By Kaare Askildt
(A.K.A. – Farmer in Training)
Spring has evolved and become summer. Mother Nature didn’t ask anyone if we were ready, she just made the transformation. I have learned over the years that it is impossible to try and argue with her. Sometimes Father Winter picks an argument with her, and we have to pay for it with a spring snowstorm!
But this year the transition was smooth. Now we are watching the fruits developing on the trees and the crops growing in the ﬁelds. She provides rain once in a while to make that happen. I was talking to an aboriginal elder a few days ago, and when I asked him about the rain dance they sometimes perform, he told me that the scheduling of a successful rain dance has a lot to do with timing. We got into an animated discussion about who provides the thunder and lightning. He insisted that the Cree spirit “Piyesin” provides the thunder.
I insisted that the thunder and lightning are provided by the old Norse deity of “Thor” as he drives his steel-wheeled chariot drawn by two fierce looking goats over cobblestone roads in Valhalla, creating a loud rumble that we call thunder, and the lightning is created by “Thor” striking with “Mjolnir” (his steel hammer) on the steel wheels creating blue sparks. It was a rather animated discussion, but as gentlemen we agreed to disagree.
Poor Marion, she’s toiling in this hot blistering weather, working on the property fence to get it ready now that the lot next to us is sold. She came inside in a huff the other day, demanding that we have to buy a new tape measure as well as a new level! She just found out that when she started in the corner measuring the distance between the boards and using the level, somehow the end of the boards were slanted upwards about a quarter of an inch, and as she worked down the line while lining them up, the board ends got higher and higher.
She is sure the mistake was due to a faulty tape measure and she said that the bubble must be off on the level as well, or was that her bubble that was off? I just can’t remember what she said. Oh well!
The rain and the wind doused most of the forest ﬁres, and now it is sunshine again with a clear blue sky. Having moved to a small town, we have to abide by the town bylaws, such as the height of the fence, etc. I guess that residents must have been bothered at one time or another with a barbecue enthusiast who might have gotten a bit inebriated and not paid enough attention to the propane bottle.
The barbecue bylaws clearly state that the propane should be turned off at the valve on top of the bottle when not in use, and that the barbecue should be kept in good repair. And most importantly there is a bylaw that states that the barbecue must be attended at all times while in operation. I don’t know if it was the charcoal remains of a chicken or an explosion launching a barbecue to the moon that caused these bylaws to be enacted, but they are all common sense.
The must-be-in-attendance barbecue bylaw reminds me of an incident many, many years ago when we lived in Winnipeg. We had obtained the latest in charcoal barbecue equipment, and I was about to learn all the secrets of this backyard cookery. I followed the instructions and loaded the barbecue with charcoals, ignited them and let them turn greyish. I mounted a fat juicy chicken on the rotisserie spit, inserted the tip of the spit into the appropriate part of the electric motor, plugged it in and started the barbecue process.
I didn’t think to tie up the wings and legs. We were out of potatoes, and knowing that the chicken would take a while, I called to my wife that we should go to the grocery store and stock up. We were gone about two hours. What can I say? We were young and foolish at the time. Driving back our mouths started to water when we discussed how great this barbecued chicken would taste.
We turned the corner to our street, and saw black smoke rising to the sky, coming from the general direction of our house! Running to the backyard I found a lump of charred coal slowly turning on the spit while dripping fat, and big ﬂames coming off the charcoal bed! The fat had been dripping and the wings and legs had been ﬂopping! We fed the charred remains to our dog and had grilled cheese sandwiches instead.
We were waiting in line at the Walmart customer service counter the other day, when a woman in front of us was returning a disposable barbecue.
When asked why she was returning the barbecue, she replied that there was no meat in it! The customer service clerk patiently explained that the disposable barbecue was simply to cook the meat, and did not include any food items. The customer service clerk checked the receipt and said to the woman, “there are three disposable barbecues on here, are you returning the other two as well?”
“No, I can’t,” replied the woman, “they are at home in my freezer!”