Let's drop that last title below the lead, shall we?

Notamus is gonna get his comeuppance tonight. I have on the stove spaghetti sauce--pasta is one of his favorites, the little weirdo--with fake meatballs (soyballs?)(wheatballs?) and artichoke hearts.

Knowing him, he's gonna try to snatch a fakeball. I'm gonna let him. And boy will he be surprised when he realizes that it's not the sort I usually make, with the egg and the breadcrumbs and the veal and the pork and so on. If I'm lucky he'll have a facial expression worth capturing on camera.

*nod nod nod*

As to why I'm eating spaghetti and fakeballs when it's approximately a zillion degrees outside, it's because I can't bestir myself to go to the grocery store. When the low is 89F/almost 32C, the idea of hunting and gathering at the local market loses its glow.

Things are bad here this summer. Summers in the middle of Texas are always dry, but I've not seen a summer this dry in my life. Really and truly: there's not a crop in Central Texas that's survived this long, and most ranchers in the area and north of here are selling off all their stock in order to pay their bills. They can't afford to feed 'em, because nothing is freaking growing.

The upside is that there are fewer mosquitos than I remember there ever being. The downside is that everything in my yard is dead or dying. The upside to *that* is less maintenance later on, especially when you consider that those of us here in Littleton's Hippie Quarter aren't saddled with the demands of homeowners' associations.

Yeah, so: No rain means no grass, no herbs, no grain. No grain means no cattle going to feedlots means hugely high beef prices in about a year and a half, as there will be no mature cattle to slaughter then. No rain and temperatures of over 100F for the foreseeable future also means a dimunition in the number of fleas and ticks and mosquitoes, but also huge grass fires.

I am constantly amazed, especially when it comes to summers here and winters in the western part of the state, how people could've settled here in the first place. I mean, where I live isn't so bad: there's water, natural springs and the like--but west of here? Northwest of here? Those first settlers were BAMFs of the first degree. There is one natural lake in Texas. One. The rest are manmade.

I listened to an interview once with a guy who did water management or crop management or was a fire chief or something, out west of Midland. He said (and you'll have to supply the drawl for yourself), "You take a map of Texas, you draw a line down the middle. To the left of that line, it don't rain." Precipitation comes in the form of snow, ice, hail, sleet, and a horrifyingly heavy sort of drench that washes away roadbeds, but it doesn't rain like it does in Columbus or Boston or Seattle.

Every year about this time I begin to get rain-hungry.

And fake-meatball hungry. Time to mind-fuck the cat.