rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “food”

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Christmas Eve, Eve! That’s today. Have you finished your shopping? Well, you are almost too late, but not too late to fight the crowds. Time is fleeting! As I write this it is 10:11 AM, here in Fruitvale, Texas. We have one convenience store, a Post Office and a small school. Oh, and a Laundromat. There’s not much to pick from for Christmas Gifts. Of course we could drive to Walmart in the nearest town, but that would involve driving. And there is that traffic problem and the crowds. And all the handicap parking spaces are taken. There is, however, a Whataburger next door.

I ventured to the internet shopping malls for my gift buying. Since the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” share almost all their experiences together, it is nigh on to impossible to purchase a gift in secret. So I did involve her in selecting her gift for Christmas. She was in agreement with my choice.

After losing our former spouses to illnesses, The “Rancherette” and The “Rancherwriterpoet” first met in December, 2008. It was a bookstore romance, (another story). Sparks flew and one thing led to another and we tied the knot in May, 2009. So this will be our ninth Christmas together. Each season brings a challenge for me in selecting a Christmas gift. I have purchased the usual items such as chocolate, jewelry, fragrances, etc. and I believe she was pleased. But this year I am in a funk about that.

You know you have settled in to a married life when the husband purchases anything with a cord or tools for the kitchen as a gift, be it birthday, anniversary or Christmas. Far be it from me to attempt to purchase any form of clothing by myself. I can offer my advice as to what she might choose when we shop together but one has to be either a newlywed or married a lot longer than nine years to be so bold, otherwise.  Although a see-through piece of lingerie or negligee would seem to be a perfect gift. I’m of the opinion that these items would look good on her, just saying. A husband can live with tools for the workshop but it is unknown whether a wife can fully understand the gift selections from a husband.

So I ordered an “As Seen on TV” item for Christmas. I saw it on TV. She saw it too. We both agreed we needed that. I ordered it on December 14, with delivery scheduled for December 20th. As I said above, it is Christmas Eve, Eve and FYI, still no delivery. And now they say it won’t arrive until the second week of January. Backordered, they say. You can guess what I did. I canceled the item. But the “store” is closed and will not confirm my cancelation or get back to me until working hours on the day after Christmas. I ask you, is that any way to run a business? No!

So, I ventured again to the internet shopping mall. I found the exact same item at another “store”. At this “store”, they say it is in stock. I placed the order but too late to arrive before Christmas. No problem, I wasn’t expecting it that quick anyway. The good news is, I saved $7.47 cents, that is, when I get my refund from the other “store”. But my Christmas shopping is done. We will celebrate the gift exchange in January when the package arrives.

I am thinking, anything that has to do with chickens, dogs, geese, or travel trailers would have been an ideal gift for the “Rancherette”. But noooo, I bought tools for the kitchen. Hmmmmm, that see-through piece of lingerie or negligee is tempting. Ahhhh, just a fantasy.

Hope your Christmas shopping is complete. It is now 1:09 PM. Christmas Eve, Eve.

Merry Christmas

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Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

For seventy-eight years, I have been celebrating Christmas. At my age, don’t expect me to remember all of them, but one I especially remember is Christmas, 1948. I was nine years old and we were living in tough times, not that I knew anything about that. It was said that Santa Claus was not likely to visit our house that year. Because of the divorce of my adoptive parents and the illness of my grandfather, my mother and I lived with my grandparents.
My grandfather, Papa, was suffering with cancer and many believed would not live until Christmas. My mother told me he had a disease that was infectious. That was to keep me from bothering him. I wasn’t allowed to go in his room; but I did stand at the door and talk to him. I remember Papa smiling at me between his coughing and wheezing. I always thought he would get well. Once, during that Christmas time, I sneaked into his bedroom, even though it was off-limits to me, and I told him Merry Christmas. He motioned for me to lean over closely, so I could hear him better. He told me that better times were coming, both for him and for me. I wasn’t sure what he meant, after all, I was only nine.

Now, in hindsight, I know that Christmas 1948 was a memorable one for me. I’m sure you have an unforgettable Christmas in your memory. Christmases are supposed to be a joyous time, a time for family to come together and share the joys, to celebrate the birth of Christ, and to remember the good things. Sometimes it doesn’t quite turn out that way, but then again…

You See… I Remember…

My folks didn’t want to celebrate Christmas… in nineteen forty-eight.
We had no money and my grandpa Papa, was so sick… he didn’t even know the date.
My Granny Mama wasn’t feeling well…, seems like Christmas might have to wait.
And if old Santa even came at all…, he’d probably show up late.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

No one much wanted … to decorate that year
Wasn’t going be like Christmas… wasn’t much Christmas cheer.
Then my Mama set about… to proudly trim a little tree
Thankful for the neighbor who cut and gave it to us free.

