rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “dogs”

RIP, DEAR PRADA

Yesterday was Father’s Day. It turned out to be an eventful day around our house. I received the customary phone calls and the usual assortment of Father’s Day cards. And I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren. So, thanks to all my family and especially to my “Rancherette” wife.    However, there was a moment of sadness yesterday. If you are a pet lover as we are, then perhaps you may understand. We have many animals around our home. Chickens, geese, dogs, and they all seem to cohabitate with each other, within certain parameters of course. We love each and every one of them. So it is with that certain sadness we grieve a bit over the loss of one.

Prada, a beloved standard poodle, lost her bout with cancer. She was two weeks shy of her 10th birthday. She was an exceptionally sweet dog with a like disposition. In all of her days, I never heard her bark. She never growled. If there was ever a dog that smiled, she was the one. She was shy, yet playful in her own way. Never a cross word with any other dog. She was small for her breed and never had puppies.  She loved peppermints as do all of our dogs. However, she was terrific at “helping” to unwrap the mint. When we let the dogs run from their kennels in the afternoon she would hang around in order to get an “extra”.  It was almost like a game with her. I’ll miss that.

I do not know God’s plan for animals. He certainly must have enough love for each. It is with a certainty that dogs bring about a sense of belonging in the world. They serve a purpose. In my life I have had many dogs and a few cats. I have loved each and every one and each has brought joy to my life in one form or fashion. The remaining dogs in our kennels must sense a loss in some sort of way. I suppose they grieve a bit as well. So this new day breaks and our lives continue and the days move forward.  This will happen again and again. I will never get used to it. RIP, dear Prada.

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SHARK ATTACK

The old floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery has finally died. Alfie, the resident Airedale, is celebrating. Before it passed from existence, It was interesting to see her peek her nose through her doggie door and remain alert in case that thing made its way in her direction.

We made our way to the local big box store (no name, they refused to pay for the commercial) for our regularly scheduled food replenishment trip. We stumbled into the housewares section on purpose and studied the shelves for a replacement floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. The “Rancherette” studied the machinery, the ”Rancherwriterpoet” studied the prices. We eventually came to agreement on which one to purchase.

This got me to thinking. I remember when I was a child (a long time ago) when the Kirby salesman came to the house.  He would break out a fancy machine, colorful and all that stuff. He had numerous accessories to go along with this remarkable contraption. He smooth talked my mother all the while putting a piece of carpet on the floor and then dirt on the piece of carpet. He then proceeded to push buttons and this machine came to life. It sucked the life,uuh, dirt from that piece of carpet.  Honestly I was fascinated. We never had any such mechanism at our house. My mother explained to him that we had no carpet in the house, only linoleum floors. The broom worked just fine.No matter, he said, this modern 20th century product would take care of all our cleaning needs.  My mother did not buy the vacuum cleaner. But the exhibition was phenomenal for this ten year old boy.vacuum-sales

Fast forward to our excursion to the big box store (again no name, i.e. refusal to pay)

With the selection made we made our way to the more important part of the store. The food section! The grocery basket was not as full as usual except for the new-fangled vacuum cleaner. I did manage to sneak in some chocolate without the “Rancherette” noticing.

Obviously, the new machine was in desperate need of assembly unlike the vacuum cleaner of old. In that day, the machine came fully assembled. The salesman made sure of that. He even gave a demonstration of how to use the machine. Come to think of it, most every type of machinery, or furniture came fully assembled. But that was then and this is now. I purchased a new riding mower recently and most of it had to be assembled. Of course by me, otherwise it would cost an additional $75. Well, I digress.

We return home and unload the groceries. While the “Rancherette” puts away the groceries, I remove the vacuum cleaner from the carton with much difficulty. The machine has wheels but only after removal from the carton. This thing weighs a ton. One needs special tools to even open the box. The directions said to read the assembly instructions carefully. The only way you can read them is very carefully. First, you must find the correct language. The instructions are on a folded sheet with four languages. Unfolding the pamphlet is like refolding a map. (Who uses a map anyway?)

