Life Among the Tomato Vines

Life Among Tomatoes
Life Among Tomatoes


Life here at the CowChows is pretty laid back today. The sun is shining; the breeze is blowing; and all God’s children are at peace, at least for the moment.

Gardens are funny things. We’ve got a little plot out back where we planted a small garden just to grow some tomatoes and peppers and squash for the dinner table. We did our best to place it in just the right spot where it would benefit most from the rains and would get just the right amount of sunshine. We prepared the soil; we water it frequently; we’re careful to keep the weeds out and the insects under control. Occasionally, we give it a little boost of fertilizer when the leaves start to look pale. LadyBug even talks to the plants and tells them how proud she is when they bloom and set new fruit. Our little garden does pretty well, and while we haven’t had an overabundance we have had fresh produce on the table all summer.

But then, there’s this other tomato plant. It came up volunteer on the other side of the house. It’s right next to a concrete walkway in hard packed earth; it’s in shade most of the day, and has struggled all summer against creeping ivy and overshadowing shrubs. I haven’t so much as given it a drink of water, and except for pulling off a few tomato worms it has grown entirely on its own. The thing is, this tomato plant is laden with tomatoes that are bigger, more tender and richer in flavor than those we have so carefully cultivated.

So, why the difference? We gave our little garden everything it needed to grow and prosper, and it provided just enough to keep us fed. While the plant on the other side of the house has thrived against all odds and produces an abundance of delicious fruit.

Is the difference due to the struggle? Do we, perhaps, flourish most when our accomplishments require our greatest efforts? Or, do we prosper and flourish most when we allow nature to guide us into the proper circumstances which will enable us to grow?

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Live Free

baby-flagI stepped outside a while ago just to drink in the day, and what a beautiful day it is. The neighbors to one side, a young recently married couple, chatted intimately while grilling their supper. Beyond them, another neighbor meandered about with a garden sprayer tending his lawn. To the other side neighborhood children played and laughed and squealed with joy or excitement or surprise; their lilting laughter wafted across the valley like birdsong.

I looked down the hill to another neighbors home. With one arm he was loading construction tools into the back of his truck in preparation for the coming workday. In the other he cradled his infant son not willing to put him down even long enough to load his truck.

Kids wandered between houses; neighbors stood in their yards and conversed; tires sang on the far-off highway as more-distant neighbors went to and fro. And, as I stood and watched the world evolve around me I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

This country we live in is the freest the world has ever known. The time in which we live is among the most productive, prosperous and progressive in the history of mankind. Few of us have known what it means to go hungry. Most of us have never known mortal fear. All of us have the freedom to pursue that which we believe will fulfill us.

The freedoms that we take so much for granted may be given by God, but they can be taken by man. I wonder what it must be like to live only at the will of another, to live without hope, to live and yet not live. Freedom is a precious thing, even more precious than life itself. It must be earned everyday, guarded with diligence, protected with ferocity, and endowed with generosity.

The freedoms that we have, and have enjoyed for only the last two hundred and thirty three years, are the one thing our descendants can not live without. Live Free.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

STINGER! – Natural Nuisance Deterrent System

Go ahead, ring the bell.
Go ahead, ring the bell.

Life is good here at the CowChows. In fact, it’s very good. We’ve been conducting a test this summer with an experimental device that is showing such excellent results that we’re thinking of applying for a patent. It’s such an ingenious device that we didn’t even think of it. In fact, we didn’t even realize it was the source of our good fortune until very recently. Here’s the deal…

You may recall that several weeks ago I had a close encounter with the law of gravity due to a hornets nest under the eave of the house. Following that encounter we decided to give peaceful coexistence a try when it came to the hornets. We left them alone and, thankfully, they have left us alone. We had pretty much forgotten the nest was even there until a couple of weeks ago when there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to find three of the neighborhood children. They were all aflutter because we had a hornets nest on our house. I explained the concept of peaceful coexistence to them. They said I was crazy and should call their daddy to come get it down, and they left.

