rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Humor”

Born on the 15th of July

Your birthday is special. However, it is not yours alone. It is not uncommon to share your birthday with others. Do you ever wonder how many people share your birthday? Research tells me that 1/365 in any population (approximately 0.274%) share your birthdate. Research also tells me that percentage equates to over 19 million people around the world.

I happen to share my birthday with a few celebrity individuals. For example, Clement Moore was born on July 15, 1779. Obviously, we do not share the same year. You are, of course, familiar with him. He wrote “Twas The Night Before Christmas. Here in Texas we have our own version:               

‘Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin’ of Christmas, like me and you.

  Then there is Linda Ronstadt, also born on July 15, 1946. She sang “Don’t Know Much”.

“I don’t know much
But I know, I love you
And that may be
All I need to know,

Then there are numerous events that took place on July 15 in history. Did you know that Paul McCartney once was fined on July 15th, 17 pounds (that’s British for dollars) in 1963 for speeding? Apologies to Paul, it wasn’t “Band on the Run” it was “Man on the Run!”

Man on the run, Man on the run.
And the jailer man and sailor Sam
Were searching every one
For the Man on the run,
Man on the run
Man on the run,
Man on the run”.

And just for all you “soap opera” fans, “One Life to Live” debuted in 1968, lasting some 45 years. There is talk about it possibly returning to the airways. I won’t hold my breath (wasn’t planning on that either). When I was in the prime of my construction career, my employees were called, “All My Children” or was it “As the World Turns”? Just sayin’! These are but a few examples of persons or events concerning July 15.  You could say that I am only a little fish in a giant pond.

And if you are into astrology, (not to be confused with astronomy) then this sort of thing may appeal to you. According to that stream of thought, we Cancerians are influenced by the planetary position of the Moon. That position of the Moon rules the Zodiacal group of Cancer and Venus and together they determine the features and differences of July 15 natives from others. I hope that makes sense to you, doesn’t do much for me, though. I can, however, associate with “the Crab”. As Crabs, our strengths are described as a strong sixth sense, subjective, gentle, swift, imaginative, careful, dedicated, perseverant, kind, caring. This is considered Western Astrology. Some prefer Eastern Astrology. You know Dogs and pigs and rabbits, etc. Here in Texas I practice Doris Day astrology.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be, will be,
The future’s not ours, to see, yeah
Que Sera, Que Sera, Que Sera

So if you were born on July 15, it is a special day. Having a birthday alone is great but sharing one’s birthday is an awesome feeling. And my day is even more special for I share it with the “Rancherette”. When we were first getting acquainted in the early days, I once asked her the date of her birthday. She replied, July 15. I said, no, that is my birthday, when is yours? And again she replied, July 15. So we share the same birthday. From that moment on, it was fate. There is one thing I am reluctant to share and that would be the year we were born. That is classified and only on a need to know basis. Suffice it to say we both qualify for the senior discount at most restaurants, hotels, grocery chains, etc. I did get asked for my ID once when I purchased a can of spray paint. The cashier was confusing me with a teenager. I told her that dirt and I are approximately the same age.

Not only do the “Rancherette” and I share the same birthday; we share a great love with each other. We have an amazing intuition and insight about our lives together. We share a mutual love for animals also. It is not uncommon for our thoughts and minds to come together about most any subject. She qualifies it by saying “great minds think alike”. We have our pet phrases and qualities. We sometimes say the same thing at the same time. Intuition! She is very creative; I like to build. She is so very good at crafting and I like to put in my two cents worth. There so many ways in which we are alike, yet we each have our own personalities. Having a birthday alone is great but sharing one’s birthday is an awesome feeling. I can think of no other way to express Happy Birthday than to share it with my soul mate. And I love you more!

Pushing Carts

I’m confident that most if not all of my readers have shopped at least once in the “giant ‘big box’, has everything, supercenter store”. If there should be one who hasn’t had that experience, I urge you to venture into that dominion. That should be on your “bucket list”. But be prepared for the consequence.