Finally I find the assembly instructions in my native language. Once I unfold the map, uuuh, directions, I am told to check all the pieces that are supposed to come with the package. With all the parts scattered across the floor, and needing screwdrivers and who knows what else, I discover I should apply to the local junior college and take a course in vacuum cleaner assembly. It is probably a non-credit course, but I don’t care. I do not plan on making a career of assembling vacuum cleaners.  I don’t think this is as simple as programming an IPhone. If you have reached the age of kindergarten status, then you know how to program an IPhone. Assembling a vacuum cleaner?  College degree!

Eventually, the process is complete.shark-machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking I may very well pay extra for assembly next time, except the big box store (still no pay) does not offer that choice.

And now Alfie, poor Alfie, must now turn her attention to a very different floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. This one glides across the floor, as if swimming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCfWHqrYUqo

Not breaking the water just gliding along, still floor sucking but swimmingly. Alfie must now be very fearful of this Shark. She could wind up being Shark bait. It reminds me of another shark song. I wonder if Bobby Darin had Alfie in mind?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEllHMWkXEU

Do not go in the water!

The Travelin’ Fuzzy Band

I, being the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band concluded a bus trip this past Sunday with the band in Comanche Texas.  It was a two day gig with four performances.

 As with any trip we take, the bus must be prepared for the journey.  The “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” had packed their bags the night before. We typically wait until the last minute before departure to inform the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They get so antsy and uptight that we go to all lengths to keep them in the dark.  However, they must have suspected something was up. Probably it was the baths and blow dry the day before.

You could hear cackling cries of “road trip, road trip”.  Even the chickens who free range next door got excited. Their enthusiasm created more uproar around the neighborhood. Mind you now, the neighborhood fowl do not travel, except into the dog yard and that usually is not a good thing. Luka, our little rescue Italian Greyhound with a hitch in his get-a-long, can still chase down a free range chicken in record time. If that chicken cannot fly back over the fence, well, chicken nuggets.

All the band members were raring to go, except for Cowboy the Cochin. He was still miffed because I did not get him a new ride as he suggested last trip. He wanted to know, “what’s in it for me?”  “Ho hum, another show, another award”.   Reluctantly He agreed to go if I would program the satellite radio to his Bluetooth. Seems he is a huge fan of the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty and George Harrison. He loves “The End of the Line”.  You can listen here if you are so inclined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

If you listen closely you can hear Cowboy singing along.

Well it’s alright, riding around in this Ford
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m not being bored.
Well, it’s alright doing the best that I can
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m pleasing my fans

Of course that’s Cowboy’s version. He’s got more but I refused to include any out of respect for my readers and of course, the Traveling Wilburys.

So bags were packed, the bus loaded, the first class quarters readied for the Fuzzy Chicken Band and the traveling music is ready on their Bluetooth.

They were fluffed and primped and ready for the big trip and of course the performances. This would be the first time for two performances each day in a two day show. The manager, AKA “The Rancherette” had them at their best. She gets the most from these performers. You should hear her at times. She cajoles them; sweet talks them, bribes them with treats and in general persuades them to listen to her coaching. Notice I said persuades; I’ll leave it at that. But me thinks she could probably coach a hockey team with her sweet demeanor.She  taking notes, I’m staying clear.img_7121

On Saturday, before the judging began, The Fuzzy Chicken Band made the rounds meeting and greeting the other performers. They met new friends, renewed old acquaintances and in general were on their best behavior.  It is really interesting when the band jams with other bands. They make beautiful music together. Especially since they all speak in different dialects and foreign languages. The little Cochin Sisters performed admirably. A couple of newbies made their first appearance and did well. The “Rancherette”  is always on the lookout for new talent for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. Cowgirl did her best in spite of Cowboy’s lack of harmony. I think Cowboy was still not on his game. Sunday brough about two more shows and Cowboy’s attitude was a tad better.

The accommodations for the performers at Comanche Crossroads were excellent. img_7114They were the best the Fuzzy Chicken Band had ever experienced for these poultry shows. The staff, Dwayne and Melody,  are to be commended for their first-rate adherence to perfection.They took very good care of the humans with free donuts, cold drinks and a genuine attention to detail. As the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band I’m always looking for free food. It is a sure bet the the manager, AKA The Rancherette” will solicit an invitation to the next show in Comanche. The bus driver seconds that motion. Cowboy, not so sure.

