rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

Grendel, My Hero

In my post “A Brutal Winter” Round 2”, I talked about  the “Snow Chicken” built yesterday by the “rancherette” during her morning play-time. I posted a video on FB of her actually building that “snow chicken”. There were several responses to that post. One in particular came from two-year-old John Paul Delagarza, who called her a “snow chicken lady”. I thought that was very intuitive for such a young person. It is obvious that young minds think alike.

Yesterday, all the after-school programs for the dogs was not cancelled, besides they had already decided they were not postponing any afternoon free time, anyway, so I let them loose from their pens for their usual run around. We usually let them take turns getting out to avoid any altercations between them.

Watching each one was hilarious as they discovered the “Snow Chicken” The first one to do so was our little male Cairn Terrier, Grendel. He is the Alpha dog in our kennels or at least he thinks he is. He has absolutely no regard for his limited size when compared with his Poodle counterparts. I recall once when he accidently got loose while Denali, a large male Poodle was enjoying his free time. Grendel thought he could bolster his manhood by defeating Denali. Unfortunately, I was the one defeated as Denali bit my hand, thinking it was Grendel. I am very careful, now, when I let the dogs run.

Anyway, Grendel’s first move was from about 30 feet away. Cautiously he approached the odd-looking monster with the funny-looking neck and fluffy head. He barked. He moved ever so slowly,  closer and closer. Then, another bark, a ferociously sounding bark. He raced around the creature, daring the unknown beast to make a move; even a slight twitch could set him off at any moment.

In the meantime, the other dogs in the kennels were cheering him on. Grendel was feeling his oats by now, strutting nonchalantly around this thing. He was playing it cool. He pawed the ground as he eyed this thing.  The thing just stared back, not making a move. Again, Grendel dared the creature to go away or at least react. And again, no movement. Grendel moved a bit closer, still cautious, however, more confident he could handle anything that came his way.

By this time, the Standard poodles were in full voice, egging him on. They (the poodles) have no shame, they were ready to watch a fight. Grendel unashamedly was ready to go into battle, to attack this obvious adversary if need be. But he was getting nowhere, fast. The unknown critter was silent.

And, then it happened. I’m only guessing, because I have no way of knowing what goes on in the mind of Grendel, but I believe he decided that if this thing was not going to engage him in any sort of combat, then he had only one recourse,

to pee on it. 

First one side then the other, up high and down low. In the front and at the rear. Thus, the “Snow Chicken” began to melt and Grendel had accomplished his part at protecting the back yard from monsters. Feeling ‘relieved” he sauntered back to his pen declaring himself to be the victor.

The other male Poodles were more than capable of helping Grendel when it came time for their run around. However, Grendel, my hero, had already conquered the beast of the backyard. It is nice to know our backyard is protected from “monsters” (and Snow Chickens).

Grendel the Snow Chicken Killer

 

 

 

 

 

The sun is now shining and all is well that ends well. Have a happy day.

A “Brutal” Winter, Round 2

In my previous post, A “Brutal” Winter, it seems I was a bit premature with my assessment of “Brutal”. Being a dutiful Texan, I am always subservient to the whims of tall tales. Not that there was any exaggeration with that post, however, as I said, “That was then, this is now.”

Accordingly, I am providing an update.

The winds blew, the temperature was dropping, all the way down to 33 degrees and the snow began to fall. This happened after I rose from bed this morning.

My first thought, after listening to the list of school and government closings and the urging of officials to stay home, was to call the television station and ask them to add http://www.fuzzychickens.com

Fuzzy Chickens dot com 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

and JPR Kennels to their lists of closures.JPR Kennels

For my part I was paying attention to the stay-at-home stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Should I call, I would respectfully ask that all Silkie chickens and Standard Poodles at these locations to stay inside today. I am cancelling all their activities and rescheduling their feedings until tomorrow. The hens do not have to lay eggs today. Besides, this is the first time any of our chickens have ever seen the delicate white stuff. They would be quite hesitant to venture out into this stuff, anyway. The hens could lay their eggs in the snow and I would be unable to find them. They have a tendency to drop their eggs wherever they happen to be at that particular time. Silkies are funny that way.

Now the dogs, on the other hand, consider this white stuff to be old hat. But for the caretaker, not so much. So they can just postpone their sniffing wherewithal until tomorrow. Everyone may as well reschedule their morning events. They can all just have the day off. I am not offended that they think otherwise.

