Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grouse, Rails & The Easter Pig

There will be no grouse pictures here. No King, Clapper or Virgina Rail, common birds of fresh water marshes. The Kickapoo spills its banks in many lowlands areas. Ducks and Geese are the most frequent inhabitants. I did, however, spot a Golden Eagle on the ground munching away at road kill on my way to town this morning. That's where the grousing and railing come in the picture. The weather service predicted sun for today. The portable greenhouse pictured here cannot be left unattended. With the sides up, the sun could fry my baby cabbages. So, I groused about the weather, opened the sides in spite of the cool, windy morning with no sun.

My luck changes . The horoscope on MyYahoo predicts things would go my way, with perhaps a new romantic interest. Dawn will appreciate that. I stop at the plumber on my way to the hardware store. The owner's wife said that they could have someone at my house in the afternoon because Aaron, one of their plumbers, is supposed to meet the maintenance man for Kickapoo High School not far away. He'd be able to fix our leaky sink.

Six hours later our sink is as good as new. The plumber is a young guy with a sense of humor. As I sit at the kitchen table watching him work, I tell him, " I hope I'm not in your way." I know that if I go off to work in the garden he'll be calling me in to look at something or ask a question. His reply to my question? "You're paying for the show so you might as well watch the clown."

In the past I've groused about the common malady of the 21st century. No one has enough time. We keep track of Amish (slow) and daylight saving (fast) time since we frequently have contact with Amish friends. Once I had more time than I could use. Then the kitchen cabinets were finished and extra time disappeared. I might also add that spring planting and preparing the gardens are a "constant of work". For three days, I help Titus' brother complete the dry wall in preparation for the new cabinets. Most of my work involved chasing after him and his helper with a broom and dust pan. When I tell Titus' wife that I had to remind the workers to kick the mud and manure off their boots before beginning construction, she was chagrined.

Things were spaced out. This means that my Amish drywall installers forgot to raise the kitchen electrical outlets to accommodate the new counter top height. I grouse about the lack of sun. My challenged skills at performing electrical work are worse with the power off and a dark, gloomy day. I make several scouting trips to town, asking the hardware store employees for advice about installing new plastic outlet boxes. The wire and metal boxes currently in our walls were installed by Stone Age electricians. When Titus installs the kitchen sink after cutting a hole in the counter top, it leaks. It's Easter Saturday. We're expecting the kids and grandkid in a few hours. Titus quips that we can set a bucket under the sink and empty it every few years. Amish humor. It doesn't set well with me.

Now, several days later the kids have gone. It's a beautiful morning. Temperatures are expected to hit the mid 60's. I've installed a new box and outlet for the refrigerator. It's really a shame that the original cabinet intended for over the frig cannot be used. When we saw the effect of removing a broom closet in the entryway, we changed the kitchen plan. The long dark hallway is gone. When you enter the kitchen via the inside door, there's a new spaciousness. Changing plans in the middle of a renovation can be costly in time and money. Small details such as exposed ugly old flooring and the lack of carpeting in areas formerly covered by an interior partition give me a headache. The end result will be worth the trouble.

The cat jumps in my lap as I ramble away trying
( and failing) to organize the events of the past 11 days. He has some grease on his back. Last night I had to fetch him, when he didn't come to my calls at sunset. Our neighbor hears my, " Pooch, here boy," and tells me our cat is up in his haymow searching for a nesting hen. As he climbs down the metal elevator used to lift bales to the upper part of the barn, I tell him he's in big trouble for not responding to my call. He slinks away, heads for home acting as much like a child in trouble. Well, the grease turns out to be manure-eeyew!!- and then I feel a tell-tale lump near his ear. It's a tick. The recent warm weather will trigger an explosion. I quickly wash my hands of manure, grab the Frontline while my ancient computer downloads the picture of the kitchen cabinet.

I started this post days ago, feeling guilty that I barely have time to attend to e-mail. Now, an hour later, I'm feeling guilty again. I need to finish electrical work. I look at the title. You're puzzled about the Easter Pig. Let me explain.

I e-mail my daughter and ask if she's reinforcing the Easter Bunny myth. I wouldn't want to be the Easter Scrooge or perhaps an Elmer Fudd. Dawn knits a colorful shawl for our granddaughter and I lay in a supply of Easter candy, an egg coloring kit, plastic grass and a few grown-up goodies like Kickapoo Gold organic maple syrup, honey candy and mixed nuts. We purchase a basket for the kid and rummage through a collection of baskets in the barn for the the adults and hide them in the office closet. On Easter morning my granddaughter hunts for eggs and finds her basket. I neglected to put out the basket for daughter and son-in-law. While the kid is collecting eggs with Dawn's help, I grab the large open basket and proclaim that the Easter Pig was here before the bunny. It'll be a new tradition.

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