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Fish, guests, and God knows what. June 9, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in Ben Franklin, critters, wit and wisdom.
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“Guests, like fish, start to stink after three days.”

                 —Benjamin Franklin

Well, they’re not the only ones. Silence Dogood and our friend Ben were rudely awakened last week by a rifle shot in a neighboring farmer’s field. We knew the farmer had hit whatever it was because there was only one shot. What we didn’t know was that the unfortunate, mortally wounded creature was going to drag itself across the road, across our yard, and under our deck before succumbing to its wounds.

Sure enough, three days later, we were confronted by an appalling smell emanating from under the deck. A stench of death and decay that continues—now accompanied by a swarm of flies—to this day. And of course, ours is a ground-level deck with barely a foot of clearance, so there’s absolutely no way to get under it and extract the hapless corpse. 

This would be horrible enough under any circumstances. But for our friend Ben and Silence, it’s tragic, and not just because of the death of the poor creature. Our deck is full of life and color: fruiting, flowering and foliage plants, colorful container combinations, a half-barrel water garden. We have literally hundreds of plants out there in the season, creating a little piece of paradise for us. We love to sit out on our deck in the morning, have cocktails or wine on the deck in the afternoon, and watch the sun set on the deck in the evening, with our beloved black German shepherd, Shiloh, in supremely contented attendance.

Our view from the deck extends past all the deck plants, across our stream, Hawk Run, through the backyard with its firepit and huge shade trees, to our greenhouse and sunny gardens, on through the farm fields behind our property, and ultimately to the mountains that ring our happy valley. “Utopian” is not too strong a word. We love to turn on our strings of chile lights in the evening, light a fire in the firepit, and enjoy each other’s and Shiloh’s company in slowdown mode as the light gradually fades.

No more. The stench and flies make sitting on the deck a non-option. We feel like prisoners in our own home, deprived of the most pleasant and looked-forward-to part of our day, the time when we can just watch the light glittering through the leaves and the goldfinches at our feeder, listen to the gurgle of our peaceful little stream, enjoy downtime with Shiloh, and not have to even think, much less worry, about anything.

Our hero and blog mentor, the great Benjamin Franklin, famously noted when the stink would start. Too bad he didn’t mention when it would stop.



1. narf77 - June 10, 2012

Hi William I was just nominated for an award. I don’t usually participate in that sort of thing but I realised that it was actually a vehicle to give kudos to blogs that were very important to me so I nominated your blog for “The Illuminating Blogger” award. If you want to participate you can, if you don’t feel free not to. I just wanted you to know that you have made a difference out here in the worldly ether and that someone waits for your posts with anticipation and truly appreciates your efforts to enlighten us . Here’s the link if you want to check it out but its not really about the award (which I suspect is to increase blog traffic to the awarders site to be honest…) its about being able to give you some kudos for your efforts


Hi Fran! Thanks so much for the award and all your kind words! (Being Luddites, we have no idea how to upload it to our site, but we’ll picture the fork-in-lightbulb image every time we look at our blog.) Everyone out there, please check out Fran’s wonderful blog at http://theroadtoserendipity.wordpress.com/! It’s amazing. (A little too topical right now for us, though—we just lost our hen Stella to old age yesterday. Not planning on saving her wishbone! But we think the idea is pretty cool. Maybe you could do a wishbone-themed mandala.) We think the William you refer to is one of our readers, who also has a blog you might want to check out!

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