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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not his kind of cake

My summer vacation was absolutely perfect. I didn’t go away to the ocean, I didn’t go camping in the woods. I didn’t travel to some great city to visit museums, art galleries and rock concerts. I stayed right here at the Fisher Farm. Home.


My mornings consisted of loafing about, having coffee in bed, following the Farmer around the barnyard for an hour or so then picking a weed or two out of the garden. After lunch on the porch I would fall asleep reading my book.

Now don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t completely non-productive while the Farmer moved wagonload after wagonload of manure every day. I did sort out my book proposal and I sorted out my teenager’s closet. Those jobs took three days all together. But mostly I loafed. And I loved every minute of it.

As the Farmer was working so hard (his home-stay vacations are always more work than going to work), I took over the morning feeding chores. And it’s a good thing. Because I stumbled upon something this morning that would have made the Farmer scream like a girl. On the floor of the storage room in the barn was something green with black stripes that rhymes with “cake”. Yessir, that’s what I said: CAKE.

Now, this particular “cake” was no longer wriggling, as it had been mostly decapitated by one of my hardworking barn kitties. But it was still a cake. And the Farmer hates that kind of cake. In fact, the Farmer hates cakes so much, people are not supposed to even mention them in his presence. He can’t watch them on TV, he hates it when they show up on the road, and he certainly doesn’t want to deal with them in his own environment. If there is a nest of cakes in the barn, I am going to be the one to get rid of them. And that is not a task that I am particularly looking forward to.

As a young girl growing up on Johnston Road, I remember kicking the tarp off the lawn tractor and having a cake wriggle over my foot. It didn’t concern me much.

An afternoon in Limerick Forest with my children was made even more enjoyable (at least to them) by the discovery of a nest of tiny newborn cakes. Again, I wasn’t really bothered by the little squirmers.

I have been to Australia on a few occasions, and I have spotted the elusive, deadly Brown Cake. It is possibly the most poisonous cake in the world. It was wriggling through the underbrush next to a beach that was cleared by the screaming whistles of lifeguards within seconds of my announcing I had just seen “a funny brown twig that moved”.

Perhaps it was that experience in Australia that changed my view of cakes. Yes, I know that our Eastern Ontario version is nowhere near as dangerous as the Aussie brand. But still. Where once there was apathy, there is now extreme dislike. I don’t like them.

That being said, if I do discover a nest of cakes in our barn, I will be the one to scoop them up and carefully move them to the forest or the stone fence, where you might expect to see them. Where they belong. If I leave the job of eradicating the cakes to the Farmer, he will no doubt take a flamethrower to whatever corner of the barn the nest is discovered in, setting fire to our hay and possibly taking down the entire structure.

And you think I exaggerate.

I picked up the dead cake in gloved fingers this morning, placed it in a feed bag and put it in the burn barrel. I have not spoken to the Farmer about my discovery, and I hope that none of you will either, when you meet him on the street. He doesn’t usually read my columns (unless someone suggests he should), so the cake secret should be safe with us.

If he comes to me demanding that I tell him the truth about the cake, I will know that it was one of my loyal readers who let the cake out of the proverbial feed bag.

The barn is a type of man-cave for the Farmer. He goes there to do menial tasks as a form of peaceful meditation. If he knew there was a cake – possibly several of them – in the barn, he might never venture inside again. So let’s just keep this between you and me, okay? Okay. Thanks.

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