Well, the trip home was a quiet one. After four performances this little band was very tired. Cowboy kept his mouth shut, at least low enough where we could not hear his complaints. I’m thinking now that it could be because “Zorba, not the Greek”, did not make this trip. The two of them usually collaborate on a duet at least twice during the trip. The two newbies tried, but they are too young. Yep, that’s it. No duet! Maybe next time, Cowboy.

No rest for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They have already begun rehearsing for the next show in Beaumont and looking forward to jamming with other bands. Hope they get it together before we travel and not while we are traveling. I’m keeping very quiet about this next trip. Do not want to start any hubbub with the divas or the divo.

The Fuzzy Chicken Band sends HAPPY VALENTINE to all. And especially to the bus driver’s best helpers.

img_7125

Is It Christmas Yet?

Ever have that feeling about not wanting to get up in the morning? One day this past week, it was my desire to stay in bed a little longer than usual. But we have animals to take care of and they usually do not want to stay in bed. The dogs in the kennels do not seem to mind the cold or that it finally warmed up.  And the chickens could care less. They are ready no matter what. The humans, not so much! So out of the warm bed I arise. I stumble to the kitchen, turn the switch on for the coffee pot, (the “Rancherette” is sweet enough to prepare the ingredients the night before), put on my long johns and make ready to placate the aforementioned animals.  I do insist on having a steaming cup of coffee before I brave the elements.

Having a touch of the “I don’t wanna’s” this morning, I slowly began to move around. I am feeling the effects of a cold I contracted from a recent chicken show we attended in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Then, the “Rancherette” comes bouncing from the bedroom full of vim and vigor. She wonders, “How are you feeling?” I mumble “OK”. Probably, not too convincingly I might add.

So after my jolt of caffeine, I make my way to the dog kennels. Recently, the morning temps fell down into the upper teens, and with that, their water dishes turn to ice. This was my first clue that winter is approaching. With the dogs fed, ice in their water broken and fully attended to, I turn my attention to appeasing the chickens. Ever try to appease a chicken? Good luck with that. The “Rancherette” usually comes along to save the day. She definitely knows how to appease a chicken. She is in the chicken appeasement business. I’m not sure but I think they understand the “bach,bach,bach” of my voice and I am convinced they really know what the “Rancherette” says. I am pretty sure she understands what they say, too. Me? I don’t think so. Now when it comes to the dogs, I am much more enlightened by their “voices”. I fully understand them. I speak dog, fluently. I practice every day. However, one could possibly acquire some of the characteristics of these fine feathered fowl (maybe osmosis).  For example, I catch myself crowing on occasion. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is until they crow in return. Scary!

For those of you who do not know, the “Rancherette” raises show chickens. Silkies and Bantam Cochins are her favorite breeds.Both breeds are also very funny birds. Most of these birds have names, such as Mick (after Mick Jagger) Bella, Cowboy, Cowgirl, Smoky Bear, Miss Peggy, (she has a peg leg) and so on. Thus one can become attached. (Her name shall remain anonymous).

However, when it comes to our kennel dogs, that’s another story. They are retired show dogs, from the Standard Poodle line, living out their retirement days. Apollo, Ty, Denali, Grendel, Prada, Andora, Stella, and so on. They all have a very extended name, fitting the royalty of the breed, but way to much for this post.Then there is Alfie, a hitchhiking female Airedale. “nuff, said.

.So I am up and “at’em” this morning. This Christmas Eve, Eve! Got all my presents wrapped for the “Rancherette” and placed in a conspicuous space where she cannot miss them and this in turn tempts her a bit. No shaking the packages or X-rays allowed. This is premeditated on my part. Now that the gifting is completed (and a day early, I might add), I turn my attention to checking my social media pages.

I see numerous and varied accounts of people and their activities on social media pages. Hidden among the many postings, I see some with treasured memories of years past. For others it brings sadness and a dread this time of year. Still others delight in the many celebratory events of Christmas.

I see posts from a varied assortment of people, from my friends and others I do not know. First and foremost are the many varied posts from all of the chicken friends on social media. There is a considerable amount of “chicken speak” in these posts. (i.e., the “Rancherette”) I have not yet learned much of that language.

