Monday, August 31, 2009

There may be a drought in Texas, but there's no drought on parties

The astute reader may have noticed a frisson of disappointment in the Bike Garden of late. It is true, things here are not at their best these days. Even setting aside the heirloom tomatoes/peppers disaster, things are distressingly brown all over. My stalwart antique roses are brown (one has actually gone and died on me):

The pyracanthae are all brown and losing their leaves:

The pomegranate is brown and hasn’t set a single fruit. Even the Apache plume, a desert plant, is showing signs of weariness.

Brown, brown, brown.

Part of the reason is the lack of rainfall. It is my practice to reserve supplemental watering from the tap for the veggie plot and to leave the ornamental garden to fend for itself. On those rare occasions that I do need to provide a helping hand, I can do some select watering from my rainwater harvest supply.

That’s been the plan anyway. As I’ve been coming out of my stress-induced fog returning slowly to the garden, I have also begun to notice other plants besides just tomatoes, and people, the picture is not only not ornamental, it is not pretty. So on Saturday, I decided to take emergency drought measures and open the rain barrel taps on the east side of the house.

Except that the barrels were empty.

Seems the squirrels had chewed through the hoses at their bases and all the water had leaked out.

What the heck kind of squirrel party was going on in my absence this summer?

I am more and more convinced it was one of these:

This is a photo of two party buses* that pulled up in front of my house Saturday night. Phi Delt** pledges poured out of it and into the frat boy party house across the street, where much shouting and cheering could be heard in the backyard for about twenty minutes. Then the noisy Phi Delts streamed out of the house carrying open cans of beer and climbed back onto the buses. The buses then took off down the street, whisking the exuberant and undoubtedly lubricated Delts on their way to another house somewhere in the neighborhood, only scant moments before the police arrived in their wake.

Yes, folks, it's pledge week in the Tech Terrace 'hood.

That shadowy figure riding his scooter in the first party bus photo is a very young neighbor who also lives across the street. Don't you think it's grand that he gets to have this sort of behavior modeled for him?

I didn’t get a chance to peer inside the buses, but had I been able to do so, I am convinced, convinced, that I would have found squirrels in there, yukking it up at my expense.

*These are called "shot buses," according to my sources. They drive around from house to house, and at each new place, there's a different drink to be sampled.

**Legal Disclaimer: I am basing this identification on the fact that a Phi Delt lives in the frat boy house, his buddies all sport the Phi Delt coat of arms on their big trucks, and the pledges were all wearing Phi Delt blue T-shirts. I could be wrong, of course, but if it looks like a duck...just sayin'.


  1. Oh you poor soul living near that!!!! I make it a point to call on drunk students every Monday and Friday in class.

  2. Oh dear, you could be right. You know you can't trust those squirrels at the best of times, but once they get a shot or two into them....... :) Seriously sorry about your plants!

  3. That is awful on two counts! Evil garden killing squirrels and extra thirsty adolescents!

    You have my deepest sympathy!


  4. Maybe you should throw a loud raucous party early on a Sunday morning about the time your neighbors were ready to sleep. You could also serve Brunswick Stew made using the traditional recipe, which is heavy on squirrel.

  5. Benjamin--I have a very funny story about calling on drunks in class that I'll tell you someday. Best. Comeback. Line. Ever.

    Nancy--nothing worse than a drunken squirrel, that's what I say.

    Ryan--it *is* awful!

    Les--I like it. Squirrel stew...

  6. Don't take it personally, Texas weather has turned LOTS of gardens brown this summer! Thankfully, fall is just around the corner, so let's hope for a better show of things next year!

  7. There's no water in my rain barrels either, but that's because there hasn't been any rain to fill them since I last used them for emergency watering--can't blame it on the squirrels or the frat parties. May some rain come your way soon, and may pledge week end w/o any incidents of dangerous behavior on the part of squirrels or frats or neighbors either, for that matter....

  8. Oh, my, sounds like a drunk duck to me. I love your analogy to the squirrels. Like the final essay in a magazine filled with humor and wise. Freakin' squirrels, I hate those little rats with tails sometimes. I won't write how I feel about shot buses, but you get my drift.~~Dee


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