Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dawn Patrol


When a dog landed on my head promptly at five in the morning, for the fourth day in a row, it occurred to me that this routine was getting old at an astonishing rate.

"Gah! No," I whimpered, pulling the pillow over my head, "Zaphtbleghack."

My husband's moans of distress were somewhat deeper, but not meaningfully more articulate.

"Stop it, you evil dog!" He cried, "Stop it!"

But he was heaving himself out of bed as he said it. You see, Rob had the bright idea to start jogging in the morning, instead of in the evening, and had declared, "I can take the dog with me! She loves to run."

Oh, she loves to run, alright. She can also evidently tell time, too. This led to her two new nicknames: BeealzePud and Pudcifer. Rob made it through ten days of these merciless Dawn Patrol awakenings, initiated by the World's Cutest Alarm Clock. She needs to be that cute to escape a Throw-Rug's fate, as I take my sleep rather seriously. However, it's impossible to be angry with anything that damned excited to see you. Bags began to form under Rob's eyes. Exercise is supposed to be good for you, not drive you into an early grave. I intervened and together we formed a plan to break up Puddles's routine enough that she would never know if it was a walk day, a run day, a sleep-late day or a "leave us in peace as we drown our sorrows in coffee" day. I took her on walks, Rob took her on runs. Pretty much everyone got in some coffee drinking. Don't think I didn't see you, cat. Leave my mug alone. Throw-rug-in-the-making.

We all get into routines and sometimes have to alter them when the routines start controlling us too much. Whereas I'll miss the summer, and days spent reading in the shade between dips in the pool one thing I won't miss is our crazed plum hunt this summer.

We have a plum tree in our backyard and that darned thing could feed a village. Seriously, if anyone has any advice on how to stop a plum tree from bearing fruit, I would just about erect an altar and worship you daily if you tell me how. Not even the biggest plum enthusiast known to god or man could possibly want that many plums. I don't even recall if we had such a bumper crop last year, but this year, having gotten the aforementioned living Fraggle, Puddles we were keenly aware of the fruit. Let's just leave it at: Puddles over-indulged one day and the hunt was on. We were a couple possessed by the desire to destroy all plums for reasons best left entirely to the imagination.

The problem was that the dog was far more skilled at finding the plums with her nose -- an organ so large we don't call it a "sniffer", we call it her "snoofer" -- than we were with our pitifully limited, human eyeballs on the wood-chips that constitute our ground-cover. Eventually the blasted things fermented, and that actually made them easier to find, seeing as (I'm not kidding) there was the never-to-be-forgotten Day of the Drunken Bees.

Overall it was a good summer, a wonderful summer, really. There is a hint of Autumn in the air, the mornings are once again chilly and small patches of leaves begin to turn. The chicken wire over our window wells prevented any more baby bunnies from meeting a gruesome fate, and the neighborhood is populated by the ones that made it to adulthood.

Every other morning, a routine that proved to be much kinder to his over-forty knees, my husband sees two plump, blinking Owls perched in the trees, slightly larger than our dog with a wing span that made him gasp.

It's not just the weather I'll miss about summer, it's that the world around me tells so many stories during the season.

I hope you are all well. It's been a real treat reading your blogs, and your stories again.

32 comments:

Tabor said...

Charming, funny and a welcome read on this fall day. Owls? You are truly blessed.

ellen abbott said...

When I was a kid growing up we had a fig tree in our back yard and every summer we had the same thing...drunk bees. They would indulge on the fermented figs at the top of the tree.

The Bug said...

There's a cherry tree just over the fence in the back yard - and a crabapple tree. Why haven't I seen any drunk bees LOL? Probably because I don't hang out back there - I'm planted closer to the back door of the house.

Katy said...

Welcome back kid. Summer with a new puppy and fermented plums? What could be better? I love your picture, what an awesome scene.

Clowncar said...

hoe can you mention the "never-to-be-forgotten Day of the Drunken Bees" and not elaborate?

