dark green cabbage, not nearly as tasty. I did not know this when I accepted the treasure. Well, as you know, I do not let things go to waste.

I cut an inch off the root end and pulled the stalks apart. I wondered in what muddy habitat the stuff had grown. Black dirt was in every crease. So the washing began. I’m sure it took more water to rinse dirt off the stalks than I saved by not flushing the toilet every time I tinkled.

Nevertheless, I stuck to my goal — making an edible salad. After adding my favorite thousand island dressing I thought to enhance the appearance by adding finely chopped carrots, green pepper, and catsup. Like the great actor turned president, I consider catsup a vegetable. The mixture became a sharp salad that puckers my mouth with each forkful. I indulge sparingly but I do eat it every day. With those sunkissed vegetables there must be vitamins with a celestrial aura.

I will certainly give Jaynee a ride whenever she needs it but will gracefully refuse remuneration of any kind.

Unexpected

Friday, June 5th, 2009

One never knows what each day will bring. I did not expect to get a fat lip while weeding at McNary National Wildlife Refuge, but I certainly did. A wasp took exception to being disturbed in a small gray rabbit brush and kissed me quickly on the lower right corner of my lower lip. I felt the sting but did not actually see the insect as it left its mark.

I have been stung by hornets or wasps or whatever so many times as to become immune so I knew I was in no danger of dying, not even getting sick. I had a special patch of cheatgrass to eradicate as my goal this morning and was not about to stop. My weeding partner, Deb, took one look at me and suggested she get her benadryl to stop the swelling. When I refused to take drugs she suggested ice. And maybe I should not try to drive home. Well my hands were tingling by the time I turned off on Abbot Street.

The swelling has overtaken my entire lower lip down to my chin. I am certain I will live. It is into the shower to rinse the sweat and dust from the four hours of volunteer work in the native plant garden. It is not even noon – less than half a day.

What more adventure awaits on this ideal summer day?

Little Brother

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Today my youngest brother would be 80 years old. He died in 1993. He and his wife, Jean came to live at my house in 1992 in their 50 foot trailer for several months. Emil put up a six-foot high cedar board fence on the west side of the house to enclose my back yard. Ron had installed a 4 foot wire fence twenty years earlier. Emil did a number of other things most of which I have forgotten.

Anyway he and I were more than 5 years younger than Ruth and James. We played together a lot after he managed to walk around without diapers. Mostly Emil followed me around before I started school and was a willing accomplice in playing house. I wrote a poem about what we did. In loving memory here it is…

LITTLE BROTHER

We talked when together my brother and I

How we laid in the grass and looked at the sky

Clouds illustrated rhymes Mama would read

A dog with a spoon or the Banbury steed

Time passed and the shapes were no more

When I was six and my brother was four.

We’d crawl under the spruce out by the barn

To watch the nest and hear the bird mourn

The soft needles cradled us and we felt cool

Late in the day when I came home from school

There was nothing to do, not one little chore

When I was six and my brother was four.

We cooled in the rain barrel under hot sun

Drove away in a jacked car when we were done

Curled up in a tire, Sis rolled us downhill

Scary but thrilling, I remember it still

We fell and got dirty right down to the core

When I was six and my brother was four.

While Mama and Daddy milked Brownie and Nellie

Each sat on a stool, heads braced on the belly

Milk stung in the pail until it was full

And filling a pail took many a pull

We cuddled soft kittens on the barn floor

When I was six and my brother was four.

When the handle turned faster skim milk would pour

Out of the separator into the pail on the floor

Foam would rise up like clouds in the sky

Mama put it in bowls for brother and I

With sugar we called it ice cream, we were poor

When I was six and my brother was four.

Now I sit alone and stare at the wall

And reflect with regret one act I recall

The time that a hammer came down on his head

I was spanked but he did the crying instead

I mourn because we can talk no more

About when I was six and my brother was four.