Greetings from the End of the World

Holy hell y’all! It’s been ages since I sat down and wrote a blog post. Seeing as the entire world is on pandemic lock down I figured if not now, then when? Get one last one in before the End Times officially kick off. Before the dead rise from the grave to feast upon the living. The huddled masses with wonderfully cleaned asses all sitting at home just looking for something to digest that has an ounce of intrigue and excitement. A story of truth and glory in a world saturated and riddled with misinformation and fear-mongering. The story of the ages.

This post will have none of that.

I’m rusty you see. Haven’t put pen to paper in many months. Words no form so good in squishy brain. But I shall endeavor to try nonetheless. I’ve been on lock down for the last nine days, as most of the world is. Everything is closed except essential businesses. People are fighting for toilet paper for some reason. Who would’ve thought that the apocalypse would begin with TP hording!? No mention of that in my zombie preparedness manuals! Stock markets are crashing, people are freaking out, jobs are being lost left and right. But everyone has the cleanest assholes since the dawn of time. So there’s that.

But enough about those things we cannot control. I’ll just say this, remember to breathe and remember to be kind to people. Don’t let paranoia and fear turn you into a grumpy prick. And stop hording for god’s sake!

I will also say this, my stock portfolio is rather heavy with yummy eggs. My chicken investment was a wise strategy in these dark times. Especially when many stores have empty shelves in the egg department.

So much has happened in my life since last we spoke. Some good, some bad. All strange and interesting though.

Let’s get the sad part out of the way. I haven’t been able to find the strength to write about a rather large loss. The official Mind Your Dirt mascot, and my favorite and eldest chicken, Piper, was taken by a hawk last December. Heartbreaking and devastating to lose that sweet girl of mine. My little covergirl. Here’s one of the last videos I took with her…

She was my very first hen and has had just a huge roller coaster of a life. If you slapped her name into the search bar here, you can see that her life was filled with a lot of ups and downs. But the last few years she was on the gravy train with biscuit wheels. Happy and healthy all the way to the end. She was just pure love in a poofy floofer package.

In order for me to get over the loss, I immediately went out and got two brand new silkie hens. Kinda like therapy. Or distracting myself from grief. One of those things. But now I have Roxy and Raina to help me heal.

Roxy and Raina

Adorable little poofballs! Here they are having a little dust bath yesterday…

I’ve also made some modifications to the compound to help protect my flock from further attacks. A week later the same hawk came swooping down to grab another larger hen right out of the run. I was right there so I was actually able to get an actual smack on its feathery ass as I ran and flailed and screamed like a lunatic.

So now I’m going for a two-part plan of attack. First and foremost is a netting system over the entire coop and run. Illustrated poorly here in this portrait of Violet…

My second plan of attack is slightly more archaic, but infinitely cooler. I’ve begun to hire winged goons to dispatch and displace any would-be raptors. I now have a gang of about seven crows that I have been bribing with peanuts.

They literally work for peanuts! It is highly effective too. I’ve witnessed three separate attacks where the hawk couldn’t run home to mama fast enough. Crows dive bombing it left and right as hawkish tail feathers came wafting down from the heavens in swirls of sweet, sweet victory. My special crow air force. Crow Force 2020.

Another thing that happened is in the beginning of September I resigned from my 16 year career at the San Diego Museum of Art to start my own business. A rather scary move for me as I am quite the creature of habit and comfort. And a bit of the reason why I’ve been so quiet on here for so long. I have been HUSTLING like a son of a bitch! If you’re curious you can check out the ol’ business page I put together in a fever whilst trying to find new clients to support my rash decision.

Spark & Anvil Fine Art Stewardship

This move has kept me so single-focused and distracted from all other pursuits as I do my damnedest to get this business running at full-speed. It’s been over a half of a year now and so far, so good! I am truly loving the independence and freedom. Over the years of dissatisfaction at my last job I would usually distract myself from doing the brave thing. Hell, I started Mind Your Dirt well over six years ago as a form of that very distraction. But every now and again, I’d get up enough courage to sit down and try to figure out what direction my life should be taking. One theme that constantly came up during these times of reflection was that I was sick and tired of having bosses. I could count on one partially-amputated hand the number of supervisors I had in life that I considered true mentors. Only two come to mind right now (shout out to P. Brewin and R. Lowe). All others were simply tiresome at best, or shiesty saboteurs at worst.

But that business has already taken me so far away from Mind Your Dirt and I won’t allow it to creep too deeply into this blog post! There’s plenty of Spark & Anvil social media out there for the curious. This here is a homesteading blog, so let’s get back to the homestead, yes?

In all this time I haven’t abandoned my post as an avid gardener and tinkerer of stuff and things. Everything is singing and glorious at the old Mind Your Dirt Farms and Quarantine Zone. “We” are actively engaged in social distancing as we should be, but ever so grateful that there’s a beautiful and electric nature retreat just outside the back door. If you’d like, here’s a little tour of the backyard in it’s current (and barely weeded) state…

And there is a lot in bloom these days after a nice rainy winter here in San Diego. Even my beautiful Sasha is in bloom…

If you’ll recall, last year my favorite coastal coral tree met with a major devastating loss and I had to take drastic measures in order to try and save it. Many people in the comments said it was a lost cause and it would never survive losing two thirds of its mass and having the trunk split damn near to the ground.

