Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Heat”

Go West Young Silkies

This past Monday afternoon, five of the “Rancherette’s Silkies flew the coop. I guess their feathers got ruffled. They headed out west to the Morris Bird Ranch in Yoncalla, Oregon. As I understand it, this is a kind of a Dude Ranch/retirement coop for chickens and these five birds had seen the propaganda and were hooked. I don’t know how they found out about this place, they have no WiFi in their coop. Heck, they don’t even have a TV. Evidently, they must have had some help.

But. three square meals a day, meal worm treats, fresh fruit and veggies, and of course, cooler weather than here in Texas, along with a substantial pension convinced these little Silkies to give it a try. Well, it convinced Little Mick. He in turn, convinced the rest of the brood to defect with him. He said it would be so much fun and they all agreed. He would have convinced more birds if he had his way.

So these three little Porcelain Cream Silkies, Little Mick Jr,, Bubba, Baby Sis, and a mated pair of unidentified Silkie whites (they snuck in the car) departed for the wild, wild west. Some folks think Texas is the wild, wild west (wild, perhaps, but not west) but according to the map, Oregon is actually in the west while Texas, is a bit south. But you probably already knew that. They still have cowboys in Oregon and rodeos. I know of at least one chicken wrangler in Yoncalla, Oregon.

The story goes like this; I’m thinking that the “Rancherette” should not leave her cellphone unattended when she goes into the coops. One never knows what stranger may choose to pick it up and make unauthorized phone calls. I do know she has a secret place where she keeps her phone when she goes to the coops, so I’m not sure how Little Mick Jr., could have got it, I am curious, tho. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure he was the culprit who used her phone. He, undoubtedly, had to use caution when texting, as his toes are not opposable. He reserved all First Class seats for his accomplices on the USPS AIRINES service. He seems to be the leader of this ring of foul fowl. But the “Rancherette” got wind of this and managed to change their 1st class seats to Coach class. However, there was a fee to change the tickets. Little Mick, Jr., had already charged the tickets on the “Rancherette’s” SilkieEspress Card and they were non-refundable. She should be more careful with her password. I’m pretty sure that 12345 is not a secure password. But, I believe he used his cleverness to lull the “Rancherette” into helping him with his plan. He has always had the “Rancherette” eating out of the palm of his chicken feet.

Since these chickens were resolute in their desire to leave, the “Rancherette” gave in and put together all the paperwork to help these ungrateful birds with their passports, (Coming from Texas, one has to have passports to enter Oregon, it’s the law). Texas will take anybody. She had to take passport photos, secure their medical history, and place their identification bracelets on their ankles. These thankless critters were now ready to fly away. She secured their luggage and provided them with snacks for the trip,The USPS does not take chicken feed in exchange for snacks. 

As they were about ready to leave, Bubba  asked if Uber was here yet? Another unauthorized use of her cellphone. She should take that app off of her phone. Needless to say, she canceled that ride.This was out of character for Bubba. I would not have guessed that he knew about Uber.

I did not tag along on the ride to the USPS AIRLINES. I’m guessing the birds were cackling all the way while the “Rancherette” was quiet and somewhat reticent. Before they left, I made it a point to ask Little Mick, Jr., if he would let us know when he and the gang arrived. He crowed he would. And he did.

On the flight, they had a one day layover in Salt Lake City. However, they were unable to take in any sights. So, today, Wednesday, the 28th, about 9 A.M., Texas time,the “Rancherette” received a phone call. However, it was not from Little Mick, Jr., it turned out to be the curator or the headmaster, or the farmer’s daughter, or maybe it was the Innkeeper, I’m not sure of her title. But the gang all arrived safe and sound. The “Rancherette” is breathing a sign of relief. These little fowl were also hungry.They probably pigged out on the snacks the first hour and then were left with nothing.

Now, I look at the Lavender Pen, it is empty! No birds! I must admit, I miss these little birds from the Lavender Pen. You birds mind your manners, don’t be pecking. No squabbling or bickering. And if you get homesick, well, call the “Rancherette”. Or better yet, call the “Rancherwriterpoet”.

Have a great day.

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.





Everyone is Happy

It seems this morning that it is a good day to start the biennial Daylight Saving Time debacle, uh debate. I can deal with the time change twice a year, but it certainly throws the schedule off for all our animals. We have seven Standard poodles, two Cairn Terriers, and one Italian Greyhound. They live in nice insulated indoor/outdoor kennels, with heaters for the winter and fans for the summer. They seem to enjoy their conditions. Twice a day, we let them run freely in the fenced acre behind the house. They have a time for everything. Eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, etc. Everyone is happy.

We also raise Silkie chickens. Silkies are a special breed of bantams. They too, enjoy a very nice domicile. Wood chips on the floor, insulated coop, covered with chicken wire to keep out the hawks, with food, water, and nesting boxes to lay eggs. They don’t quite have the hang of the egg boxes, just yet. They lay anywhere they want to, under the ramp, on the bare ground and even behind the tree.  They get treats every day as well, usually, dried mealworms.But, they also have a time for everything; eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, etc. Everyone is happy.

