I think I caught a glimpse of the owl yesterday afternoon, something big and brown flying out of a trio of trees heading towards the middle of the island. The owl is mostly heard not seen. I hear it hooting and hollering at four in the morning, the hour at which the cats insist on going out for their pre-dawn skulk. The owl’s probably after the same small rodents as they are. I don’t know who is more successful, but there is always a tidy, delicately dissected, display of kidneys and livers left on the gravel path that leads to the deck. This is definitely courtesy of the cats. I would like to think the owl is a complete nose-to-tail type. So far, cat tails have not entered this equation.
In the wake of the northern exile of the criminal cats, I’m am told the bunny has asserted sovereignty over the suburban backyard. More specifically, the vegetable garden in the suburban backyard. It does not seem to like lettuce (it scoffs in the direction of that stereotype) but apparently it finds spinach irresistible. I wonder whether Hailey-the-cat-catcher also rousts out bunnies. I don’t think I’ll risk asking her. She’d probably make me name it, license it, neuter it, and build a four-season rabbit enclosure, the permit for which will cost $1,000 (renewable annually). This will be in effect until I can prove the bunny has died, at which point Hailey will require a funeral and burial in the officially sanctioned bunny cemetery, with mandatory perpetual gravesite care for $1,000 a year. Where’s Elmer Fudd when you need him? Oh, wait. I just heard that Elmer Fudd is not allowed to carry a cartoon shotgun anymore. Never mind.
Now that there are industrial-size sacks of flour in stores (somehow, we went directly from zero to “are you kidding me?”) and my more COVID conscientious friends have scads of spare sourdough starter, I have finally made some bread. My sourdough loaf turned out kind of like a Kardashian. It looks great with the right kind of Instagram filter but the inside is a little lackluster. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that sourdough croutons are in my immediate future. A lifetime’s supply, even if they don’t multiply like their mother, a jar full of seething ooze that I have named “the bunny.” Please do not tell Hailey. I’m already in enough trouble with animal services.
About the rhubarb. I have what can only be described as a shitload. A friend who lives in the country has a patch the size of an alien spaceship. The round kind. Or maybe the rhubarb itself is extraterrestrial. Who knows? Either way, harvesting a metric tonne of it did not make a dent. If anything, it has continued to expand. At any rate, I have rhubarb. So far, I have made rhubarb bread (like banana bread without the hateful bananas), rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, rhubarbade (like lemonade without the perfectly acceptable lemons), and a thing called rhubarb shrub. The latter is not something the four-legged bunny would eat, but rather a trendy drink that involves infusing vinegar with rhubarb for three days on the kitchen counter, then letting it steep four days in the fridge, then straining it through a piece of cloth that can filter out micron particles (I have found an N95 mask works like a charm, just snag one from the ditch and nobody will be the wiser), which takes another twenty-four hours. It’s kind of like making sourdough starter, only you end up with a pinkish liquid that smells like vinegar that’s gone off. In other words, a smell that does not and should not exist in nature. By the way, I have learned that if your sourdough starter turns pinkish, you need to call the hazardous material disposal team immediately.
I cannot recommend rhubarb shrub. Even if you mix it with vodka it is undrinkable. But come to think of it, I have not yet tried mixing leftover sourdough starter with vodka. I’ll let you know how that works out. It might become the next big thing.