It's not that there weren't interesting things to write about. I never did do the write-up on the autopsy of my four-legged chicken, Four-Door Dostoyevsky. Nor did I tell you about my second four-legged chicken, Suzi Quatro. She died last year from a devastating respiratory infection that swept through my flock, wiping out a third of my birds. Just a couple days ago, I got another four-legged chicken. It was a baby, about a week old, that died a few hours after I got it.
I'm still working at Moore Farms & Friends - recently voted best CSA in Atlanta for the third time in four years by Atlanta's alternative weekly, Creative Loafing. Been there two and a half years now and I love it. I work with great people and feel like I have a job that actually does some sort of good in the world. It's part-time, which is how I like it. I'll only make about $13,000 this year but, after living on $6,000 a year for so long, I feel like I'm living high on the proverbial hog. You have no idea how good it feels to not have to save up for six weeks to buy a four-pound sack of sugar or to contemplate stealing a freshly-caught quail from your cat.
I'm making enough at this job (product packaging and bookkeeping) that I finally quit the last of all my shitty odd jobs. No more cleaning other people's houses or taking care of old people. No more mystery shopping or sorting eggs in a factory farm.
The only business sideline I have now is the sale of skulls, bones, mummified specimens and other natural oddities. Earlier this year I went from selling to a couple private collectors to selling to the public. I had a booth at the most awesome folk-art festival this side of the Mississippi: Doo-Nanny. I didn't know how well my wares would go over but it turned out that dead stuff sells like hotcakes - people were throwing money at me all weekend. In two days, I made as much money as I used to make in a good month (which isn't all that good when you remember I was only making six grand a year).
I will be back at Doo-Nanny again in March with even better stuff. From as small as a mouse scapula to as large as a horse skull. From as common as chicken vertebrae to as rare as an infection-ravaged possum ulna. Mummified rats, rattlesnake skins, dried chicken feet, gastroliths, miscellaneous teeth, cat claws - I got all your weirdo voodoo needs covered. I may even have a mummified four-legged baby chicken ready for sale by spring.
Alcohol sales finally became legal here in Randolph County this year for the first time in over 100 years. Now it's only a 15-minute roundtrip to buy cheap crappy beer instead of an hour. Good beer is now only a half-hour roundtrip instead of an hour and a half.
I went back to Alaska last month for an all-too-short six-day whirlwind trip. It was my first time back in almost seven years (!). My good friend, Buzz Schwall, unexpectedly passed away and many of our mutual friends passed the hat to buy me a ticket home for the memorial. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was good to be home again amongst my tribe but...well, I don't really want to dwell on the bad stuff. I can't really help but dwell on it, but lets just say I don't want to dwell on it here. It is what it is and there's nothing I can do about it now. There's always one in the crowd who goes out of their way to prove the old adage that you can't go home again. Wah wah, woe is me, whatthefuckever.
When I woke up in my old house in Spenard that first morning, walking into the kitchen for morning chitchat with Angela, it truly felt like I had woke up from some long nightmare. A week later, I woke up back in Alabama and then it was my time in Anchorage that felt like a dream. I'm still struggling to put it all in perspective.
While I was there, I was a guest on my dear friend, CC's, internet radio show. You can listen to it right here if you're so inclined. You can hear how ravaged my voice is after a week of non-stop talking, especially when compared to my voice on the old poetry slam piece of mine she played. My voice continued to deteriorate even after I returned to Alabama but it's finally back to normal now. For my first few days back, my voice kept cracking like that of a boy going through puberty. It was a reminder of how little I actually talk out loud in my present incarnation as a hermit.
Me 'n' CC
The current population of Spenardo del Sur consists of me, five cats, ten goats and 17 or 18 chickens. There's one hen who hasn't been seen in a couple weeks but I'm hoping she's sitting on a nest of eggs. Rattlesnake season has kept me from checking on her but cooler weather has arrived and I hope to look for her in the next couple days. There's also one dog, Melee. She was an abandoned puppy I found last year - one in a litter of five. The animal shelter only had room for three which left me stuck with two. The other dog, Ruckus, died at about six months old. Both he and Melee got very sick, most likely ate something poisonous. Melee got better, Ruckus didn't.
She's an honorary chicken
So, I just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive and kicking. Well, alive anyway. A number of you have written and called, wondering when the blog was coming back. It's gratifying to know that my musings were actually being read - even more so to know they were missed. But for the last two years I have just been wallowing in my own crapitude here at rock bottom, wondering if there was any point in writing about whatever cute thing the chickens did that day.
I really do want to get this thing jump-started again. It's part of my grand plan to climb up from the depths of my own despair and rejoin the world, even if only the online world. I figure, even if I have nothing current to write about, I have the last two years to draw upon for stories and photos.
Many thanks to everyone for their support over these difficult years of self-imposed exile in rural Alabama. Here's to hoping that this is the beginning of something better. If only because the thought of something worse is mindbogglingly insane.