rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “brooders”

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. 

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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?

The Three Stages of Life (In our Backyard)

Shortly after the first of every New Year, many writers sometimes want to stop and reflect on the happenings of the past year. Me, I have a problem with remembering the events that happened the past twenty-four hours, let alone the previous 12 months. Now, I am not one to pick on the mature generation, after all I am a charter member, (of an elder generation, not a maturity level).
So we will dispense with the reflections of yesteryear and focus on what is happening today, January 2, 2015.
I call it “The Three Stages of Life (in our backyard)

Around our home, we have varying degrees of maturity. For example, yesterday, the hatchery introduced a “peep” of ten baby chicks. Newly hatched chicks are called a “peep” or “clutch”. Quite ingenious to name a group of birds “peep”. Wish I’d thought of that. They had just enough “maturity” to break out of their shells and begin the process of life in the fowl world.
At this stage, we do not yet know which birds are cockerels and which are pullets. It isn’t like determining the difference between a male and female puppy. One cannot just roll the bird over and look underneath.
Baby chicks must be taught how to eat and drink and since the Mother Hen (AKA, rancherette) is good at teaching old dogs new tricks, I believe she is very capable of teaching new birds old tricks. It is my privilege to allow her that discretion. That would be a bit of maturity on my part, you know, old dog, new trick. So, this is our nursery and the First Stage of Life (in our backyard).

On to the kindergarten group. There are nine birds in this group. They are not yet out of the “peep” stage, but not into the “big chick” flock, either. Sort of like a youngster turning thirteen going on twenty-one. (Where they think they know everything). These birds range in age from five to six weeks and are beginning to feather out nicely. Because they are Silkies, their skin is black and you can see their flesh through the feathers of the lightly colored chicks.
They are like five-year-old children; do NOT want to share anything. And they will NOT take direction from anyone. Of course, there is dissension among these birds however; the “Mother Hen” is still the mothering type. I can hear her now, “You two stop that fighting; wait ‘till your father gets home, etc…” Have you ever heard that before? Hmmmmmm, maybe I do remember some things from my past. That counts for maturity, doesn’t it?
Soon these birds will be ready to move next door to the “big chick” pen. It will be like a middle schooler moving to high school. (where they think they know everything) While in this pen, they can observe the happenings of the “big chicks”. They should learn from their elders, as if that ever happens.
But such is the Second Stage of Life (in our backyard)

And speaking of the “big chick” pen, there are six hens and one rooster in that group. We can officially call this group a flock. This is when a chick becomes an adult, (where they think they know everything,) and is now past the age of thirty-seven. I’ve noticed this trait in our kennel dogs as well. In fact, this even sounds a lot like human characteristics. Maybe it hits closer to home than I imagined.
Most of these “big chicks” have names and are quite proficient at laying eggs. Well, obviously not the rooster, he is so busy annoying the hens that he wouldn’t take the time to lay an egg even if he could. However, he does “lay” it on pretty thick. He also does a good job of protecting his harem. He encourages them on egg-laying procedures. He wards off evil spirits; you should see his voodoo dance, and he makes sure they have an abundant supply of mealworms. Occasionally, he mistakes the legs of the “rancherette” for a wayward hen and has to be brought back to the real world. That, perhaps, is a lack of maturity on his part.
So, those are the Three Stages of Life (in our backyard) for today. I’m thinking of making a video of these happenings in our backyard. I am going to call it “The Big Chick Flick Trick.” Sounds a bit mature, don’t you think?

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