Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
See my website at

28 July 2003

Betta Fish Escapade

Sometimes I think I spend entirely too much time alone. And I worry that people will think I'm strange if they know some of the shit I get into. (I'm guessing you already know I'm strange so you won't rat on me.)

Today, for instance, while sitting at the computer in my office, as usual, and after playing a game of Collapse (or maybe two), as usual, I decided innocently enough to google "Betta Fish" because I just had a sudden and inexplicable urge to know how long my 2 fish might live if I remember to feed them and clean out their bowls occasionally. But while I was reading up on the life span of Betta fish (2-3 years on average), I discovered that they're carnivorous and one of the many things they love to eat is mosquito larvae.

Well, said I, I certainly have a bunch of that. So I took a coffee cup and a spoon and went out to a pan of water on the patio where some plants are rooting, removed the plants, squatted down, and carefully spooned up a half dozen of the little wrigglers. (Meanwhile a whole swarm of grown-up mosquitoes munched on my arms, legs, and ankles.) You may be surprised to know that mosquito babies are harder to scoop up in a spoon from a pan of dirty water than one might think, especially when you're being eaten alive and your knees are cracking from being in the ugly squatting position.

I must report that, after spooning the wiggly larvae into one of the Betta fish bowls, the fish went nuts---he zeroed in on them one at a time and devoured them. He spent the rest of the afternoon looking quite content and pleased with himself for his intrepid "hunting".

Yesterday I was working away in my office and suddenly got this bright idea to take the bin-ful of paper from the paper shredder and bury it in the compost heap out back. Makes more sense than filling up a landfill with it, especially since paper will compost, right? Sorry to say, it was well over 90 degrees as I employed the shovel on the paper, which is light and floaty compared to the regular icky compost stuff and therefore much harder to mix in. The dogs thought we were playing an amusing game and interfered with me at every turn. And I think I got chiggers.

Tomorrow I plan nothing more exciting than hefting the 50-pound sack of dog food I got at Wal-Mart the other day out of the back of the car. Both my sons have been here at least twice, but each time I forgot to ask them to do it. Now I'll have to do it myself, but hey---the dogs gotta eat. But that'll be rather mundane compared to some of the other stunts I get involved in. (Of course, you never know what I'm going to take a notion to do once the day gets rolling.)

During each of these episodes, I worry that someone will call in the middle of what I'm doing and innocently ask me what I'm up to---and of course, being me, I'd have to tell them. Next thing I know, I'd probably be back visiting the loony bin.