After my suggestion about calling the TV station, the “rancherette” decided, for whatever unnerving reason, to build a “snow chicken” in the backyard. The local television station is always asking for viewers to send in their pictures. She said this would be a great picture for TV and she could put her website in the snow as well. What a great marketing tool, she said. And it would be fun, she said. I can put it on Facebook, she said. And it is very cold, I said.

They say that when one reaches a certain age, one has a tendency to revert back to their childhood. I can attest to that.

Being the artist, she is, and with her blank “canvas” before her, like a “phoenix” rising from the snow, a creature comes forth with a funny little beak, a fluffy head and a cedar bough for a tail. It looks just like a chicken. A Silkie chicken! Fuzzy 7

 

 

 

 

 

What with the temperature hovering near freezing, my solution would have been to just set one of the chickens out in the snow and wait a few minutes. Voila, instant “Snow Chicken”.  That did not go over very well.

nice chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was this morning, now it is afternoon. The sun is beginning to come out, the temperature is rising and the snow is melting. The ‘snow chicken” is shrinking. The day is just about gone. The dogs and chickens did not pay any attention to the cancellations anyway. I should have known better. It is too late to call the station back and remove my closures from their lists. And I was pretty sure we were in for a blizzard. Just shows you how much I know about Texas weather.

With the temperature the way it is, I have a hankering for a bowl of chicken and dumplings or chicken noodle soup. That would really hit the spot. Chicken sounds good about now.

Stay Warm!

A “Brutal” Winter

So, it has been a few days since my last post. Been busy around this “ranch”. Had new pens to build for the “rancherette’s chickens and what with the weather being nice, I just could not bear to sit myself down inside.
I decided to close in the carport where I keep my mowers. Much of my lawn equipment is currently stored in the garage and we house our brooder pens there as well. Forget about parking a car inside, that will never happen.

New eggs arrived from Oregon and Georgia last week so we need the covered room outside for all my “stuff”. This will give us a bit more room for the brooder chicks when they hatch.
I made a trip to the “big box” lumber center to pick up a load of material for the carport project. You will notice that I mentioned earlier the weather was nice, in the mid sixties near seventy degrees.
I managed to lay the block foundation for the wall on the north side and frame the wall with high hopes of completing the job by early next week.

Well, that was then and this is now.

The temperature has plummeted all the way down to 28 degrees, expecting to hit 24 by Tuesday morning. The wind chill hovers near 18 degrees. We have almost a half inch of sleet that has practically covered the back yard and now it is snowing a bit. I have on two layers of clothing with a third on standby for when I venture outside. The furnace is working overtime, (not to mention the electric meter). And did I mention that it is very difficult to type this article wearing insulated gloves?

Each day, we let the kennel dogs out for their morning constitutional. Have you ever seen dogs tiptoe? Most took one look outside their pens and made a beeline back inside. I can’t know for sure what they were thinking but I’m guessing  the question they were asking me is, “What were you thinking? I’m NOT leaving the comfortable warmth of my inside pen!” Yeah, well, guess what dogs, I’m not rushing out for your afternoon pleasure either.

Before storm

Kennels

After Storm

Backyard kennels

This kind of weather keeps them inside on days like today. Their heaters keep them at a constant 60 degrees. Aah, such is a dog’s life. I noticed this morning a coyote in the pasture across the road and he was high tailing it towards the woods. He apparently does not like this weather either.

However, there are some animals who enjoy a cold snap. Such as the Silkie chickens. At least the four adults do. They thrive on the rush of adrenaline. However, there are some young birds we call “juvies” (short for juveniles) who are not as well versed as the adults. They have a heat lamp and readily stay near the warmth. These are the residents of the “Chicken Condo”.

Chicken Condos

On the hill, over looking the pond, we have a “High Rise” where eleven adolescents, four “juvies”, one blind hen, one broody hen and one smashing rooster reside. There temperature is also at 60 degrees. The only problem I see, is the hens are not laying eggs.Must be too cold.

 

High Rise

Yet, all the animals are in their comfort zone, including the geese.

Snow coverd geese

I, on the other hand, am dismayed at this weather.
But I am not too worried. By Thursday, the temperature will be back in the low to middle sixties, maybe even seventy, I will be back, hammer in hand, working on my carport, the dogs will be barking to be let out, the chickens will be laying eggs again and winter in North Texas will be back to what we call normal.

I realize my friends in New York and Atlanta and other places with “real” winters will scoff at my account of our latest winter barrage, nevertheless..,

Hmmmmm, Are those snow clouds I see on the horizon?

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