Well, let me get back to the DST storyline. Just Saturday, I tended to the dogs at 7 A.M., Daylight Saving Time, The sun was barely peeking over the horizon, the wild birds were beginning to flutter in the trees, the neighbor’s cows were mulling about, calves wanting to nurse, the roosters were crowing, the hens were beginning to cackle and everything seemed in place. I let the dogs out of their pens for their morning constitutional and they ran and played, sniffed all the bushes and each other and the males marked they territory, just as they do every morning. Did I mention, they also get a treat each morning for just being dogs. Imagine that. Everyone was happy.

The “Rancherette” lets the chickens out of their coop into their fenced runs. They scratch and peck the ground, cackle at each other or at the roosters who then become amorous and they do all the things that chickens do. They have no set schedule as when to lay eggs. Sometime during the evening before, someone deposited one in the doorway; it almost became scrambled. They also get treats every day, just for being chickens. Everyone was happy.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, we reverted to Central Standard Time here in North Texas. Seven A.M., Saturday became Six A.M. on Sunday as we set the clocks back one hour. That is supposed to give us an extra hour of sleep. That means when I went out to the animals at Seven, I was an hour later than before. That did not work for the animals. They got up with the sun just as they do every morning. Barking, cackling and crowing, they wanted their regular routine.They were not so happy this morning.

Why do we change the time anyway? I don’t think Arizona or Hawaii changes their time. I’m thinking that since this is a free country, we do not have to change our time either. I do not have to be anywhere at a certain time. So what, if I am early or late! Who cares? The “Rancherette” and I discussed this last night after we went to bed at 9:15 P.M. or was it 10:15 P.M.? I’m not sure I was happy.

So I have decided, I either have to adjust my schedule to correspond with all the animals; meaning I have to get up an hour earlier or place clocks in all the pens and teach them how to tell time. They are smart animals, they can learn. What ever happened to my extra hour of sleep? Everyone is happy, well, maybe not everyone.

But I certainly hope you are.

Under the Bois ‘D Arc Tree

ImageI cannot believe I haven’t posted anything since May. Time really has a way of disappearing quickly. Of course, when a person reaches my age, it disappears much more rapidly than for the youngster awaiting his/her 16th birthday and the coveted driver’s license. The times are certainly different from when I was a teenager.

I notice, too, that the summers seem to get longer and hotter, at least here in North Texas. In the pasture across the road from my house, nothing seems to be growing but weeds. I know the rancher takes care of his pasture, treats it for weed control, grasshoppers, etc., however, not much changes from day to day. The grasses wither and the bugs continue to fly/hop. I am beginning to wonder about this “global-warming” thing.

There is one lone tree directly across from my front door. It seems to thrive in this heat and lack of rain. It is a horse apple tree, also known as a Bois ‘D Arc tree. Still another alias is an “Osage Orange” tree. This name comes from the Osage Indians who used the tree to make their bows. The fruit, if you can call it that, is a round green sphere with nubs, about the size of a grapefruit, or large apple. It isn’t good for much, inedible, even the livestock avoid the green globes. Horses have been known to consume these but have also died from lodging in their throat. Some folks have used it to prevent cockroaches, fleas and spiders. I have not tested it for the specific usage they claim, although I want to try it in the dog kennels. Who knows, maybe I cannot get a leg up on the fleas. I heard that Martha Stewart used them in decoration, once. I did not see the episode. Rather sorry I missed it.
The most obvious benefit I see is the livestock use the tree for shade. I suppose cattle are not as dumb as one would think. Anyway, I think this poem might sum it up. Maybe you think so, maybe not. Have a safe and cool day.

Under the Bois ‘D Arc Tree

The fields yonder way are
rapidly becoming a crusty brown.
Summer had arrived with a passion,
thrusting its way onto nature’s stage.
A surreptitious beginning,
now rising at a blistering pace
to an igneous desert atmosphere!

The stately Bois D’ Arc drops
its pale green orbs in acceleration,
as if attracted by a magnetic field.
They fall indiscriminately
to the withered ground below,
where they will quickly succumb
to Summer’s sultry heat.

An eager drove browses the field
Seeking forage on which to feed,
yet finding no crisp morsel of green.
Numerous cattle egrets follow
shamelessly in their tracks
feasting on countless grasshoppers
disturbed by the herd.

The cattle seek shelter beneath the tree
in the torrid noonday sun.
Yet their bodies generate a crescendo
Of warming proportions.
Stragglers stand knee-deep
in the middle of the pond
in a valiant effort of cooling down.

I see creatures of nature, adjusting,
Seeking respite from an unadulterated
zealous heat, a stifling oppressive heat,
Occasionally flicking a tail,
Swatting at those pesky ubiquitous flies
and I stand in the comfort of a cool inside,
Looking out the front window.

© Pete Robertson

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