Guinea Fowl Suck: The Foulest Fowl that ever Fouled.


“Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.”

-William S. Burroughs (an excerpt from Thanksgiving Prayer)

Some other possible titles for this post were:

When Life Punches You in the Taint… or

My World of Shit

After I slept on it, I decided that I should perhaps be a little more cheerful. God knows that this country has had quite enough shock, disappointment and all around shabbiness lately. Enough to last a lifetime. And I still refuse to wax political here even in the face of all this. Mind Your Dirt should be a safe place. So I’ll ignore the very real possibility that all the environmental progress we’ve made (what little there was) is now going to fall apart and unravel like a cheap cable-knit sweater while Muslim-Americans are goose-stepped into massive interment camps. I digress.


Oh you sweet and beautiful reader. My rock. My everything. I’ve missed you all so tremendously. As for you, you most likely fall under one of two categories. Either you’ve missed me every day while you sat by your computer waiting with baited breath for words of merriment and mirth or snapshots of fuzzy-butted chicken cuteness; or you didn’t even notice I was away for so long. Almost two months actually.

If you fall under the former category, allow me to explain a little. If you fall under the latter, kindly kiss my entire ass.

October rang in the third year of Mind Your Dirt. Did you get me anything? No, that’s okay. I didn’t get me anything either. What I did receive was only what I can describe as a shit-storm of wants and woes. While still recovering from my werewolf bite (my dog bite got upgraded since we last spoke), my car decided to kick me while I was down with a slew of visits to the mechanics that are still going on.

Then, I broke up with my girlfriend of five years. Which I really wanted to talk to you about, but then my laptop decided to commit suicide and I was simply of the mindset to say fuck it all. So I did in many ways. I unplugged from Mind Your Dirt because I couldn’t find much inspiration to write (or a laptop to write with even if I could) nor inspiration to work in the garden. Which was getting its ass kicked by the summer heat and drought anyways.

So please bear with me while I vent and gather what’s left of my strength and carry on. My laptop now has a brand new hard drive and is slowly being rebuilt with programs and such. I find myself well into my 42nd year of life and am thrown back into the dating pool kicking and screaming. Commercials and every song on the radio make me cry now as well, so that’s pretty sweet. I’m so grateful that I’m truly in touch with all my feelings and have been using these cathartic moments to bolster my soul. But, damn, I do miss my baby girl. I thought for sure that she was The One, you dig? But the decision was the right one to make and I am good at adapting and adopting. Shit, I said I wasn’t going to write about this. Oh well, you all know by now that my life is an open book. So here I am all raw and exposed for the world to see.

So, I’m here to say that I’m back, I’m resigned. I’d also like to say that in no time in the last couple months have I lost my cool or diminished my smile. Like all great tests in life, I know that this all will pass and there’s no justification for being grumpy or short-tempered with people. I’m soldiering on and taking it all in stride.

The Meat:

But that’s not what I’m hear to tell you about. I’m here to report on the recent release of my four guinea fowl into my urban oasis. In doing so, I feel like those before me that accidentally introduced an invasive species into a balanced ecosystem. Probably the way they felt with the cane toads in Australia. I’ve made a huge mistake.

They have been a loud and destructive force in the yard for the last month. Eating plants and tearing up every bed and path I’ve so carefully crafted over the past four years. Every time I went out into the back yard to try to find some motivation, it would always end up the same way. I’d discover some new destruction or a fresh pile of guinea shit to step in and I’d just stop and stare at these ugly bastards with only one thought in my head.

“How to kill them?!”

They must be able to sense this, because they typically follow me all over the place waiting for a handout of some kind. But when I begin to go over the practical steps needed for their destruction, cleaning, and cooking they tend to back away slowly. Which is wise, because I WILL be killing them shortly.


The other day, they dive-bombed me from the roof of the garage while I was heading to work. I jumped out of the way because these feathery demons crap on every square inch of my property so why would they stop short of my three-piece suit? I’m fully aware that they do love and trust me at this point, which is why they follow me all over and want to jump off of roofs onto my head. This sweet dependence is the only thing keeping them alive as I write these tired words.

My expectations for having guinea fowl involved two things; pest control and security system for chicken predators. In hind-sight, I’m realizing that neither of those two issues were large enough to come close to the destruction and general hot mess that these beasts bring to my once pristine oasis. Not to mention that they look just like the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal which only triggers old childhood fears as well as my still-raw mourning of Jim Henson.


