Tag Archives: pumpkin patch photo

The Seventh Bed

Garfield bursts through the just-opened front door.  “Why-why-whyyyyyy?” he meowls. It’s pouring rain, and he feels poor and homeless.  This is the third week the house has been torn up by my annual, end-of-summer cleaning, painting, and general reframing, and now his paws are wet.

He makes eye contact with me and continues.  It’s so wet there are birds bathing in the potholes.  Where is a cat to go for a bit of dry peace and quiet?

“You have six beds!” I say, and head back up the stairs where I’m cleaning the library shelves.  His first bed, a black fleece basket in the cat condo which he just bypassed, is crowded between paint cans.  But he’s got a great bed right here in these shelves.

“Meeeeeee-owwwww.”  The warble cues me that he is quoting the Bearded One from a political discussion earlier in the week.  “Everyone gets to define their own wealth.”  What do I know of his suffering?

“I’ve finished the pink wall in the bedroom,” I say to Garfield, implying that his penultimate fifth bed, the Bearded One’s pillow, is available.

“And the living room has been finished for a week.  Your little brown fluffy kitty bed –” I point to his second bed on the relocated coffee table by my rocker — “is just waiting for you.”

“Nope.”  He shakes his paw.

“And remember, your food is up on the freezer now.”

He pads over to the window sill and hops up.  “Yowwwwwww.”  The request for treats is always unmistakable.

“Okay,” I say and return — I’m just to the landing anyway — to grant his wish.  He hates his food being placed on the freezer, plus he’s been off his treats for the past couple of weeks, perhaps in protest of the transition and changes, and I want to show my appreciation.

As I walk to the window, I see the goats up the hill.  There’s a lull in the rain (3 inches in the rain gauge this weekend) and they have finally ventured out of the barn.  Pearl makes eye contact, and then Sage and finally LaLa.  They are a lot like cats — they hate rain and love to ask for treats.

I see the cornstalks have fallen over in the rain, and the biggest pumpkin, half orange now, pokes up out of the dying pumpkin leaves.

We have a list of Edible and Poisonous Plants For Goats but it says nothing about the pumpkin leaves we now have in abundance.  The internet says pumpkin leaves are supposed to be edible, but ours won’t touch them.  We guess it’s the tiny spines covering the entire bottom surface.  The goats love corn and eat everything but the stalks.  I tell them I’ll come out soon.

“Meow-meow.”  Garfield noses one of the treats I just gave him, then licks it.  Then looks up at me.

“What?” I say.

“Nope.”  He hops down and then trots over to the stairs.  “Meeeee-owwwww.”  He is a very vocal cat.

And I am a patient cat woman, I say to myself.  Perhaps I misunderstood His Majesty.  No, I understand.  Everyone gets to define their own treats, too.

I continue working on the built-in bookcase.  Books flocked with dust, which were once treats, get nosed again briefly, sorted, rearranged.

The new Pink Peach wall in the downstairs bathroom and on the west wall of our bedroom make me happy now.  I love to lie in bed and just stare at the color as the rain pours down.

Garfield yowls when he gets to the top of the stairs and sees beds number three (under my computer) and four (the chair in the second bedroom) are blocked by plastic drop cloths and piled high with clothes for Goodwill.  He has just about had it.

And then he sees his sixth bed, the shelf, is now blocked by a ladder.

He turns and bounds back down the stairs, thumping out his displeasure.

“I have work to do,” I say, officially calling off this cat servicing session, and take a small limp toward the stairs.  My hip is getting better since I’ve stayed off the ladder for several days, but I still favor it.  I’m glad I just have the ceiling fan left to clean.  Once a year whether it needs it or not.  And it needs it.

Garfield crosses quickly in front of me, expert tripster that he is, and I see him at the last second.  I look up at the ceiling fan, then at the cat, and I go sit in the rocker.  He leaps into my lap — the seventh bed.

A Corny Joke

More than anything in his entire life our neighbor, third-grader Hansel wants to remember how the joke goes.  It’s about a corn field, and here he is standing next to our corn, pumpkin, and bean garden with a rapt audience — his first-grade sister Gretel, 4-year-old brother Batman, his mom, the Bearded One, and me.

I’ve just pointed out, in an educational first-week-of-school voice, that each corn stalk has just two ears of corn, and only two, just like humans.  “Oh!” Hansel’s eyes lit up like a Jack-o-lantern.  “Secrets…uh….”

Gretel smiles and claps her hands to her mouth.  She remembers the joke, but graciously defers since Hansel clearly thought of it first.  And he is big enough to clobber her.

Hansel tries again.  “When you are in a corn field…”  He flaps his hands.  The opening question of the joke isn’t coming together in his mind.  We wait.  Even Batman stops examining the biggest pumpkin in the patch to listen and hopefully laugh.

It’s hard to say which is growing faster, the 3 kids, the pumpkins —

— or the 2-week-old fryer chicks —

— that we just visited and where the Bearded One impressed Hansel with the power of a good joke.  Someone remarked how clean the chick’s tushes were compared to the last batch, and the Bearded One said, “They have little toilet paper rolls over in that corner,” which sent all the children and their good-natured, home-schooling mother into hysterics.

Now if only Hansel could remember how to start the corn joke.

Gretel leans over and whispers to Hansel…while we adults chat casually about letting the young meat chicks out of the brooder, but not until we sprinkle lots of Diatomaceous Earth over the chicken yard to handle parasites from the last birds’ poop.

And then we notice Hansel is bursting with the joke.

“Why shouldn’t you tell secrets in a corn field?” he says, grinning.  Gretel giggles in anticipation.

“Why not?” says Batman.

“Because the corn has ears!”  Hansel delivers the punch line beautifully, we all laugh heartily, and I swear Hansel grows another inch before our eyes.

Even though Batman isn’t completely convinced this is funny, he smiles, and then leads the way back up to the house to the promised fruit chips.

It’s Hansel’s idea to see the freezer full of harvested chickens.  He’s not sure they are okay to eat.  Heck — he came over and played with these guys while they were tiny chicks.

We show them the biggest one, which weighs almost 9 pounds.  He agrees that they look okay to eat, and their mom accepts a medium-sized one to take home.

The Bearded One hands out baggies of strawberry and peach fruit chips.  Hansel says, “Who likes peach best, raise your hand.”

Batman and Gretel like the strawberry best, so Hansel stands there with his hand raised.  They are so ready for school to start, I think.

We all troop out the back door and as they are leaving, I ask when their classes will be starting.

“Soon,” the mom says.  “We’re going to be studying the Middle Ages and the Egyptians.”

Hansel says, “I love history.”

“Me, too,” I say.  “Especially the Egyptians.”

“I hope we can go to the King Tut exhibit in Seattle,” the mom says, “if we can afford the tickets.”

“Oh, yes, you must go,” I say.

And then the Bearded One says, “The Egyptians?”

He is going to tell a joke, I can tell.  The kids can, too.  They stop moving.  They almost stop breathing.

“The Egyptians were great,” he says with a huge grin.  “They even invented…toilet paper.”

Remembering how we had just discussed the chicks and toilet paper, a riot of laughter breaks out. Hansel lifts his eyes to the heavens and says, “OH THANK YOU EGYPTIANS!” Gretel, who attended cheerleading camp this summer, jumps high and sings out, “YAY EGYPTIANS!”  Batman races around his mother who claps happily.

Here at the start of third grade, Hansel has noticed something important.  Few things are more powerful than being funny.