rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Airedales”

The New Doggie Door

In case you may not have seen my original piece, titled “Uses for a Pickup Truck”, posted in April 2015 Archives of rancherwriterpoet.com, then perhaps you could read it for the background.

The storyline is this: The “Rancherette” brought home a “hitchhiker”, an Airedale that “supposedly” opened the front door of my pickup, jumped in and “hitchhiked” home. I’m pretty sure the “Rancherette” knows better than to pick up hitchhikers, however, one look into the eyes of this Airedale and she was hooked. I still have my doubts.  We later named her, Alfie because of the strange resemblance to the “Alien Life Form”. We know this character as “ALF”, from the TV series in the late ‘80’s.

Alf

                                                     Enduring Eyes

The alien is described as  a “protagonist, an orange-haired, pint-sized 299-year-old space alien with an aardvark-like nose and a propensity for mischief and comic sarcasm”. That’s our Alfie, except for the pint-size and the age.

When Alfie first arrived in the spring of 2015, she ate the wood trim around the entry door, the wood casings on the custom built bench, the drywall around the windows, and anything else that would fit into her mouth. She had a proclivity for chewing anything. I first thought the “Rancherette” had brought home a beaver. We could not keep any kind of bedding for her comfort; it became something with which to play with not sleep in. She, after all, was only fourteen weeks old.  Alfie on the rug

So now at 18 months of age, she has matured (?) somewhat. Of course she sleeps on the area rug. It’s a good thing it is large, or it would become fodder. She isn’t quite as destructive as she once was. The trim and drywall seems to be untouchable now, however, when we look for new toys to occupy her time, we describe them as a thirty minute toy or perhaps a forty-five minute toy, meaning this is about how long it will last before she destroys it, too.  Forget any toy we deem to last an hour. There is no such toy that is indestructible for Alfie. Not happening! Some maturity, huh?

However, one thing she seemed at which to be familiar was the doggie door. Because we already had Apollo, a Standard Poodle living in the house, we obviously had a doggie door. Alfie, being the smart dog she was, took to the door as though she had been using it all her life. She is definitely a smart canine. Her enclosed backyard opens into the main yard and is divided with a chain link gate. She quickly learned how to open the gate latch. We had to put a fastener to prevent her getting out without our knowledge. (Maybe she really did open the pickup door, hmmm) However, for 18 months now she has used the doggie door, so much so, that she has broken the frame and destroyed the flap from the use.

So, we get this new doggie door. No problem, right? I beg to differ. Alfie does not like change. I once moved her food and water bowls from one side of the room to another. It was two more days before she wanted to eat and drink from that location.

The “Rancherette” decided to relocate her office from the shared room with Alfie. If you know Airedales, you can certainly understand that. For another two days, Alfie stood in a far corner of the room before she finally ventured back to the gate. This gate separates her from the main house. We had hoped she would acclimate herself to the main house, however, that was wishful thinking. She definitely has an idiosyncrasy about change.

We love this creature. She keeps us in stitches every day. She is very playful and energetic, loves to aggravate the “Rancherette’s” Silkie chickens through the fence and in general rewards us with much pleasure. Her antics are hilarious. She can search your pockets and pick them clean, will chew on my shirt buttons looking for “cookies”.

Pocket 3

Her vocabulary starts and ends with “cookies.” As for the new doggie door, well she doesn’t like it one bit.

img_7028-2

                                                       img_7029-2

 

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Optimism

I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist. My glass is usually half-full as opposed to half-empty. Why do I think that? Because I believe, everything will eventually work itself out.
For example, it has been raining for about a week. Everyday! But tomorrow, the sun will shine. This is optimism.

Animals are natural optimists. Dogs persist in optimism. We do not own an Airedale however, one owns us. Alfie is an eternal optimist. Everything leads her to nirvana. Whether she wants to play ball, find it, or believes you have a treat in your pocket, she is always in the eternal optimism mode. We have a kennel of retired standard poodle show dogs. They are eternal optimists. I have no scientific knowledge that this is true, however, observing these canines on a daily basis leads me to believe that. I make this comparison; I think I am connected with these canines somewhere.

Sailors are optimists as well. Seems to me, one would have to be an optimist to sail into unknown waters. Else, why would one ever leave port? I was a sailor. I left port. I am an optimist.  Explorers have conquered the seas, or perhaps not so much conquer as gaining an understanding,thus making them optimists.