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, Tabor and those owls are truly impressive, by the way. They're huge, for starters, and it's a bit like the entire "the bumblebee flies anyway" of the physics of flight, at least visually, when they take to the skies.

I've only gotten to see them once, when Rob spotted them on a nearby rooftop, while he was out doing the nightly watering. He came and got me and we stood listening to a domestic conversation between the two, rooftop-rooftop. They must have sorted everything in Owl-land because he flew over to join she and all was well in Owl-land. But oh my goodness, they're so big! We see hawks out here all the time, but the owls impressed me even more.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hehehe, that's marvelous, Ellen! I think it was your blog where I was telling the plum tree story and realized, "You know I should probably include that in a post." the bees were flying directly into the concrete patio, and us! Then ricocheting around. It took us a bit to figure out, "What is wrong with ...OH! Follow the bees! Follow the bees! They know where the plums are!"

Indeed, Bug, proximity allows the occasional glimpse of that rarity, the Drunken Bee. Actually, there's a pub up at the Broadmoor, which is a couple of hours away, nice resort we stay at sometimes, and it's called "The Drunken Bee", I never realized that was meant to be literal!

Hi Katy! Thank you :-) That's Taylor Reservoir, which is in the high country out here. Actually, if you remember talking about the town where I got Puddles? That's right on the way to there.

My husband and son go up there to fish, every year :-) That's my son in the header picture for the blog, and then that's another view of the same reservoir in the picture on this post. It was taken by Rob on Friday of last week. Not bad huh?

They were freezing their bums off though, so it's probably better to appreciate it pictorially past summer!

Land of shimp said...

Hehe, hi clowncar! We cross posted, and actually, I just filled in the rest of the story in the comment above :-)

Hellllooooo! Good to see you.

NuminosityBeads said...

Mmm, plums. Too bad you can't ship them up to me in Alaska! It's good to see you back again.
Summer's definitely gone here, 20 degrees this morning, we may have some drunken ravens with the berries starting to ferment.
I'm inviting you to check out my new writing blog. I'm letting it take a bit of a different tone from the art blog. www.alittlebitofalizarincrimson.blogspot.com
Thanks,
xoxo Kim

Land of shimp said...

It would be my pleasure, Kim :-) Thank you.

Now I'll be wondering what a drunken Raven might be like.

Quoth the Raven, "Then I says to him, I says...Nevermore and he looks at me like...bah...so I says it again...Nevermore.."

Doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

Saz said...

LOL!!!! yes you are RIGHT...Moannie is my Mummy...l turned her onto blogging and there has been no stopping her since!!

We are 400 miles apart...but stay in contact through email, text, blogging and phone....

saz xxx

ds said...

It is a real treat to be reading your blog and your wonderful stories again!! You have been greatly missed. Snoofers, throw-rugs-in-the-making, Beelzepud, not to mention the Great American Plum Hunt...I'm in tears. Now that it's fall, stick around, okay?

Hilary said...

Holy smokes.. summer at your place is a blast. I'm so happy to see you back. Unfortunately, I do know what stops plum trees from producing. It's a fungus called Black Knot and it's pretty much killed my previously beautiful tree. Be careful what you wish for. But drunken bees.. that must have been hilarious. :)

ethelmaepotter! said...

Day of the Drunken Bees - now, THAT'S funny!

As is the whole tale. And the previous one, which I've also just read. Being the owner of two pups and one old-set-in-her-ways-cat, I can definitely relate to your troubles. The hairball hurling in mid-air had me rolling! (I heard some hacking coming from Spooky's room last night, but as I was almost dead to the world, I chose to ignore it, and have yet to find and clean it - it's probably turned a small bit of champagne carpet a lovely shade of orange by now.)

And puppies on the head - oh yeah! Bode sleeps on my head, Emma at my back. At 7:15 (keep in mind that I get home from work around 2am) they're licking my face, jumping up and down on me, anxious to go outside and play. I have been trying to get Fred to help me with their outdoor time, but he's no help at all. Bless your Rob's heart.