Yesterday, I accompanied the “Rancherette” on our weekly outing to the friendly supercenter for much needed supplies.  We do everything together. We work together, play together, eat together, so it makes sense that we shop together.

Most of our journey into the realm of our supercenter shopping schedule takes place in the grocery section. “You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU

Our path is pre-ordained. We enter the store, proceed to the pharmacy, (at my age there is usually a prescription to be picked up), then on to the Health & Beauty section. The “Rancherette” does not need anything from here, but I do. At last visit,  they did not have any such beauty aids that would be of assistance to me, but I spend a lot of time in the Health Department.

.blood pressure machine

Since the beauty section is on the opposite end from the grocery section, we must then travel through the various departments including the fashion department, and usually with a stopover in each with a detour for a pit stop along the way. (Think health needs).Occasionally, we slide through the craft department, for the “Rancherette” is very crafty.

See the source image.

As we make our way through the store to the foods the travel gets perilous. Pushing a cart through the supercenter is risky to say the least. I have a couple of ideas that might make it a little safer, or not.

First, a pushing cart license should be required before entering the store. They could set up a kiosk at the entry and charge a fee, either for a one trip or annual permit.  Instruction booklets could be found in the Home & Office department. A short one week course with field training could be utilized during nights and weekends when traffic is lightest if there is such a time.

Believe me; many people are in need of a degree of instruction.  See the source image

For example, some use the British model, you know, pushing on the “wrong” side of the aisle, while others use the American model, pushing on the “correct” side of the aisle. Still others use no model at all. Some use the haphazard model. It is very confusing.

driving on wrong side

And there are the “wrong way” pushers. They are oblivious of anyone around them. One can be pushing the correct direction, either British or American and out of nowhere comes a cart from the wrong direction and stacked so high the “pusher” cannot see over the mound of stuff, usually with soft drink bottles hanging off the side. You know, “East is east and West is west, and never the twain shall meet.”(Except in the “Big Box Supercenter”.) As you see, in the photo above, one can find anything in a “Big Box” Supercenter.

And with the “medians” in the middle of the wider aisles one never knows which side to move. The narrow aisles do not have these obstructions, so this is where the motorized shoppers meet to discuss current events.  In fact, the “big box” supercenter could set aside a section like a park, where these individuals could meet. The supercenter could then charge admission. All this could be corrected with “pushing licenses” instruction.

One solution would be to make the aisles a one way direction.  It might not solve every problem but it might solve a few. See diagram below. Notice in the diagram, there is only one check out location. This is controlled chaos. All the stores use this method to keep order.

As we proceed down the aisles we pass all the well known “impulse” items, usually not on our list but placed exactly at eye level. The managerial staff knows when I am coming. Being the sucker I am, I load the basket. But we must also locate the items on our list.  Bottom shelves are not knee friendly nor is the fiber cereal on the top shelf. This is an area where the supercenter needs a bit of instruction. If they would call me, I would tell them where to put stuff. They do not understand such logic. I do.

Eventually, we make our way through the checkout. As we leave the store, we converse about how exciting it is to see the many exhibits (exhibitionists)  throughout the store. Kind of makes your venture worthwhile. Since this is a family friendly site, I will not describe all the varying displays throughout the supercenter. Let just say,  one can see things in there that are not available even in the zoos of the world. Children under 16 years of age should not be admitted, many are simply unsuitable for young adolescents.

But hey, we gathered our groceries, now you gather your courage and get out there and go “pushing”.

See the source image

Have a happy day.

Update to “The Ice Cream Scoop” and other stuff

Update to “Ice Cream Scoop”. The “Rancherette” went above and beyond the call of duty in loading the dish drainer yesterday and she took a picture of it. Obviously, this is not censored in any way since she shared the photo with me.