However, those who have been before us have left markers for us to follow. Road signs, if you will. These buoys of life guide us into the calm of knowledge. They offer us a way to sail. In that sense, we have optimism as we approach those guides.

So I wrote this poem because, optimistically, it makes good sense to me.

Optimism

Floating on an angry, seething sea
A buoy struggles against the rage,
against a tenable thread of sanctuary
as if seeking escape from peril,
all the while sustaining its mission.

The world thrives on provocation.
Incendiary actions conflict with care.
Angry seas indulge in harsh discord,
waters boil with intense aggravation,
yet a buoy of optimism stays fixed.

Though we may bobble in angry seas,
Drift back and forth like fastened buoys,
Just be mindful of the strands of shelter,
for markers exist in unbounded optimism
fastened to an Anchor of eternal refuge.

        Pete Robertson
March 2016

A Day at the Spa

Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, things have been hectic, hence the silence from this writer about such. The first of the year we ventured to the Fort Worth Live Stock Show.(THIS THING IS LEGENDARY)

In addition to all the sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and swine, the poultry show also displays several different breeds of poultry and waterfowl.  I might add this includes Silkie chickens of which the “Rancherette” proudly raises. She wanted to “show” some of her Silkie birds. This was her first show and it gave her the incentive she needed to explore the world of “showmanship”. It was a successful endeavor. With first place ribbons in hand the task turned to preparations for the next “Big Shew”. The pressure is on.

Now the “Rancherette” has been very busy lately, what with the chickens molting and such. It seems one cannot deal precisely with a molting chicken when the goal is to get them ready for the “Big Shew”. If feathers are falling out, (a natural process) then there is not much you can do as far as grooming a chicken for the “Big Shew”. For those of you who may not have knowledge of such a venture, it involves quite a bit of effort on the part of the “Rancherette”.

Such efforts should be rewarded with a day at the spa. You know, the place where one can be pampered, massaged, a new hairdo, nail polish, skin rejuvenation, and whatever else one can get added to the procedure. Well, that is exactly what the “Rancherette” desires. Sooooo,

Each prize winning little Silkie will have their personal day at the spa. Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, pampering is quite normal for these birds, especially, since they have won ribbons. The first thing they are pleased to enjoy is a bath. Giving a chicken a bath is not quite like washing a dog, but somewhat better than washing a cat. It is more like washing a dust mop. In fact, we have a Silkie rooster named Dust Mop. However, he is not intent on having a spa day. He has other interests on his mind. Especially, after the little hen comes home from a day at the spa. Granted, cats and dogs do not have the same physical features of Silkies, beyond that, however, there isn’t much difference in the procedure. Feathers or fur, it is pretty much the same.

Apparently, since chickens are notorious for taking dust baths, being submerged in water is no big deal. They enjoy, so I have been told, having their little feathers stroked with all sorts of bath washes. The smellery the better (I know, it is not a word).

The “Rancherette” works her skills around and underneath the feathers to ensure each part of the feathery physique is manipulated. (This is the skin rejuvenation) The wattle must be combed or is it wattling the comb? Whatever, the color must be enhanced. Having enjoyed this, the chicken begins to cackle her appreciation. Soon thereafter, the little fluffy fowl will be wrapped in a luscious bath towel. Then, the Master Blaster is utilized. This is a device especially designed to remove water by the application of warm air to the body. Some folks call it a hair dryer. This particular one is a smaller version than that used for the dogs.

After the water is removed, the little hen looks lovingly at the masseuse as she begins to work her magic. She stretches the little wings here and there, above and under, around and over and then repeats the process, Who doesn’t like a massage every now and then? I am not sure when the nail polishing takes place; however, talcum powder is generously applied for a brightening effect. It has a smellery aroma as well. This addresses the “hairdo”.  Pampering, that’s what I call it.

At this point, I am not sure who receives the most pleasure from this experience, the little Silkie or the “Rancherette”. I do notice that the other feathery creatures are standing in line, cackling, “I’m next”, envious of the first one. I also see where the dogs in the kennel were creating a ruckus, howling and agitated. I think they want their turn in the spa as well. That is, except for the Airedale. Thankfully, we have no cats around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch.

The “Rancherwriterpoet” might as well stand in line, too. He could use a little spa treatment, perhaps after the “Big Shew.”

