The Garden of Diminishing Returns


The Garden of Diminishing Returns

There were cantaloupes, squash, tomatoes galore,

Green beans, watermelons, green peppers and more,

Growing fast, trying to crawl out of sight,

I swear I could hear the garden growing at night,

But in the mornings when I checked the plants,

The vegetables were half eaten and covered with ants,

 

No matter what I tried or wherever I turned,

The results were the same—-diminishing returns!

I sat out in my chair with my dog on the lawn,

Hoping to see some critters, I’d wait until dawn,

Ground squirrels were scurrying, rabbits came dancing,

Cicadas were chirping, deer were prancing,

Everywhere I looked there was some kind of motion,

The garden was alive with activity and commotion,

Chomping new flowers and munching new shoots,

The animals were all dressed in their evening suits,

There was a call to order and they all sat down,

The biggest rabbit was worried, I could tell by his frown,

“We’ve got to control the rabbits at school,

There’s been multiplication against the rule,

Not everyone stays seated until a lesson is through,

This is outrageous! What shall we do?

Deer have been entering and then going out,

I’m not sure what’s that all about,

And the squirrels have been going nuts,

So there you have it, no ifs, ands, or buts,

We’ll have to move on and find new grounds,

This garden will be tagged as “out of bounds”,

But if we destroy too much we’ll soon learn,

One small garden yields diminishing returns,”

They thumped out a vote and gave him a hand,

It was clear they agreed with his conservative stand,

The majority was liberal enough to see,

If they harvested carefully enough there’d be,

If each did his share, working part of each day,

There would also be time to sleep and play,

He explained if they wanted, they could help him with stuff,

So they planted, watered, and did more than enough.

He told them that they still had lots to learn,

Because no one wins with diminishing returns.

That old rabbit spoke with authority before he disappeared underground,

I’m glad I stayed alert and wrote it all down.

That garden was a life source to all, including me,

It brought a new way of thinking for us to get along,

And I really like those critters, don’t get me wrong.

But if someone thinks I’m feeding that complete herd,

That’s way out of line, kind of crazy, absurd!

Okay, just a nibble.  I grew tons of stuff.

If all of you are careful there’s more than enough!

 

The sprinklers went off and woke me from a dream,

I can’t quite remember what made me want to scream.

But now I have a peaceful feeling way deep inside,

And when I look at my garden I have a sense of pride.

Every row is trimmed, organized, and neat,

But I could almost swear I see some little feet.

My garden is growing right up to the sky,

And on my doorstep this morning was a strawberry pie.

I always thought gardening would be hard to learn,

I knew there was a problem with diminishing returns.

 

 

 

 

The Garden Wars (part 2)


English: A rabbit (A cottontail, I think) posi...
English: A rabbit (A cottontail, I think) posing on the grounds of Pompeys Pillar National Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Garden Wars (part 2)

 

The garden war intensified. The rabbits responded to my attempts to drive them away.  No longer did they simply hide behind plants and run.  Despite my border control, the attacks on the garden increased on all fronts.  The cute little bunnies enlisted the help of gophers to assist the ground squirrels.  Instead of holes here and there that the rabbits and squirrels could dive into, I discovered an intricate underground tunnel system that allowed the critters to appear or disappear at will. Under all the stress my mind began creating little rhymes.  I went around muttering, “Hop, hop, hop.  They keep on munching and never stop.”

 

An aerial attack was also underway.  Doves, pigeons, and blue jays swooped down on my strawberries and sampled them, selecting only the ripest and plumpest, disdainfully rejecting the green ones.  I tied colorful streamers to poles, hoping that the motions of the aluminum strips fluttering in the wind would keep the birds away.  However, the multi-colored strips attracted larger flocks of birds, which I think reminded them of parties held in my neighborhood.  Or perhaps the streamers served as wind socks, letting the incoming traffic land without mishap. In any case, the combined forces presented a front that was overwhelming.