Then others are depicted wrapping Christmas gifts and sharing their experiences. Some are wondering if other family members will make it home for Christmas. Some are showing the results of a toy-drive for kids. There are pictures of children sharing their love through homemade Christmas gifts with nursing home residents. Some use the social media pages to outline their Christmas list. (Personally, I’m not sure this works well, but give them credit for ingenuity) Let me know if it does.

I see posts of young children sitting on the lap of Santa, some crying, some in awe and others readily sounding off their wish list. Obviously, they have all been good, wink, wink!

I see posts describing recipes for Christmas Delights and I admit they all look inviting. These are very interesting.

Then there are still a few who either challenge the presidential election results or laud the outcome. To these very involved people, I say, Merry Christmas to both groups.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more posts we see about the event. Not all will be about a religious phenomenon and yet it is my opinion that it was never about a secular circumstance. It was and always will be a celebration of the birth of Christ, whether one chooses to believe that or not.

I find it fascinating that our animals depend on us for their survival while many humans do not depend on God for anything. In their own way, these animals say thanks every day, a tail wag here and a “bach,bach, there. Would it not be great if the human race could acknowledge a better understanding of peace and joy on this earth?

I grant you that we live in a free society and thus are completely free to agree or disagree. However, I for one am proud to say I believe the Biblical account of the Christ Child born for the salvation of mankind.

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

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.

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                                                       img_7029-2

 

The Character of Nature

As I write this article, I do not make light of the circumstances of anguish and grieving. Certain parts of the country have received much more than their share of rain. I empathize in their despair for I too have experienced the misfortune and anxiety that comes with the disaster of flooding.  My heart goes out to those who are suffering a loss, especially a loss of life. My prayers are with you. Do not lose hope. 

Nature’s Character

Lately, we have experienced drought conditions and extreme heat. Plant life is being raddled to their limits. Green shrubs are turning brown; their leaves curling under and giving up the ghost. The once vibrant green grass no longer rises above the plain. It too, is having a brownout. The peaches not ready for picking have all shriveled and shrunken. The pond is drying up. The heat is taking its toll. To keep all this watered is not only time consuming but it puts a strain on the pocketbook.  Our water bill is approaching astronomical heights.

The “Rancherwriterpoet” and the “Rancherette” have the utmost respect for nature; however, as humans, we do take the necessary precautions for keeping cool, that being under the influence of the air conditioner most of the day. Of course, the electric bill is in the stratosphere alongside the water bill. When we do venture outside, we do not tarry long. I’m pretty sure the neighbors would object were we to wear less clothing.

The kennel dogs do not really care for the misting system installed on their partially shaded pens. There is only a soft hot breeze blowing across their outdoor pens, but with the misting system, it does cool the concrete pads and the air. All the standard poodles have a summer cut yet some prefer staying inside their buildings and under the fans, as if they are fused to the floor (they do not like to get their feet wet). Others will lie comfortably just out of reach of the mist but close enough to feel the coolness as it comes across their body. Occasionally they stand up, shake off vigorously, turn round and round several times and lie back down.  It’s what dogs do. When they lope out of their pens for their afternoon constitutional, they immediately tend to business and return to their pens. The afternoon sun is very warm and they prefer their shaded home sweet home.

Conversely, the Silkie chickens do not seem to mind the heat as much as us humans or dogs. They are wont to hunt and scratch and peck and chest bump and do the chicken dance around their coop. They run in little circles chasing anything that moves. They are always snooping around for food no matter that they feeder is full.  They engage in wide ranging conversations. Clucking and cackling, crowing and chirping, they express themselves quite effectively. Why, even the “Rancherette” understands chicken speak. This is how she knows to serve up frozen treats every afternoon; grapes, pineapple, and strawberries being among their favorites. They stand at the coop door and chatter vociferously, impatiently waiting for the “Rancherette” to calm their ruffled feathers. We obviously keep plenty of fresh water for them to drink. There are fans in their roosting coops for an air flow through their buildings. And did I mention the show birds domicile? These are the cream of the crop, uh, flock. They attend the chicken shows and bring home the bacon, uh, ribbons. They have they own individual pens, in an air conditioned building, never touching the ground or feeling the hot breeze outdoors.  They have it made in the shade, so to speak.