Poodle Home Security

So during the past few months, I have had a tooth pulled, finished the 3rd chicken coop, gone through cataract surgery, (hooray, my vision is excellent), experienced flooding from the May rains, (now back to the August drought), and gained a new resident, (not counting all the chickens that come and go). I have much for which to be thankful.

In the meantime, I got behind on my writing. Not having the ‘muse’ sitting on my shoulder, I must take action and determine a subject for another fine piece of literature. Then it comes to me, I mean literally, he comes to me. Apollo, our Standard Poodle, places his head in my lap, looks at me with his big eyes and says, “Write about me, Dad”. He calls me Dad through the voice of the “Rancherette”.

Apollo firmly believes himself to be the dominant character in this household. He has rules, his rules. Several years ago, he became a business owner. He established Poodle Home Security. He is the CEO and the lead investigator. He is quite adapting at fending off the UPS and/or FedEx drivers. He allows no cars to enter our driveway unnoticed. The weekly refuse truck should not tarry long or perhaps suffer the consequences. He wards off squirrels, bunny rabbits, gophers, etc., which threaten us from time to time in our yard. Even evil spirits are subject to his menacing bark. Occasionally, when the cattle in the pasture across the road begin to chase their food truck, he hurries them along. And, we always know the comings and goings of our neighbors.

Once a day, he makes his rounds in the back yard. He checks his PeeMail, for messages, and replies if necessary.

PeeMailHe also inspects the kennel dogs and their surroundings, much like a drill sergeant with his recruits. He is constantly barking orders. Some recruits are a bit more stubborn than others are. This only increases his authoritative nature.
He alerts us to storm threats, issuing warnings of severe thunderstorms and comforts the “Rancherette” when there is lightning followed by thunder. Yes sir; we have the finest Poodle Home Security money can buy. Life could not get any better, or so Apollo thinks.
Enter his new trainee, Alfie the Airedale. So named for she looks like Alf, the alien from the TV series in the late ‘80’s. Notice the eyes.

AlfAlfie the Alf

Unbeknownst to Apollo, he is going to have to work overtime to shape this “recruit” into a lean fighting machine. She already has one strike against her. She is not a Poodle. That can be assuaged as long as she takes her training seriously. I dare not forget, Apollo is an  equal opportunity employer.He does not discriminate when it comes to hiring.  However, if she expects to wear a detective badge for Poodle Home Security, she must immediately realize this is serious stuff. The offenders that drift into Poodle Home Security territory do not necessarily have treats in their pockets. They do not have squeaky toys under their arms. Not everyone she meets will come bearing gifts.

She does have the ability to keep the little Silkie chickens in line, as long as they stay on their side of the fence. That is fortunate, a good first step. However, I’m thinking that the Silkies do not pose any threat to the Rancher or “Rancherette”. She is also good at urging the lawnmower along, digging holes, and chewing doorposts or any other inanimate object that gets in her way.
She is smart, already learning from Apollo that water tastes better with ice cubes in it. Not bad for a rookie. She has quickly become adept at frisking pockets. In case you have something in there that is not allowed, like doggie treats, she will promptly confiscate any items not allowed. Occasionally, for training purposes, certain objects are left in the bark of trees and other locations for her to find. She is very good at searching out those items. I might add, they smell like cheese and her smeller is superb. However, I think Apollo must work with her on her attention span. She has so much to learn before taking her place in the barking order.

I have heard that when life deals you lemons, you should make lemonade. I am not a lemonade aficionado; however, I suppose I could learn. I can use rainwater to make the stuff if it ever rains again. That is, if Alfie hasn’t stolen the lemons. We probably should have done a background check before “hiring” her. Apollo, you still have work to do. Poodle Home Security 2

Shopping is So Exhausting

Yesterday morning, the day began much as every day begins. Up at the crack of dawn (only because I had to go to the bathroom), letting the new kid on the block, Alfie, the heirdale, outside along with her mentor, Apollo, the Poodle, then waking up the rest of the Poodles, Italian Greyhound and the two Cairn Terriers. After all, they need their time out of their kennels for their morning constitutional. 

Next, I check on the Silkie chickens. We have seven four-day-old chicks in the brooder, one chick healing in sickbay, nine juveniles in the condominium, which they share separately with four adults. Nine teenagers reside comfortably in the mansion on the hill. Much of this happens before I have had a full cup of coffee. It was an exciting morning, and all before breakfast.