Mama wrapped her little tree… with gold and silver rope.
placed her special angel on the top!… she said, “to give us hope”,
like the angel from the Bible announcing Jesus’ birth
telling all the shepherds of Good News that’s come to earth.

I remember helping Mama… decorate our little Christmas tree.
And I remember especially…, all those joys it brought to me.
It had loads of shiny lights… that glimmered all around.
And Papa’s homemade ornaments… that almost touched the ground.

Our decorated Christmas tree… stood in its usual place.
Over by the window…‘cause we didn’t have much space
We had no chimney in our home… that Santa could come down
So I hung my cotton stocking by the door… just in case he came around.

But Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

I remember Mama… made her breakfast Mac and cheese
It was her specialty… we all were very pleased
I remember Papa peeking out his bedroom door
And saying maybe… Maybe Christmas might be like before

But, No, this Christmas wasn’t meant to be… like all our Christmases before

I remember Mickey Mouse… and the watch I got that year
And my cotton stocking… packed with Christmas cheer,
crammed with apples and oranges and walnuts and stuff
And good hard ribbon candy, plenty sticky… sure enough.

It must have been old Santa… who left those gifts for me,
‘cause no one had no money… and stuff like that’s not free.
But sometimes… like at Christmas… miracles do take place
And seems like miracles always put a smile on a little boy’s face.

But Christmas ‘forty-eight wasn’t like all our Christmases before.

So many years have passed since that Christmas ‘forty eight
But Miracles still happen…and that’s cause to celebrate
I remember Mama… telling… the wonder of Jesus’ birth
And Papa listening closely, his last few days on earth.

Ahhh.. Christmas ‘Forty-Eight…it came and went so quick
And Papa kept us laughing just like he wasn’t sick
Then February nineteen forty-nine, his cancer staked its claim
Christmases… ever after… would never be the same.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

Just a side note, one Christmas when our family celebrated together, I bought some cotton stockings like my Granny Mama used to wear, and I fixed each grandchild a stocking with the same fruits and nuts and stuff I got when I was a child. They thought it was funny… I smiled at the memory.
You see… I Remember… Christmas ‘forty-eight…

I’m pretty sure I know what my Papa meant when he said better times are coming.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts with you.
From me and all my family,
I hope you have a very miraculously, and memorable Christmas.

 

Federal Holidays

Today is January 2, 2017. Considering that yesterday was Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and New Year’s Day, I decided that if the Federal government can take the holiday on Monday, I will too. After all, I mostly do what my government says to do, especially when it comes to holidays. I observe every single one. That’s my right. I drive the speed limit, use my turn signals, (that’s a novelty), pay my taxes, (reluctantly), do not text and drive, nor do I miss a Dallas Cowboy game. I voted, (cried over my choices, but still voted) paid my mortgage on time, bought stuff on line, attempted to clean out the garage, but failed miserably, and helped “the Rancherette” with her chickens. The government did not tell me to do that. I volunteered.
As for Federal holidays, there are officially ten in the year 2017. I plan on taking every one of them. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, then it is observed on Friday. If it falls on Sunday, it is observed on Monday. Rest assured, I will observe them. I also noticed that certain holidays have been shifted to a Monday in order for observance of a three day weekend. Eight of the ten holidays for 2017 actually fall on a Monday or Friday. That accounts for twenty-four days (three day weekend x 8) of the year that can be non-productive. I plan on being non-productive for at least, oh say, twenty? And these do not even account for snow days or early dismissals. Living in Texas, we probably won’t be able to use any snow days or early dismissals from our government job. The school kids will dream, though.
I did not have black eyed peas and greens yesterday. I have tried it for, lo and behold, many years and the so-called good luck and prosperity that comes with this tradition has never materialized yet. So I skipped the southern delicacy. I settled for Mexican food. That type of food never gives me any good luck or prosperity either, but sometimes it does give me heartburn, especially the re-fried beans. Had the Barbeque joint been open, I would have opted for some good smoked BBQ brisket. There is nothing like a brisket dinner with beans, potato salad and Jalapeno peppers. Well, maybe a little heartburn. Sadly, no good luck and prosperity with these foods either.
I read that George Washington’s favorite food was Cherry pie. Martin Luther King’s favorite was pecan pie (That’s Puhcon pie, not Peecan pie) and July 4th is famous for baseball, hot dogs and Apple pie.(And of course, Chevrolet). Notice that these are also federal holidays.
Looks like pie makes my list of good foods. I am in favor of eating good food. Being from Texas, we have a very interesting assortment of good foods. Southern Fried Chicken is one of my favorites, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, another and cornbread. (Leave out the sugar, please) The list is endless and I like them all. I suppose my favorite is BBQ, so I am choosing to make one New Year’s resolution this year; I resolve to eat more BBQ, to heck with the heartburn. I think I can keep this one.
I hope you resolve to experience this New Year in good health and an abundance of happiness. I hope it will be an enjoyable one for you and your family. 2016 was a heck of a year. It certainly had its ups and downs around our backyard. But we experienced it and are moving on to 2017. I hope you do as well.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FOLKS.