Drainer

And while the drainer was piled about as high as usual, she did make a special effort to place the “scoop” in a favorable location. But observe the height restriction of the overhead cabinet; I suppose I could remove the overhead cabinet to give her more stacking room. As I said in “The Ice Cream Scoop”, the Rancherette is an expert at loading a dish drainer. Notice how her little round ball scoop is positioned conspicuously in the flatware compartment. I wasn’t fooled even a little bit. I didn’t take the bait.

Notice also how the “cereal bowl and the ice cream bowl” are partially hidden. She’s still got me. Once again I must at least unload some of the dishes in order to retrieve my bowls. Evidently, this task will require a bit more training.

In “The Ice Cream Scoop” I mentioned that I have an affinity for a particular scoop and bowl. Do you not also have a likeness for something odd or something someone else would describe as quirky  or a “peculiarity of behavior”?

Quirkiness: A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy. So says “The Free Dictionary”. To borrow a line from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, “How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways” of quirkiness. In my situation, I will admit to being guilty of these examples  but I am not admitting to being “quirky”.

First, there are the aforementioned articles, i.e. “scoop and bowl”. But there are others. For example; Identical Bread Slices!

bread slices

When I make a sandwich, the bread slices must be exactly alike. You then place them side by side in such a fashion that they match each other. This is called a symmetrical arrangement, exactly similar parts facing each other. In other words balanced. The ingredients are perfectly aligned. Therefore when the sandwich is made it is balanced. This, of course is not quirky in my opinion, however, “some people” consider it quirky. In a perfect world, everything would be balanced. At my age, balance is important. Fortunately, the dish drainer is not involved in this example. No utensils are required (except for a spoon.) Come to think about it, I may have to unload the flatware compartment to get to a spoon.

Crumbled Crackers in milk is another example of what “some” consider as quirky.           You take an antique beer goblet, hopefully from the cabinet and not in the drainer, crumble saltine crackers in the glass, pour milk over the crackers until covered, retrieve spoon from flatware drawer, (if empty check dish drainer flatware compartment) stir concoction and enjoy. Occasionally when I have had a big meal for lunch I resort to this for my dinner in the evening.

 

.3-bartlett-collins-thumbprint-clear-glass-stem-beer-goblets-16-oz-3-737040a841efb91bd085d02206830e48crackers

So there you have a few examples of what “some people” consider quirky.

If you ask the “Rancherette” I am confident she could list several more “quirky” examples, (in her opinion),  but since this is my blog I reserve the right to choose the items that grace these pages. Besides, she has her hands full with loading the dish drainer.

AND since this is New Year’s Day, I wish all my family, friends and readers a very happy start to 2019.

Ice Cream Scoop

Being a creature of habit, I went into the kitchen, cut me a piece of delicious Apple pie made lovingly by the “Rancherette” , got the Blue Bell from the fridge, looked in the drawer where we keep such specialty items as my special ice cream scoop, and it wasn’t there.  My scoop is not your regular scoop, it is more like a miniature shovel. It removes the ice cream from the carton in a shovel fashion, unlike other scoops that make little balls. It was a free gift from Gulf Gas many years ago.

IMG_7144

The “Rancherette” and I bought this old farm house in 2009. With her design skills and my building skills, we spent about four years remodeling and changing things up a bit. When we got to the small kitchen, it was either give up counter space and cabinets to put in a dishwasher or keep counter space and cabinets and give up a dishwasher. The “Rancherette” decided to give up the dishwasher in favor of the cabinets. Since there was a lack of cabinet space she made a wise decision.

However, this meant a dish drainer would be necessary. As I have learned since the remodel, the “Rancherette” is an expert at putting dishes in a dish drainer. She knows so very well what will fit where. She also knows how high to stack the dishes and the little compartment on the side that holds the flatware until it will not hold the flatware. In that case the overflow will fit under a plate or pan somewhere else in the drainer. She is teaching me the skill. As I said, an expert. You see, everything in our farmhouse kitchen has a specified place.

