The Day the Earth stood still

Certain shocking moments in natural history all living forms from bugs to bears,  platypus to people ,asparagus to commons weeds know when to simply just Stop , take notice and wait for the worst. Volcanoes , Earth Quakes, Hurricanes and when your Mom swears within your hearing for the first time……

of course…When it’s your mom swearing , you can’t help the look of shocked awe and the incoming giggle as your mind processes the F bomb and before it catches up to the fact that your life will be altered in moments…… Well at least up to my generation…Now days pretty much even children’s TV is pretty guttural . I can not imagine Captain Kangaroo talking about passing gas …Which by the way , I still don’t see worth mentioning in quality programming  ……

Duck and cover on Zen Mountain

I had already gone to work that day…Thee Day… So this story was passed on to me by Hummie..Mrs. Hummie , Limpy….ALL NIGHT LONG ..and crew…The young coyote kids, Dennis especially , recounted the story between fits of giggles .

And so here is how it was driven into my brain all Friday night…..All Night..

Ma had decided to pick up a paper shredder as we get so much junk mail throughout the year and burning is a No can Do during the Summer , not to mention anything with a finish smokes so much. Up here it isn’t as big a deal as in the valleys with there never Not being some form of breeze and miles and miles…and miles..before the next home that may have to deal with any smoke from a controlled burn..and Yet ..Ma doesn’t like us to burn..ergo ” The shredder”.


The new toy came in mid week having it on hand for Ma’s day off . The mountain of useless printed material loomed in a corner as Ma glared at it. Hands on hips , she decided to get started.

Shredding paper is a tedious job at best . We do not like having anything with our address out floating around . Bad enough , and worse , having it online somewhere out there . Ma still took the time to remove pages with our info which for whatever reason , seems to be needed throughout the random mailings pages.

Do people honestly think that by tossing my info onto gobs of these pages is going to make me think :
” OH MY! They know me so well! I feel all warm and fuzzy from the repeating of my name that I should buy these massed produced, in another country by slave mice in a mouse sweat shop,  “hand crafted” figurines ….”

Because.. You know.. I am ALWAYS hobbling around the homestead thinking :

” YA know what this wood pile needs is a “Hand Crafted” mouse produced Figurine .”

Seriously..What the hell?



So MA got things in order to start the task of a thousand years.

Ma has the country station playin’ while she works , gettin into the groove

And she was shreddin’ (shreddin)
Yes she were a shreddin’ (shreddin)
Little Pocket Ma she’s as pretty as the angels when they sing
I can’t believe she’s out here on the back porch a shreddin
Just a shreddin’ (shreddin’) 
Just a shreddin’ (shreddin’)

The Hummies carryin the harmonies as Ma works away.

And Theeennnnnn

Ma is getting tired of the mounds of papers seemingly reproducing as she works away , she starts adding more sheets as she goes…………

And then it happens…

The shredders jams …….

The Horror!

All life on Zen stands still..birds on the wing fall to the ground in shock as Ma lets out a  Curse that would make me proud.:

WHAT THE *&*&&%$@U)_&^#%# stupid _)*(^#%! “

and then the jam refuses to budge…………..

but wait…It gets better… I happen to text Ma during the mayhem

“Seriously?!?! What the _)*(*&((^#^ Like I am not in the middle of something here?!?! “

The skies began to darken ..The Sun hid behind a bank of clouds peaking out from a corner .

Hummie sat with his mouth open , mid complaint.

Coyote kids dug a quick shelter  sneaking a look over the rim.

…………as the dust settled , leaves began to fall from the trees …………..

Limpy looked to his family , a sly grin started to spread across his face. Mama coyote snickered softly and Dennis uttered:

“What does F)@*^ing” )@*(&#% mean? “

Limpy starts to growl at him , then rolls on his back to start laughing..hysterically .. Mama coyote snorts and falls on top of him in a fit of giggles…Dennis , however, thinks that it was him that was so funny repeating :

“F)@*^ing” )@*(&#%”

To which he received a nip and chased into the den without supper.

