Sunday, May 17, 2009

Swashbucklers and Moving Targets

September 12, 02

Deb and I took a whirlwind trip down to see House-on-the-Rock for the first time, while her brother and sister came up from St. Louis to stay with Louise. For those of you who have been expressing off-the-mark comments about a certain Scientific Writer's eccentric nature, I highly recommend that you visit this tourist attraction to find out what eccentric really means.

It was nice to get away, but of course while we were gone, the water stopped flowing out of our taps at the house. The one demand placed upon Deb's brother and sister was not to go into the basement. Remnants of multiple floods still mold and fester down there. But, with no water in the house, and her brother being a specialized plumber (commercial sprinkler fitter), the call of duty was too great and the demand was disobeyed. Aaaargh! I told them that they could have and should have dipped the green water out of the numerous stock tanks that abound on our place to wash up with, but noooo... he just had to identify and fix the problem. Well, I guess that is one less chore I had to do when I got back, and it freed up time for much more important experiments.

I found a source for Tanglefoot in a squeeze tube. So I got out a 6-inch flower pot, spray painted it bright blue, and layered a spiral of Tanglefoot around the body of it, topped off by what I hoped would be an enticing landing platform for pesky flies. Then I searched desks, the barn, and all of my tool and tackle boxes for an appropriate rubberband. This search took hours. Finally, Deb pointed to the doorknob leading down to the cellar that serves as her rubber band storage device. How ingenious. Harumph.

Anyway after mounting a rubber chin strap on the flower pot, I took it in and proudly presented it to Louise, who showed more movement and energy in shooing me away with her swatter than I have seen her display since her accident.

I couldn't let my work go to waste, so I offered it to Deb to wear. I married my wife for her looks, but not the one she gave me then. So it was left to me to have all the fun.

I donned the hat and provided the requisite moving target by roaming our stable, pasture, chicken house, kitchen, basement and woodlot. Results: Not one bug of any kind caught. It must work only for ambush flies like deer flies, but not stable flies, face flies, house flies, fruit flies, cluster flies, ladybugs, gnats or mosquitoes. I hope the Tanglefoot stays sticky until next year's deer fly season. I'm not ready to give up yet.

Kookamunga is starting to look like a Chesapeake Retriever. He is growing his winter coat and is now covered with short curly hair. Tuesday night we put him out with the cows for the first time, and he thought he was in heaven. Playmates at last! I'd be willing to wager that you never saw so much galumphing and bucking and roaring and drooling from a lot full of camel and cows. Our beef this fall may be a bit leaner in the end.

On another front, I think that maybe Deb is softening to the idea of a monkey. At the annual Labor Day sale at Foster & Smith, she bought a strong wire Gorilla cage (honest, look at their catalog) that was marked 90% off. That surely must be a hopeful sign. Since Louise refused to wear the flower pot, the first thing that I will teach that monkey is to wield a fly swatter and smack anything that lands on her. That should provide her long-desired and well-deserved relief from her fly swatting duties. .... On second thought, maybe I should teach it some fencing skills at the same time, just in case those two decide to duel it out. I think that if and when the time comes, I'll name the monkey "Old Swashbuckler".

I'm ready to foster a monkey for Helping Hands whenever they are.

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