You can take the girl out of Spenard but you can't take Spenard out of the girl.










Rancho Archivo
































April 30, 2007

So I'm sitting naked in the livingroom, surfing the news, drinking my coffee, smoking a cigarette and listening to NPR. It can only mean one thing: The parents have left the building! Ah....it feels so fucking good. I don't even mind that it's already 90 degrees out and not even yet noon.

Even better, BMac & Dani should be arriving tonight around sundown. And they are bringing real beer.

I have recently learned the reason behind my inability to find my favorite beers around here. Most of the tastiest beers I have grown accustomed to are actually illegal in Alabama. Nothing over 6 percent is allowed. Neither is anything in a container larger than a pint. I learned the ugly truth from the good people at FreeTheHops.org. As soon as I have a few extra dollars in my account, I will be ordering some beer-making supplies (I brought all my equipment with me from Alaska).


It looks like I will be receiving another visitor towards the end of May. A guy from Copenhagen is traveling over land from Florida to Chile. He found my profile on Couchsurfing.com and wanted to get a close-up look at a small southern town from the inside. Another couchsurfer from South Africa inquired about  staying here in September too.

I didn't think anyone would want to couchsurf my teeny-tiny town, but I was wrong.


The chickens are doing well. They still live in the bathtub, but I've been taking them outside with me when I'm working on the garden.

I've been waiting for the nights to get a little warmer before moving them out into the coop. It better be soon though because they are able to get out of the tub now. At least once a day I catch one of them strutting around loose in the bathroom.

Now, for your entertainment, I present the video debut of my little poop machines: Bathtub Chicken Feeding Frenzy! (All videos are less than one minute long, so even you with ghetto dial-up can enjoy.)


Watch them make a mess during their feeding time:



You can see the dark brown one eat a bug at the beginning:



In which one of my chickens proves to be part ham. It not only mugs for the camera, it flies out of the tub and lands on top of the camera:



All that excitement makes chickens very thirsty:





April 20, 2007

Happy 4-20!

Unfortunately, I will not be making it to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. BMac is building stages for the festival this year and offered me free tickets. Sadly, neither my financial situation nor my chickens will allow it.

On the bright side, BMac & Dani are planning on making the trip from The Big Easy to Spenardo del Sur. It was agreed that the trip was no worse than going  from Anchorage to Fairbanks or McCarthy. They should be here on the 30th. I am very excited to receive my first guests.

As an added bonus, their visit has made my parents decide to go back to Michigan a little early.


Found my first snake the other day. It was near the old shed, under a piece of rotten pressboard I'd picked up to throw on the fire. Its colors helped it blend pretty well into its surroundings.

I think it's some sort of ratsnake or racer, which means it's not one of the venomous ones.


Now I have one more thing to anticipate every time I pick something up off the ground.



Almost every afternoon, around the same time, a low-flying jet passes over the property. I can hear it a few seconds before it comes screaming overhead. It flies low enough that I know the pilot can see me. If the jet wasn't going so damned fast, I would probably be able to see the pilot. It's not a military jet. It's always heading south. It takes some other route back because I never see or hear it going north.

Yesterday, I was working in the garden on top of the hill when I heard the tell-tale roar of the jet approaching. I turned and looked up to watch it pass - as I always do. But instead of just flying straight overhead, the pilot tipped his wings  - not once, but twice.

I'm not talking about a little wobble, I mean this pilot was showing off.  First he rotated the plane 90 degrees to the right so the wings were perpendicular to the ground. Then he rotated the plane 180 degrees to the left. The plane leveled off just before disappearing from my view.

I'd like to think he was waving at me. You know, like when you see the same stranger in the same place everyday  - perhaps a hallway or bus. You've never met  but, after a while, you both easily recognize the other. Ignoring each other on a daily basis begins to feel awkward. Finally, someone breaks down and waves or smiles. I'd like to think it's like that. Today, perhaps I will wave back.



April 17, 2007

The chicks are growing rapidly. They are no longer nugget-sized.

They are still living in the bathtub.  The only obstacle between them and the rest of the bathroom is the height of the tub wall. As soon as they can clear that, I'll have to move them out of the house.



The more time I spend with the chicks, the more I see the relationship between birds and dinosaurs. It's like have a bathtub full of fluffy lizards (soon to be flying fluffy lizards).







I made another good sale on eBay.

Remember that old Sprinkle Whiskey jug I pulled out of the shed? I was able to positively date it to between 1910 and 1915.

