Published in the Rains County Leader on June 26, 2018:
One of the first things I learned about living in the country is that there is no shortage of critters – four-legged, winged, large, small, and in-between. Many of my columns have been devoted to my issues with gophers and moles, wild pigs, and bugs of all sorts.
During the years when I planted a garden, my most successful crop was garlic. My neighbor Dirk, who I long ago christened the Garlic King of Rains County, grows garlic that is both huge and delicious, and he generously shares bulbs for planting. With his expert advice, all my bulbs sprouted, grew tall, and put out buds that promised beautiful, orchid-like blooms. Unfortunately, in order to produce the healthiest crop, I had to clip off the buds, but the mild, tasty results were worth it. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:
The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.
This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.
The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great
Spike surveying his kingdom
Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. (more…)
Published by the Rains County Leader on May 15, 2018:
Can’t Someone Else Do It!
I hope you’re not as tired of hearing about pigs as I am of dealing with them, but there’s not much else going on around the Brendle homestead. When I left you last week, the visiting swine were showing their disdain for our trap by mooning the game camera before going on to tear up another section of the yard. The night after I submitted my column, they took it a step further.
Sometime after midnight, David shook me gently and said, “There are eleven pigs in the front yard.”
I rolled over, pulled the covers a little tighter around me, and mumbled, “Well, go shoot ‘em.” (more…)
Published in The Rains County Leader on May 8, 2018:
Two weeks ago I wrote about my lack of knowledge about feral pigs and my lack of desire to learn. However, it seems that I’m destined to learn about these destructive eating machines whether I want to or not.
When we first realized we had a pig invasion, our first thought was “traps.” It seemed easy, clean, and something other people would do for us at no cost because 1) it’s something they enjoy doing and 2) they can eat or sell what they catch. Unfortunately, nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems, and trapping pigs is no exception. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on April 24, 2018:
City girls don’t know about pigs. We know that they can be delicious when processed and prepared properly, and we know that the pot-bellied variety can make cute pets when trained and house broken. What we don’t know, and don’t really want to know, is that wild ones can be really big and really mean and that there are approximately 2.8 million of them roaming around in Texas.
A couple of weeks ago David was doing his regular rounds of the yard, checking out the kingdom, when he noticed evidence of “rooting” toward the back of the lot. At first, we dismissed it, hoping it was the stray armadillo that used to live – and root – under the motor home. But more and larger new spots appeared, and we began to suspect the worst – pigs! (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 13, 2018:
The first time I remember hearing the term Redneck Tupperware was at Home Group. Every Friday night a group from our church meets for dinner, fellowship, and Bible study. Everyone brings a dish or two, and there’s usually quite a bit leftover which we share with anyone who wants to take some home. Most of us don’t have the foresight to bring our own to-go containers, but our hostess is very generous. The night I first heard the term, she pointed to a cabinet under the island where we serve the food and said, “There’s lots of Redneck Tupperware in there. Help yourself.” I smiled when I saw a large collection of empty plastic tubs that had once held whipped topping, butter spread, lunch meat, and other foods stacked in a fabric cube storage bin. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 14, 2017:
When I sat down to write this week, my mind wandered to the veterans we have been honoring for the weekend surrounding Veterans Day. I found an article I wrote in November of 2013, and I want to share it with you again. The Veterans Day program at the High School this year was a little bit different, and there were only 67 veterans, but the sentiment and respect were the same. So, to all the veterans who are reading this, once again I’ll say thank you for your service.
History runs in cycles and so do attitudes toward veterans. When I was a kid, soldiers were respected, and even idolized, often portrayed as bigger-than-life characters on the silver screen. Then came the 60s and 70s, and young men returning from Vietnam were met with disrespect and even hostility. Instead of being welcomed home as heroes, they were spit on and villainized as warmongers and baby killers. More recently, especially after 9-11, attitudes have shifted back toward a more positive view of our military personnel.
But one thing that still seems to be lacking in the treatment of our veterans is dignity. In recent years, restaurants have used Veterans Day as an advertising ploy, competing to see who can offer the best special. Charities vie with one another to offer the most compassion to those who have been wounded or those who have lost loved ones in the defense of our country. Sometimes veterans are used as political pawns in heated campaigns. But there are still places where members of the military, past and present, are treated with dignity. Emory is one of those places. (more…)