Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Melinama heads away from 21st century in disgust.

I came home from Bulgaria with one general and one specific realization. The general realization: I continue to detest the 21st century.

My ban on radio and newspaper news, instituted in the interest of stress reduction, continues, and these days I haven't even been watching the telenovelas (I'm sick of cleavage and two-timing egotists wearing expensive ties).

The only disadvantage to this blackout so far: lack of material for composing acerbic, despairing blog posts.

The specific realization: I want a donkey. I really really want a donkey. Not a fancy donkey with a pedigree, not a miniature donkey, not a mammoth donkey. Just your old-time, hard-working, affectionate mutt of a donkey, like this one here.

Ultimate goal: have a little cart and ride in the donkey cart to the grocery store.

This desire came upon me in Bulgaria. At first, when we'd see the donkey carts full of weeds, I'd think: "How quaint."

Then I started to stare at the donkeys more and more longingly. Next thought: "I have lots of weeds in my meadows." Next, more crafty, thought: "There are lots of places around my neighborhood where one could steal weeds."

Finally: "The fact is, that I want to live my life at this pace. I don't need to get to the grocery store any faster than a donkey can walk."

So since I got home last Wednesday it's been telephone calls by the scores, trying to get a lead on a "standard donkey." There don't appear to be any in Orange County, but further out in the country ... well, keep asking and you'll keep hearing about people who know people who might have regular donkeys...

There's an auction out in Iredell County at the end of November where many draft animals and carriages are sold. Somebody tells me they're sure to have donkeys too...

In the mean time, 2000' of welded wire fencing must get put up because, sadly, donkeys can chew through deer fence.

Monday I rented a "Little Beaver" post-hole digger and - on a day when the temperature was over 100 degrees, during NC's worst drought in 120 years of recorded history, when the ground is so hard you can hardly hammer a nail into it - I dug 31 8" postholes. These are for the places where the fence will have to come out of the woods and march across my, uh, greensward.

See this guy here, smiling as he uses the "Little Beaver" - well, notice that he's using it on a tame, rockless greensward? Notice the unit which follows him is trundling along on a ROAD? Well, in real life the "unit" is much bigger than it looks in this picture (what a flattering perspective they chose). And this guy is much, much bigger than I am. And MY particular greensward is lumpy and up-and-down, rocky and unfriendly to wheels (which is why I weedwhack rather than mow it) and there's no road.

My son Zed, who in a sense started me on this path when he started nagging me to get a pet, was aghast to see me getting thrown around by the Little Beaver as the rocks and clay came erupting out of the ground. He put this in the category of 'Mom's dangerous, zany projects' and was most reluctant to take time away from his babysitting duties to help me drag this miserable machine. He tried making one hole and that was enough for him.

OK, so late August is a lousy time to drill holes, and I almost passed out several times, and I have huge broken blisters and about 30 separate bruises on my legs from this thing banging away as it tried to chew up my rocky, impacted soil, but at least I have 35 postholes. Welded wire delivery is Thursday, I hope to find some tough guys to put the fence up for me.

Meanwhile, I may be deserting this century but I will take Google with me. I discovered that donkeys get lonely and require companionship. I've decided to get my donkey some pet chickens, and it's easier to get chickens than donkeys, so I'm building a chicken coop.

First warning one reads: "Do not start building your henhouse with just a vague idea. Have it planned out entirely before you begin." OK, no. I chose a size: 4 foot square with a shed roof. I chose an array of building material: the sorry looking lumber I've been hoarding under the porch since I finished building this house in 1996.

I chose a method: slice these motley boards, weatherbeaten and twisted, into 3/4" strips and nail them to a frame made of 3/4" x 2" slices. And I built the first wall and went to bed thinking about it.

This morning I have an idea for the second wall. And that's how it's gonna be.

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At 10:36 AM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Melinama***only 2 quick comments : 1]Donkeys and chickens?....Wow...I admire the way you jump into your projects. 2] I think that you should start watching ''Destilando'' again.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Alma said...

Agreed. You should watch Destilando, only because, contrary to most novelas, the villians get foiled time and time again, which is most fun to watch (or at least read about).

So your house is relatively new, huh? I guess I assumed you'd lived there much longer. I've been wanting to take a Habitat For Humanity trip with my daughter, so that we can pick up some carpentry skills. How gratifying it must feel to be able to build your own home and chicken coop!

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Laurel said...

I've never commented before, but I have been reading your blog for a while now. This post impressed me so much and I just felt I needed to tell you that. You went on a long trip with miserable flights, came back to sweltering weather, and charged right back into your work. As a city-dweller, I love the idea of having a donkey and chicken companions and look forward to hearing more about your plans. I have a wonderful image of you taking your donkey and cart to get groceries and I hope that someday you'll be doing just that. Best wishes, and thank you for all of your entertaining and thought-provoking posts.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous sylvia said...

You never cease to amaze me! My grandpa used to raise donkeys when he was young. He said he preferred hanging out with donkeys because they were nicer than people. Good luck!!

At 2:59 AM, Anonymous AussieHarmony said...

I am hankering for a donkey too. And for a move back to a few acres. So do you go to the store behind your donkey these days or did that not pan out?

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Chapel Hill Fiddler said...

Honestly, Aussie Harmony, I adore my donkey (and got a second one to keep him company) but his intrinsic nature - and my lack of time to train him - mean that his history here has been littered with discarded experiments. I drove him two miles and back once, but he is so recalcitrant it doesn't really seem worth it. Or rather, he's not recalcitrant - it's just that he has his own agenda and will always follow it.


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