The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Millie makes pancakes and adds to her list of gardening articles.

It was eight of the morn when Millie, the dottie ol' gal from across the orchard hopped the stone wall and presented herself at the Shed door with shopping bags in tow. One of the less hung over inhabitants, Leatherface as it happens, opened the door and reminded her that she no longer had to knock, having being appointed One of the Crew and given the Run of the Place.

He eyed the shopping bags hopefully.


"Pancakes", said Millie, "with raspberries and hot syrup and homemade butter."

A whimpering sound, much like those emitted by a small puppy who can smell, but not reach, the hamburgers being pummeled into shape in the kitchen emerged from under the mask behind which Leatherface usually lurks.

Millie tossed the pancake griddle on the wood stove, placed the jugs of home made maple and berry syrups and hand gathered honey on a warm spot on the back of the top plate, hauled a huge container of batter out of the biggest sack and went to work.

Soon, the shed was filled with incredible aromas. Pancakes fluffy enough to float like clouds made their way to plates. Shed inhabitants manifested like vampires from a crypt at sundown. Jack the Ripper dropped from the loft, Agnes crawled from the haystack. Mallory rappelled  his way down from the port-a-ledge high on the west wall, Vida, looking sleepy*, wandered in from the main house. Uncle Mac and Farm Girl, both a trifle flushed, emerged from the gun room rearranging clothing and sniffing the air like famished wolves. Right on cue two of the latter bolted through the wolfy door and commenced toe-dancing around the wood stove and Millie.

"Murphlumphulflug!" exclaimed Agnes, through an essentially toothless mouth load of pancakes,** "What sort of flour do yew use fer these here flapjacks? They's lighter'n feathers!"
"Saw dust." replied Millie. "From Leatherface's log yard. This was mostly red oak dust, as I recall."
"I was out of flour." she amplified.
Chewing activity ground to a halt as pancake eaters, one by one, took time to consider this. Mac paused, overburdened fork halfway to mouth. He examined the fluffy mass, dripping raspberry syrup and butter in some detail. He sniffed cautiously, then shoveled the mass into his bewhiskered face like a stoker feeding a coal box on an ancient steam engine.

"It doesn't taste like sawdust.", he said.

"That's because it isn't sawdust. Not anymore. It's been transmuted into the best flour on earth."

"I say", said Mallory, brandishing a fork, "I say, old girl; does it stay transmuted or turn back into oak chips in the belly? Bit of an inconvenience, that, as it were."

"We ain't gonna crap two by fours or nuthin'?" queried Agnes, jaws still working like a wood-chipper.

"No. no!" Millie said. "When I transmute something, it stays transmuted. It is changed on an, um, what do you call it? Things that are really really tiny?"

"Skeet shot?", guessed Mallory.

"A-cups?" suggested Vida.

"Baby birds?" came a pancake muffled voice.

"Biden's brain?"

"Helium pay-outs?"

"Atoms." said Farm Girl.

"Yes!" said Millie. "Atoms! The sawdust has been transformed on a fundamental, atomic level. You have nothing to fear from these pancakes other than an increased belt size."

"And the honey, old thing?", inquired Mallory.

"From the hives at the rear of the orchard." Millie said.

"Umm, the maple syrup?" this from Farm Girl.

"Nothing but pure maple from my trees and some of yours as well, if you'll recall."

"What about", said Vida, spearing a raspberry and holding it aloft for inspection, "These berries. I've never seen raspberries this big or tasted any so good.  It's awfully early for berries. How about it?"

"Erm", said Millie, "The berries. Yes. Well. Shouldn't like to look up their pedigree just now. Perhaps tomorrow."

"What Ah'd like to know is how yew do it?" said Agnes.

At that moment there came a sort of "whoomp" sound from outside the garden side door. It sounded a lot like someone arriving from another time or place via a wormhole.

"Ah", said Mac, "Lacey. And right on time. Heat 'em up, Millie!"

