The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
March 2002

Magic Tricks, March 3

Nearly Spring, March 18

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Magic Tricks
Sunday, March 3

The weather here in Minnesota has taken another sharp turn. A week ago it was 50 degrees during the day (which was strange enough). The last couple of days the temps have barely climbed into the teens and have been below zero (Fahrenheit) at night.

Normally (that amusing word Minnesotans insist on applying to the weather) this would not be surprising, but it's only the second or third time this winter the thermometer has dropped so low, and besides, it's March. We've all become wimps.

The tulip bed at the Student Center on campus was caught with much of the bed sprouted and no snow cover and is now frozen solid. The sparrows have abandoned the building of nests and fight over the bird feeder, knocking seed down to the waiting pigeons.

Squirrels are feeling downright cranky and my arthritis has decided to emulate the squirrels in that regard.

The new cat, Fenwick, continues to adapt to our strange ways and Nelly's continued assertion that she is the Queen of the Universe and to heck with any other opinions. She's learning to stay out of Nelly's way and get affection from us when Nelly is asleep, which is much of the time these days.

I have found that Fenwick requires more interactive play than Dover, being younger and (to be frank) smarter. It's a terrible burden. We do the usual sorts of things, flicking feathers on a long wand, playing ping pong in the (dry) bathtub, chasing string. She helps me do my floor exercises by sitting on my head and purring. I do have one magic trick that she just adores. I flush the toilet.

Yes, my friends, that's correct. Fenwick loves to watch the toilet flush. She avidly watches the water go down, her paws and nose over the edge of the seat, fascinated by the swirling whirlpool.

True to my California roots, I would never flush just to amuse the cat, of course. That would be wrong. But it is nice to know that after a long grueling day at work, no matter how frustrating the databases, quirks of patrons, publishers, and administration, I can always some home and provide simple joy and inner fulfillment by flushing the toilet for the cat.

Take good care of yourselves, my friends,


Nearly Spring
Monday, March 18

It's nearly spring here in Minnesota, in spite of the 6-8 inches of snow still left on the ground and the batch that is expected tonight. The Equinox is Wednesday. Birds are becoming more enthusiastic about life and collecting wisps of straw. I think the squirrel is nursing. She has that haggard, harassed look of motherhood about her as she zips by on the fence.

Another sure sign of spring is that the sun comes in the windows more strongly and shows up layers of dust and smudges around the house. The dust bunny population is exploding, even with Dover the Perpetual Hair Machine gone to his reward. The snow outside the door has regular deposits from the dust mop, which I am sure the birds appreciate.

This time of year I yearn for color. I am bitterly disappointed by the people down the street who have been renovating their house all winter. The work people are covering over the lovely mint green of the insulation boards with grey vinyl siding. Why the heck would anyone want a grey house in Minnesota on purpose?

However, a writing friend of mine told me this weekend that she painted her laundry room with "boo boo" paint, the paint that gets mixed incorrectly and sold cheaply.

Two walls are bright pink, the other two purple, with (I think this is what she told me) yellow trim and curtains with blue flamingos all over them. We spend a lot of time in the laundry room, she says, so why have a boring one? This woman is dedicated to color!

So is Laurie, who showed up at the poetry meeting on Sunday wearing a bright green wig for St. Patrick's day.

That's what the squirrel needs: some color in her life. Maybe I'll get a box of Fruit Loops for her, or dye some coconut blue and put it along the fence. A donut with sprinkles all over it? Those pink Mexican cookies? Of course, the baby squirrels will just get hyper on all that sugar and we ARE trying to discourage them from living in the eaves. Ah well, it was a thought.

Yours in colorful thinking,


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
2002: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr |

| 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | Current Month |

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Copyright 2002 by Terry A. Garey.