Henry was fidgety. He may not be the smartest dog on the street (well maybe he is), but he and his sister Stella knew Memorial Day was fast approaching, and they want to show their appreciation for our nations veterans in the most honorable way they could. "Do you think they would like to come and help Dad weed?" Stella asked Henry. "No I don't think so Sis. Even though Dad is a veteran, this day isn't about their helping around the farm. It is about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice." "Oh, do you mean giving up your extra helping of dog food, or some of those yummy deer dropping tic tacs? Because if it is, I know I am not ready to make that kind of sacrifice." Stella said. Henry replied "Stella, the ultimate sacrifice is giving their life for their country. Like Dad's great uncle in WWI, or how his cousin Craig almost did the same, but managed to survive a roadside bomb in Iraq. Come to think of it, almost all of his family has sacrificed for our country. All of his Uncles served. His Uncle Milo, who was a tank gunner under Patton In WWII, Uncle Howard and Uncle Sonny in Korea, Uncle Delmont in Vietnam, Dad's father, Uncle Leonard and Robert in the Cold War. Dad served 17 years himself and was a participant of the Cold War and the Global War on Terror. Most of his uncles are gone. He just was at the graveside service for Uncle Sonny yesterday. I hear him talking to Mom on how he misses fishing with him. All of these individuals did their part to make sure our supper dishes are full, and we have the freedom to choose to eat from them." "Oh, I like to eat from them that's for sure!" Stella replied. Henry ignored her and continued. "Dad's body is broke from crewing jets for the Air Force, and his hearing is not good. He can hardly stand when he rises in the morning, yet he always says how lucky he is, and that others have had it far worse. He is proud of his service, and glad to be able to live in a country where you can be who you want to be." Stella interrupted Henry and said "I know just what to get him Henry!" "What Sis? Please don't say some of those earthy tic tacs we always gobble up. He doesn't like those." "No, no, no. I think we should climb up beside him on the couch, rest our heads on his lap, and love him." "Now that is something he likes and something we should do. Let's go take care of our tired veteran Sis." Happy Memorial Day from Snaggletooth Farm. May you remember all who have made it possible for us to enjoy the lives we lead. We as a nation will NEVER forget.
The garlic is growing swiftly, the riot of vernal growth is underway. The fields are in good shape, and it is time to turn some attention to weeding. You may recall we looked forward to weeding longingly in the throughs of winter's last gasp. Well while we set to task our early season nemesis, aka the black flies have shown themselves en masse. We are no spring chickens, and it has been many years since we have been blessed with so many at once. To say they are thick would be an understatement. This coupled with a lack of appreciable breeze has made our job, shall we say, interesting. I am going to try something different with this post; it has always been an interest of mine to tell stories, and I would like to have Snaggletooth, also known as Henry, and his sister Stella lend their voices to the narrative. The two of them provide us with hours of amusement, and indeed make our lives infinitely more interesting. Henry reminds us of a goofy dog who is a coward yet tries to stick up for his little sister. Stella is a little prim and proper neurotic lady. She looks to Henry for support in all of their adventures. On to black fly season......
Henry was scanning the field, and its sole inhabitant for anything amiss. When his Dad is in the garlic field he is never far away. While he knows he isn't allowed in the field, he is going to be there to greet his father when he exits it for a break. Stella, on the other hand is nosing around, looking for something interesting to gulp down. She is always hungry, and Henry shudders to think of what she might be ingesting; sometimes her exhaust pipe is ripe to say the least. Of course, while she is looking for something to sample, she is still close enough to Henry to have his support if she feels she needs it. Henry is having a hard time focusing today on the task at hand. It seems that his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and sparsely haired belly are taking a beating from a non-stop horde of black swarming, buzzing, squirming, and biting flies. He hasn't seen these things in a long time; he wishes he had paid more attention to learning how to tell time at school (well learning anything actually), but he was too interested in chasing his tail and sniffing other dog's butts to care about school work at the time; ah his wasted youth! Stella, though no doubt bothered, is still just looking for a meal. Henry, one eye on the sea of dark green garlic, can't lay still for long, and he gets up and walks around the field, looking for something, anything to roll in and get some relief from these flies. "What do you think Sis, you want to go sniff around the edge of the field? I think there were some deer out last night. Might make for a good meal." Henry knew his sister's penchant for gulping down deer poo. Ok, ok, Henry had to admit they were pretty yummy; they were just like earthy tic tacs! Stella nods her approval, though he can hardly see her through the inky swarm of flies that are surrounding the two of them. Suddenly they hear a commotion from the upper field. They know that their Dad's Uncle Leonard and Mother Charlene are up there cutting up firewood for next winter's impending chill. With a backward glance at the garlic field and their father, Henry makes a command decision to bolt up and see what is going on. Stella, is not far behind. What they encounter is a sight to say the least. Uncle Leonard is about three feet off the ground, and Charlene has her arms wrapped around Uncle Leonard's ankle, trying to hold him down as a blood thirsty swarm of black flies are attempting to make off with him! All Henry and Stella can hear is what sounds like a giant buzzing noise, and a frightened yelp from poor Uncle Leonard. Henry knows just what to do. He turns around, tucks his tail between his legs, looks over his shoulder to make sure the flies aren't interested in him, calls to his sister "Run Sis, run! let's get back to the house before they get us too!" He need not have worried about her well-being; he was talking to no one. Stella was already halfway across the field toward their doggy door, and she hoped safety. Henry put his head down, shifted into a higher gear, and did his best to beat his sister to the house. Poor Uncle Leonard, he thought as he made his way to the house; he was a good guy, and I am going to miss him, even though he was always stingy with giving us treats.....
This ends their tale, and we hope you enjoyed it. Henry & Stella are loving family dogs, but are truly cowards. Though the black flies didn't actually cause Uncle Leonard to levitate, they were very thick, and both he, my mother, and I ate our fill of the beasts as we tended to our respective chores this past week. Here's to hoping they aren't as hungry the next.
Our growing season is starting to ramp up. The seed garlic is growing, we have been harvesting wood for future heating seasons, and have just reaped our first crop of the year; rocks. Did we say rocks? Why yes, all of you native "Mainers" know that of which we speak. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Snaggle has been after us to get our fallow fields planted with some of those nutrient rich green manures he is so fond of. Well, he is telling us that a field of mustard is in order, and when he snaps his fingers, we step to. He would have made a great director. Well, before we can plant, we must lightly till said soil to prepare it. And here in Maine that means unearthing a veritable cornucopia of rocks. Good thing we have a talented crew ready to toil up and down the slope of our fields, throwing one rock after another into the maw of our tractor (ok, not a maw but a bucket, it just looks like a maw after several hours). Our crew consisted of family, and a heartfelt thank you is in order for Uncle Leonard, Our Mother Charlene, Larry, Alicia, and wait for it....... Susie! One of our truants made the mistake of visiting and it just so happened we had an extra set of gloves...... Seriously thanks Susie! It was an honor forming blisters with you! The field is now planted, and we await Mother Nature's addition of water to start our mustard germinating. I wonder if we will be visited by the roving pack of marauders, aka turkeys that just love to ingest any seeds they can get their beaks on; if so I know a certain turkey dog that will be set loose. I wonder what we will give her for a treat if her services are needed. We are out of cheese, and we refuse to part with our wine.... Time for a repast. Methinks a burger on the grill perhaps, then it will be time to rest these old bones by the fire. Yes it is May 1st, and here at Snaggletooth Farm a fire in the evening is not out of the ordinary. Ah, this thing called life is a gift isn't it? We thank our creator every day for all of life's quiet pleasures. Now where did I put that hamburger?