With that being said, the only problem I have is: “Where is my ice cream scoop?”  I’m sure we all have our little peculiarities. For me, it is my ice cream scoop. Well, I also need my “dog food bowl”. For those of you who do not understand, my “dog food” bowl is a small yellow Tupperware cereal bowl. Many years ago it was placed in a bag of dog food as a gift from the manufacturer when you purchased their brand of dog food. I have several from that time period. My cereal  would not taste the same from any other bowl nor my ice cream from any other scoop.

. IMG_7149

So, I have my bowl, I have cut my pie and taken the ice cream from the fridge. But where is my scoop?  There is no sign of my ice cream scoop. Then I remembered. Look in the drainer. But all the other dishes are piled high in the drainer. It isn’t in the specialty drawer, it isn’t in the flatware container in the drainer and it isn’t in the sink dirty. My ice cream is beginning to melt and I have no scoop. Heaven forbid that I must use the little round ball technique. I asked the “Rancherette” if she had any idea where my ice cream shovel was located. She said look in the drainer. I said, “I did, it isn’t there.” And she said, “Look deeper!” But the drainer is stacked almost to the ceiling. So I have three choices, unload the drainer, use a different scoop or forego the ice cream.

So I began unloading the drainer. I work my way carefully, piece by piece, in case I spot the ice cream scoop before unloading the entire drainer. But to no avail. And my ice cream is melting.

Finally, the drainer is empty and there it is, my scoop, on the bottom. I suspect a ploy here. When the dishes in the sink are washed, my ice cream scoop is washed first. It can then be placed on the bottom with all the other dishes expertly arranged on top. What better way to get the drainer unloaded? I told you the “Rancherette” is an expert.

Under the Kitchen Sink

I am such a creature of habit. The news comes on around here at 4 P.M., Monday through Friday. It airs for two and a half hours. There are four local news channels in my area and I switch back and forth so I don’t miss a thing.

They all have the usual assortment of local, national and international news. I don’t know, some of it may be “fake news”, I watch the stories anyway. Let me preface this post by saying,  do not take this personally. I know this may upset some of my friends, but it is not meant to be troubling to you, and may even appear sensitive for some, but it is merely my take of news in general.

Some of the programs touch me in such a way that I have dreams about them. Sometimes the dreams could be described as “nightmares”.  I’m not saying this particular dream was a nightmare, although it could be for some. My question to you, the reader, is, “Do you ever have thoughts or musings about such?

Our news sources regularly report on the happenings of the President. He is a big fan of social media, in case you haven’t noticed. There are many subjects he covers on an hourly basis, or so it seems. He sometimes embellishes his tweets and is generally called out for those comments. Now, I am not judging any of these situations, only commenting my view point.

One story, in particular, caught my attention. The other night, Mr. Trump, our current resident of the White House, stated that he was going to ban bump stocks, an attachment to a semi-automatic rifle that creates a type of machine gun. I do not own a machine gun or any type of semi-automatic rifle. My little .22 caliber rifle is used primarily around here for protection from varmints, predators and slimy snakes. I do not like snakes. My .22 is a bolt action rifle and has a six cartridge magazine  It would not be capable of mounting a bump stock. Machine guns have been illegal in this country for quite some time. I have never seen a machine gun except on the TV series , “The Untouchables” shown in 1959. I’m pretty sure they were only props. Guess that dates me quite well.

I used my trusty .22 some time back to dispose of a skunk. Skunks are persona non gratis around the Fuzzy Chicken Farm. Once he was no longer kicking, the remains had to be disposed of. That was a problem. The smell of a skunk really lingers for a long time. And the location of said animal was very close to the back door. “Doo, doo, doo, Looking out my back door”, my apologies to J.C. Fogerty of Credence Clearwater”.                                      You know, I kinda like that song, and listening to the words very carefully it reminds me of the current situation in Washington, D.C. Just had to throw that in.

So, I watched the news that particular evening, and “bump stocks” stuck in my mind. Like an ear worm. (Note the song above) As luck or fate would have it, or whatever you call it, I fell asleep wondering about my “workload”  the coming day.