 

For awhile I hated all the critters because they had taken charge and eliminated any chance of a successful harvest. I yelled at them frequently.  “You’re greedy and selfish.  You’re destroying everything.  Have you no decency?”

 

I needed to be patient.  Everything had its season and the garden’s season had brought its bounty.  Maybe all of the critters would overeat and pop.  I could see the chubby rabbits hopping between the rows without regard for my needs.  I still couldn’t catch them but if I had patience I might catch one off guard.

 

I waited my chance but my heart softened as I began observing their traits and habits.  I decided all rabbit families were not the same.  Some families turned the little rabbits loose as soon as they entered the garden.  The wee ones scampered about wildly, disregarding all danger and became a distraction to the other rabbits.   Other rabbit families kept their offspring under control, keeping them nearby until their shopping was completed.  But whether the families allowed wild hares or not, I began realizing rabbit families were similar in many ways to humans.  I could not harm them after that.

 

 

 

The Visit


Remember Me, My Love
Remember Me, My Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Visit

 

Let’s talk about how we feel

 

Because life is very real.

 

One day things will change,

 

And I’ll visit no more.

 

 

 

Remember the early years

 

When you came home and

 

Wanted to talk about your day?

 

I just wanted to sit and be quiet.

 

We compromised and I listened.

 

You cooked and I washed dishes.

 

I worked on the house and built a barn.

 

You took care of our household needs.

 

We were early to bed and early to rise.

 

 

 

Remember the years we shared,

 

The children we raised,

 

As  time flashed by

 

And the home that was blessed?

 

 

 

Remember how  we cherished each day

 

As we fought our diseases alone and together,

 

Sharing our pain and our love?

 

Do you remember all that, love?

 

I really miss you.

 

 

 

I’ve learned to talk while you listen.

 

Time passes slowly

 

And I wait patiently

 

For the moment

 

When we’re together again.

 

 

 

 

 

Garden of Eaten


Illustration of Peter Rabbit escaping and leav...
Illustration of Peter Rabbit escaping and leaving his jacket behind, from The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Garden of Eaten

 

 

 

After last year’s dismal attempts at growing a garden I should have known better and just bought produce at the local store.  It was a conspiracy right from the beginning and I didn’t anticipate the craftiness and tenacity of rabbits and ground squirrels.

 

I labored in the sun, lovingly and carefully placing the seeds in meticulous rows or circular formations.  I did not pay close attention to the eyes that watched hungrily.  I was in charge and I would maintain order as the tomatoes and cantaloupes, the beans and watermelons, and the other assorted vegetables grew in regulated patterns.   In theory everything would be perfect.

 

At first the plants themselves did not cooperate.  They grew rapidly, sprawling over cages and netting. I adjusted my watering and feeding schedules.  Yes, there were timelines and soil and fertilizer mixtures prepared for each type of plant.  I worked the garden methodically, expecting everything to grow exactly as I wanted.  But one morning I noticed that the cantaloupe vines were lying in new directions.

 

I scratched my head and studied them.  As I pondered, one vine stretched taut and then suddenly went limp.  I walked over and examined the end of the vine.  It had been sliced cleanly.  Something had happened and I had missed it.  I focused on a small hill and was rewarded when a pair of ears emerged, followed by a pair of dark eyes.  A rabbit stared at me, apparently waiting for my next move. I could have sworn it was smiling as it casually munched on cantaloupe vines. The rabbit was either really brave or it realized I had no chance of catching it.  Like a soldier preparing to march off to war, I swung my hoe up and against my shoulder.  I muttered angrily, “Mister Rabbit, this means war!”

 

I strode purposefully towards the rabbit, but it waited until I was close. Then with three short hops it disappeared under the fence.  I was fuming because the rabbit had violated my Garden of Eden, my model of perfection.

 

Once safe on the other side, the rabbit turned and winked.  It was deliberate and mean spirited.  I knew this rabbit was taunting me.  He waved, but not at me.  I turned around slowly.  Behind me, little rabbits were munching on cantaloupe flowers and new growth.  I lifted my hoe and the rabbits scattered in all directions. I was like the legendary Mr. McGregor chasing Peter Rabbit. I gave chase but I was too slow and the little rabbit wriggled under the gate and escaped.

