That’s my Mississippi, and it’s pretty sweet

By TIM BEELAND,

When it rains it pours, and I’m not just talking about Tropical Storm Alberto.

Wife Danny, and I have aging houses, aging cars, aging dogs, aging bodies. As a matter of fact, just about everything we’ve got is aging.

In the last month or so I’ve bought eight tires, three sets of brake pads, two sets of rotors, and two new hubs  between my 2003 Expedition boasting of nearly 350,000 miles and a 2008 Jeep Patriot racing to catch up.

Memorial Day weekend, daughter  Rachel-Johanna, who manages our house at the Ross Barnett Reservoir, was on a business trip to Orange Beach to face down Alberto and we were at her house to do a bit of yard work and maintenance. Since technically it’s still our house the tenant seems to need free work done on a occasion.

While there I went to Lowes — well I don’t remember how many times I went to Lowes — to pick up a few things for said maintenance and today I think I’m broke! All the lights on the front of the house had expired so now the tenant has new lighting and a new yard lamp and a nice wash job on the siding as well.

In the meantime the pool seems to have attracted not one very large water snake, but two. Who would have ever thought snakes would enjoy basking in a very heavily chlorinated bathtub? Well they do. They always have, but in the past it was usually one at a time, and I was able to snag them and relocate them. This weekend’s  snakes were just too fast. I’ll try again if they don’t pack up and move on along before we return.

Then there is the aging yard cat we adopted without even having to adopt. When I found Fluffy on the driveway a couple of years ago she was scraggly, scrawny and ugly. One ear flopped down and I assumed it had something to do with ear mites. So I treated her.

Today, Fluffy seems to be the best amongst us. She is fat, furry and friendly. She still has a floppy ear, but I suppose that is just her look, ‘cause there ain’t no mites no more, if there ever were. So, I suppose, with Fluffy looking in the kitchen door and the dogs barking up their own storm as if they had never seen her before, I’m reminded of the other side of life’s scenario.

Our yard in Sebastopol has been alive for a while now, not the grass and trees, but the abundant wildlife. We have deer, skunks, possums, turkeys, coyotes, cats, dogs, cows, rabbits, buzzards, and baby buzzards (U.G.L.Y.), in the barn, and every variety of bird, it seems, found in the country. All within view of the front porch.

The blue birds have been busy this year, and a bag of dried grub worms we found on the bird feed isle at Lowes has them and the Cardinals, and a pair of big fat doves, fighting for every last crumb.

We also have an old squirrel feeder gadget on the side of the cedar tree outside the living room window that the Cardinals are crazy about. The thing has two big screws on either end of a small metal rod, probably two feet in length, to which you attach dried ears of corn. There is a spinning gadget in the middle of the rod so when the squirrels grab the corn, the whole thing spins and throws them to the ground. Or that is what it was designed to do.

We haven’t seen any squirrels on it this year but Cardinals — red birds in my book — love it. They don’t weigh enough to get spun off, but watching them fight to pull a kernel of dried corn from the cob is engaging. It kind of reminds me of a dentist trying to pull a stubborn tooth!

Great big blue pom-poms have appeared on the Hydrangea beneath the porch swing and above them the humming birds have emptied their feeders once again.

Tomatoes, planted not so long ago in a horse feed trough by the back steps, are ripening on the vines and hot peppers have already been picked and eaten with dinner.

Frogs are croaking. Birds are singing. Crickets are chirping. Wasp are stinging. Turtles are crossing the road.

Lightning bugs are twinkling at the edge of the woods. The days are getting longer by the day, and the skeeters, yep, the skeeters are biting once again — if they ever stopped!

That’s my Mississippi, and it’s pretty sweet, even if I do say so myself!