And like the Skeksis, they are self-absorbed usurpers of all natural resources around them and bathed in pure evil. And they too seem to drain and consume my very essence until I’m left a shallow husk of a gardener bereft of any passion or drive.

A photo of me when I walk into my backyard.

 They also seem to really enjoy scratching up every bed and tearing up or consuming random plants which no other creature would dream of eating or destroying. Even the chickens can’t hold a torch to these vicious rat-bastard mother-scratchers. Just look what they did to my yucca plants.


Who the hell eats yucca? Crazy people do. These babies are over five years old and decimated beyond repair in only a couple months.


Above is a typical crime scene of the majority of my beds. There used to be some lovely succulents surrounding those stepmother tongues.


And this bed contained lush society garlic blooms and a well crafted terraced spiral bed with hardware cloth to bolster and retain moisture and mulch. Now it looks like an impact crater of sadness and woe.


My lovely grassy knoll under my willow tree has also suffered from the foul fowl of destruction. Even after I made an attempt to bolster and refine it a few weeks ago.


 They also love just messing up all my paths and cool hangout spots with a mix of soil, straw, mulch and fowl effluence. Observe…

So this is where I’m at right now people. Fighting off the overwhelming feeling of being totally pooped and demoralized by a constant onslaught of frustrating nonsense and heartbreak. When I was taking the feature image I can’t tell you how much I wanted sweet Sasha to tear into these birds and save me the trouble of committing homicide.

Kill Sasha, kill. Kill for daddy.
Kill Sasha, kill. Kill for daddy.

So think first before making the same mistake I did. If you want to mix up the flock a little bit, go for quail. Sweet tiny innocent quail. Or maybe a gentleman Indian Runner duck or two. Because these fools are driving me mad. I should’ve listened to all the people and articles that recommended that I skip these birds.



It’s not all bad news folks. I did get a sweet side gig a couple weeks ago. A full day of installing seismic mounts for these beautiful terracotta horses. Nestled right on the cliffs overlooking Blacks Beach in SoCal. Gorgeous right?


Oh, and I also got to play with my neighbors puppies last weekend. They just opened their eyes. Get ready for the cuteness please…

29 Replies to “Guinea Fowl Suck: The Foulest Fowl that ever Fouled.”

  1. Just had to start with that first comment there. Sorry to hear about your woes. I have noticed you were gone. If not for the occasional Facebook post I would have sent out the search party. Because, you know, I know people, who know people, who can find people. Ha ha.

    So, could you perhaps collect the birds and accidentally drop them in that lovely Balboa park?

    1. Yes indeed. I’ve been rebooting my hard drive. Taking stock if you will. I’m glad you were looking out for little ol’ me though!

      I could attempt to relocate them or even return them to the breeder I got them from. But now it’s personal! I feel like it’s my responsibility to see this through to its rosemary roasted end. Plus, I’ve invested in their fattening and I should be the chap eating them with a lovely squash and cranberry. Plus, I kinda like the idea of bow hunting in my urban backyard.

        1. Seeing as the culling of a rooster a few years ago had me very depressed for over a week, I’m not looking forward to what comes next. But, killing anything should be very hard. If it’s not, then you’ve got bigger problems than a trashed oasis.

  2. I did miss you. I just figured you’d fallen into the same post-Bernie funk that gripped me, as I realized that our electoral options (at least those that had a chance of winning) did not include anyone with even an inkling of a promise of saving the planet. How was I to know that your entire life, including automotive accessories, had fallen into complete disrepair? And then the damn birds. Off with their heads I say. What does it matter if they give alarm for the chickens if they demolish everything in the garden? Make a good dinner of them and be done with it. Then, freed of the irritation, you can nurse your other wounds, and perhaps spend some healing time with the puppies.

    1. Perfectly said! And precisely all the feels that have been haunting me. I’m so grateful for this venue to be able to share and garnish comfort from kindred spirits.

      And, hell yes to puppy healing!!

