Need Writing Help?

  Issue 121 page 5

Search Home FAQ Links Site map Book Store

BackIssues

New Ask Us Theory About
Laughing Stock

A true story

This one really is true, we promise.  We think you'll find it hilarious, too, or your money back.

Oh, the linguistic interest?  Well, er... the use of capitalized phrases is reminiscent of the early English novel... innit?

Well, I knew there had to be a downside to beet pulp, and thought it only fair that I pass it on...This afternoon I decided to bring some beet pulp pellets into the house to soak, because I wanted to get an idea of the % volume they expanded during soaking. Researchers are like that, pathetically easy to amuse and desperately in need of professional help. So I trundled in a bucket, about three pounds of beet pulp, added in the water and set it in the living room to do its thing. No problem. Science in the making. 

Well, one thing I don't think I've mentioned before is that in my ongoing Quest to turn this house into Noah's Ark, we have not only four horses, two dogs, three house cats plus Squeaky the barn cat, a sulfur-crested cockatoo, a cockatiel and assorted toads, we also have William, a fox squirrel who absent-mindedly fell out of his tree as a baby a year or so ago, and got handed off by my vet to the only person he knew silly enough to traipse around with a baby squirrel and a bottle of Esbilac in her bookbag. Being no dummy, William knew a sucker when he saw one and has happily been an Urban Squirrel ever since. And for those of you that think A Squirrel's Place is In The Wild, don't think we didn't try that...last year at Christmas, we thought we'd give him his first lesson in Being a Wild Squirrel by letting him play in the undecorated Christmas tree, and his reaction was to shriek in horror, skitter frantically across the floor and go try to hide underneath the nearest border collie. Since then, the only way he will allow himself to be taken outside is hiding inside Mummy's shirt and peering suspiciously out at the sinister world. So much for the re-make of Born Free in San Dimas. 

Anyway, when I set out the bucket of beet pulp, I may have underestimated the lengths that a young and enthusiastic squirrel will go to to stash all available food items in new and unusual hiding spots. I thought letting William out of his cage as usual and giving him a handful of almonds to go cram under cushions and into sleeping dog's ears was sufficient entertainment for the afternoon. After all, when I left, he was gleefully chortling and gloating over his pile of treasure, making sure the cockatoo saw them so he could tell her I Have Almonds And You Don't. Sigh. So much for blind optimism. Well, apparently when the almond supply ran out, beet pulp pellets became fair game and I can only imagine the little rat finding that great big bucket and swooning with the possibilities of being able to hide away All That Food. The problem isn't quite so much that I now have three pounds of beet pulp pellets cleverly tucked away in every corner of my house, it's that as far as I can tell, the soaking-expanding- and-falling-apart process seems to be kinda like nuclear meltdown. Once the reaction gets started, no force on earth is going to stop it. 

So when I happily came back from the grocery store, not only do I find an exhausted but incredibly Fulfilled squirrel sprawled out snoozing happily up on the cat tree, I find that my house smells like a feed mill and virtually every orifice is crammed full of beet pulp. This includes the bathroom sink, the fish tank filter, in my undie drawer, in the kitty box (much to their horror) and ALL the pockets of my bookbag. I simply can't WAIT to turn on the furnace and find out what toasting beet pulp smells like. The good news is that in case of siege, I have enough carbohydrates hidden in my walls and under the furniture to survive for years. The bad news is that as soon as I try to remove any of the Stash, I get a hysterical squirrel clinging to my pant leg, tearfully shrieking that I'm ruining all his hard work and now he's going to starve this winter. (This is despite the fact that William is spoiled utterly rotten, knows how to open the macadamia nut can all by himself and has enough of a tummy to have earned him the unfortunate nickname Buddha Belly.) 

So in case anyone was losing sleep wondering just how much final product you get after soaking three pounds of beet pulp, the answer is a living room full. I'd write this New Data up and submit it as a case study paper to the nutrition and physiology society, but I suspect the practical applications may be limited. Off to go empty the Shop-Vac. Again. 

Susan Garlinghouse

Susan Garlinghouse is an equine nutritionist who was studying beet pulp for use in equine diets.  See this more serious article about beet pulp written by her.  The famous squirrel story excerpted above, with an introduction, can be found at the same web site, along with a photograph of the mischievous William.

PREVIOUS  |  HOME

Comments, additions? Send to Melanie & Mike: melmike@takeourword.com
DO NOT SEND QUERIES TO THAT ADDRESS.  Instead, ASK US.
Copyright 1995-2001
TIERE
Last Updated 05/22/01 10:13 PM