Monday, August 04, 2014


Judging by my cucumbers, the monkeys have changed their accounting standard.

Back in the glory days, their standard was to crash my garden, snatch and eat whatever they could on the spot or grab whatever they could carry, run a safe distance, eat the haul, come back for more, if any, then keep doing that until it was all gone or I was still throwing rocks. A simple standard, suited to the mountain forest lowlifestyle.

But civilization has been encroaching, as it tends to do. Historically, the same thing has happened to pirates, highwaymen, Wall Street and other forms of human brigandage, though there are signs that those changes are unraveling. On the simian side, the old standard worked well for the beasts during the good-time years, when I was planting rows of onions for them, I was planting rows of their potatoes, I was planting walls of tomatoes and cucumbers out of boundless admiration for my simian overlords, lots of everything for them, even sweet potatoes, guy from the city, and different varieties of it all, various squashes, even got blueberries, plums and loquats in there, not to mention 2 kinds of gourmet mushrooms, which the chompers really love.

Over the years, as they stole from me, I learned from them. Which was easier than with humans, because owing to certain cortical limitations, as well as social customs, e.g., no pockets, no briefcases, no banks, no Wall Street equivalent, my simian colleagues have evolved only a primitive form of greed, known locally as "paws and jaws," a concept familiar to monkey accountants, but seldom seen in human society other than in derivative markets, where it is referred to as "hand over fist."

For my part in this ever ongoing battle of ethics, I regained my old pitching eye and arm, did what else I could: I gathered rocks and stashed them strategically, put up a fence and gradually stopped planting the types of things that monkeys like, because it's difficult to grow that kind of stuff to fruition anyway, but to then have it consumed by thankless creatures... In time, I got almost as crafty as a monkey; the only thing that held me back was my job.

Despite that handicap, my efforts seem to have pressured the monkeys into changes of their own. I’m hearing more and more that the hairy marauders have started raiding gardens down in the village, which they never used to do. (I'm publishing this only in English.) "You can only get onions were there are onions!" is now major monkey dogma; same rule for potatoes, zucchinis etc.

So lately I've been noticing changes, like the other day - and then again today - I found a ready-to-harvest cucumber hanging among other similarly ready cucumbers, but with only ⅓ of it bitten off by patently monkey teeth, leaving nearly 67% for yours truly. A pretty high vig if you ask me, but it was only one cucumber, and if you also ask me "Is your take better than 0%," I have to say yes. Sooner or later, though, I must consult with my arboreal neighbors, person-to-ape, in mutual frankness, so I can make them an offer they can't refuse.

I also recommend that a human version of my SFD program (Stones, Fences, Deprivation) be tried on Wall Street.


Anonymous said...

Time for a new post! Miss reading your creativity.

Deb said...

Hi Bob,

Missing you, come back to us!

Mick Brady said...

Leaving a note for all friends of Pure Land Mountain... Bob had a massive stroke on August 6 and has been unable to post since then. He is doing well, making progress day by day, and hopes to be back in the saddle by early next year. In the meanwhile, he is in a hospital nearby, taking notes on his voice recorder, preparing for the day he can tell the story of a partially paralyzed American confined to a Japanese hospital, staring out at one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Japan. He said to say hi.
- Mick Brady, his brother in America

Apprentice said...

Please give Bob my warmest regards. Here's to hoping he's back tending his garden devising ever more clever ways to confound his less than neighborly monkeys.

Mick Brady said...

I will do that, Apprentice. He'll be in the hospital at least until January, then to an assisted living facility. Although it sounds bad, he's making amazing progress and will probably be out there chasing monkeys with his cane before we know it. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Sending warm wishes for healing to Bob, his wise and funny wit is being sorely missed. Love and light.

Hughes ap Williams said...

I certainly miss his posts and I am looking forward to his future tales of his recovery. I loved the story he put in "The Elder Storytelling Place" about shopping with the grandchildren. Thinking about the monkeys and the crows in his garden should be his motivation to get home. - SusanG.

