Here’s Olive after the last rain.

Some days I feel just like Olive. I’ve lost my luster to get up and go. I have a day where everything falls to the floor begging to be retrieved. Or when I do the same thing at least three times before achieving success. And even though the sun did shine a bit today and the temperature was above freezing, the humidity made it extremely joyous, it was an Olive day.

If it appears that I name the bushes outside let me make it clear that I don’t. Actually Olive is what that bush is called. I had no idea that it was an ‘Olive’. I hack it back every fall and the following spring it takes off just like it never suffered through the same winter that I did. In fact when the snow falls on it in heaps the silly thing must find some sort of delight because it comes back even stronger.

However, when Olive has a bad day she droops down to the ground heavy with moisture. In addition, on the days like today when the humidity was intolerable Olive swayed a bit, but generally was bent over towards the ground. Nothing seemed to make Olive happy. She couldn’t even hide a runaway hen.

One of the older hens decided that she would come up into the loft and then take a little walk on the wild side. She sat in the window for a bit and I cautioned her that she needed to go back into the loft. And she did for the time being; however, then she made an escape and landed in an uncharted area. The world was her oyster as she had a great time raking up the hay grabbing the bugs that scattered under her inspection. When I heard her cackling at the delight of having so many bugs to choose from I met her with the porch broom.

Now this hen isn’t stupid because she immediately looked up at the loft window. She knew that was where she had come from originally. But she decided that she’d provide me with a bit of exercise as she made her way under Olive. She flung herself against the alpaca girl’s windows behind Olive and then decided that she couldn’t get back in that way. She tried the barn door beside Olive, which was closed. Then she fluttered up into the lower branches of Olive to see if that was a safe place. Unfortunately, I saw where she was and helped her make another decision to keep moving. Olive shook a bit but continued the droopy stance.

Eventually this little hen made her way back from under Olive and hastened to the loft only to find me standing there. I stepped back to allow her access to the window; however, she decided to go back for yet one more trip under Olive. Olive didn’t offer enough security though as the hen made her way down the front of the barns. Then she found an opening into the ewe’s area. She fluttered up to the panel, sat briefly, looked my way and fluttered to the ground inside and safe.

Olive, on the other hand, continued to droop toward the ground. I walked over towards where the hen had been to retrieve the porch broom and found an egg nicely planted under Olive. Apparently the hen had left the egg as a gift for me to find. It wouldn’t have been too bad to gather up the egg; however, it meant crawling under Olive’s drooping limbs. I thought I’d push some of the branches aside and be able to crawl under easy enough. I should have known better as Olive had other ideas.

The long limbs of Olive’s seasonal growth wet from the humid conditions stuck to my head and shoulders as I attempted the crawl. Then I thought I’d use the porch broom to reach the egg. This was a good idea except that I still had to get far enough under Olive to reach. Olive doesn’t particularly enjoy having her limbs put askew. Consequently, every push I made towards Olive resulted in a slap back of either that limb or another in close proximity. All of this wouldn’t have been too bad to endure but the flies, and other assorted bugs had discovered my presence. Swatting the bugs away as I maneuvered Olive I was about to give the egg to whatever wanted to have it.

This is where three efforts to succeed begins. The egg and Olive are in cahoots with each other. As I bend, fight bugs, humidity and drooping limbs the egg becomes alive. The porch broom has reached the egg only to have it roll in the wrong direction. That’s one. I composed myself for the next onslaught. I brushed my sweating hair from my face with the accumulated gnats that have found fresh moisture. And damn the things bite, too.

The second effort was to push the egg from under Olive into a closer area. I crawled under Olive with the porch broom I pushed the egg delicately and then was bitten on my leg. Something took a hunk of flesh and left before I could even see the fool thing. Okay, now I’m back out from under Olive and the egg has moved a bit into the cleared area. One more assault and I should have it.

The third effort was a charm. Well, I thought that going under Olive anyway. Now I forcefully pushed Olive’s branches out of the way, swiftly used the porch broom to brush the egg closer to me and everything was going very well. I reached for the egg. Mission accomplished and Olive’s branches were relieved I was going to be leaving. The gnats in my hair began to bite and I swatted them away. With the egg still intact I made it to the steps where the air had turned a bright blue hue. I gave one last glance at Olive promising another severe trim this fall.
Copyright © 2011


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