Then a knock at the front door and the doorbell rang. The dog began barking. Dogs do not like big brown trucks, or garbage trucks, or doorbells. I jumped from my bed and raced to the door, with the dog getting there first. I restrained him and peered through the blinds to see who it was. It was Mr. Trump. I opened the door and asked if I could be of any assistance, thinking he was probably lost. Now I live in the country and to come to my house one must be on a mission. No one gets lost at my house. It is not a destination location. One must have a reason to come this far out.

So, I asked Mr. Trump what his reason was for visiting my house in the middle of the night. He replied, ”I’m here for your bump stock”. “I don’t have a bump stock,” I said. He said, “it is a crime to lie to a Federal authority.” By this time, I am getting nervous. I timidly asked, “Do you have a warrant?” He replied, “no, I don’t need one but I do need your bump stock, so hand it over.”  “You can search my house if you want to but I don’t have a bump stock”, I said. I must have convinced him. The next thing I knew, he was gone. I looked under the kitchen sink and there was a bump stock I did not know I had. Moments later, my bladder called. Whew, what a relief! (in more ways than one)

I think I will start watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy, well, maybe not Jeopardy. Just gonna restrict my news watching habits a bit. Or maybe listen to some more Credence Clearwater. Becareful watching the news.

This isn’t a Christmas Piece, however, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Gweeny Goose

Among the many “critters” we have on “The Fuzzy Chicken Farm” are three Sebastopol Geese.  They are a hoot, or should I say honk. These three geese answer to the names of Indie, Shya and Bailey. (When they want to)  Once upon a time we thought Bailey was a she but we soon discovered she was a he. Luckily we gave her a name that could be used with either gender.  We are approaching the breeding season and they become aggressive during this time, especially with two males and only one female. So the “Rancherette” decided another female was in order. Indie needed a mate and the“Rancherette” was determined to play matchmaker.Geese April                                                                                                                                                                    IMG_7134

The search began for someone who raises this breed of geese and lo and behold, one was found. The downside was this person lived about 3 hours away. They do not deliver; Hence a road trip. We are accustomed to road trips since the “Rancherette” shows her fancy chickens at various chicken shows.

I placed a portable pen in the pickup bed, wrapped it with a heavy-duty bed quilt for the goose’s protection from the wind and used bungee cords to secure it. With a printed map and directions to the geese herder (?) we hit the road. Before I could get 10 miles down the road, the quilt began to blow in the wind. Of course I stopped to further secure it. Again another few miles and the stupid quilt came loose again. You must understand I am not a professional truck driver. I do not have their expertise at securing loads. You are probably thinking it will happen again. And you would be correct. Fortunately, I had several bungee cords with me. This time I secured it so tightly it would have taken a stick of dynamite to remove it.

So, with that chore finally completed, we “hit the road” again. Of course no road trip worth its salt would be without a “pit stop”. Such was our case. When one gets to be our age it is imperative that one finds a place to get a “bar of candy”, if you know what I mean. It means nothing to say, “You kids go before we leave because I am not stopping!” That was then, this is now.

Mission accomplished and back on the road again. Driving down the freeway, one can get lost in the moment. Luckily I had my printed Google map and directions.  If only I would have taken the time to read them, I probably would not have missed my turn. About twelve miles down the freeway I remembered. A U-turn was the next course of action. I took the next exit which could take me across to the correct highway without a U-turn. Or so I thought. I believe it was Yogi Berra who once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”. There was no fork in the road, however, the detour was a dead end and one must turn right or left. Big decision, my road map was of no use any longer. The “Rancherette” turned on her IPhone gps. We turned right. I drove all the way to the next town, passing a mushroom processing plant. Now I love mushrooms and have eaten my share of several different varieties, however the smell from the processing plant was very difficult to overcome. Hurriedly, we passed.

We came into town and because I had failed to follow directions, I was lost. (Me? A male? Lost? Unheard of) I turned around and began to retrace my steps. Ugh, it was the mushroom processing plant again. I picked up speed and passed the plant quickly.