Meanwhile , Hummie flutters into the branches of the bush his was sitting on as Ma jerks paper wad from the shredder, a paper snow about her.

Working away in another county , I notice the dark skies over Zen Mtn…lightning bursting from clouds that had formed suddenly from a cloudless sky , the ground seem to  rumble a bit and thought:

“Huh…That’s unusual .”

I got a text shortly there after and it all came together…


Eggplants from hell

It was finally time to rid the Earth of the Evil Eggplants …

We spent a good week and more looking for a use for them…As Ma turned down my helpful input..repeatedly..

” I could just use the tractor. Dig a really big hole. Bury them deep. Salt the Earth ..Put a bunch of crosses over it .”

” Yes Dear.. Just keep looking..”

“Fine….”…………………(mumbles) “Whatever..”

After a thorough search, including vegetable exorcism , I ran into a couple recipes that didn’t suck donkey…errr..I mean weren’t terrible.

Now we CAN go further back to why I dislike eggplant, with the fiery passion of a thousand suns in the pit of the ninth level of Hell …..

It has absolutely nothing to do with how Ma makes whatever it is in that dish…

The story goes back decades now to another time …in another house .. and a different person at the stove…

 *wiggle wiggle woo woo  squiggly squiggly * ( going back in time effects.. Duh )

I was new at my present job of a million years…

There had been a late night shift that evening. When I came ” home” A fire was raging in the Ben Franklin stove …as in The metal was actually turning red ! Fortunately it was snowing outside and already getting deep.

The house was heated solely by this stove , in the kitchen . The house was tiny and old as the hills around it.

Yes..Yes indeed, I did swear as I threw open the kitchen window that was next to the glowing stove , tossing flaming wood into the snow .

It was close to 2am when I got to the house , so I wasn’t going to have any company, the gal dead asleep in the next room.

I was starving from the long day , and, I really needed a beer to try to get my temper..well…tempered.

Opening the fridge , I saw an apple crisp sitting there that wasn’t when I left.

I love apple crisp , so foregoing the beer, I pulled it out in the firelight, cut a piece out and dug in…

” NOT APPLE CRISP! Beh! Meh!*cough , gag* ACK! BLECK! NOT ! NOT! APPLE CRISP!”

It was a poor version of eggplant parm. Bitter , not sweet!

Grabbing a scouring pad , comet and a random squirrel, I began washing my mouth out .

I dived back into the fridge for a beer….sssss….

So.. so far… a twelve plus hour day/night… Tossing flaming wood through an open kitchen window in an attempt to keep the stove from melting and the house from burning down. Then this NON apple apple crisp that tasted worse than the squirrel’s butt ..fur and all…. and the beers were warm… what the..??…

I walked into the living room…AKA.. entry with a love seat .. turned on the TV and glared at the Test Pattern ….


* swirly swirly squiggly wiggly voomba voomba ..back to the future*

Sooo , every time I look at eggplant parm I taste ruined apple crisp .

On with the show

So.. I ran into a few recipes that used eggplant. Could be canned. Didn’t look remotely like apple crisp.

One was suppose to be able to be used on pasta…

“Ok.” I thought. ” Enough pasta on a wee bit of crap might be ok.”

I showed the recipe to Ma and she was delighted…. I shivered inside with the revulsion of eating food that coyote kids would pee on.

Saturday comes along and it is time to make another round of harvesting.

We got another crate of apples..and yes, there are still more…

A large basket of Habaneros . A few of the tomatoes are less green than the rest..Oh they have a purpose too , but that’s later…

And.. about eight hundred pounds of eggplants . I finished cutting the purple pieces of…err..plant stuff.. and Ma said:

” Let’s just take out the plants.”


” Ye..”