Here’s the thing: they haven’t been back. We’ve also noticed a marked decline in the number of drop-in guests, salvation sellers, and solicitors of all kinds this summer. It’s an amazing thing, and the nest is on the side of the house. Just imagine how quiet it would be around here had they built their nest right over the front door.

So, assuming someone hasn’t already patented it we will soon be offering under the CowChows brand the “STINGER – Personal Privacy, Safety and Solicitor Deterrent System.” It will look just like a hornets nest. Just peel the paper off the self-adhesive bottom, stick it to the ceiling of your porch or under the eave of your house, and then sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet.

We’re also working on a deluxe model that integrates a motion detector and the sounds of angry hornets. We just can’t decide who’s going to record the soundtrack. Any volunteers?

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Hey, You’re a Honeybee

Hobo Honeybee
Hobo Honeybee

I was outside earlier slinging paint on the front porch of the CowChows when I got a pleasant surprise. You know how the aroma of fresh paint seems to attract every bug for miles around; well I heard a buzz and looked down to find a honeybee had landed on the handle of my paintbrush. I raised the brush to get a better look and saw that he had a tiny bundle wrapped in a tiny red handkerchief tied to the end of a tiny stick that was propped over his shoulder. I said, “Hey, you’re a honeybee.”

“So what,” he said.

“I haven’t seen any of you guys around for a couple of years,” I said. “Where you been?”

“It’s not where we’ve been,” he said. “It’s where we’re going.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We’ve just had enough, is all. You work hard all day long, try to do the right thing, fulfill your obligations to the hive, and the harder you work the more they take. Eventually, you start to feel like nothing but a drone. There’s still plenty of bees around but they’re the fatcats and the layabouts that never leave the hive. Most of the worker-bees are gone. I’m one of the last to leave.”

“But, what about the others, the ones left behind?” I asked.

“Hey, we talked until we were buzzed out. All the fatcats want to do is strut around making rules and giving orders, and all the layabouts do is sit on their stingers and say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Hopefully, they’ll wake up before it’s too late.”

“But, what about making honey?” I asked.

“Everything it takes to make honey is still here,” he said. Make it yourself, or get the bees to go to work.”

“How do we do that? I asked.”

He shrugged and said, “Do a little jig, they’ll like that. Hey, you missed a spot.”

I turned to look where he was pointing and when I looked back, he was gone. “Wait,” I called, “Where are you going?”

A tiny little voice from high and away came back to me, “Yeah right, like I’m going to tell you.”

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Happy Feet!

Do the Happy Feet dance!
Do the Happy Feet dance!

Want to have some fun?

I attended a Rose Croix funeral service this evening for one of our dearly departed Brethren, Illustrious Brother Jobie Goslee. It’s a beautiful ceremony and I feel honored to participate in it. As a participant it is also an opportunity to get all gussied up in my tuxedo, which is why I wound up having fun on my way home, at Wal-Mart.

I stopped in to get a few groceries. Apparently, wearing a tuxedo in Wal-Mart is similar to a hooker going to church; everyone wonders where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, and why you’re here.

Most people played it cool; they just glanced at me and then looked away as if to say, “Oh my God, the imaginary guy in the tuxedo is back.”
Some people were friendly and nodded to me approvingly.
One lady was especially friendly as she welcomed me to Wal-Mart.
And, one young lady actually greeted me and told me I looked nice, and then beamed when I thanked her and responded that she looked nice, too.

Then, of course, there were the others. Like the guy who waited until I was around the corner, and he thought out of earshot, before he turned to his wife and said, “Bond, James Bond.”
Or, the kid who was trying too hard to impress his friends when he called from the far end of the aisle, “Excuse me sir, have you any Grey Poupon?”
My favorite, though, was the young girl who asked me to do the Happy Feet dance, and when I explained that I hadn’t seen the movie she broke into dance and showed me how it was done.

I still don’t think I can do the Happy Feet dance, but now I’m thinking maybe I’ll just wear my tux sometimes for the fun of it.


Tim Couch