So, finally, the skies have opened up and delivered the much needed moisture. For three days, we have seen almost three inches of slowly absorbing rain, the kind necessary to break a drought. But, the kennel dogs do not like the rain any better than the misting system. The show birds do not even know it’s raining. It’s business as usual for them. The outdoor Silkie chickens do not care one way or another. All pens have some shade covering; but does not prevent the rain, so, instead of dust baths they now take mud baths. Good for the skin, I’m told, but their crested heads are having a bad hair day. In this case, they are wetter than an old mad hen.

The good news? Plants and grass are smiling. The water meter is smiling. The electric meter is smiling and the air conditioner gets a break. I’m smiling. Nature is smiling.

 

 

 

 

Sun’s Gonna Shine in my Backdoor Someday

Well, hello there and in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’m back., sorta. I have been on the mend for several weeks now and with my current medications, the severe bouts with RA are dwindling. This is what has kept me from my writings for several months. I can certainly empathize with anyone who suffers from this immune system irregularity. It is said you can’t really know what another person feels unless you walk in their shoes. My feet are firmly implanted in the shoes of a sufferer of RA. But now, after many doctor visits, specialists, x-rays, MRI’s, medications, and all those wonderful prayers, it appears that this old “ritus” character is going into remission.  I continue to improve; however, my treatment plan still requires medicine.

For the better part of four months, I was unable to drive. The “Rancherette” did all the driving. I might add, well appreciated. Now that I have some degree of mobility, I can drive my truck again. A few days ago, I was returning from a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and with the modern day conveniences of satellite radio, I was listening to my type of music. I am a huge fan of Bluegrass music. At that particular moment, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were sounding off to an old tune that seems to fit my situation, at least the opening line. I turned the volume up. Being alone in my truck, I am allowed to turn the volume up loud. Not so much when the “Rancherette” is with me.

The tune, “Sun’s gonna shine in my backdoor someday”, speaks for me, especially here in the middle of August, in Texas, where the temperature is a balmy 103 today and a heat index approaching 110. And since my back door faces west, I can feel the brunt of that heat.

Living in a rural area, I am exposed to many facts of nature. As I was driving home, I noticed a lonely oak tree in the middle of a pasture. Mind you now, this was not a large oak tree. It bordered on a twenty to twenty-five feet umbrella. A nice enough shade but not very large.

Standing underneath this canopy was a small herd of cows. They were huddled so close together that I doubt one could slip a sheet of paper between them. At first glance, they appeared conjoined. I am well aware that cows prefer the shade to the hot sun. However, they were so tightly packed together that I cannot believe they were feeling any cooling effect. Cows have a “pecking order” just like chickens. If one does rank high enough in that order, then they do not share any benefits. They are left out in the cold, except in this case outside the parasol of the shade tree. There were two or three standing in the sun just on the edge of the shade. I assume the “leader” had the best spot.  And if I had rolled down my windows, I probably would have noticed a scent of bovine methane. They must ignore that aroma or maybe they do not have a good sense of smell. I noticed one cow standing in the tank, (if you are from South Texas or pond if you are from somewhere else). I figured she (or he) was the smartest cow of all, not to mention, the coolest. One can learn a lot from observing cows.

But that tune by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs means to me that “someday” has arrived. The sun is shining through my windows and doors and the sky is so blue and the trees are waving greetings at me when I walk out the “back door” without my cane and the cottontail rabbits stop and wiggle their noses at me.  The birds chatter a “welcome back” chirp. The kennel dogs seem glad to see me, even the chickens seem to recognize my voice. Yessiree, God is good. And because we need a cooling down and rain, showers are quenching the thirst of the plant life today and the temperature is hovering around 72 degrees in the middle of the day. God is indeed good.

Hunters and Gatherers

The old rancherwriterpoet has not been around lately. Maybe you noticed, maybe not. Medical circumstances have prevented this old drugstorecowboy/wannabe writer from some of his usual activities.

He has reached a point in his life that calls for a time of observation. For example, little things that originally had no clear-cut basis for consideration have now become seemingly a big deal. Discovering in these past few weeks, simple things I previously performed on a daily basis are not always easy tasks to perform. Sometimes, they become complicated, difficult, and even impossible.

