Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why Chickens and Fermented Apples are Incompatible

Because this.  This is why.

I didn't really know what was going on, right away.  I was just waltzing along, not suspecting a thing.  (Note:  when I say that I was "waltzing", I mean it more in the cliche, happily-and-innocently-living-my-life sort of way, not actually waltzing in the literal sense.  I can't waltz.)  

So there I was, just happily and innocently living my life.  Walking around and stuff.  Waltzing, if you will.

It was getting dark, so I waltzed myself right out to the yard to close the chicken coop door.  I flailed my arms to clear the spider webs from the gate opening, like ya do, and poked my head in the little door just to be sure everything was okay.  This is pretty much what I saw:

I took this absence of chickens exceptionally well.

Turns out, the chickens were all over the yard, doing this:

And this:

And a whole lot of this:

And when I experimentally chased a few of them (all in the name of science, you understand), they did this:

I tried interrogating them

...but I was clearly getting nowhere.  If chickens could talk, their speech would definitely have been slurred.  They appeared to be, somehow, intoxicated.  But since there are no rivers flowing with alcoholic beverages in the area, I failed to see how the entire flock could be in this state.  

There was clearly only one thing to be done.  I gave them some little chicken shades for the next day and sent them off to bed, my mouth set in a grim line.

After a good night's sleep, everyone was back to their normal brainless selves.  We didn't even get any weirdly-shaped eggs.  Turns out, my dad had just thrown them a slightly fermented apple.  Those chickens eat out of the compost bin all day and never suffer any ill effects, but one rotten apple is just too much for their delicate constitutions.  Go figure.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Inverse Relationship Between Pain Levels and Fear of Daddy Long Legs Spiders Was Discovered

In the morning, on the 4th of July, the desire to pick berries is a perfectly normal thing.  It's totally fine to not go to the 4th of July parade, and instead go pick some form of fruit in the backyard.  I'm not afraid of the sirens at the parade, of course.  No, no.  I just suddenly LOVE berries.  Really.  Honestly.  Dang, those berries!  Seriously irresistible.

In my mind, the berries look something like this:  

Glorious in the morning sunshine, upon a lush pedestal of greenery and dewy purple-red stems, shrouded in faint, flickering shadows as the cool leaves shift overhead in the gentle breeze.  Maybe there's even a twittering bluebird, sitting on the back of a perfectly-tame fawn.  In fact, yes!  Definitely a tame fawn and a bluebird.  Absolutely.

So, naturally, drawn by the siren-song of the tame wildlife and the shiny-black berries, I opted out of the morning parade and floated down the path toward the berries, like a Disney princess, barefooted.  I imagined myself to be something like a Disney princess ninja warrior - dainty and feminine, and totally adorable of course, but also with the grace and agility of a wildcat.  Never mind the fact that I suddenly tripped over a branch and fell flat on my face.  Whatever.  Still graceful.

Hark, up ahead, the blessed berries!  I hastened my pace, hiking up the skirt of my imaginary princess ball gown and lithely springing across the ground.  I waded into the bushes, nodding pleasantly to the ripe and beautiful berries that bobbed around me.  Ah, my sweet berry bushes!  The birdsong, the butterflies, the...SPIDERS??  

All at once, the berry patch began to look a heck of a lot more like this:

The much-feared, oft sung-of, rarely defeated Daddy Long Legs spider apparently loved berries.  Tiny, venomous fangs were stuck like straws into the ripest clusters of berries.  Threadlike legs, infinite in their creepiness, clung to leaves and stems and fruit.  There were, overall, WAY too many legs in that berry patch.

It wasn't long before I also discovered the thorns, which somehow had also been left out of my romantic daydreams.  Thorns tend to hurt quite a bit, especially when trodden on by the bare feet of princesses.  This adventure was slowly morphing from an afternoon frolic to all-out war.  
I was feeling very stubborn that day.  Maybe I was upset that my princess fairyland had been shattered, but whatever the reason, I was going to give the spiders and thorns a run for their money.  First, I needed to give myself a pep talk.  I thought for a minute.  Then,  "I am a very determined berry-picker."  I told myself. Having said this, I plunged ahead.  

Surprisingly, I found that when a particularly large thorn was jabbing into my foot, my fear of spiders dwindled.  I made a little graph in my head, to show the inverse relationship I had just stumbled upon:

This discovery was basically a superpower.  Stand on thorn, become invincible.  The spiders began to weep and wring their front feet in anguish.  I laughed, a resounding "HA HA", the laugh of a conquering warlord.

It was at this point that I realized it was better to be a warlord than a princess, because warlords get all the berries.  So it was an exuberant warlord, not a dainty princess, who returned to the house some time later, having taken all of the berries captive and driven off the hordes of spiders.

As everyone knows, warlords are smashingly good cooks, so I transformed myself into a warlord-chef for a few minutes while I made two black raspberry pies.  

And that gave me an excuse to buy ice cream.  Which may or may not have been my plan all along.  And that was that.