I was already strangling stalks and tossing rooted plants over my shoulder with the glee of a young child in Toys are Us . A haze of airborne soil filled the air before Ma could get out:

“..s. Because I have plenty now. “

Yeah, I was already past listening  jerking plants with abandon all the while , my head was nodding like a bobble head on the dash of a 4X4 travelling a country road.

I was planning on turning and whizzing on the plants for good measure , but Ma had already tossed them..well somewhere , I had a complete lack of interest once they were out of the garden area.

Making eggplant into food

Well.. I looked at the eggplant , then at Ma, and back at the eggplant. I started to go for a shovel but Ma glared at me, so, instead, I sighed and brought a few pounds into the house. The recipe called for two pounds… I looked again at the small mountain of eggplant, then the recipe, then longingly at my shovel. Ma tapped her foot and I handed her what ended up as two pounds .. I looked again at the pile and was dismayed .. I am pretty sure it grew .

The recipe called for six pounds of tomatoes a bunch of peppers and onions… I was beginning to relax.. Throw enough tomatoes on a corpse and even it might start to taste good.

We worked with the recipe…Meaning.. Ma added herbs while I glared .My helpful suggestions were ignored.

“Well.. After you roast them , I could..You know..Bury them..”

I saw Hummie out the window shaking his head , trying to get my attention…He was a little concerned still…you know….”Kaboom” and all… I waved him off, looked at Ma’s face and meekly got her the black pepper.

” Fine..”

I added my part to the dinner…

I suggested that , you know , just in case, it would be nice to have maybe a meat , umm side dish..Yeah… Ma agreed so I skipped off to the shop to grab some burger from the Big Freezer. Mini Meatloafs… Ma loves those.. Mostly because they are pretty much mostly mushrooms, peppers, and onions held together with our home ground pork and venison burger.

This would have been a great story but…

Generally , when I do something incredibly stupid I like to share..Mostly because I figure if I laugh at myself it must have entertainment value… This would have been a much better story if I actually knew what happened…Doesn’t matter that not only was I there but I did it..and yet…..

Dinner was getting closer. The now sauce was in a pot cooking merrily away and I couldn’t see a single eggplant in it.

I had everything mixed together for the mini loafs and it was now time for the Tossing of things together.

I started making the , basically football shaped Giant meatballs and tossing them in to roast. It would take three batches before I had them all cooked.. As always , need enough for morning meals before we run off to work. Last week I didn’t make us up anything. We made our evening meals and I was starving constantly … I’m a piggie..

The last batch done and the pasta cooking up , I started putting the meatloafs on the pan with the rest.. And here is where it gets sketch. Let’s keep in mind that I haven’t had anything at to drink ..well other than water …

I was moving a meatball from the cast iron to the plate when suddenly a meatball is flying to the floor, the fork in my hand is zooming , hell I had no idea , like a frickin  Lawn Dart , I am spinning to my left and the spoon in my other hand is coming free, I caught up to time at this point and aimed it at the sink as the meatball explodes onto the floor. Ma is in the morning room at the very end of the chaos.

My eyes wide I can only stutter :
I have absolutely no idea what happened. “

This is where Ma takes over. She takes the meat err stuff out for coyote kids and cleans up the spray from whatever the hell happened. I tell her I have idea where the fork is. She assures me she has things under control and to go sit down…That would be Ma for:

” Don’t touch anything . Just sit before you break something.”

I just nod again knowing that I friggin don’t have a clue and she is probably right.

The fork, it turns out was in the Pantry .. Most likely embedded in the wall like a Ninja Death Star.


We sat down for dinner, eggplant sauce on pasta and the non exploded meat loafs .

I would have sniffed the eggplant stuff but my sense of smell is long gone from working with chemicals for decades .

I ate a bite and said:

” Huh… “

Which is High Praise from me concerning eggplant anything.

