Monday, December 26, 2011


chicken preparing to cross the road-dog wondering why

I read a news digest magazine that's funny, informative and scares the shit out of me. More on that to come.

Jorge drops by. Not an unusual occurrence, although he's been an infrequent visitor of late due to an overwhelming bad attitude on my part.  He hands me his copy of my news magazine that I usually borrow from the library. Being a cheapskate, he signed on for the free trial subscription. A label on the front says Your Last Issue. The library has been shut since last Friday.  I forgot to ask my library angel if they had the latest issue of  The Week the last time I stopped in because the main topic of conversation is my recent illness and the loud mouth who works at the retirement home with my wife.

"I aint dying," I tell Janie, the 80 some year old library director.

Tressie, the loudmouth, overheard a conversation and tells all that I'm on my way out.  But then again she's a Republican, married to an obnoxious alcoholic, won't divorce him because it aint proper in her religious views, won't tolerate any salacious stuff in print and is socially numb to the point of ridiculousness.She's also addled.

She worked for a while at a group home in the town closest to us- a distance of 2 miles-minimum.  She was walking the highway that runs by our place on her way home, another 6 miles minimum. Eight mile walk. probably hummed Eminem's songs all the way. We have out-of-town guests.  She rings the doorbell and asks if someone could give her a ride.  The guests take pity on her and drive her home. If you want to imitate her voice, take your thumb and index finger and pinch your nose shut. Slowly say, "Can you give me a ride?"  Don't ask where her car is-her husband took it to the bar or crashed it into a tree.

Case in point.  The library director hides any baked goods brought to the library for the afternoon coffee break with volunteers and the assistant director because Tressie will show up regularly at break time.  She'll consume more than her share. If she remunerates the break treat fund, it'll be in the form of store bought cookies gone stale.

Oh, yes,  back to the news magazine.

There's a blurb about a Consumer reports test of 31 popular apple and grape juice brands under the byline of Health scare of the week, subheading -Toxins in apple juice.  Ten are found to have high levels of arsenic and lead. Higher than FDA's limit for bottled water. Unsafe for children who drink more juice than adults.

We live near "Apple Valley"-the Gays Mills area-30-some miles away. It has some of the most scenic rolling hills and Grant Wood tree-lined hills I've ever seen. In fall it's breathtaking. Every September an apple festival brings people from surrounding states to purchase anything from juice to pies to apple butter. You can pick your own apples or fill a bag from huge wood bins that line the front of the apple stands.
Crowded apple barn during the fest.
 The one, lone organic apple orchard, which the chicken photo was taken is struggling.  It's not on the apple tour-state highway 71 which runs across the ridge tops from highway 61 ( Soldier's Grove) to Gay's Mills and beyond.   Instead of spraying their trees, they have chickens who patrol the ground,eating insects.  Hogs, sheep and various other free range critters run the place.  If you don't mind a bug or two in the core of your apple, you can get fruit without arsenic, lead or gawd knows what.  Nubies that we were in 2004, we picked our own half bushel for $10 from another orchard with the disclaimer to wash the fruit before eating.  Then we found Turkey Ridge.  For $10 we got a bushel of rejects, apples with a few imperfections that couldn't be used for organic apple juice.
the resident mouse catcher
A neighbor got fed up with their wandering sheep and sent the sheriff.  The day we visited and took these pictures, a hawk swept down and tried to carry off one of the hens.  We met Three Toes Tommy who survived the winter of '00 .  He sacrificed the toes in order to keep his perch place on the front porch.

Even the sheep are laid back.  I canned so much apple sauce that year, I haven't been back for more apples. 
The big apple in Gays Mills.
 To find Turkey Ridge, you turn right at the caboose on highway 71 which runs out the back side of Gay's Mills. Another right on the road to the ridge will get you close. If you go, avoid taking a ride with Jorge.  Lately he's been into eating smashed potatoes(ours) with garlic and olive oil. Trouble is, he uses a whole bulb in his recipe.  The odor is horrific. It was all I could do to keep from hurling on a short trip to town for juice and barley.  My normally industrious Amish grocers were on holiday, this day after Christmas.  I'm forced to run to town. 

Got Wool?

Gift shop at an orchard on highway 61.
Apple valley scenic shot.


Anonymous said...

Lovely quiet day on the farm. It feels great after the foo-foo during Christmas. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Tressie sounds just awful ... awfully sad, too. Apple picking was a tradition for me and my sister when we lived in Minneapolis. I'd never before seen whole groves of fruit laden trees with different types of apples. I fell in love with Honey Crisp then. What the midwest offers is far more than gorgeous scenery - you get an experience unlike anywhere else.

I love garlic, but cannot tolerate overdoses of it on someone's breath. My ex used to consume it in such mass quantities that the entire house would smell for days even though he had consumed it elsewhere. It just seeps through the pores for a long time after.

Gavrillo said...

Jorge's garlic reaction-He cups his hands over his nose-"I don't smell anything." Unbelievable that anyone could be that dense. "everything in moderation" isn't just a mantra. It makes sense. Tressie and your ex would be the perfect odd couple.