  3. Hey James! Nancy Oder, Nikki’s mom here. I mostly follow you on Instagram with a bit of lurking on this blog but thought I’d come out of the shadows today and comment. Just now watching live coverage of the weather satellite GOES-R about to launch (5:42 EST today, Saturday)… made me think of you with your science background. Should be a pretty amazing boost to weather knowledge and forecasting. Love space launches.
    I hope you’re on the mend now. Wounds, equipment meltdowns, fricken election, and the sad heart – a lousy couple months for sure. Take good care of yourself and Sasha… the guinea fowl, maybe not so much :/

    1. Hi Nancy! Glad to hear that your an occasional lurker of Mind Your Dirt. And welcome into the light of commenting! It’s warm and welcoming here, so do so often please.

      The live launch sounds exciting! And that’s coming up soon. I’m gonna try to find a feed, thanks for the heads up.

      Also, thanks for the well-wishes. All of this will come to pass and I will remain my ridiculous self no matter what.

      1. So good to hear you’re fixed on being your ridiculous self no matter what! I will enjoy perusing the archives over this winter. The Weather Channel is following the GOES-R launch on TV live right now. Glad you’re watching.

  4. Glad your back! Love following your (mis)adventures. Always good for a laugh. Sorry for your broken heart! If I was a decade younger, I’d look you up. But alas, just an organic gardening chick aged like a fine wine. Yeah that’s the ticket.

    1. Aw shucks 😳. Makin me blush over here.

      Apologies for the absence. I had forgotten how therapeutic this blog is for me. Been writing most of the day away today. Finally tackling the huge illustration post I’ve been promising for months now. It’s been fun seeing all the political cartoons again. Ah, the Bush years… Stay tuned and thanks for the warm welcome home!

  5. Gosh, James, I’m sorry all this crap has landed on you. When it rains, it pours. Rest assured that you are not alone when it comes to being horrified about what’s happening to our country, and how much we have to lose. These are scary times, indeed.
    Also sorry that the guinea fowl have personalities to match their looks. I think you should give them back to the breeder. Don’t kill them or you’ll feel guilty. They might give you a belly ache if you eat them and then they’d have the last laugh. We don’t want that. Get them out of your life ASAP!! One less thing to worry about! Then get out there and fix your gardens for therapy. Take care!

    1. But I’ve already been looking up delicious recipes! I think it’s a good step in my development as a part-time farmer. Culling is something I should be more comfortable with. Besides, I’ve already invested in so much with feed and such.

      I agree though, I’ve got enough on my plate and they need to go ASAP.

  6. So sorry this confluence of crappiness has befallen you. One couldn’t tell from your Tumblr that things were going badly. It’s no empty platitude when I say nothing lasts forever, whether good or bad, so you can always count on more change. At least you’ve got a sense of humor to armor you. And puppies. Never underestimate the power of puppies.

    1. Thank you my brother. I’m not sure if this is a healthy outlook or not, but times like these there’s a part of me that wants to keep testing my limits. Pile on more crap and see how long I can stay positive and cheerful throughout. Keep the hits a’comin universe. I think I envision it as a soul workout.

      Again, not sure if that’s a wise outlook or not. If the levee breaks, who knows what’ll happen. That said, it’s not all bad. The things I share on social media are the good things that are happening. I try to give them more power and prominence. In doing so, my perspective shifts just enough to carry on.

      And the puppies of course.

      1. Just know how to take care of yourself, surround yourself with good people, and don’t deny yourself the things that make you happy. I like your idea of giving more power and prominence to the good things. That’s what I once decided I’d focus all my social media energy on. It’s probably why I’m so “quiet.” Maybe it’s time to put my effort into a flood of good stuff…

        1. Here here! I do have a large group of amazingly caring and supportive friends. I need to remember that.

          I’m also reminded of a story of native American origins (I think). Something about two wolves that live inside of us. Fighting for dominance. One is good and the other is bad. The moral is something like; the one that wins is the one you feed.

          Fairly certain I’ve butchered that, but you get the point. Cheers Mark, from what little I know about you I can safely say that you are good people! And good people should never be “quiet”.

  7. Those guinea fowl are almost as destructive as my boys, and probably about as reasonable. I totally sympathize. I’m sorry that there’s been so much other crap as well. But…those puppies! My chocolate lab is 13 now. I love those little bears.

    1. Thank you so much. I managed to repair and bolster a few beds yesterday so hopefully that’ll bring me a little peace.

      And yes, those puppies are the elixir of pure joy and good livin’. I’ll have to up my prescription.

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