rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Back to Square One

If you recall from my last post, I began writing using clichés wherever I can. My last blog, I Already Have One Paw on the Chicken Coop* was one about chicken “tractors”. If you forgot what that is, then read my last blog again.

As I continue researching this idea, I have this thought. If I decide to purchase one, I will be looking for one that I can buy  For the Price of a Skinny Chicken*. If you want to know what that means, you can look it up. This is an educational article and I don’t give out all the answers.

Once I get the “tractor”, (build or buy) then I suppose we will have to move on to the purchasing (or hatching) of the fowls. This depends on whether or not we want full-grown chickens or raising them from baby chicks. I don’t really have a preference as long as I don’t have to sit (set?) on the eggs.

If we decide to raise them from baby chicks, I’m wondering, how on earth do you determine whether or not you get females? The last time I looked a chick straight in the eye or from underneath, I saw no example of whether it was a boy chick or girl chick.

I read somewhere there are professional chick sexers that can tell you whether or not your baby chicks are female or male. I wonder how you get that job and how much does it pay? Do you know what you have to do to determine whether the chick is male or female? You can explore this line of thought if you wish, but for me, forget it, it doesn’t pay enough. And I also read that even the sexers  are not 100% accurate. Now if we purchase adult chickens, then there will be no problem. I can tell the difference between roosters and hens. I have always been able to tell a male from a female in most other species. I don’t have to hold them upside down, either.

There are a number of chicken breeds that lay eggs. Some are exotic and require a great deal of care. I thought I wanted a leghorn, seems I recall them when I was a youngster at my grandmother’s house. I remember the rooster that would chase me whenever I entered the chicken yard to gather eggs. We don’t want any leghorns.

My grandmother also raised Rhode Island Reds. I suppose you can guess where they originated. I’m not exactly sure how they ever got to East Texas. I figure they realized that Texas was the place to be and got here as quickly as they could. If you don’t live in Texas, come on down, get here as quickly as you can.

I discovered there is a breed of chicken that lays Easter Eggs. By that, I mean they are already colored. It’s a fact. The Araucana, from Chile, actually lays blue and green eggs and even speckled eggs. Another breed, the Ameraucana, also lays pink and brown eggs., Guess what they call these breeds? Easter Eggers.

My wife said she favored the little breed known as Silkies. They are an ornamental chicken breed. I discovered one of the most unusual aspects of this chicken is that they have five toes. I think they are the only chicken that fits that category. I don’t know if that is pertinent or not, just an observance. Until now, I always thought Silkies were little dogs.

Well, I don’t really care what breed my wife gets as long as I don’t have to play with them. With all the dogs that own us, I have enough playmates already. Better not let the dogs play with them either, or else it would be back to square one*. And besides, I don’t have the chicken tractor, yet.

P.S. Just this morning I heard on the news that eating egg yolks is as “bad as smoking”. They said that egg whites or egg substitutes have no cholesterol and fewer calories than whole eggs. If we could get chickens that lay only egg whites or “Eggbeaters” then I would have it made.
Then again, maybe I need to rethink this whole idea about chickens.

Consistent with this being educational, I have included a website that will give you further information concerning your heart health.

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf

Have a great day.

* Cliché

(I Already Have One Paw on) The Chicken Coop

My recent blog poem contained a cliché about “burning bridges”. This gave me an idea about using clichés. I determined I should attempt to write a poem or story containing a cliché that coincides with each letter of the alphabet. This will be my first post with that in mind. We shall see if it is a good idea or not.
I found a website (ClichéSite.com) that lists many clichés and this is where I began to draw my inspiration.

For some time now, my wife has been after me to build a chicken “tractor”.  All you city types, take notice, this is a portable chicken coop. (See picture below) It is enclosed, with wheels, and can be moved from location to location with the chickens inside so you never have to keep them in one place. One can move it by hand, use a tractor to move it or even a riding lawn mower, hence, the name chicken “tractor”. The idea is to allow the free-range chickens a place to hunt and peck and not have them destroy your yard.

So far, I have resisted (ignored) the calls to build such a contraption. I only have to look to my neighbors to see these fowl birds. Their chickens already range into my front yard. They occasionally fly over the fence into the backyard, however, we also raise standard poodles and they have an affinity for chicken. Whatever comes over the fence does not necessarily fly back over. I must admit, chickens do keep the grasshopper population to a minimum; however, I’m not totally convinced of owning chickens.

During the conversation, my wife said she only wants two hens to lay eggs. At this point, my daughter interjected her two-cent’s worth and declared that we could not get eggs without a rooster. Obviously, she never lived on a farm. I must say here, my daughter is well past the age of puberty, having raised two children of her own. Once it was explained to her that chickens could lay eggs without a rooster, she exclaimed, “I didn’t know that”. Anyway, with roosters, baby chickens would soon be coming out our ears. (That’s a cliché I didn’t intend to use). We definitely do not want any baby chickens.