 

The next few days I fixed the fence, set traps, and even put out repellent. I was determined to keep the rabbits away.  Throughout the summer I waged war but it became clear I was on the losing side.  With the exception of the tomatoes my garden shrank under the attack of the hungry hordes.

 

Each night I had nightmares about animated rabbits and ground squirrels.  In these dreams rabbits and squirrels sat at a huge banquet table eating their fill while I hurried to grow more to satisfy their needs. Each rabbit and squirrel told others and soon cousins and uncles arrived from distant climes to share this feast.  Rabbits appeared everywhere and thrived in spite of me. I finally capitulated and left the rabbits and squirrels alone. My dream convinced me they were the chosen ones.

 

This year I’m doing things differently but that’s another story.

 

 

 

That’s What Matters


You Walked In
You Walked In (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s What Matters

When we first met,

You were so beautiful,

Your eyes, your face,

The way you talked,

Your hair, your voice,

The way you walked,

Each day you were more beautiful,

Your smile brightened my day,

We shared more each day,

We were learning to compromise and agree,

And that’s what mattered to me.

 

Every day with you was a new day,

You were more beautiful than the day before,

Your eyes, your face,

The way you talked,

Your laugh, your voice,

The way you walked,

Each day you were more special,

The happiness you spread,

With the things you said,

You let my heart fly high and free,

And that’s what mattered to me.

 

We changed over the years,

But you always are beautiful,

Your eyes, your face,

The way you talk,

Your hair, your voice,

The way you walk,

Each day you are more beautiful,

My life is full as I face each day,

I want to love you always,

Your heart is what I see,

And that’s what matters to me.

 

 

 

Our Valentine Tree


Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950–1960
Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950–1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Our Valentine Tree

 

We fell in love on Valentine’s Day.

 

The minute you laughed I knew.

 

I was destined to be yours, my love,

 

And I would be blessed with you.

 

 

 

We planted our special tree that year.

 

We cleared away the snow.

 

You insisted our love would always be strong

 

And you wanted the whole world to know.

 

 

 

You’re in my thoughts again, my love,

 

I imagine you under our tree.

 

Remember all the pledges we made,

 

And the passion between you and me?

 

 

 

The years passed by rather fast,

 

Then our kids were grown and gone.

 

We were there in our empty house,

 

Still together but each all alone.

 

 

 

My heart grew hard and I forgot our tree,

 

I insisted it blocked my view.

 

I was determined to chop it down,

 

Without even telling you.

 

 

 

It was early morning on Valentine’s Eve,

 

When I approached our special tree.

 

I was shocked and pleased with what I saw,

 

Then ashamed of the heart in me.

 

 

 

Instead of the tree being stark and bare,

 

Pink and red covered the tree.

 

Valentines and notes from all our years,

 

Proclaimed your love for me.

 

 

 

 

 

My love had been erratic.

 

There was little that I could boast.

 

But you were there as you always were,

 

Just when I needed you most.

 

My dreams and heart were renewed, my love,

 

By the valentines that covered our tree.

 

There was only one thing I could say,

 

“I’m glad you married me!”

 

 

 

I miss all you gave, my love,

 

And the tenderness you showed to me.

 

I want our love to be clear each year,

 

As I hang valentines on our tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Choose to Burn the Ice Away


Sparks
Sparks (Photo credit: Gnal)

 

I’ll Choose to Burn the Ice Away

 

Why is it so hard to love you?

 

My cold heart snuffs the flames.

 

I want to respond with tenderness and love,

 

And call you sweeter names.

 

 

 

Why do I let the storm win out?

 

My blood rushes to my ears.

 

I want to demonstrate my love for you,

 

And gently wash away your tears.

 

 

 

Why do I disregard the condition of my heart?

 

My priorities have always come first.

 

I want to show you how important you are,

 

And satisfy love’s growing thirst.