So, finally, I’m sitting down to a bowl of cereal and a banana, (potassium, you know) before the television watching GMA. They have a segment called Deals and Steals, where various products are featured with the prices usually cut in half or more.

The “Rancherette” perked up.

“I must go to lunch with my best friend, “Rosie, the Realtor”, today,” she said. Bear in mind, she was not asking for permission, it was a statement of fact. It did not require a permissible acknowledgment from me. Nothing the “Rancherette” does, requires any sort of permission. In fact, I suggested that lunch with “Rosie, the Realtor” would be the thing to do. It is my duty as a loving spouse to support any endeavor the “Rancherette” attempts.

So the requisite phone call was made, plans were discussed and somewhere during the course of the morning, the “Rancherette” dressed in her finery, (she always dresses in finery.) Soon thereafter, the “Rancherette” left for her luncheon date with “Rosie, the Realtor”. I cannot speak to whatever transpired after the “Rancherette” left. I realize that when “Rosie, the Realtor” and the Rancherette” get together, all bets are off

.Gloria's

And so, on for lunch.

Food

Me, I had exciting plans of my own. Since I am supposed to be a writer, my plan was to sit down before my computer and begin punching away at the keyboard. Occasionally, I form paragraphs that make sense. However, earlier this week, a small storm invaded my backyard. The grass has been growing at a record pace since we have had so much moisture this winter. I am not complaining, for we need this and more. I empathize with those of you who are in dire circumstances. But the grasses grow with all this much rain. And to think, I fertilized this past winter and early spring. As I sit at my office window and look outside, I can almost see the grass growing. However, it is too wet to mow with my riding mower. Unfortunately, it is not too wet for the small push mower. You can probably guess how my day went.

After a day on the town,   the “Rancherette” returned, home. I witnessed the trunk of the SUV open. It opened wide. There were packages inside. Many packages. Hmmmm, I thought, this looks like much more than lunch. Besides, lunch has been over for several hours. It was time for dinner. 

Poor girl, she struggled with bringing in all those packages. I could not help for I had to restrain Apollo. He wants to bound out the front door each time it is opened. So, in she came, lugging all those packages. One would have thought it was Christmas. As I recall, there were two purses, shoes, clothing, (the “Rancherette” does dress in finery) a new pillow, and not to leave out the dogs, two new toys. They were very excited. The “Rancherette” was excited. I was excited.
I can only imagine how excited “Rosie, the Realtor” must have been, and Bob, her unassuming spouse.

Later that evening, the “Rancherette” commented, “Shopping really wears you out,” Silly me, I had not noticed. At least, she has a new pillow on which to lay her head.

Me, I’ll stick to push mowing the entire backyard. It is not nearly as exhausting as shopping. 

Patience is a Virtue

I copied this from Wikipedia. Certainly sounds exactly like me.

        “Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, persevering in the face of provocation without acting on negative annoyance or anger. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast”.

I also copied this from Wikipedia. Not being repetitious, it  sounds exactly like me. 

        “Virtue is moral excellence. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness.”

They, whoever “they” are, say that patience is a virtue. I accept that. However, it can also be a challenge. Take, for example” the “Rancherette” and the tail (pun intended) of the “hitchhiker”. I am approaching the ripe old age of, well; let’s just say the ripe old age. Until now, I was unaware that a fourteen week old puppy could unlock the front door of my pickup, jump into the front passenger seat, make herself comfortable, and upon arriving at my home, have the audacity to exclaim, “she brought me here against my will, I was dog-napped.”.  I know Airedales are very smart, but that is ridiculous. I have difficulty opening the door to my pickup.

However, I can almost hear the conversation that went on with the “hitchhiker” sitting in my passenger seat in my pickup truck.

The “Rancherette”— “what am I going to tell the “Rancher”?
Alfie— “You’ll think of something. Tell him I hitchhiked a ride.”
The “Rancherette”—“I’m not so sure he will believe that.”
Alfie–-“If he is as gullible you are, he will.”
The “Rancherette”-— “OK, I’ll give it a try,”
Alfie–– I’m pretty sure he’ll love me once he gets to know me”
The “Rancherette” —“But what if he don’t?”
Alfie— “I think it will be fine; I can handle the “Rancher”. He will be a pushover for my endearing eyes. All I have to do is Just blink twice, he’ll be hooked”. it worked on you didn’t it. Besides, I’ll be eating out of his pocket before you know it.”

