Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All Bull All The Time

Most residents at Greenbush Manor have TVs. There is free cable, one of the perks of our facility. One resident wanted an extra channel that covers farm news and views. The maintenance man had to hook up a special antenna just for this channel. As I walk past this resident's room in the afternoons, I hear the drone of an auctioneer. There's something enticing about his spiel, like that of a carney barker, and I sometimes wander in to watch. On the screen there will be a bull trotting around a large corral. The bull always looks too small, but 700 lbs is the weight they sell them at. It takes just a couple of minutes to sell a bull. They start the bidding close to what they want and it quickly escalates to what they're going to get. There's no "going once...going twice." The auctioneer is no more than deep, rapid voice swallowing air. The bull is oblivious. He explores his corral. Back and forth he goes, rarely standing still. I thought we were seeing the bull in real time, but then noticed him looking through the bars at the same crony in the next pen, or examining the same lump of manure in a repeating loop. I realized the bulls are filmed earlier and shown during the auction. The seller can reject a bid he thinks too low; we are not privy to those dealings. There's a phone number in the corner, but all the buyers have had to register and have their accounts pre-approved. The buyer receives a 2% discount for the contents of the bull's stomach which will be gone by the time his truck arrives. For the next few years the bull will stay busy breeding cows, but once his ardor flags, he will return to a pen like this for a final scene like that of a victim in a horror movie. That will go unrecorded.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fifty-two Pickup

The depression after '29
Was like a deck of cards
Blown around the porch.

This time the house of cards
Is tumbling all around us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Win This Mug

We are building a combination storage shed/guest cottage which Teresa calls a shêdeau. Over the years we've collected duplicate sets of dishware, cutlery, pots and pans in case our kids needed help setting up their own place. They never needed that kind of help. Which is good because now we'll be able to furnish the new kitchen. Our stock is especially rich in mugs. Whenever someone wants to remember us with a small gift, we get a mug. Who needs a mug? A mug is a personal thing. I've been using the same mug my brother gave me 30 years ago. It looks like a US Navy mug except that it has a couple of non-reg green rings top and bottom. The average home needs six mugs max, but the things keep drifting in from well meaning friends. Nothing could be easier for someone who owes us a remembrance than picking up a mug at the museum gift shop with van Gogh's mug on it. But we don't need it, don't want it, and usually send it off to Goodwill. The last mug we received (Christmas is a bad time for mug fever) was a nice enough mug. It sports a pine woods motif. The handle, rim, and base look like branches. It has a pine cone and needles painted on each side and though surprisingly light,it will hold a supersized spot of coffee. And it is made in China, of course. I was about to bundle it off to ThriftWorld but Teresa suggested we use it in the shêdeau. I had to agree the mug would look good out there under the spruce boughs, so I set it behind the dishrack at home and wondered what would be the earliest day a piece of crockery like this would be safe out there. I thought a little betting pool would be fun. Please, readers, be the first to pick a date you think the mug can safely be transported to the new kitchen. Teresa is not in on this. She never reads my blog. So the day Teresa hauls the mug to the shed will determine the winning date. Name your date in the comments section. The winner will receive a mug. Not the pine cone mug, but all the mugs I receive between now and the winning date shall be yours!
One guess per URL, please.