I told my wife I never built a chicken coop before. She said I could get chicken coop plans on the internet. I said I couldn’t afford to buy plans. She said there are many free plans available. A point in her favorite.

My wife says we could  have fresh eggs everyday. I don’t eat eggs everyday. They have too much cholesterol. My wife says I take medicine to reduce my cholesterol. Another point in her favor.
She says eggs are a good source of iron, good for the brain. I can’t argue about that. I need all the help I can get. My wife says she also could use them to bake pies and cakes. I do eat pies and cakes. Another point in her favor.
                                                                                                                                                               They would, however, be a good source of meat. A point in my favor. Wait, she said, we would have to first chop off the head, (neither of us can do that) submerge the chicken in scalding water, pluck the feathers, maybe even burn off the tiny hairs left behind. (What an odorous and rank task that would be) then it is ready to process. I backed off on that idea. I guess I have to give her another point. That kind of chicken is best left up to the supermarket.

I also concluded that chickens are messy. They poop everywhere. That means you have to keep their place clean. My wife said she would do that. There you have it, another point.

As far as chickens eating grasshoppers, they also consume their weight in just about anything else that moves. And did I say, fertilize? Points just keep adding up.

There is one more thing to consider before raising chickens. Remember what happens when the fox gets in the henhouse? It means that this is a bad situation. For when a fox gets in to a henhouse at least some of the chickens end up dead. My wife said we have no foxes around here. She just keeps collecting points. By the way, if you are keeping score, I think I’m down 4-1.

Well, I suppose that as soon as I can get around to it, I may be able to build one of these contrivances. I already got one paw on the chicken coop”. (“caught in the act of doing something bad or wrong”).                           Along about this time is when she declared, “Oh, for Pete’s sake…” 

For a picture of a chicken tractor, just click on the link below . 

Chicken tractor

Words

 

Burning Bridges: To do something which makes it impossible or at least very difficult to return to an earlier state. Often used in situations where you have to make a choice which cannot be undone.

Words

We’ve all been down this road before.

We spoke too soon, no doubt.

for when the brain is not engaged,

the words just pop right out.

 

Sometimes our faint and feeble minds

Can’t think that far ahead.

we don’t look before we leap  

and don’t remember what we said.

 

Those hapless thoughts we’re thinking?

they’re clogging up our mind.

We can’t escape, no place to hide

No haven can we find.

 

But, here’s a concept to consider:

The reckless words we often tattle,

Can lead us up a crooked creek

without a single paddle.

 

So, keep your mouth all tightly closed

Resist the urge to scream

And never, ever burn your bridge,

Before you cross the stream.

  Pete Robertson                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                       

Morning Dew

I have spent the better part of the summer with grandkids, graduations, weddings, funerals,  reunions, our dogs, (God love ‘em all) antiquing throughout East Texas, and just trying to keep cool. The one thing I have not done is writing.

So, I have turned over a new leaf. (we’ll see) I have written two poems this past week. I am posting one today. I think it works for me.

I heard a song this past week, titled “When Teardrops Kiss the Morning Dew”. It is a blue grass tune by Alison Krauss, a very favorite singer of mine. It got me to thinking, not entirely about teardrops kissing the morning dew, but about THE Morning Dew.

When you think about nature, it doesn’t take long to discover how much we do not know. Obviously, there are many who have very different opinions about nature than I do. For example, some would have us believe we evolved from the sea. I question that, but then, I am not a scientist. My belief system says to me, that I was created in the image of the Father. That would be the Lord God Almighty..

If I am to believe that, then it doesn’t take long for me to describe nature in the terms of Who put everything together in this world. So, when I am speaking of THE Morning Dew, you can perhaps conclude that I am speaking about God.

Anyway, with thanks to Alison Krauss for the muse, I post this in my blog. I hope you enjoy.

 

Morning Dew

We try to hide the teardrops

that sometimes comes our way.

Wipe them from our eyes

and hope they’ll stay away.

 

Some say the Morning Dew

Gives moisture from the sky

I hope it draws the moisture

from my teary eye.

 

If teardrops count as troubles,

then Lord, I’ve shed a few.

I wonder if my teardrops

will taste the Morning Dew.

 

Sometimes I sense a bit of trouble

Before it comes my way.

I’m wondering if my teardrops

will complicate my day.

 

Some say the Morning Dew

can heal a shriveled land.

If that be true, dear Lord,

Then touch me with Your Hand.

 

When my tears start falling,

Lord, let me hear from you,

I wonder if my teardrops

will taste the Morning Dew.

 

                                                                                                    Pete Robertson 

                          

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