Hooves, Hogs and Other Updates


I have a habit of introducing subjects to Funny Farm…

…and then never mentioning them ever again.

And wouldn’t you know it? A few chronic readers requested follow-up reports. Whatever happened to the groundhogs? What’s the deal with Chance… is he still injured?

Well, here’s everything you need to know —

— about our marmot infestation.

Groundhog recap: Back in May we discovered Hadley-sized groundhog burrows littering the back pasture.


An epic hole…


Hog follow-up: no hired guns needed. Upon close scrutiny we determined that the varmints had vacated the premises.

I acquired a Chitty-load of dirt and pitched numerous shovels scoops down every hole until they were ground level.


Chitty staggered beneath this load…


On to other updates.

Foot recap: Back in August, Chance’s hoof looked like this:


Grand Canyon crater. Gross….

Hoof health compromised due to foot fungus and a fox hunting injury.

Foot followup: Our blacksmith predicted the southern half of Chance’s hoof would fall off and…

… he was right.

Shortly thereafter, it looked like this:

Ug, even more gross…


I invested a small fortune in duct tape, bandaged and booted “franken-hoof.”

Over time it healed and grew out.

Then he abscessed the other foot.

My memory of 2012… lots of time logged here.


Chance is now sound but terribly fat and out of shape.

Meanwhile I’m fox hunting my neighbor’s horse, Silver.

The view from between her ears….


Post-hunting and ready for cocktails; Silver eyes up her trailer.


Finally, the Little Man update.

Remember the lawn jockey we acquired late spring? I slated him as a “fun” painting project.

Recap: Back in June, he looked like this:

Patchwork and painting needed….


Follow up: many months later he looks like this:

Triaged and labeled “low priority”…


Little Man is long-listed. I’ll get to him one day. Projected completion date: somewhere between now and 2020.










Must I say this?


I frequently shout at the kids but I try not to holler at Martin.

Last night it was necessary.

I repeated the same sentence a dozen times in quick succession with crescendo, until I was yelling. Despite my unmitigated fervor, Martin appeared hesitant — uncommitted.

If I hadn’t been barefoot I would have pulled a Khrushchev, banging my shoe on the table and shouting in a rabid rant:

Do not bring that snake inside!

Do NOT bring that snake inside!


The snake was discovered snoozing among hay bales and he spent the day in a bucket, awaiting the kids’ return. Then, Snake was relocated from bucket to a modest bug-viewing container.

Snake was peevish about his lengthy confinement and even more irate about the prospect of smaller digs. He hissed and struck out repeatedly.

In his defense we stuffed him in a cheap, cracked, plastic container with a loose lid.

It was the last detail that fueled my impassioned rave. I did not want a pissed-off snake, hissing and spitting, as it retreated beneath a couch or bed.

Fortunately Cayden is familiar with my wrath and knows it’s best to obey six words screamed repeatedly. He freed the snake outdoors…

…beside the house, right next to the broken cellar window.





You want that drink with charcoal?


Aside from cell phones and laptops, our house is a haven for over-the-hill electronics and appliances. It’s like an assisted living facility for outdated devices. Our TVs are big, boxy models that predate high-def; the weatherman bleeds off the screen and only half of sports scores are visible. During football season it’s 14 to who-knows-what.

Our AC window units also are on the “do not resuscitate” list. One model sports duct tape while another is wedged in place with a diaper.

But we’re willing to let these dinosaurs live out their days. As long as they behave.

The fridge has not been behaving.

It started a few months ago when the dispenser began spitting out ice cubes peppered with black flecks. (Don’t worry friends, we used bagged ice for guests…. we only poison family members.)


The accused


After some research I discovered that the flecks were disintegrating bits from the charcoal cartridge, fitted in the water/ice filter. Okay, so it wasn’t mold. But charcoal does not top the mixer list.


Rust is a turn-off, too.


Frankly, the fridge had been heading south for a while.

Quite literally.

A combination of house settling and worn hinges caused the freezer door to crack open, while its partner, the fridge, did its best to over-compensate. If we failed to place our milk (delivered in glass bottles) on the door shelves, it froze the contents. Unopened bottles exploded, showering our food in glass shards and milk. We trained ourselves to place the milk in the door but we’d forget.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Martin said, staring at the thawed milk cascading down the shelves and pooling under the veggie bins.

After looking at about 250 fridge models (varying in brand names but painfully identical), we bought this one. The old fridge? We marched it to the edge of town and shot it.



The new fridge so new and modern. If it’s possible to have a crush on an appliance, I’ve got one. I’m totally smitten, despite the dingy contrast it casts on the kitchen.

Lately I imagine renovating the entire house….reducing the contents to rubble. Nothing would be left except the fridge, a glinting beacon of stainless steel.