Ma’s eggplant err..foods.. are seldom to never bitter anyway.. I just can’t get the ruined apple crisp out of my brain. The sauce was actually pretty tasty so I am guessing that at some point we’ll be canning up some of the concoction .

Final Thoughts

Fall in full swing here on Zen , we have been prepping for Winter.

Working on the late season harvests , late for us.. We still have tons of tomatoes and lots of hot peppers. The Apples still wink at us from the tops of the apple trees .Brussel sprouts are brusselling . Squash lay , basking in the sun along with sweet pumpkins .

I started up ” Little Red ” our 50s ford tractor for the first time since the end of Spring. She started the moment I started to press the starter button. A Summer of sitting and staring  at ” Blue” had her bored as hell. I swapped the mower for the blade while she jauntily puttered away , enjoying the warmth of running again.

We moved around a a third of a cord of wood to feed the Wood Room for the first round of the season while Ma hit town. Having a fire in the evenings now , I have been just wheeling in a load at a time. Getting a first load into the entry makes it easier for Ma when she warms the place up after she gets off work and before I get home.

Ma said I could stay home while she did a quick trip in to town which is Ma for :

“I don’t want to waste the day in town while you look around aimlessly at shelves. “

She has a point of course . I can’t really see all that well so I have to keep asking her :

” Is this what you’re looking for? “

” Um..No..That is a nose hair trimmer..NOT a curling iron . “

Which Ma doesn’t use or need anyway but I find the strangest things interesting and my sense of humor is some what of an acquired taste.

Also, somehow it’s cheaper when I don’t go… No idea why… It’s not like I sit in the cart whining for crap off the shelves like every FRICKIN citiot’s kid in every store we ever go to..

Meh…whatever , so I worked at the ranch instead..Win Win..

The predators of Zen are all moving back up around the house now. All the “Prey” animals and birds are coming in so We are a buffet for anything that moves up here.

Watching the raptors flying overhead I decided that it was time to set back up the ” Fly ~ N ~ Go ” The birds are coming in looking for food and the raptors are coming in to look for birdies… Once again..Win Win..

Coyote kids leave the den , come to the homestead hang out , rinse and repeat. When the coyotes aren’t singing , the owls are chatting away. During the day it’s the call of Hawks.

All very Zen Mountain like..

Zen after Midnight


* Tramp , tramp, tramp *…………….*Tramp , tramp, tramp *………………….*Tramp , tramp, tramp *………… *Plop*

” I look to Dad’s bedroom window. No lights “

*Tramp , tramp, tramp *……….*Tramp , tramp, tramp *……..*Plop*

” I check the wind. The Breeze is coming from The South East.”

*Tramp , tramp, tramp *…………………..*Tramp , tramp, tramp *..*Plop*

” The Moon is not full but , it will do just fine. “

“Mememe !”

” MeMe Me!                                                                              “Ah.. There we go….”


“YOWLLLROWLLROWL YOWLYOWL ROWL A ROOROO YAAOUWWL.” To the South my mate and kids respond “

arroorooyowlrowl a rooroo yowlirowl.”

” Perfect. We are ready. “……. ” All together now..”

” WE LOVE THE PIT WITH ALL THE GOODIES IT BRINGS.. We love to eat turkey even if it can’t sing. WE LOVE TO MUNCH ON SQUIRRELS FROM THE WOOD PILES ON HIGH. We love to munch everything we can find that has died.”

” WE LOVE MOM AND DAD FOR FEEDING US WEEKLY .We love to visit the pit even if it’s empty. WE LOVE TO SING ALL NIGHT WITHOUT CARE !”

” Hey ! Shut the Hell up out there! “



Blinking at the clock trying to focus , I see it is shortly after midnight and the kids are singing up a storm. I curl up and try to go back to sleep now that the music has ended. The evenings are getting chilly making the cool breeze perfect for sleeping.


” Hmmm.. That was short. Maybe Dad doesn’t know the words.. HEY! One more round!”

