Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Autumn days mean deep blue skies, frolicking squirrels, trees shedding leaves and temperatures dropping.  This leads to more outdoor time, with a 66.6% approval rating by my dogs for the change in season.  The remaining 33.3% would rather hibernate.


Zella watches the leaves fall, Grimm searches for squirrels.  Rufus just stares at me accusingly for making him get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors.

Zella watches the leaves fall, Grimm searches for squirrels. Rufus glares at me for making him get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors.



Rufus seemed truly baffled by the large flurry of leaves that kept dropping on his head.  The wind had picked up and the hackberry tree was losing leaves left and right.  What was Rufus’ solution to the problem?  Why, try to catch and eat the leaves, of course!


Leaf Catch Try #1



Leaf Catch Try #2



Leaf Catch Try#3



Obviously the boy lacks hand, err, mouth-eye coordination.  I thought try #2 was to be a success, but no.  By this point, even the squirrels had come down from the tops of the trees to watch the show.  I think a couple of them actually even tried pelting him with a few acorns, making bets on whether or not they could hit his huge noggin.  Finally Rufus gave up and started eating leaves that had accumulated in my flower pots.  Rooting around in the dirt, he looked like a little piggy…with a vest.


Eating Dirt



Zella was completely embarrassed by her housemate’s lack of proper dog abilities.  All the work she had put into making the squirrels fear her wrath…out the window.  She was going to have to work double time to regain their respect.  Didn’t Rufus know anything?


"Why?  Just...why?  Can I bury him in leaves?"

“Why? Just…why? Can I bury him in leaves?”



Grimm was so fixated on triangulating the squirrels, he just ignored the antics of Rufus.  Grimm really wanted to race around in the yard, but because of the recent rain and the amount of mud present, he satisfied himself by giving squirrels death glares from the deck.


Grimm:  "I'm so gonna get you, squirrels!" Rufus:  "Ooohhh...funny looking baby kitties in trees!  Love you, baby kitties!" Zella:  "Dear God, please turn me into a squirrel so I can scamper far, far away from here."

Grimm: “I’m so gonna get you, squirrels!”
Rufus: “Ooohhh…funny looking baby kitties in trees! Love you, baby kitties!”
Zella: “Dear God, please turn me into a squirrel so I can scamper far, far away from here.”


Between all the dirt eating and almost leaf catching, Rufus was worn out.  It was time for his sixteenth nap of the day.  Back inside we went to rest up for our evening walk.  The cool day should lead to a crisp night, perfect for a stroll around the neighborhood…if we can pry Rufus off the couch.


"Grimm told me to pretend to be a squirrel.  Is this a face a squirrel makes?"

Rufus:  “Grimm told me to make a scary face to frighten the squirrels.  Is this scary?” Grimm:  “See what I have to work with?”



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Autumn has officially arrived here in Central Texas.  Acorns are starting to fall from the live oak trees in my yard, goldenrod and ragweed are blooming, and the days and nights are getting cooler.  Squirrels are driving the dogs crazy, my allergies are killing me, and the small town chili festivals are about to commence.

Goldenrods bloom in my yard. These plants are often confused with ragweed, which also blooms this time of year. Ragweed, unlike goldenrod, causes my immune system to go haywire, leaving me (and lots of others) in misery.

Grimm stalks through the ragweed towards the oak trees where the squirrels are taunting him.

Speaking of chili festivals, I came across a funny anecdote that made the email rounds a few years back.  I hadn’t read it in a while, and thought it was time for a resurrection.  Originally, this was said to be an actual account relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off event.  While I don’t doubt that many people have suffered at the hands of a masochistic chili connoisseur, I cannot verify its authenticity or original author.  However, this story still makes me laugh out loud, especially since I have had similar thoughts when eating some of these ridiculously spicy concoctions.  There’s hot, then there’s HOT.

Recently, a man named Frank was visiting Texas from Springfield, Illinois.  Like most tourists, he thought it would be great fun to experience some of the local flavor.  He decided to attend a local chili cook-off which was taking place that same day.  Unbeknownst to Frank, one of the original three judges of the competition called in at the last minute, regretting that he would not be able to make it to the judging.  The other two judges were at a loss as to what to do.  At that precise moment, Frank found himself at the judge’s table asking for directions on how to get to the Coors Light vendor.  Using their native Texan ingenuity, the judges asked Frank if he would like to fill in.  He was assured by the two judges that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy and, besides, he would have all the free beer he wanted during the tasting.  Luckily for them, Frank was up for the challenge and became Judge #3.  Unfortunately, Frank found out the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.  Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

*Chili #1:  Mike’s Maniac Monster Chili

Judge #1:  A little too heavy on the tomato.  Amusing kick.

