Friday, September 19, 2008

Jerry Springer and Unexpected Visitors

If there's any television show that the Boomhauer Brothers love, it's Jerry Springer. Whenever I go over to B.J. Boomhauer's farm to hang out and drink beer, it always seems that Springer is on the TV (un
less there's a NASCAR race going on).

Now I got nothing against Jerry Springer. I actually am quite fond of him and his show. I've watched it sporadically over the 18 years it's been on the air. It's silly, but it's entertaining.

I even donated $20 to the exploratory committee he set up when he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate. Scoff if you must, but remember that he has a history in politics - dating back to the '60s when he was a campaign aide for Bobby Kennedy and the '70s when he served as councilman and mayor of Cincinnati. When he decided not to run for the Senate, he sent my $20 back. That made me like him even more.

Anyway, the Boomhauer Brothers don't care about Jerry's politics. The watch the Springer Show for the fighting, the trannies, the midg
ets, etc... It's silly, but it's entertaining.

Months ago, B.J. Boomhauer started joking about how he wanted to go on Jerry Springer. "We'll both go on. Tell 'em we're having an affair. We'll break the news to my wife on the show."

Yeah, right. Like I would ever go on television and tell the world I'm fucking a Boomhauer Brother. "Sure, B.J. But the real twist will be when your wife and I reveal that we've been fucking all along behind your back."

This only made him roar with laughter. He thinks this would make great television.

A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with B.J & Mrs. Boomhauer. We took a little side trip across the state border so we could pick up some beer. While they were in the store, I nosily picked up a Fed/Ex envelope laying on the backseat next to me. I opened it and saw that it was from the Jerry Springer Show. In addition to an autographed photo of Jerry, there was also a letter that thanked B.J. for contacting them and mentioned the inclusion of a disposable camera. I flashed back to the memory of B.J. snapping my photo with a disposable camera a week or two earlier.

Oh fucking Christ.

I hadn't really thought about any of this until today. B.J. stopped by this afternoon to do a little trading. I swapped him a couple old doo-dads I'd found - a 1940s fountain pen and an equally old enameled pan - for a 12-pack of beer. We were sitting on the poop deck working out a trade of a tobacco pipe shaped like a gun (you put the barrel in your mouth) for a brand new pair of binoculars when his cell phone rang.

He starts talking to some guy named Fred on the other end of the line. They talk about something or another, B.J. telling him he won't be home for about another hour. He says he's hanging out with a friend who moved
down here from Alaska. "Here, you should talk to her."

I really hate it when somebody hands you the phone, insisting you talk to someone you don't know. I don't know Fred. I have nothing to say to Fred. Ignoring my protests, B.J. thrusts the phone into my hand. "Just talk to him."

"Hi, Jackie. This is Fred from the Jerry Springer show."

Oh fucking Christ.

Fred goes on to explain to me how the Jerry Springer Show is going to be moving away from the fighting, the trannies, the midgets, the fighting tranny midgets and getting back to real people drama. Did I happen to know anybody with any drama going on that would want to appear on the Jerry Springer Show? Did I want to be on the Jerry Springer Show?

I was completely taken by surprise. I didn't wake up this morning thinking I'd be talking to the Jerry Springer show today. I'm no good at improv. I just stammered something about while I'm sure there's plenty of drama in this tiny town, I just hadn't lived here long enough to be able to recomme
nd anyone or anything to him at this moment. I'm slightly better at outright lying than I am at improv. He asked me to give him a call if I thought of anyone who'd be interested in appearing on the show and to remind B.J. to call him back when he got home.

While a free trip to Chicago plus whatever stipend they pay is enticing, rest assured that you will not be seeing me anytime soon on the Jerry Springer Show. But if B.J. Boomhauer decides to make an appearance, you'll read it here first.

Okay, now that we have that weirdness out of the w
ay, let's get back to regular farm news.

Had a couple unwanted visitors to the chicken coop this week. This morning I was making my rounds in the coop when I noticed this:

In case you can't tell what this is, it's a freshly shedded snakeskin hanging out of a mousehole above a boarded up door.

I never bothered plugging up the mousehole in the drywall because the little bastards would just chew another one. Besides, the mice don't really pose much of a problem and there's little I can do about them anyway.

The snake doesn't really pose too much of a problem either. It's not poisonous and it won't attack the chickens. But it will eat eggs. And there is a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs at the bottom of that boarded up door. The first thing I did was count the eggs in the nest. All present and accounted for.

For all I know, the snake left immediately after rubbing its old skin off against the rough wooden boards that make up that wall (cut from trees that started growing in the 1820s - I counted the rings). Even so, I was extra cautious before reaching into unattended nests to grab fresh eggs. I'll admit it's pretty creepy to think that snakes are IN THE WALLS.

When I pulled the skin out of the hole, it was about two feet long. But the head and tail portions were missing so who knows for sure how big this snake was. Judging by the girth, I'm guessing at least four feet. I really didn't feel like reaching into the hole to see if I could find the rest of it.

It's things like this that remind me why I'm waiting until winter to crawl under the coop to salvage the rest of the old copper plumbing pipes. I'm not particularly afraid of snakes, but that doesn't mean I like them.

The other visitor to the coop was much more une
xpected. A few days ago, I was working a couple hundred yards from Frankencoop when I heard the chickens squawking up a storm. I knew something was wrong because Sanchez, the young rooster hanging out with me in the garden, took off running towards the coop the instant the ruckus started.

I ran down the hill, expecting to chase off a neighbor's dog or a stray cat. Instead, I found a juvenile Coopers hawk INSIDE the coop. All of the chickens were wisely outside of the the coop.

The hawk was about half the size of my smallest chicken. I couldn't help but think of Henery Hawk from those old Foghorn Leghorn cartoons: "I'm a chickenhawk and you're a chicken. Are you coming quietly or do I have to muss you up?"

1 comment:

Elle said...

Gotta say, I'd be tempted to take up falconry. Love chickens, but that bird is much cooler, and conveniently trapped itself!