Well, February is nearly over, and while I have gained some insight from the “alcohol-free” experience, I am truly looking forward to enjoying a nice, tall glass of whiskey come the first of March. Between tornadoes, meteorites, a bludgeoning schedule, and terrible personal tragedy, it has been a terrifically humbling month. I’ve found myself at times ready to fling my body onto the ground, prostrate myself, and give it all up for whatever greater deities or demons might be receptive to my entreaties. I have sympathy for the Pope and his decision to become the first Pontiff to resign since the early 15th century.

I’ve given a lot of my energy, in the form of sweat and tears, to the ground – and the ground has helped to wear me out so that my sleep has come relatively easily. Of course this has resulted in a stiff back, sore muscles, and what might be the first indication of a hernia throbbing in my groin. Good times. That being said, I believe the quinoa is sprouting, the garlic is thick and green, and today I snacked on a delicious white radish I pulled from of the soil. If you are an impatient gardener, plant radishes; the tenacious little roots sprout within days, and can be table-ready within sixty days. You can grow them all through the winter and spring; it’s only in the heat of summer that they will tend to bolt before the bulb has a chance to form. While the radishes and garlic are performing wonderfully, I had to give the potatoes and the spinach a pep-talk – no signs of life, yet.

Nashville

Trish is mad about the new soap opera-esque drama that is the television show, Nashville. In fact, right now she is performing the “bullsh*t” chant as a result of Nashville being pre-empted this evening by a Katie Couric Oscar Special. I’ve caught the show, which combines the country music scene and a scandalous political landscape, a few times, and it is layered with characters and situations that generate tension. Back when I was in school, one of my teachers told me one key to screenwriting was to create tension in every scene. The more tension there is, the more interested the audience will be. pic

Cheesy television shows aside, the city of Nashville will always hold a special place in my heart. It is the city where Trish and I took a formative, week-long “date.” Over the course of the trip we flooded one motel room, bought forty beers for ten dollars at a bar called “the Chute,” made a lot of friends in the process, enjoyed whiskey shots with songwriters in the honky-tonk next to the Country Music Hall of Fame, spent a lot of “quality time” in the bedroom, and by the end of the trip, came to find ourselves officially engaged.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.