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Friday, April 9, 2010

Luckless in the Valley

Tualco V. March

I may have mentioned this in an earlier post: the WSDOT has an on-going project in front of our house. Please excuse the oversight if this is new information. It has been a pleasure to visit the Valley these days. So peaceful, serene, pastoral, bucolic: all of these and any other  placid superlatives in your vocabulary.  Apparently the 203 project is in hiatus. The “Green Meanies,”my designation for the TSI’s chartreuse clad workers, have either taken the day off or moved on down the road. I’m afraid their absence  is just temporary, the calm before the storm: Stage One Destruction finished; Stage Two Destruction about to drop the other shoe.

Imagine my surprise when I find more destruction along Tualco Road. I’m wondering if the County can read my mind. Yesterday I find a clump of clover with four, 4-leafers sprouting among the regulars (can you find them?). I thank my good fortune and realize that any day now the County mower will trim the right-of-ways and grind my roadside good luck to shreds. luck times 4 And I’ve only begun laying by my lucky cache for the season. As I walk south, it is obvious I have spurred the County into action. The right shoulder has been scalped from the intersection of Tualco and the state highway nearly to Ed’s house; two feet of roadside vegetation, a good two months’ worth of luck included, scraped  down to roadbed and hauled off somewhere in County trucks, my spring’s four-leaf bounty rudely dumped in some landfill. no more luck

I see Tony has a new “RV For Sale” sign. Yesterday I saw him returning from his mailbox and asked if he’s  had any interested parties stop by his “previously owned” RV lot to look the goods over, kick a tire or maybe a dual. “Not a one,” Tony said. “Have to wait for the weather to get better. I need a different sign.” This new signage is smaller than the old. And red lettering, Tony, make it a Red Letter message. Use broad brush strokes, too. Pitch the product! I also notice that the county dredger has flung mud all over the new sign, as if to dot a lot of “i’s.” Except there were no “i” spellings on the sign.

In Swiss Hall’s parking lot I find the mud slingin’ graffitists on lunch break. How they can calmly munch their sandwiches after all the morning’s destruction they have wrought is a puzzle to me.county lunchbreak  

Sure enough, on the return leg, there is nothing doing on the four-leaf front. My good luck has been scraped clean, clear down to Valley bottom land. I’m fortunate to have gathered the four good luck plants yesterday. Who knows when my luck will return?

Brett De Vries passes me in his green vintage  pick-up and waves. I’m just passing the Streutker homestead where Brett lives when he rushes out the door to have a chat. He has a corn question. Tina Streutker, former matriarch of the place, told him that he would have better corn production if he planted his rows in a north/south orientation instead of his usual east/west configuration. (Last year, a good one for corn, his corn crop was a dismal failure.) Tina had told him to consult with me on the matter. I always use the north/south planting  myself, but do so because of my garden plot, not because of any inside information about corn plantings relative to solar exposure. I shared that fact with Brett. Also told him the Werkhovens’ field corn was planted in circles: from field perimeter to field center, which offered sun to all stalks at sometime during the summer day. Werkhovens’ consistently have an impressive stand of corn year after year, but maybe it’s the “organic” they pump back into the fields.

I don’t know whether my brief corn seminar was helpful, but Brett did learn about hominy. He had never heard of hominy before, never seen it, did not know such a thing existed. Not until I asked him if he knew what corn nuts were, did he have any concept of hominy. I explained the procedure for processing field corn (dent corn) into hominy, the boiling in lye, the rinsing,  the processing…. For a wannabe farm boy, Brett has some education ahead of him.

And on my walk, I learn something, too. A TSI surveyor has traffic cones set up on the centerline of the State Highway. He has pulled aside a plug covering something and is sponging out the rainwater.  I asked him if he’s lost anything. He says that he’s checking the GPS coordinates from prior surveys, something that has to do with the parameters of the on-site turn lane project. I have seen these small metal plates out in the Valley (there is one just north of the upper Loop Bridge over Riley Slough; I have jolted Gladys a time or two riding over it). These lids are what you see in towns and cities covering water meters and such. I had no idea why they were present in a Valley where residents get their water from wells.

I stop by Breezy Blends Espresso. Linnea said business was dead, thanks to the TSI Green Meanies and the $&%$#!!. I want to do my part, so I order the regular, and cloverless but a wee bit wiser, I  sip my way  home.

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