1. I awoke at 3 in the morning to several pans crashing on the kitchen floor. I went to investigate and found Ernie, our one-year-old black cat, pawing at a mouse. He’s a mouser, a good one. And I swear we don’t live in squalor, but Ernie’s killed nearly ten mice in the 3 years we’ve lived in this house. Normally we’re happy when he gets one, but last night’s catch was a pain. 

    Ernie has a habit of toying with the mice he catches. Rather than killing them outright, he’ll bat them around, letting them escape only to recatch them. He’s effective, so I don’t want to critique his tactics too much, but a couple months ago, he was playing with a mouse and I was forced to step on it before it ran under the fridge. I’m a hunter and am no where near squeamish, but smashing that little guy put me in a sour mood for weeks. 

    I had no interest in doing that again, so last night I tried to get Ernie to release the mouse so I could scoop it into a trashcan. Ernie’s response was to puff up and let out a guttural snarl. This would’ve been impressive if I wasn’t stark naked holding a trashcan and an empty beer can in the middle of my kitchen at 3am. 

    Anyway, after 2 minutes of this, I chased Ernie into the bathroom and shut the door. I had to get up early, figured he’d he’d kill the mouse sometime over the next few hours and that I’d clean everything up in the morning. 

    However, when I opened the bathroom door at 8am, it looked like a bomb had gone off. Everything was knocked off the counter. Three toilet paper rolls were shredded beyond any usable form, the shower curtain was ripped, and, AND Ernie had shit in the bathtub. 

    And that’s not even the best part. During all of this wanton destruction, Ernie had neglected to kill the mouse. So in addition to cleaning up after the cat, I still had to catch the mouse and release it outside. 

    I’m just glad I didn’t have to step on it. 

     

  2.  

  3. Oh, hey.

     

  4. My potatoes have been completely ravaged by slugs. I spent each afternoon in early June, manually pulling them off and squishing them but just couldn’t keep up. It was a rainy month and when the potatoes finally fell over, the slugs descended (ascended?) in droves.

    I’m kicking myself for being so lazy about it, too. This was a busy month at work and I kept putting off mixing up an organic spray, or setting beer traps.

    Now, I’m not holding out too much hope for these. Some of the plants are actually brown and dead-looking like they should be at the end of the season near harvest time. 

     

  5. A wee watermelon. 

     

  6. Been eating a lot of small meals from the garden this month. The bush beans are prolific, as usual. 

     


  7. Shopping for a Circular Saw

    I was at Lowe’s last weekend looking for a circular saw; a corded one. I’ve got heavy duty work to do and am through dicking around with battery-powered circular saws. But that’s not really relevant to this story. I just wanted to give you some more details—kind of a wide view setting if you will. Let’s just say I was at Lowe’s when I heard a snobby lady screech, “Gosh Dammit, Brayden. Get over here this instant!”

    I’m not sure why I’m writing about this. And the six of you who religiously follow this fringy gardening blog probably don’t either. But I still feel compelled to tell you about what happened after hearing Brayden’s mom’s command. I instantly became light headed and had minor tunnel vision—I felt a flurry of sweeping emotions. 

    Why did she say “Gosh” but then drop a curse word? What type of house does she live in? What kind of drugs does her husband do? Again, why did she say, “Gosh?” 

    Then, I lost it thinking about having a child named “Brayden.” I thought about introducing him to a stern, war veteran grandpa. “Barnabus, this is your great grandson, Brayden.” And Barnabus would just stare off into the distance, steely-eyed, as he angrily spits tobacco into an empty Crown Royal bottle. 

    Then I imagined the life that young Brayden will lead. I thought about Lacrosse or whatever privileged sport he’ll play. I thought about his undoubtedly square jaw. I thought about the terrible friends he’ll have—the Skylar’s and Jayden’s and Branch’s. And finally, I imagined what my life would be like if my name was Brayden and without going into too many details, became deeply forlorn and pensive. 

    It’s important to note that this all happened within a thirty-second span in the circular saw aisle at Lowe’s. And it’s also important to mention that I never saw young Brayden or his exasperated mom—probably a Carol or a Brenda, if I had to guess. 

    I had a fucking breakdown. And I don’t know who to talk to. Is there a therapist that specializes in people who lose their minds after hearing WASP-y names in big box home improvement stores? 

    I feel lost. But at least I have this nice new saw.

     

  8. cododesign:

    We’re working with a number of Indiana craft breweries and have had several conversations with them about tap handle design. A few have expressed interest in a more understated look so we thought that was a pretty good excuse to spend an afternoon in the woodshop to see what we could come up with. 

    Takeaways:

    Kingwood is gorgeous and smells like flowers when sanded.

    Cocobolo has a lovely grain pattern and is fun to say. “Co-co-bo-loooo.”

    The tap thread hardware is soft metal and doesn’t hold up to the torque needed for installation. A slightly larger hole and some epoxy would’ve been a better solution.

    We finally found a use for our muscle man trophy guy. 

     

  9. Some pics from around the garden. Everything’s going well so far. 

     


  10. A Ghost Story, of Sorts

    I don’t work late very often because we’re firm believers in having a normal life outside of the office—after all, there’re books to read and beers to drink. I also try not to stay too late because our office is inside a 111 year-old building and therefor, is creepy as hell after dark. I grew up reading Goosebumps and spent a good portion of my early twenties taking a vast array of hallucinogens, so my mind tends to run wild whenever I’m confronted with a dark corner, let alone a huge, old house. 

    But every now and then, when I hit a moment of inspiration, I’ll either stay late or head into the office later in the evening.

    A few weeks ago, I was developing initial can design concepts for an Indiana craft brewery. I was sketching at home and had an idea that I needed to get out and into the computer at that very moment. So in I went. At 11pm. Late. 

    Here’s where the real story begins. 

    So I’m in the office, completely alone. I got what I was working on roughed out in the computer and after an hour and a half, was listening to music while printing / cutting / mounting mockup labels on cans. Around this time, I started hearing a group of people talking upstairs. Clear, discernible voices. Not outside on the sidewalk, not coming from my computer speakers, but ten feet above me on the dark first floor. 

    My heart pounding, I muted my computer and the voices continued talking for a few seconds before abruptly stopping. “I’m jumpy and this is dumb,” I thought. So I tried to forget about it and continued playing music as I finished my mockups. After a few minutes, the voices started again, only this time louder. I paused the music and this time, they continued for several seconds before stopping. 

    And here’s how tough I am. 

    You know those late night campfire talks about aliens, religions, ghosts and the great beyond? I’ve always been somewhat cavalier toward the subject. “Man, I don’t believe in that stuff, pffsh.”

    Well, after that second go-round with the voices up stairs, all I could think about was the ballroom scene in ‘The Shining,’ so I promptly saved my work, put my exact-o blade down, and left. No way in hell was I going to stick around to see what was going on upstairs with Lloyd the Bartender. 

    I snuck out through the back door, circled the house, came back in the front door, set the alarm and headed home. 

    Next time I’m struck with a moment of inspiration, I’ll tough it out on my laptop. At home. 

    Safe and sound.