My Arch Enemy is a Kinked Hose

The only sure-fire way

to clear new turned soil
of grass
is to dig out
the roots

use your fingers to shake the soil from the roots
and then toss the grass aside

making the line of your property
a fire hazard


Lately – meaning the past couple of days – I haven’t drawn at all, but I have thought about drawing a fair amount and paper sculpture with post-its and sewing all the 09-10 drawings I’ve done thus far. Also, a huge diorama of Saltville? And how to build the trellising for the peas out of pruned branches my mom sent me which maybe I ought to use to make my fence taller so the chickens won’t get out. They are good yard birds and I don’t really mind that they lay their eggs in holes and drop droppings all over the porch.

My porch is actually cleaner than it was prior to the hens:
I can’t condone too much chicken poop and so I sweep it all the time,
I scrub it at least once a week.
All the paint is flaking off.
That’s okay.
Less scraping for me when finally I do paint it.

I need to make dog body models for work tomorrow and that should be somewhat fun. I’d like to involve the children in the process, but after the long days at school, they are worn thin of attention.

They just want to be spacing out.

I understand.

show details 8:52 PM (54 minutes ago)

I guess I haven’t had time to actually produce much in the way of visual or functional product.

I have, however, had a nice couple of days. I enjoyed my classes at the museum. Genuinely had fun. Most importantly, I stayed up late and mothered the children in their sleep: put ointment on Olive’s allergy reddened noise, trimmed Leo’s hair significantly. They are both EXTREMELY sensitive to hygeine-oriented activities. We are working on this. I don’t make a habit of grooming my children while they sleep and I certainly didn’t enjoy it – well, maybe a little. Their faces are so supremely, timelessly them. Far more peaceful in slumber than in matter of factly stating: “If you cut my hair off, you WILL glue it back on.”

Yeah, whatever.

It had to be done. There is absolutely no reason in the world for my children to not be well-groomed. So, yeah – I got things done. Good things. Homely things. Real things.

I dug a HUGE new bed for crops. It has been underway for a while and the whole project shifted down southern slope once kudzu-ed. The initial intended bed was heavily re-seeded with wildflowers from last year. I’m not digging up all the hopeful seedlings of daisies. I gave the bed to invasives and annuals. Mints, strawberries, daisies, and cosmos. So, I started a whole new crop-bed about 7 yards to the east of the arborvitae, beyond the honeysuckled oak and the salvaged raspberries thriving.

Really, all this is happening within approximately 130 square feet. Remarkable. Eventually the Arborvitae and the Oak will crowd all else out through roots and shade. But, who knows? I am good at fostering accomodation in plants and animals. Not so much a trait I inspire in my own children, it seems: they are not the most accommodating of beings…which is okay, it is easier to learn appropriate accommodation than it is to learn how to be less accommodating if you are one who (through blood or bread) tends to lay out the red carpet for any foolish cause. My afternoon was spent un-kinking hose and drilling holes at interval (too big, too close) for a no-budget auto-watering system. Of course I screwed up what would have been – with just the tiniest bit of planning – an awesomely easy and effective project that would strategically apply water to specific small areas of soil. It will still work, I just need to mend some of the holes (toothpicks and Aquarium sealer?)(Duct Tape?) and experiment some with water pressure and incline ratios, i.e. how to get the hose to emit at low land and then – so stupid! – go uphill! Sheesh. If only I’d started at the top of the hill! If only I’d test drilled the holes to see just how much (!) water they let out. Maybe I’ll see if I can find another old hose somewhere. This is the problem with teaching myself how to figure it out on my own. I really need a voice of reason.


——Original Message—— From: Me To: Me ReplyTo: Me Subject: Re: The Saltville Auxiliary Wives (SAW) Sent: Apr 29, 2010 8:03 PM

One of the Auxiliary Wives, a Mrs. John N. Harlee (local Rexall pharmacist and Saturday afternoon patron of The Senate) – determined, after another Saturday spent considering the unmown grass, that it was time to investigate. She and Mrs. Jackson Lechter, along with the sisters Alice Marie and Luestra Jenkins, the former of whom was formally known as Mrs. John Jenkins, The Butcher’s Wife. Luestra was her older sister whose name suggested a tragedy that the death of her own young husband, somewhere in Korea (?) simply confirmed.