Well, I’m happy to report that my emergency surgery repairs were a success! She still has a long road of recovery ahead, but everything seems stabilized for now! I recently removed the plastic wrapped bandage that was retaining moisture and holding the trunk together. I let it dry out a little and then removed the dead wood so the tree can finally begin to heal over a year later.

Another beautiful development is that this year she pushed out some major blooms as 3/3 of her roots pushed sugars into 1/3 of her remaining branches. I’m cautiously optimistic that I can once again bring her back to her previous glory. After several years of course.

Well dear and patient reader, that gets you a little more caught up with the tsunami of sea changes in my life over the last eight months since last we spoke. Just remember even if I’m not putting out a lot of posts on the regular, I’m always responding to comments here as well as continually updating my social media accounts. So don’t despair, I am never too far away to help out, offer advice, or just talk shit with my homies. Drop me a line. Seriously, I’m feeling rather isolated lately!

Until we meet again, remember to take notice of the good things in this crazy world. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Always remember that the shit heels and turd weasels of this world will eventually fall and no matter what, this too will pass. I wish you much quarantined love from the depths of my barely-stocked bunker.

Post Script: After writing this my special shipment arrived for my secret plan to keep Violet from escaping fifteen times a day. With all this down time being home-bound I just sat my ass in the yard for a spell so I could see how the hell she was escaping. Even with a clipped wing she is small and light enough to make it up to the top of the main gate. Clever girl.

The mocking bird.

Well who’s laughing now Violet? Rhetorical question obviously, as I was literally laughing five minutes after installation when she made a go at it and was comically ejected. It’s for her own good, that hawk is out there and knows that there are yummy chickens here. Also, she was trashing my beds like a mofo!

The warden recommend you have a seat.

14 Replies to “Greetings from the End of the World”

  1. Very good to hear from you. It’s a great time to get back to posting. I have been thinking about you and your fledgling business and am hoping hoping hoping that this “setback” we are having right now won’t cause you major problems.

    Dustbath video isn’t showing. Says something about youtube screwing you.

    Everything is good from my home headquarters. I posted some blogs for every week for the next month or so. I was lucky enough to spend some time up in Mendo before this debacle took off…

    I wish I had smarter or funnier things to say at the moment but I don’t. So for now I say Good Day Sir. GOOD DAY.

    1. Hi! Well, a lot of museums are closed so it is slowing down some upcoming projects. One of which is a huge contract. If that falls through I’ll have some serious problems. Good news is that I’m no stranger to hard times. I can tighten belts like nobody’s business!

      The video appears to be good on my end. And people are viewing it according to its stats. Maybe try a refresh? Take a screen shot for me if it’s still not working.

      It’s true that being on lock down allows for more creative freedom! I do have a large community garden project I need to work on though. I feel like I’ve been absorbed in a “let’s see how this pans out” frame of mind which translates into snacking and binge watching/video games. Need to snap out of that and get to work!

  2. Great to hear from you! I have gotten blogged down, myself, and I’m trying to get back in the writing mood. Aren’t we lucky to have our gardens and pets at this awful time! By the time we’re let out of isolation, our yard should be immaculate. Being retired means that much in our life hasn’t changed, except no more daily trips out. Enjoy your home life, stay well, and please send some sun to the Pacific Northwest!

    1. I can definitely think of far worse situations to be in. And my dog absolutely adores all this one-on-one time! As do I! And I definitely need the time to prune and weed! My yard is very much overgrown at this stage. Baby steps.

  3. Good to hear from you. Sorry about your covergirl…. loved the picture with TP and the war zone.
    I work at a local ER and there is a war zone there it feels like. Stay safe and write more often. Love your blog.
    P.S. coral tree is beautiful, as are your gazanias and nasturtiums

    1. Thank you for going to work in such a dangerous environment to help keep people safe! Well done!

      Did you notice the tiny lil grasshopper nymph on the nasturtium flower? Super cute. I’m trying to propagate those gazania as well. I love those beautiful flowers and they bloom all year round! The nasturtium just pop up all over the place. I never planted them, they just showed up one year. They’re tasty though and the chickens love them too.

  4. Sorry to hear about Piper. She was such a dear chicken.

    I hope your new netting is sewn together at the seams. I had overlapping chain link sections tossed over a frame with plans to secure the edges when I was building an enclosure for my pet pigeons.

    When I headed off to work, I told me room-mate that I didn’t want my pigeons to be left unattended in the unfinished enclosure. She decided to prove to me that the pigeons wouldn’t leave on their own accord, so she snuck them out without telling me and left them to fend for themselves. When I got home, I went out to do something in the adjacent veggie garden to find a Cooper’s hawk in the enclosure sitting on the corpse of my poor pigeon who was supposed to be in the house where I left her. The hawk was smart enough to know that the overlapping panels of chain link were not fastened down and it squeezed in between them. It was pretty frantic to get out when it saw a very angry pigeon mama headed towards it. I was amazed that it was strong enough to move heavy panels of chain link to escape.

    My remaining pigeon now has a cage in the house. If I try to put her cage outside for some sunshine, she just shivers in fear on a hot Mojave summer day. Since she doesn’t enjoy going out, she stays inside now. She is happy with the arrangement, but we both miss her sister.

    1. I try to follow all of the egg laws. Mostly. I may have been the guy that pushed Humpty off of that wall. Maybe.

      I’ve missed being the blogger world as well. It was good therapy for me for a long time when I was, shall we say, dissatisfied with my work life. Now I have oodles of time as my business is on hold until the world recovers. And I am making some videos of crows right now for another post! Crowforce 2020.

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