Simple Freedom

Greetings Brother,
Life is good here at the CowChows. The necessities of life are bountiful.
I was out back a while ago just rocking on the porch and watching the rain fall. There’s nothing more peaceful than a rainy afternoon in the Ozarks. While I was sitting there soaking up the peace the cattle that are pastured behind our place came down for a drink from the creek. They come by a couple of times a day and sometimes they stop to say hello. This time they did.
I watched them file into view along the fence line, and one after the other they stopped and turned my way. Ocassionally, one would dip her head to the ground and come up chewing a mouthful of fresh, wet grass. I wondered what it must be like to live your life inside a fence, not able to come and go as you please. I wondered what it must be like to know nothing of the world beyond the borders of iron posts and steel wire that enclose you. I wondered if they even realized they were captives. As I sat there wondering these things I felt sorry for these poor simple creatures and I hoped they didn’t know what it meant to be free, for then they would know what they were missing.
One of the heifers looked around furtively, and then stuck her head over the fence and looked directly at me. She craned her neck as if she were gesturing me toward her. At first I thought nothing of it, but she kept making this gesturing motion until my curiosity overcame my desire to stay dry. I descended the steps and began slogging my way across the wet grass toward the fence. I was drenched through before I had taken a dozen steps, and all the while she was nodding to me as if to say, “Come on.”
As I neared the fence, feeling more than a little silly, she again looked furtively up and down the fence line. I reached my hand toward her to let her sniff it, and then gently stroked her forehead. “What is it, girl?” I whispered, “What do you want?”
She looked me directly in the eye and whispered back, “If you ever want us to bust you out of your pen you just say the word.” And then, she winked.
"Just say the word"
"Just say the word"

Greetings,

Life is good here at the CowChows. The necessities of life are bountiful.

I was out back a while ago just rocking on the porch and watching the rain fall. There’s nothing more peaceful than a rainy afternoon in the Ozarks. While I was sitting there soaking up the peace the cattle that are pastured behind our place came down for a drink from the creek. They come by a couple of times a day and sometimes they stop to say hello. This time they did.

I watched them file into view along the fence line, and one after the other they stopped and turned my way. Ocassionally, one would dip her head to the ground and come up chewing a mouthful of fresh, wet grass. I wondered what it must be like to live your life inside a fence, not able to come and go as you please. I wondered what it must be like to know nothing of the world beyond the borders of iron posts and steel wire that enclose you. I wondered if they even realized they were captives. As I sat there wondering these things I felt sorry for these poor simple creatures and I hoped they didn’t know what it meant to be free, for then they would know what they were missing.

One of the heifers looked around furtively, and then stuck her head over the fence and looked directly at me. She craned her neck as if she were gesturing me toward her. At first I thought nothing of it, but she kept making this gesturing motion until my curiosity overcame my desire to stay dry. I descended the steps and began slogging my way across the wet grass toward the fence. I was drenched through before I had taken a dozen steps, and all the while she was nodding to me as if to say, “Come on.”

As I neared the fence, feeling more than a little silly, she again looked furtively up and down the fence line. I reached my hand toward her to let her sniff it, and then gently stroked her forehead. “What is it, girl?” I whispered, “What do you want?”

She looked me directly in the eye and whispered back, “If you ever want us to bust you out of your pen you just say the word.” And then, she winked.

Best Regards,

Tim Couch

Garter Snake causes Rain Dance

Would you care to dance?
Would you care to dance?

I wish you could’ve been here. What with the summer heat we’ve been having lately BG and I have taken to doing the yard work around the CowChows either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Mostly late afternoon because early morning is kind of an alien concept to me. I know it exists but I really don’t speak the language or understand the customs. But, this morning she managed to rouse me pretty early and we went out to do some chores.

We’d been out for a while and it was beginning to warm up so we were heading back into the house. As we neared the back porch I looked down and right against the wall lay the cutest little garter snake you ever saw. BG doesn’t like snakes, any snakes. She no longer believes the only good snake is a dead one, but she still believes the only good snake is one that is far from her house. So, while I went to get my Ozarks Snake Wrangling equipment she watched the little varmint to make sure it stayed put.

I returned with my stick and glove, and was easing in to make my move. BG had been standing in the same place for several minutes without moving, and just as I was sneaking up on the snake a giant earthworm wriggled up between her toes. This was no ordinary worm by any measurement. This was the Godzilla of earthworms. It was nearly as big as the snake, and when BG jumped it startled the worm and he began to thrash about like a snake, which did nothing to calm BG. She began to dance and shriek. This in turn startled the snake. He decided to make a run for it, but with me behind him and a concrete wall beside him there was nowhere to go but toward BG. The worm was thrashing about at her feet; the snake was coming straight for her, and she cut loose with a dance that really brought down the rain.