In the earliest of days, eons ago, man was declared the hunter and woman was declared the gatherer. The roles of man and woman were clear. “Me Tarzan, you Jane” I am not making a judgment for or against that thought. I do not necessarily subscribe to the “me Tarzan, you Jane” setting, however, as a man, I have always felt I had a role to perform as a “hunter”. This was ingrained in me as a youngster. There were roles for the male and roles for the female. After all, boundaries were established and not to be crossed.

Well, that was then, this is now, and it never became clearer to me than in these past few weeks.

This “hunter” is here to tell you that in our household, the “gatherer” is perfectly capable of performing the tasks of not only her perceived responsibilities, but also those that I considered to be solely in my domain. In fact, she has stepped up the game. As I said, I am in a time of observation and I have observed the carpentry skills she has acquired, her chauffeuring ability, and her lawn maintenance proficiency. She has the leading role of managing the dogs, the chickens, the cooking, the grocery shopping, and auto upkeep and without a doubt the excellent care she affords the “hunter”. That only scratches the surface. Without the capable assistance of the “Rancherette” this old “Rancherwriterpoet” would have had a most difficult time.

I am making progress toward a time when this “hunter” can once again share in the family tasks alongside the “gatherer”. It will be a challenge, she is very good at what she does and I am so very grateful to her and to God for her.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a that says:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…

I doubt  Solomon wrote that with my circumstances in mind, but I claim it. I can say for certain, I am blessed.

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

Not Our First Rodeo

So, the big day came and went. To which big day am I referring? Why, the South Texas Classic Poultry Show in La Grange, Texas. I thought all folks knew about that event. Well, chicken folks in the state of Texas for sure. We were looking forward for several weeks to the trip and finally the day came. It was about a four and half hour journey in the truck with eight birds in the rear seat all properly resting in their properly vented traveling lounges properly fitted out with feed and water. Why do we call chicken feed, “feed” and dog food, “food”?  Or, cattle feed, “feed” and cat food, “food”.  Just wondering.

There were two roosters and six hens, separated much as if one would separate two or more siblings who insist on asking the proverbial question, are we there yet? If one can understand chicken talk, then those are exactly the phrases coming from the mouths of these birds. The only good thing (If you can call it good) is they did not mention having to go to the bathroom every ten miles. Well, maybe they did and I just ignored them. I recall that with my children back in the day.

The two roosters, named Zorba, the Silkie and Cowboy, the Cochin, were dueling tenors. The hens were the backup singers for those two. They covered all the chicken hits in alphabetically order, beginning with, “Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens”. A couple of times I had to quiet them down, once when they began doing the “Chicken Dance”. It was way too crowded for that. Try getting that earworm out of your head. Long before we arrived in La Grange, I just about had it with chicken songs. I decided to mention a phrase I have used before. “CHICKEN NUGGETS”, I yelled. They thought it best to refrain from any more musical interludes and remained silent the rest of the trip. I did hear a bit of mumbling back there, but I was calm.

Upon arriving, we ventured to the Fayette County fairgrounds to “coop in” as they say. You place each bird in a separate cage with your identifying number on a card, furnish them with gourmet feed (or is it food) and small containers of water. They are now bedded down for the night. And, luckily, we adults did likewise, at a local hotel, (I won’t use their name, however the chickens had it better).

At precisely Nine A.M., the next morning, the judges begin their job of inspecting each bird in the building. That was an exhausting all day affair. However, it did have its rewards.

If you recall from a recent post, A Day at the Spa, the “Rancherette” invited her fine little Silkies and Cochins to a day at the spa. That was a significant ceremony for it worked wonders on these fluffy birds. The “Rancherette” outdid herself, three 1st place awards and a Best of Variety prize.  One had a comb tht leaned a bit to the right. I wonder if we should have combed her wattle or wattled her comb. Needless to say the”Rancherette”was happy, I was happy. Having spent a couple of days at the Fort Worth Show, (with awards) the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” were old hands at this. One could say this was not our first rodeo.

After a brief tour of the La Grange area, a visit to Walmart, (That should be on everyone’s traveling list) a meal at a local BBQ stable, tailgating in the parking lot with the birds, resting a bit and afterwards heading home. The birds gloated all the way home. I was calm, I just let them have their say; after all, they were winners. All in all, it was a great trip. Who can argue with that?

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