A hand fumbled at the back door which eventually opened, albeit slowly. The woman who stepped gingerly through the opening looked nothing like the one who had walked out of it just three days ago, bound for otherwhen. "On business", as she had put it.

Lacey Delacroix walked slowly, tentatively,  as if she had to concentrate on each detail of every movement. She gripped the barrel of the big .338 magnum rifle, resting the butt on the floor the better to use it as a cane.

Chairs shoved back as the others sprang to their feet, exclamations bursting from their lips. Lacey made a dismissive gesture, however, and such was the woman's force of character that would be helpers held their place. Lacey limped towards Mac's worn out overstuffed chair.

Her camo was tattered, filthy. The bandoleers that had bristled with rifle cartridges three days ago held perhaps 4 or 5 rounds. The Colt Python which had filled the scuffed holster was missing, as were the grenades that had hung from her vest. The fighting knife that had filled the boot sheath was where it belonged, apparently glued in place by dried gore.

Gone too was the sleeping bag unless the the crude blood caked bandages that circled Lacey's head, upper arm and thigh had been cut as seemed likely from it's carry bag. All the damage seemed to be on Delacroix's right side.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Lacey was a mess. Covered in smoke and grime and greasy with her own sweat; she reeked of blood and powder smoke, of cordite and exertion. She was every wounded warrior who had ever limped home from a battlefield. Alive, but only just.

Mac took the rifle as Farm Girl eased her into the chair.

Delacroix exhaled deeply, closed her eyes for a second, opened them and managed a crooked grin.

"You'll have to go uptime," said Uncle Mac quietly. "See Doc Lopetamaine. Now if not sooner. Farm Girl and I will take you."

"Not", said Lacey, "Without coffee. And orange juice. And a stack of those pancakes. I haven't eaten much since I left. And that was a lot longer than three days ago, where I was."

"I think that's a terrible idea," began Uncle Mac, "You're nearly as trashed as that time when..."

There was a tiny mouse like squeaking sound, and Vida G reeled and fainted. Jack caught her before she hit the floor.

"Put her in the haystack" said Farm Girl to Jack. "She'll come around soon enough."

Had anyone been paying attention to Millie they would have seen the air surrounding her begin to shimmer, like that hovering over pavement on a scorching July day. The shimmering grew more intense until the air actually rippled, then the effect simply stopped.

Millie Quackenbush was gone. Whoever stood where she had been but a second before was a complete stranger. And yet...

"Och, Lass," said the newcomer, "But you're sore hurt. I can ease you..."

There is a feeling most folks experience while standing under high tension transmission lines, a nearly subliminal sensation of barely restrained power which seems as though it might burst forth with unimaginable consequences at any moment. That feeling filled the shed now. One of the wolves whined, a high pitched sound for such a massive creature, the other whimpered faintly. Then all was silent.

Although the air within the shed was undisturbed Millie's - for that of course was who the not so new comer was - now raven hair began to stir as if caressed by a light breeze. Violet hued sparks formed at the tip of each strand, ran up and down her arms, framed her face, brushed her torso and then raced up an down her body from head to toe.

She extended her right arm, palm upward, hand cupped. The energy flowed like water into her upraised hand, brightened, became more opaque. Images made of pure power formed and transformed there; a rearing unicorn, a violet in bloom, a demon skull, an exquisite fairy dancer, a songbird, an eagle, a swaying birch, an elfin swordsman, one after another flickering into and out of existence just at the border of perception so that later when they all talked it over no one was quite sure what it was that they had seen, of if they had in fact seen anything at all.

Millie blew gently, and the energy, now a perfect sphere wafted towards Lacey, settling on her breast just above her heart. It spread rapidly, cloaking Delacroix momentarily in violet glory and then, vanished with a sharp pop, seemingly absorbed by Lacey's damaged frame.

Lacey gasped, and then seemed to relax. 

