The Gardener, the Salsa, and a Day at the Ranch

Written by Rich Showalter

Continued from page 1

Russell would be missed aroundrepparttar ranch. He had just entered his ninth season, helping us to keeprepparttar 118272 varmit population in check and scaringrepparttar 118273 wits out of trespassers by hissing and shaking his tail at them.

Overrepparttar 118274 years he survived a blizzard of caliber .223, .38, .308, 11 buck, .45, rocks, bottles, bulldozers, lawnmowers, dunebuggies, and dirt bikes, but it wasrepparttar 118275 sauce, disguised in a FAT MOUSE BURRITO, that finally got him! He wasrepparttar 118276 best security snake I ever had.

Elmer,repparttar 118277 golden eagle, couldn't believe his good fortune either when he spied Russell from 2,000 feet. They had grown up together, but were mortal enemies knowing that someday one orrepparttar 118278 other would eventually succumb to fangs or talons.

Elmer was suspicious because by this time ofrepparttar 118279 morning Russell should be resting under a rock or inrepparttar 118280 wood pile atrepparttar 118281 back ofrepparttar 118282 garden. Elmer, who fancied himself as a hot shot flyer, cut power and lowered his flaps as he circled aboverepparttar 118283 cold, hard body of Russell who was stretched out stiff and rigid on repparttar 118284 lawn, looking like a three foot long rolled taco.

Elmer wasn't as sharp or as aggressive since he lostrepparttar 118285 territorial dispute withrepparttar 118286 Sheriff's ASTREA helicopter last spring. Most of his feathers have grown back, but he still has dizzy spells from time to time. Ah, but that is a story in itself for another time.

Elmer suddenly swooped, throwing caution torepparttar 118287 wind, making a fast snatch and grab onrepparttar 118288 rolled taco that once was a very handsome red Diamondback buzz tail.

Twenty minutes later, while cruising at 5,000 feet, Elmer's eyes began to cross and a fire suddenly erupted in his tail section when he began to feelrepparttar 118289 full effects ofrepparttar 118290 combination plate lace salsa.

The end came swiftly, as he spun intorepparttar 118291 lawn nearrepparttar 118292 garden shed. Atrepparttar 118293 last possible second he managed to spread his wings enabling him to crash land nearrepparttar 118294 riding lawn mower. He tore up 30 yards of grass, leaves, and mud before coming to a halt upside down.

The impact saved Elmer's life. The force of it knockedrepparttar 118295 air, Stumpy, Russell, and salsa right out of him.

When Elmer regained consciousness, he managed to hobble over to repparttar 118296 pond, withrepparttar 118297 aid of a broken tree branch under one wing, to put outrepparttar 118298 fire in his beak.

Coy,repparttar 118299 coyote, at first thought he had seen a meteorite because he had never seen an eagle up close before. He could eat anything, and often did just to survive, but this bird looked and smelled bad. "Yucka!"

Elmer threatened to brain him with his tree branch crutch if he came one paw closer. Coy decided he wasn't THAT hungry anyway. He did an about face, scratching dirt and grass fromrepparttar 118300 lawn all over Elmer like any sensible animal covering up a mess, before trotting off acrossrepparttar 118301 lawn.

Elmer eventually recovered to become a reborn vegetarian and anti-helicopter activist.

Mother nature (aided by my gardening skills) required a full season to purgerepparttar 118302 lawn and garden ofrepparttar 118303 awful evidence that claimed two critters and nearly a third. Gerry wanted to move repparttar 118304 half-completed house to another site, to avoidrepparttar 118305 large, blackened and charred area of dead ground that was now part of our front lawn. I stood firm, though. Two years of construction workers tramping back and forth over our landscaping was enough. Besides,repparttar 118306 half-life on salsa is fairly short.

Meanwhile, yup, back atrepparttar 118307 ranch, Snuffy adopted a new roommate, Augie and they moved intorepparttar 118308 newly completed greenhouse. Gerry insisted thatrepparttar 118309 dead area be covered over andrepparttar 118310 greenhouse was justrepparttar 118311 thing to bring life back to that part ofrepparttar 118312 landscape. Augie's sort of a clutze so they compliment each other. Rastus, Russell's cousin, moved intorepparttar 118313 garden to take over Russell's old job; and Pancho's was closed.

