With all the rain and cold we’ve been having I tried to do something constructive by making snorkels for a neighbor’s garden. I first offered my useful services to a nearby berry ranch and a hop happening. But it seems growers who know what they’re doing don’t automatically warm up to new ideas or alternate version of horticultural one described to me as “Harry’s horror culture.” That was a no even with the added enticement of knitting wee scarves to keep the drowning plants warm while gasping for air through a straw. (The straws with bendable sections work best as rain will go down a straight snorkel and cause drowning.) Of course once a hop tree or berry bush reaches sufficient height it is relatively safe and unlikely to drown, though I counseled prudence to the growers with what I thought pertinent warnings of trench root and other perils possibly needing intervention. It seemed to me then as it does now that though many generations of hops and berries endured periods when their tops were wet and cold and their roots were sloshy with sogginess there was still potential danger we humans could act to prevent. But if you think about it there’s no particularly good reason a berry or hops plant should trust us one little bit because our motive is hardly innocent. We don’t care for hop or berry welfare one bit. We’re there to eat the berry, mash it into jelly jam, or in the case of hops brew it into something we’ll drink and which the hop itself had no desire to in any way be a participant. The conciliatory hops who said “Well, maybe, we’ll see” and agreed to submit in a spirit of peace and cooperation found what that got them was ending up in damp places named Crane, Moen, or American Standard. Why would a hop trust any of us? They have grown in wisdom to the ways of Bud.

When I get in one of these useful moods I have trouble shaking it off because there are so many opportunities to make improvements. Everywhere I look there is potential. For example seems to me Deer Crossing signs need to be directed more at moose or deer than at drivers. The typical North Shore driver (including visitors) never for a moment thinks it’s a good idea to drive off into the woods to run over a Bambi. The very tip of the start of such a thought is sure sign of a bad thing. Anyone can see a sorry end in sight soon as the far tires leaves pavement for the bush.

In any case, messing with driving habits is more, regardless of potential utility, of a project than I want speeding up my declining years. But I think I may have found a keeper with a plan to breed the deer fly with the deer tick. Before the biologically traditional and those who oppose messing with Mother Nature can rise against me I will say the project will meet all the stringent standards of scientific observation I can afford to manipulate. We’ll meet every one while treating Nature’s Children with the respect and care they rightfully deserve. See I’m not saying Stonewall Jackson fashion “Kill them all,” as would make sense and be rewarding. No, I’m saying let’s have the bold vision to conceive of a new things of benefit to the world of human and non. A form of flying deer tick would be a great benefit. You probably know deer ticks have notoriously bad eyesight. They latch onto things by accident and hope what they grabbed will prove a meal. As fliers they are unlikely to be much threat and will as likely fly into a tree trunk as the limb on a deer or one of us, which is accident, remember (refer back to their poor vision). There are two particularly desirable side effects of coaxing the flying deer tick into existence. The first is they will be a lot easier to spot and swat than in their present miniscule version. Consider it this way. It’s near impossible to swat a no-see-um but not the unlucky flyer the fly swatter is made to order to smack flies a good one. The second lovely potential is that a tick with wings could become so giddy with the miracle of flight they’d forget their purpose and would cease to be a nuisance. I also hedge on the hope that being poor of sight a lot of the flying ticks would seek clear air above lakes and would perish in their millions seeking after the glowing paradise of the far Lake Superior shore.

You’re likely skeptical of my ideas. Most people are. But I have to say in my defense that nonconventional nonsense is no more nonsensical than the garden grown stuff politicians say and propose on a basis so regular we take their goofiness as the serious stuff of politics. Over generations of popular democracy we’ve come to see popular as reasonable. If a lot of people like it and believe it then it must be reasonable and very possibly true. Now if you are a butt kiss politico this gives you a feast of flesh as ripe and ready for draining as a flying deer tick with 20/20 vision would feel seeing a tasty Bambi on its horizon. The leadership of a likeable populist may be worse than guidance gained from a less political type of being. I dispose well toward someone who knows their stuff and thinks doing a proper job is more important than staying in everyone’s good graces. The politician who tells of all the wonderful things they’ve done for us is also saying we need help and can’t really manage on our own. Do you really think and feel that good leadership is also a form of condescension? Do you feel better after hearing “You poor thing?” Sympathy and pacification may not be what we need to effectively face serious issues or counter dire circumstance.