She looked questioningly at the unfamiliar yet familiar figure by the stove.

"Thank you." she said, "Whatever that was, thank you."

Millie leaned forward, stretched out the clenched hand that had cupped the healing energy until it covered an empty saucer, then deposited something there that clinked as it struck.

Everyone leaned in to look. Five leaden balls the size of large peas lay there.

"You carried those in your leg, do you ken? They are better out than in. You must see that Doctor upstream in time and that soon. You are not in much pain now and I've slowed the bleeding but you are still hard wounded."

"When is the Lopetamaine healer, Angus?" she said, addressing Uncle Mac.

"Oh, 2850 as we reckon dates. They use a different time scale of course. A lot happens in the world from now until then."

"I doubt it not", said the new Millie, "and speaking of time..."

The air shimmered and rippled once again and when it stopped, grey haired Millie Quackenbush stood to the griddle.

"there is just enough left to fix a stack of pancakes to fuel your trip to the future."

And that is what she did.
Hold on there Mr. garden blog writing person (garden blog?), what happened to the gardening articles Millie was going to share?
Hah! Hold your horses! After the unforeseen interruption Millie proceeded as follows:


"Well lets see. We gave you a dozen articles to gnaw on last time, you can catch up on those right here; there's a lot to add. Buy the way, Aunt Agnes wrote the bulk of these with some help from Farm Girl. There may be hope for her yet."

"Who said, don't count on it? Oh. All of you did. Well that's just cold!"

"Here we  go."

Ever wonder what goes on under the soil that you stand upon while you weed and water? Well a whole lot as it turns out. Find out a bit about that, right here.

Growing carrots in a container is easier and more productive than you might ever believe. Here's the word on just how easy it is.

Have some watches to unload? A few big screen TV's that you would rather not explain? You need a fence, my friend! But we gardeners need them as well. Here is why and how.

Every one deplores a garden full of slugs. They are not easy to deal with but you can easily get help. Learn how to harness toad power to deal with slimies in the garden right here! 

Beets come in all kinds of colors and shapes. Not just your Granny's red beets anymore!

Chard is closely related to beets and as healthful as well. It is also early and easy to grow, says so right here!

Why would a blender or a mirror be considered as gardening tools? Find out here.

Ah the goodness of spinach! We'd like to tell you all about it!

Want more bang for your buck? Well who doesn't; (ask any call girl.) Well certain home garden vegetable favorites give you just that, they are dual purpose veggies.

Peas, early, sweet and delicious. Grow some now, here is how!

What is the biggest veggie garden pest? If you live in bear country you already know the answer.

Lettuce end on a leafy green note. Have you started your lettuce yet? Gee it might be about time!

All righty then! There are a dozen more little nuggets of gardening wisdom from the one and fortunately the only Aunt Agnes, as fact checked by farm Girl and delivered by me, Millie.

Stop back soon!

 Some time later, around dusk;
Uncle Mac stood in the garden studying the Small Square Bed. He was debating whether to start radishes there, or parsnips, or radishes first and then follow with parsnips, with a view to overwintering the latter.
It's lonely at the top, he reflected, and took a pull at Napoleon's brandy.***
He heard the shed door close and sighed.
Something warm, curvy and oddly farm girlish oozed up beside him, detached the brandy bottle and sipped.
"So, Angus," she said in tones overly sweet, "is there anything that you feel you should tell me? In the interest of lets call it, full disclosure? Hmmm?" 
Uncle Mac sighed again, retrieved the brandy.
"Yes, I suppose there is."
*Vida, no matter time of day, always manages to look sleepy. Sleepy looks good on her.
**There is a picture of this. Aren't you glad we didn't post it?
***"Don't you mean "Napoleon brandy" Mr blog person?
      No. It used to belong to Napoleon, allright. Hence the possessive.

1 comment: said...

WOW! That could have been enough posts for the entire week! You are something...don't know what, but something. ;)