The Fire Chief told Pancho they would letrepparttar 118314 old stand burn to repparttar 118315 ground next time, after putting downrepparttar 118316 sixth incendiary fire in as many months. On top of that,repparttar 118317 insurance company tore up Pancho's policy; andrepparttar 118318 Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation. It was too much for Pancho who returned torepparttar 118319 land of his ancestors,repparttar 118320 Aztecs.

And our house? Well, even though we managed to cover uprepparttar 118321 damage ofrepparttar 118322 salsa environmental attack with a brand new greenhouse and refurbished lawn (ain't sod great!),repparttar 118323 house is still unfinished. Not to worry, though, our ranch is a work in progress that takes me away fromrepparttar 118324 hubbub of my landscape business... so I can get involved inrepparttar 118325 hubbub of doingrepparttar 118326 same landscape and construction work for myself that I do for others all week long.

Well, that'srepparttar 118327 tale. My neighbor is indeed a real landscape contractor with a large grounds maintenance company. I've been to his ranch a few times and can confirm thatrepparttar 118328 place exists as described, greenhouse, lawn, grounds, unfinished house and all. But as he related this story to me, on that hot, summer day, he had a strange twinkle in his eye. So, is it true? I can't say for sure, but after a chance meeting with Rastus by repparttar 118329 riding lawn mower, I'm willing to believe it.


Aboutrepparttar 118330 Author:

Rich Showalter is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Once Upon a Time... A Gardener's Daydream is a regular feature in ProGardenBiz Magazine. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at __________________________________________

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long asrepparttar 118331 bylines are included. Must be published complete with no changes. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

Rich Showalter is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Once Upon a Time... A Gardener's Daydream is a regular feature in ProGardenBiz Magazine. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at

Tribute to Delores

Written by D. Gustafson

Continued from page 1

Begin with fine grit sandpaper, and gently buff your legs in a circular motion. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a belt sander, start on low and slowly work to a medium setting. Those pesky bumps will disappear in no time.

Winter clothes, and layering, can make us lazy, so practice holding in your stomach and tucking in your bottom, atrepparttar same time. Remember, our goal is to make shopping day a happy day, so suck in that tummy, and for good measure, tuck a fifty cent piece between your cheeks. If you practice holding it for only twenty minutes a day, why, in six months you’ll be able to crack walnuts with those little beauties.

One Week

A week beforerepparttar 118271 big day; shave, wax, or slather on your favorite depilatory. And no, not just on your legs. My dear, there is nothing more unattractive than appearing to have a Jimi Hendrix-like wig stuffed in your pants. It simply won’t do. Remember, we want to drawrepparttar 118272 eye to our best features.

Purchase a pair of polarized sunglasses. It’s a little known fact, but polarization cuts down onrepparttar 118273 demoralizing effect of dressing room florescent lighting.

Weather permitting; get some sun on your legs. A bit of color will work wonders on loose flabby skin. Or, you might try one ofrepparttar 118274 new sun-less tanning agents. Splurge, buy a name brand. By cutting corners with an off brand, your legs may truly resemble orange peel.

The Night Before

Pamper yourself with a pedicure. Yellow-y toenails and dried cuticles have spoiled more than one bathing suit shopping day. And don’t forget those crusty heels.

No under eye bags for you missy, get a good night’s rest. If possible, watch “Beach Blanket Bingo” as you drift off to sleep. It will put you inrepparttar 118275 mood, and remind you that real women jiggle.

The Big Day

Sneak out ofrepparttar 118276 house before anyone else is even awake. And for heaven’s sake, no matter whatrepparttar 118277 “experts” say, do not take a friend. A true friend will lie.

So my darlings, go forth, flaunt your newfound confidence and buy that swimsuit.

One last warning - Should you run into a twenty five year old, sunglass-less vixen, modeling a thong, retreat, but not before making eye contact.

Indicate, in that special, wordless way that women aroundrepparttar 118278 world recognize, that she looks fat.

“Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto”. Kathy Bates in Delores Claiborne

Copyright 2003 D. Gustafson All Rights Reserved For more really swell aspects of mid-life, visit Mama's Secrets,

D. Gustafson is a mother, grandmother, daughter, ex-wife, artist, accountant, webmaster, and published writer.

Oh, and of course, we can’t leave out, “over achiever”. Give her a couple of years, and with any luck, maybe we can toss in crane operator and, who knows, possibly dictator of a small tropical island.

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