The great-grandson of Mr. Sprinkle won the auction with a final bid of $160, plus shipping & handling.

It's such a cool jug and I hated to part with it, but that $160 is what's going to keep the lights on.







April 12, 2007

I first read Kurt Vonnegut when I was seventeen years old  - when my good friend, Michael, lent me his copy of Deadeye Dick. That was back in the days when we were attending the local community college (which was nothing more than high school with ashtrays). We used to skip classes and hang out in the cafeteria with our friends where we chain-smoked, drank coffee and talked about life.

I learned more at that cafeteria table than all the classes I took put together (the ones I bothered to attend anyway). Vonnegut was often discussed at that table - enough of a presence that he seems like one of my old college buddies. It feels like I lost an old friend today. And so it goes.


The chickens are doing well. Their life pretty much consists of eating, pooping, sleeping, pooping and pooping. Their tailfeathers are coming in and they are starting to figure out what their wings are for. It's only a matter of time before the bathtub is too small for them.


Still have a lot of work to do before the chicken coop is finished. Here's what the old building currently looks like:


I have the door on the left boarded up but still have to do the one on the right. I've also boarded up a door on the side of the building. There's another door in the back that I'll use for an entrance. Due to my limited carpentry skills, I took the easy way out and connected the two rooms by cutting a passage through the drywall.

From the inside, the place looks like a creepy serial killer hide-out.


I've finally seen the first fresh sign of snakes. Yesterday, I found a recently shedded skin sandwiched between some old mattresses I'd leaned against a wall.


Also had an encounter with one of those adorable little lizards. Usually they skitter off when I approach, but this little guy had no fear and climbed right up my arm when given the chance.

You can see that he lost his tail, most likely in a tangle with some predator. They have the ability to regenerate their tails.


The weather turned quite cold a few days ago - three nights in a row where it dipped below freezing. I covered the garden plants and trees in hopes of protecting them from the cold. I didn't have nearly enough tarps so I used a lot of old quilts, blankets, curtains and canning jars I'd found in Grandma's house. 

A lot of the plants made it through the freeze, though I lost the majority of the corn and beans. I hadn't really planted too much yet since it was still pretty early in the season. On the plus side, the cold snap killed off the majority of the kudzu shoots - some of which were already six-feet long. I now have a second chance to get a head start on killing it off.


And last, but certainly not least, I wanted to thank photographer Hal Gage for snapping this picture while cruising down the I-90 of his mind:



April 6, 2007

Yes, they are adorable. I have ten of these little poop machines now living in my bathroom. This place has two bathrooms, so I turned one of the bathtubs into a brooder for my new flock.

I have a feeling that this situation will be a lot like the time back in Hollywood when I let my cat give birth in my bedroom. Oh, it was cute at first - especially when I woke one morning to find she'd moved all of her kittens onto my pillow while I'd been sleeping.

It wasn't long before the kittens' eyes opened and they started running around -  but still too small to actually get off the bed. Have you ever tried to get a good night's sleep in a bed full of rambunctious kittens? I tried to move the kittens to a different place, but my cat kept carrying them back to my pillow. I finally gave up and started sleeping on the couch.

But sleeping on the couch isn't really an option right now - not with my parents here. I actually prefer sleeping on the couch, but I'm back to sleeping in the bedroom now that they're back. I've been treating that room like a storage area for boxes still to be unpacked. The livingroom/kitchen area (along with the second bathroom) is just the size I wanted - about as big as a decent bachelor apartment (or like the cabin I want).

I'm moody & pissed off all the time. If I'd had any idea my parents were going to spend so much fucking time here, I would've never agreed to move here. And since they paid for the goddamned place, I'm not really at liberty to tell them no. There is not enough whiskey and weed in the world to make this situation tolerable.

At least for now, I have a bathtub full of baby chicks.



April 4, 2007

Finally, something to bring me a little joy: BABY CHICKS!


Right on schedule, they started hatching today. So far, two are completely free of their shells. The others are still pecking their way out. By this time tomorrow,  they should be cute & fluffy. Right now, they are still wobbly and damp.

The parents are back. Ugh. My father waited a whole 12 hours before trying to give me a goddamned lecture about something unimportant. It would've been even sooner had he not slept for eight of those hours.

I'm tired. It's late. Okay, it's not really late. It's only 10pm, but I was up at 6am. Off to bed. At least I can look forward to more baby chicks when I wake up. At least I have that.



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