——Original Message—— From: Me To: Me ReplyTo: Me Subject: The Saltville Auxiliary Wives (SAW) Sent: Apr 29, 2010 4:11 PM

The SAW was founded in 1965. The mission of the formal auxiliary of the most informal Saltville Senate, which was not a Senate at all, but a group of Saltville men who, in addition to running the hardware, grocery, and post office, also were known to drink at a bar just over the county line, named – appropriately – The Senate. The bar took up the entire first floor of a stolid, square house surrounded by fields with 2-lane frontage. It was run by one Mr. and Mrs. Collie Starr. Mr. Starr kept to himself after greeting his guests and was often perched at one end of the bar, which stretched from what was once the front hall of the old home into what must’ve been a mighty dreary parlor in it’s day. The house faced East and the big and rattling rectangular windows in the parlor-type room let in only a dim grey light once the clock passed three in the afternoon. Which suited the Mr. Starr just fine.

Mrs. Starr, first name Edna, was known by the men of the Creek Co. Senate for her somewhat endearing constant adjusting of the smoke-stained drapery that covered the windows. The drapes had a tendency, due to an almost imperceptible sagging of the house’s frame, to slip south. “Look out, Mrs. Edna! Thar a’slippin’ again!” And the men would laugh a little and watch as she stretched to shove the dense fabric back to it’s place along the rod.

This went on quite a bit,as you might imagine.

The town (SALTVILLE)

Inbox X


show details Apr 28 (2 days ago)

The town was declared in 1779, making it historic. However, age can’t measure the content of a place. The Flat kills off everything around it, rendering the soil around it too salty for even seaweed. (see proposal by one Thomas Elzkow – cousin of Richard Milnan – made to one mayor James Upcreek: that The Flat be used to farm specialty seaweed for medicinal purposes.

The proposal should have been immediately dismissed: farming! On a national monument!

Mayor Upcreek had been ready to go.

It was more, according to Mayor Upcreek’s secretary, Bette Ann Mills – as recorded by Oral Historian of unrecalled name – of an issue of logistics. Only the obvious complications of doing anything obvious at a National Monument had slowed the discussion to a grinding halt, brought about by Ms. Mills’ question: “Well, don’t you think those rangers over there will notice something like seaweed?”

Mayor Upcreek rose from his desk and received the memo from Ms. Mills regarding a call to be returned immediately re: SAD and impromptu art presence required immediately. He appeared to be surveying the horizon, but was actually trying very hard to figure out how not to appear foolish.

Ms. Mills claims to have known how he was feeling because, “He was an idiot. It was obvious.” (See Oral History of The Saltville Wives, unrecalled Oral Historian, sometime around 20 years ago.)

(We were the rangers and got wind of the proposal, which was a live art piece by Richard Milnan, who lived on 3rd Avenue and made his living selling small vials of mystic salts, which are really just regular old sea salt which Richard allows to “age” in his backyard. The claim is that the salt from The Flat, on some molecular level, somehow bonds to the sea salts. It probably does.)(

We tried to grow seaweed in small areas that tended to collect rain. It was part of a thesis entitled, “Was Arkansas An Ocean?” by a young Earth Sciences major who was really quite foolish herself (modern seaweed growing in ancient salt is ridiculous, a perspective that was shared by Suzanne and I and which improved our young marriage for approximately a week and 1/2)

(“It was ALL an ocean! Doesn”t she get that?!)

(We participated in the project because we were working with the Creek County Extension in developing a list of Plant that Grow in Creek County. The seaweed died quickly, so quickly that it could be surmised that no botany could withstand existence within a 1/2 mile circumference of The Flat, with some adjusts to accommodate the natural flow of minerals over Arkansasian topography.)(And because we were bored. Not much happened at The Flat.)