Deb said...

Sending my warmest wishes to Bob as he recovers. Let him know he is very missed. I'm sure even his adversaries the monkeys and crows are puzzled by his absence!

Sorry to be so long expressing my concerns for his health. I've checked back frequently for a new post but never thought to check the comments for an update.

Deb in Canada

Sara said...

Surely I speak for many Pure Land Mountain followers in sending Bob all wishes for a speedy recovery. His wit & wisdom have kept many of us sane these past few years, and I look forward to the day he returns to sharing his many insights.


Diana Hunt said...

Oh! Like others, I never thought to check the comments for news of the missing Brady, and just did so a couple of days after the American Thanksgiving . . . wondering if there would be a post about PIE. Sending many good wishes for a solid, rapid recovery. We do miss your writing, Bob. Be well soon.

Evalyn said...

I sure do miss you, Bob, so I can't begin to imagine what your family, the grandchildren AND the monkeys are feeling. I'm looking forward to your return. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending good thoughts. I'm even feeling a little sentimental towards the monkeys..

Kalei's Best Friend said...

OMG, I was wondering if he was taking a break from blogging... I hope he has a speedy recovery.. I miss his 'adventures'....((HUGS))

Deck Ape Kodiak said...

Monkeys slide open screens here in Shishsigadani, leap onto balconies to view damsels in undress, snatch persimmons from tables, open fridges and devour, spill milk all over tatami, rob veggies too, and to my horror, upon returning from Alaska 2 moons ago, neighbors told me the entire Hiei-zan troop had been gunned down in cold ape blood.
Such an ultra-violent solution to a minor apish attack!

Anonymous said...

Aha. Sending you warm thoughts for healing and strength. And a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Sending all good wishes for a speedy return to your own Pure Land Mountain. I miss your voice and look forward to your return with tales of this experience.

Meanwhile, I will reread from the archives - Aspirin and your part in the downfall of Marcos (we can all feel the desperation of sciatic pain and the steaming of the peppers through your words!), the lovely recollection of your 100-year-old great grandmother, the majesty of The Baron, your haiku.

Healing thoughts and much strength to you Bob.


Tabor said...

A shout out from the blogosphere....echo? echo? echo?

Mick Brady said...

An update on Bob's recovery from the American half of The Blog Brothers, based on our face-to-face conversations via ipad... He continues to make remarkable progress, thanks in no small part to his Irish stubbornness, active mind and child-like sense of wonder, making everything - even a stroke - an endlessly fascinating adventure. He'll be back before you know it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Mick, we are all sending our best wishes for Bob's recovery from where ever we are in the world.

vegetablej said...

Hi Bob:

Sending warm thoughts from Nova Scotia in spite of the cold and nasty weather. Hope you feel much better soon and get back home. Surely the mountain and the monkeys are missing you.


Deb said...

Hi Bob,
From the wild and windy eastern slope of the Canadian Rockies, a heartfelt hello and deep support as you recover.

We're missing you so. No one prepares a simple vegetarian meal as well as you, or communes with the monkeys as effectively (or as uselessly) or entertains the crows.

Life is always surprising us! Boo! Here I am with a new challenge! Aren't you thrilled? (Well, no actually - do I have a choice? Hmmm, I thought not.)

But like many of your readers I'll send a virtual hug to you and everyone in your family.


Apprentice said...

Thanks for the updates Mick - truly appreciated!
Well, Setsubun has passed, meaning it's time for all farmers to report back to their fields to plan for this years crop (and anti-varmint ingenuity).
Needing to hear some nasty vegetal syntax for motivation Bob? Bean feeling gourd? What a rutabaga awakening, eh? Ahh, cuke this!
Sorry for the vulgarity, but spring is just around the corner - time to put some of that magic into your step my friend. Cheers!
Gregg T.

Edward J. Taylor said...

Missing you and your words, Bob. Hope all is well on the mend.

Entre Nous said...

Hoping Bob is doing well