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.

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. 

Christmas Morning

It is Christmas Morning. The agonizing wait is over. The house has a different air about it. Yesterday, there was so much anticipation and this morning that anticipation has been replaced with an attitude of joy. Smiling faces with tussled hair and sleepy eyes that are just now starting to focus, grip the morning with varying squeals of delight.

The first thing I noticed this morning was a white residue in the milk glass beside the empty cookie plate. Something or someone removed those contents during the night. Then I saw the stockings full to the brim, bulging with stuff inside. There were candy canes sticking out over the edge of each. And the Christmas Tree was loaded with wrapped gifts that were not there yesterday. Santa has come and gone. He really knows how to impress a person.

So breakfast will have to wait. There are gifts to be opened and those stockings so full to the brim, well, they must be pulled off the shelf and emptied on the floor. That is the best way to see what is in there. But I must be careful, Santa has been known to put breakable stuff in those stockings. Fortunately, this morning, that was not the case.

I peered into my stocking to see a variety of male toiletries, which I might add, I love, then a wonderful box of chocolate covered Cherries, really my favorite, and a Christmas tradition in my house for many years. I also got a couple of toothpaste Squeeze-It devices. These are designed to get every bit of the toothpaste from the tube before you throw it away. That is ingenious. Wish I had thought of that. Sure beats pushing and squeezing the tube in the middle. I bet the inventor of that device celebrates Christmas in a big way.

I opened a wrapped gift next. The tag said it was from Santa. I think this Santa looks a lot like my wife. I don’t know how Santa knew I needed a new pair of pajamas. I will wear them tonight. Maybe that will impress “someone”. Santa outdid himself this year.

I must admit, it is fun to open gifts. But my enjoyment really comes from watching the “Rancherette” open her stocking and gifts. Of course, in her case, Santa knows what she likes and is happy to contribute to her desires.

I am undecided as to which gift she likes the most. I can tell you, she adores her Silkie chicken calendar. And then, Santa filled her stocking with traditional stuff.  She opened the stocking to discover an apple, an orange, candy canes, nuts, (assorted, of course), and chocolate candy, Ghirardelli’s chocolate candy! Another gift she received was a sweet-smelling bottle of Burberry perfume. I helped Santa think of that.

However, sometimes, a gift goes awry. Such is the case with the Silkie Chicken Clock. It does not work and must be returned. I don’t think Santa takes return gifts even if he did not get it right. It probably is the problem of one of his suppliers. I will locate the business address of that firm and do the return for him. I will inform Santa of that particular supplier so that he doesn’t use them next year.

I noticed after I took a shower this morning that Santa forgot one of the items on my wish list. This is the umpteenth time he has forgotten. Every year, I ask for a new birthday suit and every year he forgets. I’m telling you, the birthday suit I have now is wrinkled and really beginning to wear out. Oh, well, I tend to be somewhat of a pack rat and keep everything much longer than it was designed to be kept. At least, this one still works for me, but, I’ll keep putting that wish on my Christmas list.

But I don’t despair, it is still a wonderful Christmas, the “rancher” and the “rancherette” sharing with each other. We share gifts with each other during the course of the year, but it seems that Christmas brings out the true meaning of giving, at least for me. I realize that others do not share the same Christmas celebrations that we as Christians do. For those who do not, I sincerely hope you find something (or someone) in your life to celebrate and when you do, make it special to the one you love. If it happens at this particular time of year, then, that’s just icing on the cake.

Well, it is time to begin the overindulging. I helped the “rancherette” in the kitchen by chopping onions and celery. That will pay off in the form of dressing later today. I love dressing, too. The “rancherette” is an expert at discussing with Santa what gifts to bring me, but she is also an expert at cooking and baking.. But in the meantime, I think I will start with the chocolate covered cherries. That is a tradition each year as well

I hope each of you have a very Merry Christmas.

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