My laptop died yesterday right in the middle of writing a post. I am currently on the dinosaur upstairs, having had no intention of doing anything other than check flight prices, email, and comments, but I had to read your posts when I saw you were back. You've made my day!

Nancy said...

My daughter just got a little lab puppy - and she is increasingly more and more tired, every time we speak by phone.

Our golden retriever would put on weight every year with the apple tree.

Terresa said...

Pass the plums, mmmm!

Thanks for your kind comments on my blog today, they made my day. :) (I responded to you in my comments, as is my custom, but wasn't sure you knew I did that...)

Hope you have a beautiful day/week/season!!

slommler said...

What a delightful read!! Drunken bees huh? Now that would have been something to see!!!
And those owls sound magnificent! I have heard them around here but not spotted them yet. We have a lot of hawks here too. Love to watch them soar.
Our peach tree finally bore fruit this year!! Woot! We are so excited! It has taken 20 years but who's counting!
Sorry I have no solutions for your early rising pup! You are on your own with that one. I do get up early and walk so if we lived close to each other; I could take the pup with me. Then he would leave you alone maybe?? Ha!
Hugs
SueAnn

Retiredandcrazy said...

Drunken bees? Now I've heard of everything. I have a plum tree too. The fruit is delicious, but the season is short!! Thanks for visiting me

christopher said...

Always a treat to read your stories as well.

...thanks for the visit.

Vera said...

Have learnt the same lesson about the dog walking routine - that it is better not to have one for everyone's peace of mind. Oh it was alright before we moved here, but farm life demands flexibility in all things, so if lambs and other animals need to be fed, then dog walks have to be curtailed. Bools and Gus are still on a learning curve with that one. And please can you post me that plum tree? Only we need such a productive tree here, ours being babies. Thanks! x

Land of shimp said...

Hehe, well I'm clearly a bit slow on the uptake, Saz. I finally did figure it out. Takes me a while, but I get there, eventually!

Thanks ds :-) I should indeed be around more frequently as the fall drives me more towards the indoors. I look forward to catching up with everyone.

The Drunken Bees were funny, Hilary. I'm not afraid of bees, and neither is Rob (I imagine you aren't either), so neither of us are prone to that "aahahahaha! *flap* *flap* bee!!!" and as a consequence, the bees just normally buzz nearby, but leave us entirely alone. That day they were ramming directly into us...and the ground...and us again...and then the pool...and into my book, over and over.

Bees cannot hold their fermented plums!

Land of shimp said...

Ethel, now that's a high compliment :-) Braving the old machine? I'm truly flattered and I'm not being sarcastic. When you have to do things on your backup computer, it can be more than a bit maddening.

Pets, they're fun. Sometimes gross, but fun!

Oh Nancy! A lab puppy is quite the challenge, although they are wonderful dogs. I don't think we'll ever get another puppy. Our first two dogs we got as puppies, but since then we've adopted adult dogs -- well, Puddles was nine months old when we got her, but still :-)

I swear, truly little puppies are every bit as tiring as new babies. It's just, they're get into everything, and when they're awake, you have to watch them like hawks. But they are sooooo cute.

Nature knew what it was doing when it made baby things so cute, didn't it? "Gah! You're frustrating, and exhausting...and...adorable. Give me a hug!"

Hi Teresa, I'm really glad you enjoyed the comment, it was sincerely meant :-) It's nice to know it gave a lift to your day, and thank you for stopping by :-)

Hi SueAnn, twenty years? Now that's a late bloomer and you must have been so excited. Like the peach fairy had come to visit in the night :-) Why thank you, but we don't really mind getting up early with the dog...just not...that...early. Hehe.

Although every time that happens, we end up retiring at 8:30 at night, reading for a half an hour and then going to bed with the chickens. Then the next day? We wake up in the pre-dawn hours.

