May Day: Let the Chores Begin

Saturday was spent recuperating from the demands of another work week in my usual fashion:  in the manner of a cultured and intelligent philosopher king.  Specifically, I was camped out on the couch in front of the television soaking in about seven hours of NHL hockey.

Dedicating myself to torpor and sloth meant for the most part eschewing the pleasures of the great outdoors;  it also meant eschewing (temporarily) the coincident burdens of the surrounding environment, such as the requirement to cut the grass.  Careful readers will recall that cutting the lawn – an inconvenient recurring nuisance for some – has, in the past been more of a life-threatening spirit quest for me.

The Juniorvania Blue Jays 7698
Sunday's Taskmaster

But (news flash) Sunday dawned, and after a morning cup of tea, there was a jay in the tree outside the window sounding a call to action.  Against the aforementioned backdrop of timorous langour then, I ventured out into the Wide World and saddled up for 2009’s Maiden voyage aboard the JMV Eradicator.  I am pleased to report that Mission 1-09 successfully and safely achieved its primary objective, the ensmallinating of the grasses.  All systems were operative aboard the Mowing Vehicle, with one exception:  the People’s Engineers will be receiving a request to review the Eradicator’s musical delivery systems.  In order to avoid angry legal entanglement with the kind folks at the John Deere Company of Moline Illinois, I hasten to point out that these systems were added on an “after-market” basis.  In particular, the system consists of the operator wearing an iPod and earbuds.  Actually, the system consists of the operator wearing and iPod and ATTEMPTING to wear earbuds because – as every iPod user knows, iPod earbuds do not under any circumstances remain inserted in one’s ears.

A Snake in the Grass 7702
Is that Dick Cheney?

Spotted and photographed on the scouting perambulations prior to climbing aboard the Eradicator:  the charming little fellow pictured at left. This specimen was located using Top Secret and patent pending Juniorvanian Reptilian location technology:  an unsuspecting and somewhat foolhardy individual with a pair of Crocs carelessly slipped onto his bare feet is dispatched into the surrounding flora armed with a camera and tasked with obtaining a photograph of a bird – perhaps a nearby blue jay.  In this way, the collector is encouraged (by way of diversion) to keep his head up and his line of accordingly elevated and most decidedly NOT fixed upon the ground.  The large holes in the aforementioned footwear will automatically, if somewhat alarmingly, assist in locating the desired reptile.  Potential side effects may include the emission of a somewhat embarrassing and decidedly little girl-like yelp as contact is literally made between our startled naturalist and the disgruntled fauna.

Sunday also featured a lovely visit from my folks;  my Dad brought a can of paint he had hanging around the house for my grandfather’s old porch rocker, now adorning our front deck.  The name of the particular tint:  “Cleveland Brown.”  The marketing department at CIL must be one crazy hilarious place to work;  what a bunch of slapstick knuckleheads they must be.

At the end of a long Sunday of yardwork, I found myself stiff and aching.  Nevertheless, the grass was green, the sky was blue, and I was tickled pink to be spending time outdoors again.  Hey, CIL guys – how ’bout giving us a few knee-slapping monikers to represent those colours?

Scientific Breakthrough!

Being recent immigrants to the rural paradise that is Juniorvania, and therefore infatuated with all things pastoral and wild, there are something like nine or ten separate bird feeders hanging up in and around the area surrounding The Pond just outside our back door. The rear of our house features several contiguous large windows, offering an expansive view of the consequent avian comings and goings, to be enjoyed while munching on a bowl of Honeycomb at the dining room table, futzing about with a recalcitrant bok choy in the kitchen, or tippy-tapping on the notebook while seated on the sofa in front of the fireplace.

As you can probably imagine, the number and variety of these many excellent observation posts has encouraged a significant increase in the amount of ornithological research being carried out by the scientists, philosophers and other thinkers the Glorious Leadership have on permanent retainer. Any natural scientist worth his NaCl will tell you that the first order* of business is a concerted effort towards species identification. Thus did the People’s Theorists initially identify the following creatures, believed (at one time) to be birds.

The American Goldfinch (nomenclature unofficial, there is a motion on the floor in the People’s Legislature to re-designate this species as the “Juniorvanian Goldfinch” or (this suggestion from the Hard Rock Party of Juniorvania) the “Juniorvanian Asskicker”:


the Redwing Blackbird:

redwing blackbird

the Cardinal:


the Blue Jay:

blue jay

the Rose Breasted Grosbeak:

rose breasted grosbeak

the Flicker:


the Indigo Bunting:

indigo bunting

and this noisy (but thankfully high-flying) little fellow, to date unidentified:


The comings and goings of the birds are many. There is one cedar tree in particular that behaves much like a particle emitter, except rather than spewing neutrons, there are little yellow goldfinches asskickers rocketing out from deep within it’s hidden recesses and darting wildly in all directions. Staring out into the yard, one gets the distinct feeling that the scene is the ornithological equivalent of O’Hare airport, with both arrivals and departures coming in a steady stream and any number of incoming craft stacked up over the field, waiting to begin final approach.

The immediate consequence of all this airborne activity is that our National Seed Consumption is up significantly. So far, two re-supply excursions have been made to the local purveyors of niger, sunflower seeds and suet, and it is looking very much like a third is in the offing. Every one of the feeders in the entire yard is cleaned out like old Mother Hubbard’s proverbial cupboard. Again.

It was this persistent and prodigious seed consumption that has led the Scientists of the Great Republic of Juniorvania to their most astonishing scientific discovery to date: the creatures pictured above are not in fact avian, but rather porcine. These brightly coloured little pork chops knock back way too much chow to be birds; they do not, as it were, “eat like a bird.”

So there you have it; Juniorvanian scientists have conclusively proven that pigs can – and do – fly.


* The taxonomists among you are no doubt killing yourselves over that little pun…