So driving further down the two lane highway about ten miles or so, the “Rancherette” thought we were still going the wrong way. She was correct. I turned around and once again went back to where we came from. Yeah, I passed the “mushrooms” for the third time. We finally located the correct road and quickly arrived at the geese home.

A varied menagerie of critters, including a very colorful Tom Turkey named Kevin which seemed to have other things on his mind. The owners met us in the driveway as well as many dogs, chickens, goats, pot-bellied pigs and geese. Travis and Joy, the owners are such nice people and their baby is so sweet. we offered to bring her home with us and the goose, but they declined, just the goose. After an enlightened conversation the “Rancherette” picked out Genevieve the goose. It seems her nickname is Gwenny, thus she will forever be known as Gweeny Goose, not to be confused with Granny Goose.

Gwinny Goose

With a long drive ahead of us (assuming we don’t get lost) we said our goodbyes and departed. But there was no way I’m passing the mushroom processing plant again.  Stay tuned for the continuing sage of Gweeny Goose.

BEWARE OF DEAD PLANTS

We are in the middle of a drought, or so the meteorologists are prone to declare. You see, there are various stages; no drought, dry, moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional.  Today, August 22, 2018, we are in a moderate drought not quite severe but mostly dry.  The locusts are not even chirping, they always make a lot of noise in the summer, but the crickets are, chirping and noisy and smelly. The trees are losing their leaves, called transpiring.

Most of the ponds around our rural area are drying up or already dry. Our pond is no exception. In fact, it did go completely dry about two weeks ago. We since had a little rain and a few inches collected in the pond. However, it is quickly shrinking. The geese are blaming me. In fact, all the animals are blaming me. The one that seems to enjoy this predicament the most are the pesky flies. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get them to at least move away from here. Go back across the fence where there are cattle with tails that swish.

 I try to keep the geese satisfied by furnishing them with kiddie pools. We have three Sebastopol geese and each has their own pool. They waddle through the mud and any remaining water in the pond, then immediately waddle into their kiddie pool and of course muddy the waters.

Then they waddle out and stand around and watch me empty the filthy water and wait, not too patiently, (geese have no patience) while I clean and refill them. I slowly lift the pools to empty. I say slowly, because last week I lifted one and discovered a Copperhead snake underneath. That will get your attention very suddenly. The geese were not very empathetic about the situation. They just want their pool filled.

 If I understand geese talk, the conversation went something like this, “OK, Dad, hurry up. What’s taking you so long? Can’t you see we are waiting? It’s only a little snake. Are you afraid of a little snake?” The answer is emphatically YES, all snakes and all sticks that look like snakes. And this conversation is over.

So, I’m letting the geese out of their pens this morning, I notice a small brushy thingy in the almost dry pond. It is moving ever so slowly, stops for a bit, moves a little more and repeats its maneuvering. Is it a snake? It is leaving a trail in the humidified, algae infested water, which causes more algae to grow and hide such creatures as snakes.

By now my curiosity is peaked. Should I go get the rifle and shoot the darned dead plant out of the water?  That seems to be an oxymoronic statement. Dead means dead, yet the plant was moving. (Well, everyone knows DEAD plants don’t move) Come to think about it, LIVE plants don’t move either. But snakes do move until they are dead.  Some even continue moving minus a head.

I stalled while I continued about the chores of feeding the chickens in the coops and the dogs in the kennels, neither of which seems concerned about snakes or dead plants floating in the few inches of water. They all have the same mindset as the geese. “Hurry up, they crow, cackle, bark, honk!”                                                         

I’m fixated on the dead plant. It continues to move ever so slightly. I go into the supply room and fetch my 22 rifle. However, I do not want to shoot until I know what is causing the movement. Then I pick up the rake and the shovel. One can’t be too prepared for dispatching a moving DEAD plant. Slowly I reach out to the DEAD plant with the rake. It has a long handle and I place the prongs around the thing and begin retrieving it to the bank. Suddenly, it moved quickly. So did I.