Judge #2:  Nice, smooth tomato flavor.  Very mild.

Judge #3 (aka Frank):  Holy shit!  What the hell is this stuff?  You could remove dried paint from your driveway with this stuff!  Took me two beers to put the flames out.  I hope that’s the worst one.  These Texans are crazy…

*Chili #2:  Austin’s Afterburner Chili

Judge #1:  Smoky, with a hint of pork.  Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge #2:  Exciting BBQ flavor, but needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge #3:  Keep this out of the reach of children.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain.  I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver.  They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

*Chili #3:  Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili 

Judge #1:  Excellent firehouse chili.  Great kick.

Judge #2:  A bit salty, but good use of peppers.

Judge #3:  Call the EPA.  I’ve located an uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano.  Everyone knows the routine by now.  Get me more beer before I ignite!  Barmaid pounded me on the back and now my backbone is in the front part of my chest.  I’m getting shit-faced from all the beer!

*Chili #4:  Bubba’s Black Magic

Judge #1:  Black bean chili with almost no spice.  Disappointing.

Judge #2:  Hint of lime in the black beans.  Good side dish for fish or other mild foods;  not much of a chili.

Judge #3:  I felt something scraping across my tongue, but I was unable to taste it.  Is it possible to burn off your taste buds?  Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills.  This 300 pound woman is starting to look HOT…just like this nuclear waste I’m eating.  Is chili an aphrodisiac?

*Chili #5:  Lisa’s Legal Lip Remover

Judge #1:  Meaty, strong chili.  Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick.  Very impressive!

Judge #2:  Chili using shredded beef.  Could use more tomato.  Must admit, the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge #3:  My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes.  I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics.  The contestant seemed offended when I told her I thought her chili had given me brain damage.  Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer on it directly from the pitcher.  I wonder if I’m burning my lips off?  It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.  Screw them!

*Chili #6:  Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety

Judge #1:  Thin yet bold vegetarian chili.  Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge #2:  The best yet.  Aggressive use of peppers, onion and garlic.  Superb!

Judge #3:  My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames.  I shit on myself when I farted and I’m worried it will eat through the chair.  No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally.  I can’t feel my lips anymore and I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

*Chili #7:  Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili

Judge #1:  A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge #2:  Ho hum, tastes like the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment.  I should note that I am somewhat worried about Judge #3.  He appears to be in a bit of distress and is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge #3:  You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin and I wouldn’t feel a thing.  I’ve lost sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water.  My shirt is covered in chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth.  My pants are full of lava to match my shirt.  At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me.  I’ve decided to stop breathing–it’s too painful.  Screw it!  I’m not getting any oxygen anyway.  If I need air, I’ll just suck it through the four inch hole in my stomach.

*Chili #8:  Big Tom’s Toenail Curling Chili

Judge #1:  The perfect ending!  This is a nice blend chili.  Not too bold but spicy enough to declare it’s existence.

Judge #2:  This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot.  Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself.  Not sure if he’s gonna make it.  Poor fella–wonder how he would have reacted to really hot chili?

Judge #3:  <<no report>>

Giant pots of chili like this are found at local festivals known as “chili cook-offs”.

At any rate, fall happens to be my favorite time of year.  The dogs enjoy it, too, and act friskier than normal.  Of course, chasing the squirrels who are looking for acorns adds to the fun.  Grimm really hadn’t seen too many squirrels until we were outside today.  At one time, when I first bought my current home, there were no squirrels to be seen.  The trees in my neighborhood were too small and puny to adequately support a large squirrel population at the time.  Now that the trees have matured, the squirrel families have as well.

The only downfall (pun intended) to autumn is the ragweed and it’s stupid pollen.  I guess chili cook-offs can be dangerous, too.   As long as I stock up on Zyrtec I’ll be able to survive the ragweed pollen explosion.  And, as long as I take my Prilosec and Zantac, I’ll survive the chili festivals, too.  I can’t guarantee Grimm will survive the fall unscathed–those squirrels can really chunk an acorn.

Zella and Grimm clean off after a long day of chasing squirrels.

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