The snake got away. The worm, amazingly, did not get trampled. And I, apparently, wasn’t supposed to find any of this funny. On the bonus side though, I think I’m going to get to sleep in tomorrow morning.

Cordially,

Tim Couch

Bruno the Hornet

Bruno the Hornet
Bruno the Hornet

Greetings,

We’ve had some lite excitement here at the CowChows today. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but there are “House Hornets” in the Ozarks. I thought hornets pretty much stuck to building their nests in the woods far away from meddlesome humans, but apparently they will also build under the eaves of your house. Fortunately, for them, one eave of the CowChows is about thirty feet up in the air.

I knew it was coming, this showdown with the hornets. I had noticed the nest about a month ago when it was the size of a golf ball, but I thought I’d wait and catch them early in the morning when they would be less active. Unfortunately, I don’t do early all that well and time slipped away and I forgot about them. I noticed the nest again this afternoon and it’s now as big as a good sized cantaloupe. My first instinct was to pretend I didn’t see them and hope they would do the same, but then my rational mind spoke up. It said, “Hey, it’s pretty cool today. They wouldn’t even see it coming. What are you waiting for?”

So, I drug out my big ladder and placed it against the house; I extended it notch by notch until it was high enough and close enough to do the job. They seemed surprisingly undisturbed so far but I waited a while to be sure they were calm. When my palms stopped sweating I figured they were probably calm enough so I went back outside and began to creep up the ladder.

At about five feet away I could hear the hum, like being too close to a high voltage power line. It wasn’t a high pitched alarmed hum, but more of a just going about our business hum. So, I kept creeping up. I stopped a couple of feet below the nest and all was well. I pulled my sprayer up to get into position and that’s when the ladder shifted.

It wasn’t much but apparently it sent a vibration through the nest that set off all kinds of alarm bells. In a matter of seconds the casual hum changed to the sound of a pissed off jet engine. I froze there on the ladder hoping they would calm down again, and I waited and I watched. It was then that Bruno the Hornet stuck his head out to see what was going on. He looked around and when he saw me I swear he smiled. I’m not sure but I think he turned back into the nest and put two of his little bug fingers into his mouth and whistled for all the other badass hornets to follow him. I’m not sure because I was half way down the ladder by then and headed for the house.

It’s not that I’m scared of a bunch of bugs. I’m not at all scared of them; it’s the stingers in their butts that bother me. Anyway, I’ve decided that as far as neighbors go we could do worse than a clan of hornets, and I’ve learned it’s often best to go with that first instinct.

Until next time, if you see Bruno I suggest you stay out of his way.

Cordially,

Tim Couch

What Japanese Beetles?

Japanese Beetles on a tasty green leaf
Japanese Beetles on a tasty green leaf

One of the great things about living in the Ozarks is the constant changing of seasons. It seems like only a few days ago we were in the throes of ice-storm season, and then came allergen season, and of course thunderstorm season, and now we’re in the midst of Japanese beetle season.

If your house has not yet been overrun and your plants devoured by Japanese beetles it means one of two things. Either you have the crappiest tasting plants in your neighborhood, or you have a neighbor like me.

Here at the CowChows we try to get along with everybody, but when the Japanese beetles began eating the green off our shutters it was time to take action. We thought about insecticide but couldn’t find one that kills only Japanese beetles. I tried going around squishing them but that quickly turned into a fulltime job. And then we heard about these nifty “Japanese Beetle Traps.” What could be better than that? You hang up this plastic bag with a little scented lure; all the beetles do a Hotel California conga into the bag, and no other bugs get hurt. It sounded perfect so we bought a bunch of them and hung them up all around the place.

There’s just one little problem with this solution. It works too well. All the beetles for miles around were magically drawn to our yard. We had bags full of them, and then trash bags full of those bags, And then, under the summer sun they began to rot and stink until our neighbors began to complain about the stench and when we said, “It’s the Japanese beetles,” they said, “What Japanese beetles?”

Turns out we had solved the Japanese beetle problem for everyone around us. While we were doing battle with these voracious little devils our neighbors thought we had developed a hygiene problem. That’s when I realized I was doing it all wrong. So, I gathered up all the lures and went for a walk around the neighborhood. Now when one of my neighbors complains about the Japanese beetles I just smile and say, “What Japanese beetles?” Life is good here at the CowChows.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch