The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Agnes to the Rescue!


Uncle Mac studied Aunt Agnes morosely from the comfort of his old and battered armchair. Farm Girl, equally glum studied the old hillbilly from the same article of furniture. It was a snug but comfortable fit.

In other circumstances, they would have been quite content.

"Guernsey!" said Agnes.

Agnes sat at one end of the scarred hand built picnic table, a yellow legal pad on the table, and a pencil in one hand. A Lone Star beer occupied the other.

She started to write the word, frowned, and then scratched out what she had written.

"Gosh dern it, already got thet one."

She gnawed the eraser end of the pencil with one precariously mounted tooth.

"What air the names of some cows?" she addressed to no one in particular."

George Mallory, who had been standing by the wood stove sipping a cup of tea, cleared his throat.

"Agnes, old girl, do you mean the names of breeds of cattle, or of individuals, like Bossy or Daisy?"

"Breeds." replied Agnes, "Like, er..."

Here, she consulted her list.


She looked up, hopefully.

"A clue, esteemed Auntie! What State are you in?"

"Uncommon sobriety", was the reply. "Ah aim to fix thet right quick like."

She made half the Lone Star disappear.

"No, no dear lady you misconstrue. Let's try; Where are we all at this precise moment?"

"Right here in the danged shed! What kind of clue air thet?"

"Insufficient, apparently. Think of location in terms of states names. You came from Texas as a young girl..."

"During the Roosevelt administration", whispered Farm Girl

"...but now you find yourself in?", Mallory concluded.

"NEW JERSEY!" said Agnes. 

"New! New? Gnu! Thar we go! Gnus!"

She touched pencil to paper but then paused.

"Gnus ain't cows!" she stated firmly, sure of herself.

"But what comes after New?", persisted Mallory, who never faltered when the odds were stacked against him.

"Lions, mostly. Crocodiles too Ah reckon."

"Think states names Agnes!"

"New...? Jersey? Jersey! Yas! Jersey cows!"

"Now thet wasn't so hard!"

"Easy for you to say." said Farm Girl. "It gave me a headache."

"I'll rub it for you." said the ever helpful Uncle M.

"Texas Longhorn!" chirped Aggie, "Holstein!"

The bovine dam had given way.

"That is not my head!" said Farm Girl, not sounding especially upset.

Vida G had been eavesdropping from one of the lofts.

"This is my fault." she said

"Don't blame yourself, Vida, the old bastid rubs it every chance he gets." said Farm Girl.

Vida ignored her.

"Agnes and I had been discussing how the Garden Shed blog is dying on the vine. It was her considered opinion that as the official roving reporter of all things sheddian it was my job to jump start the rejuvenating process on behalf of us all."

"Black Angus!" whooped Aggie

"I agreed", said Vida, "but I told her I just could not seem to get started and that I needed some sort of catalyst. Agnes said she'd see what she could do."

"BEEFALO!" shouted the Pride of Texas, and drained her Lone Star.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Worse than squash bugs

Sunday morning was remarkably peaceful and quiet around the shed. Mallory and the Ripper had chartered a boat out of Belmar Beach and were presumably reeling in bluefish by the barrel even as Leatherface readied the kitchen to prepare a rare fish dinner. Vida G was at the gym, Milly in her own cottage.

Delacroix had taken a cross-dimensional wormhole shift to a place and time where the most powerful chemical explosives possible to create could be acquired if one had the proper skills. Farm Girl and Uncle Mac, flushed and somewhat winded from an epic bout of tomato-staking were enjoying coffee at the battered picnic table just inside the main door of the shed.

Agnes had said something about weeding.

A loud “WHUMP” announced the activation of one of the many wormholes which occupied a sort of non-space and un-time in and around the shed.

“Lacy, back so soon?” speculated Uncle Mac.

Farm Girl shrugged and was about to speak when the garden side door burst open and a ragged scarecrow of what presumably was a woman burst through it. She held a weeder in one hand, a can of Lone Star in the other. The dog-end of a rum crook protruded from her lips.

“Mrrphmple fud!” she mumbled, clarity of speech suffering equally from the presence of the dog-end and an absence of teeth. Hopping in her excitement she gesticulated towards the garden with the weeder.

“Furmimphle  futter!” she amplified and bolted through the doorway to Millie's orchard.

“Did you catch that?” said Uncle M.

“That last bit sounded like 'My ankles sore' but I can't swear to it.” Didn't make the first part out at all.”

“Agnes was moving right sprightly for an old gal with a bad wheel”, said Uncle Mac, turning from the window, “and she cleared Millie's stone wall like an Olympic hurdler. Never spilled a drop, either.”

Farm Girl cracked the garden side portal and peered through it.

“Ahah! she said.

“Ahah what?”

“Not 'ankles sore' “ said FG, “ankylosaur! There seems to be an ankylosaurus in the turnip patch.”

“Bloody hell. What's it doing?”

“Eating turnips.”

“Oh for the luvva Pete, if it isn't one damned thing, its another. And just when we got rid of the potato beetles.” said Uncle Mac, reaching for the 12 gauge.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A bad start in the garden

Farm Girl oozed charmingly through the Shed’s garden side doorway. She tugged off her earth stained gloves and tossed them in the corner. She approached the lopsided picnic table where Uncle Mac was using his lap top to study potential first round draft picks for the Green Bay packers in the upcoming NFL draft.

He noticed Farm Girls angst.


“The spinach is stuck.” She said.

“Stuck?” said Unc

“The beets becalmed, the chard is checked, the kale, comatose, the radishes reluctant and as for the turnips!”

“What about the turnips?”

“Torpid!” said Farm Girl.

“Say it ain’t so!”

“It ain’t so”, said Vida G, entering through the same doorway which FG had used. “But I’m afraid it is all true. The veggies are kaput.”

She was looking unusually sweet, clad in cute sandals, spray on jeans and a lightweight pink sweatshirt captioned “Born to Jiggle.”

“Is kaput a real word?” asked Uncle M.

“Yeah kinda”, said Vida, “Heepy will be along directly to correct the spelling. What’s with the lethargic legumes and the enervated eggplant?”

“Neither of which are planted yet.” observed Farm Girl.

“I know. I just like illiteration.”

“Alliteration.” said Uncle Mac.

“Not when Vida tries it.” said Farm Girl.


“Calm yourselves ladies,” said Uncle Mac, “all will be well. It is going to rain gently overnight and be sunny and 70° for at least the next three days. That will revive the dormant dill and all the rest. You’ll see.”

“But”, he waggled an admonitory and somewhat crooked finger, “it will also perk up the weeds. So I’ll need you two plus the old battleaxe…”

“I resemble that!” croaked the haystack.

“…and get Mallory and the Ripper to help. You’ll be done in no time.”

“And what do you plan on doing while all this weeding is going on?” asked Vida.

“With any luck, Milly.” Said Uncle M

Farm Girl crossed her arms over her ample bosom.

“You are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the vilest, most degenerate old sod I have ever…” her voice trailed off.

“had the misfortune to meet.” finished Vida.

“Whut they said.” added the haystack.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mallory does something radish

"What ho! What ho!" said Mallory as he burst in through the Shed's orchard side doorway, "I say, what ho!"

"Yes, indeed you did", said Farm Girl, who was taking seeds from the large storage jars and putting them into envelopes to send to their various and far flung gardening friends. "loudly, and several times more than absolutely necessary given the time of day and the state of Mac's hangover."

"What has you wound up?"

"And who were you calling 'ho'?" said Vida, looking up from her lap top.

"No, no, dear lady you have me wrong", said Mallory, plucking an axe handle from a corner, "permit me to demonstrate. Imagine, if you will, that this axe handle is an umbrella."

He brandished it about.

"Ah imagine yew getting mighty damned wet." said an animated scarecrow who had wandered over from a haystack deep in the inner recesses of the shed.

"Ah, Agnes old dear have a listen; I value your opinion highly you know." Mallory placed a smart phone on the table, activated a key.

"You're the one", said Uncle Mac, who was studying a sports pundits' article on which players in his - the pundits' - view the Packers should go after in the upcoming NFL draft.

The unmistakable notes of "Get me to the church on time" issued from the tiny speakers of the smart phone. Mallory, who had a decent voice for a 128 year old mountain climber burst into song and, to the general astonishment of all, accompanied song with dance.  

"I love a radish in the springtime!
I love a radish in the fall!
I take my car and park it,
There at the farmer's market,
And buy out every radish stall!

If there’s kohlrabi, I’ll buy a few
A tasty turnip I will not eschew,
But I love a radish when the sun’s up,
And even more when it begins to set,
But at the stroke of midnight
There’s nothing else I will bite
Cept’ for all the radish I can get.

And as for parsnips, they make me larf;
And salsify? My gosh I just might barf!
But I love a radish on my waffles,
As filling in my chocolate radish cake,
Tho’ once, while in Calcutta,
I wolfed down radish butta,
and I never will forget the belly-ache!"

The routine apparently over, Mallory turned to his audience who regarded him in stunned silence.

At length, Uncle M cleared his throat.

"Why, George?" he asked.

"Ah! Yes! Why indeed; a deucedly astute question."

Mallory was beaming.

"All righty then", said Vida, "do you have  a deucedly astute answer?

"It's one of the songs we, and by 'we' I mean all of us Shed Folk plus those not present, will be performing when we treat the townsfolk to a vegetized parody version of My fair Lady during West Milford's annual 'Talent Week'."

"Mallory?" said Uncle Mac.

"Yes old chap?"

"Have you, perhaps, had a stroke?"

"Not at all! A public relations coup! Our standing in the community has been a bit tarnished ever since that distressing episode involving Leatherface and the day care center. Our participation should give it a bit of a buff up."

"And the proceeds go to widows and orphans!"

"Widows?" said Mac.

"Orphans?" Farm Girl said, barely getting the word out.

"It's the sort of thing we should do more orphan!" said Aunt Agnes.

This may, if you are not on your best behavior, be continued.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Farm Girls Corner

"Hi, I'm Farm Girl and welcome to Farm Girl's Corner. Today, I'm going to..."

"Wow! When was the last time we had a Farm Girl's Corner!" said Uncle Mac from the corner by the potbellied stove, "I remember the last time I had Farm Girl cornered."

He did a Groucho Marx with his eyebrows.

"It was great! But when did we start acting like a serious gardening blog again is what I really mean."

"We are a serious gardening blog, a moribund serious gardening blog, but a serious gardening blog none the less. It's time we star..."

"Moribund?" said Uncle Mac.

"Moribund. It means..."

"I know what it means." said Unc, "are we that bad?"

"Oh come on we've been on life support for a year or so. It's time we got back in gear, in my view."

"Carry on, my daughter." said Mac.

"If I were your daughter, you'd be in jail, you whiskery old varmint. However..."

"Hi, I'm Farm Girl and welcome to Farm Girl's Corner. Today, I'm going to talk about a few new crops we are going to try this season. Last year as you may but probably do not recall was a very bad growing season here at the Shed. This year, we are trying only three new crops; a tomato, a squash, and an oniony type thingy."

"Let's not go all technical on our reader, FG, you know how confused she gets. 'oniony type thingy' might nudge her into befuddlement." 

"Stay with me here Angus you might learn something."

"First we are trying Burpee's 'Steakhouse' tomato. It is a hybrid, but it is so darn huge we can't help but want see what they are on to. It is reputed to go to three pounds and yet have a superb flavor. We will keep you informed on that of course."

"Then from Gurney we have the 'Kappa' hybrid cooking onion, which is an onion-shallot hybrid with the best qualities of both. Which is why I like to call it an oniony type thingy." 

"Also from Gurney's we'll be trying a huge golden butternut squash called 'Argonaut', a beautiful looking fruit with deep golden external tones, running to 30 pounds and reputed to be delicious. We'll be the judge of that but we are hoping advance billing is correct."

"Er, farm Girl?"


"Don't you think we should be showing folks pictures of these veggies which we will be trying out?"

"Why yes I do Uncle Mac, but it seems Blogger does not agree. People can follow the links to see a picture and in fact find out about the veggies in question, while we work on the picture problem."

"I see", said Mac, "also, lots of folks look us up just to catch a peek at your bu...pretty face. We don't wish to disappoint them, do we."

"Of course not, they can simply scroll down a few posts to see all the pretty face they want. Particularly if they go to the post on steatopygia. That should satisfy the most dedicated pretty face man."

"Well. We will need to fix this picture problem."

"Indeed we will"

Gratuitous link to Farm Girls pretty face:

Things get Chilly for Millie

"Brrrrr!" said Uncle Mac, entering the garden-side door and slamming it behind him, "15° on March 24th? In New Jersey? I don't think so. How can we plant 'taties when we can't chip the ground with an axe?"

"15°", said Lacey Delacroix, eyes riveted to the 336th chapter of the prologue of "Violets in Bloom", "would those be Celsius, Kelvin, or Fahrenheit? Because it does make a difference, you know".

"Too damned cold for this time of year, is all I know. Why, when I was a tot we didn't have such things as temperature scales. Either there was no ice on the pond, and it was above freezing or there was ice on the pond and it was below. Colder than that and it was 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a bronze bishop'; colder still and it was 'colder than a wi...' "

The orchard side door edged open and a smallish but very attractive silver haired woman appeared, struggling unaccountably with a cooler. Mallory leaped to her assistance.

"Millie!" said Lacey, "A cooler? In this weather?"

"It's to keep the waffle batter from freezing" replied their violet eyed guest, "waffles loose some of their magic when the batter freezes."

"I'll be right back", said Uncle Mac to a disinterested Shed crew as he removed his gloves and stepped back outside.

"I heard waffles" said Farm Girl, ghosting up from out of nowhere, "Coffee, Mill?"

Millie nodded and commenced to unpack the cooler.

The Ripper, Agnes, Leatherface and Vida G floated in from various interior regions of the shed, drawn to the scent of Millie's waffle batter like Serengeti hyenas to a long dead wildebeest.

"There go my hips again." said a sleepy Vida.

"Still", muttered Farm Girl, none too subtly.

"Ahah!" said Uncle Mac, reappearing via the garden gate. He was holding his hands aloft, like a neurosurgeon freshly scrubbed, "Millicent my sweet! Would you join me in the ammo locker for a moment? I've a few words for your private ear!"

Millie shrugged and the two disappeared into the nearby storeroom.

Whispered phrases punctuated by chuckles, giggles and the rustling of clothing emerged, followed in rapid succession by a bloodcurdling feminine shriek, and a sharp report, much like that which a small bore revolver might produce only somehow, meatier.

Millie and Uncle emerged momentarily, both red faced; Millie with outraged indignation and Uncle with a crimson hand print painted across his right cheek.

"It's true!" observed the Shed's patriarch holding one frosty hand proudly aloft. "It really is colder than a witches tit out there!"

As good a place as any to close on what was after all, a distressing and completely unnecessary scene.


"Erm. Mr. Blog writing person?"


"Where are the pictures? Nobody actually reads this mess, we just come here for the pictures."

"No more pictures! Blogger won't let me post 'em, the posting widget does not work and there seems to be no way to contact anyone about it."

"This is distressing."

"Tell me about it."