– Show quoted text –

I, Faith Rhyne, have been trying to enjoy my garden today. Of course, I don’t seem to be able to just sit and look around and I am certainly not allowing my head to loll back in the sun. But, I did move from habitual spaces and take a spot on a sunlit bench by the fence. Feels a little exposed actually, but warm. The dog just dropped his ball into my coffee. Gross. Writing, by the way, is a little scary. However, I like writing about towns that don’t exist. Because: then they do. Exist. Sort of. Writing is saving my ass right now in about ten different ways.

Chicken Report: I love them.

They are a bit of a mess, but I love them.
They are nice company.

(As much as anyone can love a chicken, that is.)

There is some mild disturbance in the flock, always an odd hen out. Four is a bad number for hens, it seems. Sometimes they pair up for their marauding of all surrounding properties (still won’t accept their coop as homebase: too dark, too cold. A good place to try to grow shitake mushrooms, or morels! I have heard that the primary supplier of morels in the eastern US is in Auburn, Alabama.

I could make a fortune!

If I get around to it.

Right now I need to try to figure out how to keep the chickens in the yard and lay where they are supposed to lay. I found, in the rain, fourteen eggs laid in a dank sinkhole in ground near the intersection of our front steps and the foundation of our house. I really need to do something about that. All of it.

They are sweet hens.
I won’t anthropomorphize their cooing too much, as it is obviously just some biological need for something akin to a rooster. Me?

They are interesting to pet. They were totally trusting when I clipped their wings after seeing them across the street (!) It didn’t help the wandering at all and the hens seem deeply perturbed. As I would be as well, I imagine. Wing clipping involves cutting the long and lovely flight feathers to a more land-dweller length. Not a nice thing to do to a chicken, but I can think of far worse. The position of my hands as I type all these words into this tiny qwerty keyword…qwerty=hurty. Texting-style carpal tunnel, except I don’t text message. I don’t know if my wrists will hold up for a blackberry-composed serial novella, but it might be fun to try.

If I get around to it.

Our house

Inbox X


show details Apr 27 (4 days ago)

Is on the far end of West 2nd Avenue. It is a smallish house, a box-like structure that is glorified by the porch that stretches across its front like a wide and welcoming grin. The house is painted the palest yellow, the powdery yolk of an egg boiled too long is what the shade reminds me of. Suzanne and I painted it the summer right after the budget cut her job.

The paint is just now, this season, beginning to pull away from the old lap siding. Though, only around the edges.

It was the following spring – after Paint Summer – that Bonny was born. When we brought her home from the small Saltville Municipal Hospital, the world had seemed dashed with gold light and the color of the house was just perfect.

I once offered to repaint it: “Blue might be nice, kind of a clear sky blue?” I muttered these words to Suzanne when I caught her peering closely at the siding beside the kitchen door.

“Hmmm? What blue?” She’d said. “The house? No. No, it’s fine.”

Then she’d walked back to The Studio which was still the battered white it had been when we bought the house, back when we used to call the little structure The Shed, and we’d keep our lawnmower in it.

Two months after Bonny was gone, I woke up one morning and found Suzanne was dragging everything out of The Shed. The lawnmower was parked at a jaunty angle beside the kitchen steps and all my buckets were upended and on their sides on the lawn.

“Why do we have so many buckets?” Suzanne had asked as she dragged an ancient bag of potting soil to rest beside the jaunty mower.

I was still in my pajama, thin pants that clung to my legs in the first autumn wind. When had it gotten so cold? I wrapped my arms around myself and turned to stand with my back to the wind.

“Why do we have so many buckets?” I wondered. Finding I didn’t have an answer, I shrugged and went back inside. Suzanne stayed out there until noon or so and then went upstairs and went back to bed. She was doing that a lot back then. I went out to The Shed and saw that she had exiled almost everything to the yard.

I stood in the dark little rectangular room, lit just by bare bulb, and then I put my fist through the cob-webbed glass of the small window.


(This is a long post and I will not apologize. I feel like I am getting the hang of this thing now.) (I like this project because it gives me something to show for all the days that seem like such a distracted blur.) (After I emailed myself the final installment for this post, I sat down to draw and – within twenty minutes – had ‘finished’ the two drawings posted here. Like lightning, I tell you.)

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