” WE LOVE THE PIT WITH ALL THE GOODIES IT BRINGS.. We love to eat turkey even if it can’t sing. WE LOVE TO MUNCH ON SQUIR……….”


“Oh come on guys! “


“That didn’t rhyme at all! ” 

” WE LOVE THE PIT WITH ALL THE GOODIES IT BRINGS.. We love to eat turkey even if it can’t sing. WE LOVE TO MUNCH ON SQUIRRELS FROM THE WOOD PILES ON HIGH. We love to munch everything we can find that has died.”


“Gawh! “

I slip out of bed, I can hear Ma still sleeping.. What the .??

I walk through the house and turn on the coffee..It has to be getting close to sun up by now………………



Walking back into my room , I sit down at the comp and set up the studio software. If they are going to sing , I might as well work on music too.


” WE LOVE THE PIT WITH ALL THE GOODIES IT BRINGS.. We love to eat turkey even if it can’t sing. WE LOVE TO MUNCH ON SQUIRRELS FROM THE WOOD PILES ON HIGH. We love to munch everything we can find that has died.”


” Ha! I’m awake now! “


Dennis chimes in

“Maybe we should teach Grumpa the words .”

” I think he knows the words. ” Says Limpy. ” I think he is playing something completely different. “

” Maybe we can make words for that song then? “

” No , not tonight, I’m getting sleepy. Everyone back to the den!”

” Ahh .. But I want to go sing with Grumpa.”



” WE LOVE THE PIT WITH ALL THE GOODIES IT BRINGS.. We love to eat turkey even if it can’t sing. WE LOVE TO MUNCH ON SQUIRRELS FROM THE WOOD PILES ON HIGH. We love to munch everything we can find that has died.”


I turn down the comp and listen to the kids as they start up again. Limpy just to the East of my office and the rest sound like they are just to the South of the Bedroom.

Some minutes later , the songs end again.

I walk outside to wait for the Sun to rise , sipping on coffee , watching the stars overhead.

The chill is enough that after some half hour I go back inside. It is still quite dark out and Ma is still sleeping.

Working away , I hear Ma creak walking through the front room…Then I hear the floors creak ……

MA stands to the entry of my room. After a multitude of times when I grab my chest as she slips up next to me , she now waits for me to notice her before touching my shoulder or neck from behind.

” The owls woke me up.”

“The owls?”…………….” Not the coyote kids?”

” Owls. Did the kids come through? “

A grin twitches at the corner of my mouth.

Maybe, I think I heard them earlier. “

Ma and I go back out to the porch , once again to wait on the Sun.

“What’s That!?!?!”

I spin to look out into the grounds imagining bears and cougars with Ma’s tone.

” WHERE?!?!”

” On the Deck!”

” What the Hell?!?! Where? ” My heart beginning to pound at some beastie on the deck feet away that I can’t see.

“Right There !”

” Oh..Well THAT was helpful. “

” BY the steps!”

“YIP!..Crap!..That? That is Bunnie!..Sorry Bunnie..”

Bunnie also yipped and dived off the deck when I jerked.

Finally a glow in the sky tells us that the Sun also rises…

Reds and oranges .Greys blues and shades of brown fill the far Eastern ridges of the state to our North and East as we chat .

A small brown bat flutters overhead.

” Mornin Flappy.”

The bat spins around groaning.

We discussed this.. I am Not going to answer to ‘Flappy’….”

” Ah… Good Morning Batty..”

” GAwhhhhhhhh…..”

Colors of the morning sky fill in under clouds getting richer as they seem to burst with the day…. A moment later and the shades fade as our Sun opens his eyes to greet us with the first rays of dawn.

I can hear our deer tromping in from out of the north. Quiet as they may be , the sounds of the day have not started yet and they may as well be a a herd of elephants.

I look to Ma as she watches the skies and think to myself;

Thank the gods for mornings like this and it being

just another day on Zen Mountain




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