Monday, February 1, 2010

Items of note

Having the occasion to view the back of my neck, I was reminded that in two day’s time I will be among presentable people, and wishing to blend in, I went to see my barber.

Pleasantries out of the way, I asked, “So, did you know that DS cleaned up his act?”

 “And the only way he’s gonna stay clean is to stay away from that neighbor of yours.” You know the one. And he knew much more. Seems that about a year ago a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy was visiting said neighbor and overdosed right there on the premises. An ambulance was called but the attendants would not step foot in the house. The woman had to be delivered to the doorstep. The pregnancy was subsequently terminated.

Back to DS: I found out about his recovery after DW happened to go to a yard sale at which DS was the subject of a conversation. He was now in the care of evangelicals, and had presumably found the Lord for himself, if not with a little supervision. I mention this only because of where our conversation went thereafter.

Although the yard sale signs have been taken from the yard to my barber’s south, the items for sale remain stored on the porch and under tarps. You know I asked.

A local preacher of the same persuasion as above has opened a residence for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. The yard sale is a fundraiser for the operation. Other particulars emerged: at one point there were seventeen people living in the house; some of those people (all men) have fallen and left; the city was somewhat blind-sided with the establishment; and, word has been put on the street that the known drug dealers in town had better cut a wide berth from the house lest retribution come swiftly.

Indeed, not more than three hundred feet away is HQ for the ne’er-do-wells, and they have established new routes for their daily rounds, this according to my barber. I was then able to tell him about the 24-foot U haul truck parked and loaded all weekend at the druggies’ residence. While curious, neither of us saw much comfort in the observation as the king pin still roamed about this morning.

Just as I was about to ask if he cut any of the local cops’ hair, a couple walked in, and the conversation at large became about the weather, as it had changed from sun yesterday back to rain today. The consensus was that we must endure. Shortly thereafter, with my hair cut, beard, ears and eyebrows trimmed, I was off to run errands.

Maybe the weather has something to do with the way I color my world, how I choose to highlight that around me.

I am waiting in line at the grocery store. There is a woman, man and young child in front of me. The woman is short, obese and has a repaired cleft palate. The man is tall and thin. His left side is paralyzed, yet he can walk and talk. The child is licking the side of the counter, for which he is scolded. He then licks his mother's pant leg. 

The three of them are still in front of the store as I leave. The child is screaming about something. The mother says, “Obey your papa and I’ll give you a soda.” A man is emptying his car ashtray into a waste bin and she stops her bargaining to ask him for a cigarette. I did not pause long enough to know the outcome of the request.

The return home is made all that much sweeter, and the rain makes it easy to retire to the dungeon where much puttering awaits. A familiar pace is set until evening chores.

The trip to the grocery store was to fetch tortilla chips, both yellow and blue. Avocados purchased last week have ripened to a point where they needed served, which automatically suggests a plate of nachos for dinner. They are a specialty of mine, and inasmuch as I would be making dinner, DW offered to bring in the ducks before walking the dog. “I’ll holler when I’m going out,” which she did.

Just as the man was emptying his ashtray, the phone rang. Caller ID indicated DW was calling from her mobile.* One of the ducks was acting funny. I put on my rain slicker.

“It’s one of the magpies.” I knew this already as I had seen what looked like an unusual amount of feces on one yesterday. At the time I thought a trip to the pond might be in order for the following morning; yet, in that DW also put the birds out this morning, I forgot about the duck. In the 200 paces from the basement door to within earshot of DW, I had reassessed.

The sick and injured ones are easier to capture. The pink tinge on the feathers of her underside emanated from her cloaca, which meant she was either egg bound or an egg had ruptured inside her. At any rate, she was quickly dispatched. As I remarked later, “I was trained for this when I was three years old.”

We did not take into account that the dog, generally uninterested in the birds, had instincts that lay dormant until blood and distress ignited them. While DW managed to hold her off, the spot of the killing will undoubtedly remain of interest for several days.

As long time readers will know, our compost piles receive all farm carcasses. And while the large one in Paddock 5 is full with road-killed deer, the one I started this year has only received a nutria, so that is where I planned to put the duck. I put the duck into the bucket on the tractor and headed out.

I have not tended this pile since the last mowing in autumn. In that it is composed mostly of lawn clippings, as I lowered the front end loader into the pile I was most pleased to see that underneath a layer of dead grass was some of the most beautiful compost I have made to date.

*For Joxum


joxum said...

Heh, you're practising your new tech lingo, I see!

What does it mean when a duck is "egg bound"?


bastinptc said...

j- sometimes an egg won't descend properly and will get stuck inside the duck. It is nearly impossible to dislodge the egg, the duck becomes septic and can die a very slow and painful death. It happens in all birds. It is best just to kill them as quickly as possible once one recognizes the problem.