Pocket 2

As you can see, this is me, practicing patience, the part where it says persevering in the face of provocation without acting on negative annoyance or anger. And this is me, practicing more patience.

.resized Alfie and Houseshoe

Alfie practicing virtue.

Alfie practicing Virtue

These enduring eyes started the whole “Patience is a Virtue” thing.Enduring Eyes

It is going to be a challenge for me to practice “Patience is a Virtue” but it is a challenge I accept. Now if I can just get the eight Standard Poodles, the two Cairn Terriers and the one Italian Greyhound to also accept the challenge. That may well try my patience and destroy my virtue.

Uses for a Pickup Truck

So there I was, resting in my recliner on a nice Saturday afternoon. Apollo was content beside me. I was watching my favorite golfer, Jordan Spieth, as he birdied to take the lead in the Houston Shell Open. It was a nice peaceful afternoon. At least, until I heard the horn honk. It was the “Rancherette” returning from her day at Canton First Monday Trade Days.

If you have never heard of Canton First Monday, I suggest you Google it. And, if you live close enough, you should visit the place at least once in your lifetime. Put that on your bucket list. It is the “world’s largest” flea market. They sell everything and I do mean everything. New, used, from antiques to pure junk, tools, you name it, from birds to farm animals to elephants, (well I never have seen an elephant at First Monday. Should you want to bring one, it will probably sell.) However, this story is not about First Monday, but, without First Monday, it would have not been possible.

The first thing, for which one should take note, is the “Rancherette” was in my truck. It is never a good sign when the “Rancherette” wants to take my pickup anywhere. She doesn’t even like to ride in it. There are numerous places where we usually take my truck. For instance, I always have some sort of project going on around here where I need certain materials. Thus, I make a trip to the big box DIY store.

I take my truck when we need to pull the boat. I take my truck to pick up animal supplies. I take my truck, occasionally, when we need to go to the market and the roads are wet. I take my truck when I need to haul something that will not fit inside the SUV. The truck is a work truck, not generally meant for leisure. So, you can see my consternation when the “Rancherette” wants to take my truck to First Monday Trade Days. It probably means she will buy something that will need to be hauled and will not fit in the SUV. It stands to reason; I will probably have to put it together. Nothing comes put together nowadays. But that’s another story.

In addition to raising her purebred Silkie Chickens, the “Rancherette”, in a former life was also a Show Dog Fancier. Having raised Standard Poodles and showing them in competition for a number of years, she is an expert.  As I said, in a previous life.  Today, the eight Standard Poodles are living out their retirement in a favorable atmosphere, here in the country, secure in their kennels. And, of course, the Silkie chickens have their space as well. They also are very content in their luxurious Chicken Condo on the plain and the “Mansion on the Hill, living the life of Foghorn Leghorn, while the hens are laying a few eggs a day. All is well, or so I thought.

Until Saturday afternoon. Until the horn honks. My truck horn. Until Apollo barks.

Apollo is the Standard Poodle who lives inside the home. When the horn honked, he stood at attention. He barked. He usually barks when a vehicle pulls into the driveway. Usually, when the horn honks, it is an indication that the “Rancherette” needs help unloading something. Like a good neighbor, or in the case a good “Rancher” I am eager to help.

I bound out the door, enthusiastically, to provide my services. I always am enthusiastic when the “Rancherette” comes home.

Her words, “I have a ‘rider’”. My words, “did you pick up a hitchhiker?” “Yes, sort of”.

I was very excited that I did not see anything in the pickup bed that needed put together, so I’m guessing it cannot be too bad. I’m thinking she found a chicken she just could not live without. And then, I see “it”. It ain’t no Silkie. It ain’t no chicken at all.

We are now the proud possession of the newest addition to our zoological garden or should I say “circus”. Do you remember the television show, “ALF”, about the alien creature from outer space? Well she landed in our yard. Her name is now “Alfie”. This new Airedale puppy will be just fine as soon as the Poodle makeover is complete. Apollo has already begun the training.

In training

Me, too. Training Alfie to pick pockets, that is.

Pocket 3

I also have an idea about not loaning out the pickup to the “Rancherette” when she wants to go to First Monday Trade Days next month.

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