 

 

 

Why do I wait to prove my love is true?

 

My motivation to love has been weak.

 

Yet I’m still the man you chose to wed,

 

I can give you the romance you seek.

 

 

 

I’m tired of the excuses I make.

 

My love lies dormant inside.

 

I’ll choose to lead my heart back home,

 

And forget my foolish pride.

 

 

 

I will choose to think good things of you.

 

Sparks of romance will turn to flames.

 

I’ll be thoughtful and you’ll feel loved.

 

Our love will never be the same.

 

 

 

I’ll wake in the morning with thoughts of you.

 

My warmth will seek you out.

 

And all the questions I once had,

 

Love will erase each and every doubt.

 

 

 

If you, too, choose to stir the embers,

 

The flames will reach the sky.

 

For love that learns to burn again,

 

Will grow sweeter as time goes by.

 

 

 

Poor Charlee


English: Solid black, 1-year-old German Shephe...
English: Solid black, 1-year-old German Shepherd Dog. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Poor Charlee

 

Where is the dog that played all day?

 

She’s lying stiff and silent in my doorway.

 

Just a few weeks ago she had life and fire,

 

A special kind of spirit that was hard to acquire.

 

Who poisoned this dog I want to know?

 

She was a puppy and starting to grow.

 

Friendly and inquisitive, everyone was a friend.

 

Did someone really want her life to end?

 

What percentage of lives lost is considered okay?

 

How many pets have to suffer and pass away?

 

I thought I would love her until her dying breath.

 

What could I have done to prevent her death?

 

 

 

 

 

Since 2007 the AVMA has issued alerts regarding Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs.  The problem appeared to be connected to the consumption of chicken jerky treats made in China.  Only occasional reports have been received since that time.  The FDA was alerted but the levels of toxins and contaminants was not considered high enough to take action.

 

Over the last 8 years I’ve given chicken jerky treats to 6 dogs as rewards.  The dogs responded well and I thought the quality of the chicken treats was exceptional.  However, over the past six months I was beginning to see differences in packages. Some of the treats were dry and others seemed to be slightly moist.  But I continued to purchase the treats simply because the dogs liked them.

 

In late November, Charlee, an 8 month old German Shepherd, began showing strange symptoms.  After eating she would throw up.  Then came excessive drooling, lethargy, and a refusal to eat.  In my own ignorance I gave her more chicken strips to keep her from starving.  She would eat those but little else.   Finally she was taken to the veterinarian.  On December 6, 2012, only problems concerning her digestive system were noted and her general condition was considered good.  Charlee continued to suffer and on December 8, 2012,  she was dead.

 

On January 8, 2013, I was in a store looking for dog food and dog treats. I noticed an employee busily taking packages of chicken strips off the shelves.  A recall was in progress.  Poor Charlee.  The recall came too late to save her life.

 

 

 

 

 

What Is This Thing Called Love?


Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

 

 

What is This Thing Called Love

 

What is this thing called love

 

That rips and tears at my heart?

 

Knowing how much love hurts me,

 

Why did I allow love to start?

 

 

 

Yet what is loneliness but a need for love

 

A void that cries to be filled?

 

An absence of love that teases in dreams

 

A restlessness that longs to be stilled?

 

 

 

Why do I have tears late at night

 

Endlessly flowing down my cheeks?

 

Is it because I’m desperate for love

 

And for the companionship my heart seeks?

 

 

 

When will romance come my way

 

Giving me a brand new start?

 

I don’t want to see a barren world

 

With no connections to my heart.

 

 

 

How do I find the one for me

 

Who waits for a heart like mine?

 

Where will I discover what is true

 

And find that new love divine?

 

 

 

I’ll wait and hope for ages yet,

 

I know she is somewhere near.

 

Soon she’ll be within my arms

 

Where I keep things I hold dear.

 

 

 

What is this thing called love?

 

No answer will suffice.

 

For it seems to be a combination

 

Of flames, sacrifice, and ice.

 

 

 

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