It's actually turned out to be fun, breaking up the routine, and you're right, those owls truly are magnificent. Rob reported that one of them did that famous "owl head turn" in his direction. The 180 head-turn, and Rob's a big guy. 6'4" and just not in anyway small, but when he told me about that, he looked like a delighted child. He also reported that he was never so glad before in his life to be decidedly un-mouse like. Impressive and...a little intimidating at that size.

Retired and Crazy, gosh, you're welcome. It really sounds like you're going through a rough time with your family and I'm so sorry. If you ever want to cut loose and kick back with some Plum-shine? I can hook you up ;-)

Hi, Christopher. It was my pleasure, I truly enjoyed your piece.

Hehe, yes, of course Vera. I'll get right on the sending of the prolific plum tree.

I'll just have to find a box the size of an obscure island nation for starters....

Good to see you all, you make the loss of summer much easier to contemplate :-)

Shrinky said...

Such a wonderful read, and I laughed out loud about the plum tree - we have one too, it only bears fruit bi-annually, and when it does, it doesn't know when to stop! I am plain plummed out! Puddles sounds adorable (grin). Like for you, the season over here is definitely turning, we've had storms and acorn missiles battering our windows all week.

SY said...

I love dogs that belong to other people but I could never have a dog for the very reason that it is impossible to get mad at them.

Plums.. Now I have a taste for one I have no idea the last time I had a plum.

I'm sure a homeless shelter would be glad to have them..
or even cooler go to a farmers market and sell them just for one day that would be a great story

Cloudia said...

I love the stories you live!






Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

Kathryn said...

I, too, love the stories you tell. :)

I think you have owls because you have bunnies, & the bunny population may soon be reduced. Glad that your window fix helped.

You've had a fun (& funny) summer. More stories to share as the weather drives you inside.

Suldog said...

And it's a real treat to be able to come here and read you again.

(Well, not 'you', but your writing. You probably knew what I meant.)

I've tagged you to complete a meme, by the way. If you have any intelligence whatsoever, you'll ignore it and go about your daily business as though I never told you.

http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com/2010/09/from-queen-to-meme-to-youyou.html

Land of shimp said...

Shrinky! Funniest lady on all of Craggy Island and beyond, it's good to see your screenname :-)

Sy, hello! Nice e-meet you :-) You know, I would have gathered up the plums for a donation, but unfortunately they actually weren't particularly edible. They were very small, and our climate here is not conducive to sweet plums, it seems.

It was a kind idea though :-)

Cloudia, resident of the prettiest of areas, it was so good, and cheerful to check in over at your blog and see the sunny pictures. Thanks for returning the visit.

I really love seeing the pictures of where you are in the world. It's heavenly.

Hi Kathryn! Yes, indeed, I suspect I know how the owls got to be so plump. Remember Wild Kingdom? Marlin Perkins, always talking about what poor, doomed Jim was about to do? "Jim's going to wade into the alligator infested swamps, to steal their babies, and insult their women, let's see how it's going for Jim!"

Yeah, Jim wouldn't move anywhere near those owls. They look like the could carry me off when pressed. When Jim's out? You know the going is getting ...munchy.

Oh Jim, Jim, Jim.

Answered.

Kerry said...

Random thoughts: Doesn't it suck that plum trees over-produce; I mean why can't biologists cross-breed these things to produce, say, smoked salmon, or chocolate-covered almonds? Watch out, dogs are like the Mafia; just when you think you've out-smarted them they come up with another scheme.

I hope Pud is big enough to fend off those owls, seriously.

Land of shimp said...

Hello Kerry,

Puddles isn't big enough, but Rob carries (I'm not kidding here) a flashlight that is also designed to be, basically, a nightstick. Honest-to-goodness, it's meant to be used as a method of defense also...and he's 6'4" so he's big enough to take on owls. Puddles isn't outside by herself :-)

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