Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

First off, I'd like to send a congratulatory shout-out to my longtime friend, CC, back in Anchorage. The Nation recently named her one of the Most Valuable Progressives of 2008. More specifically, the magazine named her the Most Valuable Local Media Personality and had this to say:

When Sarah Palin stumbled onto the national stage, after
her selection as John McCain's running-mate, everyone
scrambled to figure out what was up with Alaska's governor.
A lot of the lower-48 blogosphere (and the major media that
followed its lead) obsessed about Palin's family life. But
Anchorage radio host Camille Conte, who is universally known
in Alaska as "CC," steered the discussion toward Troopergate--
the scandal that proved Palin was not the reformer her
supporters claimed but a Cheney-esque abuser of power. CC's
daily "Cutting Edge" show on Anchorage's Air America affiliate,
News-Talk 1080/KUDO: Alaska's Progressive Voice became
required fare for journalists visiting the state--she had better
access than anyone else to the key players, who trusted the
veteran local host--and CC turned up on radio stations across
the U.S. No one else contributed as much to 2008's Palintological

I had to brag about her to somebody and since nobody around here even knows what The Nation is, much less reads it, I'm bragging about her here on the blog. Yay, CC! Next time you see her, give her a hug and buy her a drink.

Said goodbye to the old year by doing something new: My very first barndance. Yes, an honest to god barndance. In a big red barn and everything.

Went with B.J. Boomhauer and Mrs. Boomhauer and a big jug of B.J.'s homemade blueberry wine. Inside the barn was lots of food and a band that played covers of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Lynrd Skynrd songs. (Huh. I'm surprised that the spellcheck recognizes Lynrd Skynrd.) Outside, behind the barn, was a roaring bonfire that was most welcome as the temps dipped down below freezing.

The party went on until 2am but we left a little after 10pm because Mrs. Boomhauer had to work early in the morning and she was our designated driver.

At home, I stayed up for a couple more hours, stepping out on the back steps at midnight to watch the fireworks. Not any sort of officially sanctioned fireworks show - just people setting them off in their yards. Since I'm up on this hill with such a huge view, I can see fireworks being lit off all across the valley.

The first day of the new year has been much like any other day. Except that my dog, Della, brought me a half-dead possum. I think it was already dying when she found it. Della is a pretty peaceful dog, though I'm told she used to catch rabbits in her younger days.

Just a few day ago, Caleb the rooster got a cut on his comb (the big red thing on top of his head) and was bleeding pretty bad. Nothing life-threatening, but the back of his white head was covered with blood. Della actually cleaned him up, licking all the fresh blood off his head. I can't believe the rooster sat still for that! She's amazingly good with the chickens. Sure, she chases them sometimes but she just likes to fuck with them. Does the same thing to the cats.

The only time she ever gets remotely rough with the birds (or cats) is when they try to steal her food. She will not abide a chicken sticking its beak in her way while she's trying to eat. She snaps at the birds but never hurts them. I've seen her close her mouth over a chicken's entire head without leaving a scratch - she just completely slimes them with dog spit.

Anyway, so I don't think she hurt the possum at all. She just found it in the woods and must've thought "I'll show this to Jackie." And that's how I wound up with a mostly dead possum at my feet.

Before heading back to the house to get the rifle, I covered the possum with a nearby empty wheelbarrow. The cats had begun to gather and I didn't want any of them messing with it. I don't know if the possum had been injured or if it was ill. When I got Della this summer, she came with all her current shots but the cats haven't had any. The last thing Spenardo del Sur needs is a case of rabies. It's bad enough that half the cats recently came down with conjuntivitis (though it has fortunately just about cleared up).

The possum is still out there under the wheelbarrow. I'll deal with the carcass tomorrow. Hopefully, the wheelbarrow will be enough to keep any wild animals away from it tonight. I know there's been a bobcat skulking around at night recently. I've seen its tracks in the driveway and just yesterday found another crushed beer can with teeth marks in it. I've found about half a dozen such mutilated cans over the year - including the one I'd set next to my front door and found the following morning under the porch, pocked with teeth marks and sitting next to fresh feline tracks much larger than anything my cats could've made. If I ever try to catch it, I will bait the trap with beer cans.

Had a nice visit from old Alaskan friends, David & Priscilla, on Christmas Day. Actually, they're Alabamians now - living in Montgomery for the last few years. They drove up for the afternoon, bearing a basket full of goodies for me. Not only did they bring fine European chocolate and a package of curry paste ("In case something happens to one of the chickens"), they also brought a lovely selection of alcohol: a bottle of tequila, a bottle of cabernet sauvignion and six different real beers. Not cheap crappy canned beer like I usually get around here but six delicious real beers.

It's been many months since I've tasted real beer. Everytime I opened one of them, I would spend a minute or two just smelling it. These were beers to be savored, not chugged. And, oh, how I miss good wine! Around here, wines don't come in flavors like reisling, merlot or malbec. They come in flavors like apple, blueberry and pear.

People here don't know what they're missing - nor do they care. They cannot fathom paying eight dollars for a six-pack when you can get a twelve pack of Natty Ice for the same price. It's a crying shame.

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