This morning began with my husband and I sanding our hardwood floors. After sanding, we varnished the beautiful 120-year-old wood. Next it was time to open all the windows, turn on all the fans, and get out of the house. Before we picked our older son up at work and took him out to lunch, we ran several errands. As we were driving around I began to tell my youngest two students how I wanted them to do a few projects over the summer and during the next school year. I told them they could pick anything which interested them and that I would help them do it. I had no idea how seriously they would take this, but they did.
At our first stop my daughter spotted a greenhouse next door. They had a great special--fill a flat for $10. We did. As soon as we arrived home she headed for the flower bed beside the garage and began weeding and digging. It soon looked amazing. Daughter learns gardening, yard looks better. Daughter’s grade: A+
After lunch we were running a few errands when I spotted a large “FREE” sign by the side of the road. I slowed down and peered over at the pile. Old windows. I’ve been wanting one of those ever since I saw one painted with chalk board paint at a garage sale. And the time I got 24 of these for my students, I was too busy to do one myself. (To see the results of those, click here.) It was time for me to have a project too. Supply acquisition: A+ Time to paint: ? Mom’s grade: “I” for incomplete.
After stopping by the Churchtown garage sales we were headed back home. Uh-oh-- we spotted a road kill. My family knows I stop for road kills. We have found and studied a crane, a coyote, hawks, an owl, a squirrel, a pheasant, and now a near-perfect rabbit. (I’m still upset about that red fox I passed up on I-81 last March after my husband convinced me that the friends with whom we were staying would not appreciate my skinning and tanning a fox in their backyard, or saving it in their freezer.) There were only two problems. The rabbit’s head was squashed, and it reeked. Unfortunately, prime time for acquiring road kills is first thing in the morning, and this was the afternoon. Its coat was gorgeous. “Stuff it in this plastic bag,” I told my youngest son as he picked it up by the leg. “They won’t be able to smell it if we tie the bag up tight.” As we walked back to the car we twisted the top of the plastic bag around several times and then jumped back in the car. Immediately the entire car smelled like a dead rabbit which had lain by the side of the road baking in the sun for eight hours. I hastily rolled down all the windows and looked over at my husband. He was holding his nose making a horrible face, but he didn’t tell us to get rid of it. We had less than a mile home. I accelerated to the speed limit and just kept going.
Once we arrived home he ordered my son to get out of the car as soon as it had stopped. I began unloading the car as my son deposited the rabbit in the grass under a tree, then ran and grabbed a utility knife and the gas mask my husband had used to apply the stinky varnish. By the time I made it back to the car to unload my free windows, my son had begun to cut the skin down the middle of the rabbit’s underside and he was calling for help. He said it was dirty. It was dirty indeed-- its underside was full of maggots. I looked at that beautiful coat of fur, held my breath so I wouldn’t smell the awful stink, tried not to think about all those maggots, and decided it was worth it. I ran and grabbed the hose, but alas, as I was squirting off the dead, stinky rabbit, its skin began peeling off along with all those maggots. Evidently the underside of the rabbit had baked somewhat on the hot pavement. Son’s grade: A for effort.
So, we learned a few things today.
1. Annuals are cheap in August and look pretty in flower beds.
2. You can always find neat stuff for free in the trash.
3. Road kills need to be picked up before 3:00 p.m. on a hot summer day.