Well, the geese are watching from beside their kiddie pool, content to observe from a distance and not willing to help in the least, laughing in their honking way of conversing. They want their water changed. Most geese are extremely vocal about any unusual activity. These three weren’t the least bit concerned about my welfare. Occasionally, when a chicken misbehaves I simply yell, “Chicken Nuggets” and that usually will quiet them down. It doesn’t work with geese. I can’t wait until the rainy season.

All I know, is watch out for floating dead plants. There may be a turtle pushing it around.

A Perfect Dad, II

As I post this, Father’s Day 2018, is upon us. Seven years ago, I wrote this to celebrate Father’s Day. Since that time I have become a Great-Grandfather to five fantastic children. The first four are boys with the last one being a girl.  What I wonderful feeling.  I am truly blessed. But so are the fathers of these wonderful kids.  I post this in honor of all the fathers in my family and everywhere.

While the great-grandsons are well past the “diaper” stage, the great-granddaughter is still in the midst of “change”. Obviously, the skills needed for girls are quite different than for boys. I am certain “Perfect Dads” have figured that out.

The children we father makes us fathers, the love we show them makes us “Dads”.

“A Perfect Dad”

I am a father of two daughters and one son, as well as a grandfather of four girls and two boys, AND a great-grandfather to a lad named Judah, A fine old biblical name. This year, I received my share of Father’s Day cards. As I read the little poem written inside one card, I could not help but feel very inadequate, for I am anything but a “Perfect Dad”.

Way back when my firstborn (she would dispute the “way back” part) made her initial appearance, I was based on an aircraft carrier in Japan and unable to be there for that ultimate experience.

Later, when my second born arrived, I was there, however, not allowed in the delivery room. I probably would have fainted anyway. She arrived with as much fanfare as did the firstborn.

I know for sure that I went through the burping, feeding, rocking phases, more so with the second child than the first. However, their mother attended to the diapering functions. You have to understand the times in which we were living during the early 60’s. Most men did not attend to such details. However, times, they were a’changing.

When children are born, they are like a piece of cloth. They sag in places, they have a lot of wrinkles, not much hair, at least not my children, and it looks like they were dyed red.

Wrinkled and red.  Skin so soft you’d think they were covered with silk. And everything needed support.

When my son was born, he was no exception. But, like I said, times were a’changing. Through a series of discussions (coerced, I’m sure), I was ready to accept my responsibilities of being a father. Except, my hands were not equipped to handle such difficult maneuvers. I was very deficient in providing this needed aid.

Later, when I felt I had acquired at least some of the necessary skills, I was allowed (?) to take on a few basic functions of caring for him. Feeding him at 2 A.M. was my first privilege. Burping him was another. Always have an extra cloth diaper handy for placing over your shoulder. Notice, I said “cloth diaper”. Disposable diapers had been invented some years before my children were born; however, they were not as prevalent as today. They were expensive, as well.  Thus, we used cloth diapers.

As my skills became more proficient, other responsibilities were given (?) to me. One task, though, was overwhelming. Considering the times when my poor child had to go around with a diaper halfway to his knees, it was obvious.

I laughed, not at the amusing sight, but rather at the very thought of my inexperience of placing the diaper on him in the first place. Of course, there were no instruction booklets attached to the “cloth” diaper. I often wondered how his mother did that. I think she wrote a book titled, “How to Change a Cloth Diaper,” which I of course, never read.

Intelligent as I am, I devised a special method for cleaning cloth diapers. (I’m not sure if I was the first one to use this method.) You simply place the used diaper in the toilet, and while holding to one end, very carefully, you flush. The way to do this is to use some sort of device to your nose or you may hold your nose with one hand, the diaper in the other and use your elbow to hit the flush handle.

However, when I received the bill from the plumber I surmised that the flush method for cleaning cloth diapers was not necessarily a proper decision of a “Perfect Dad.” But, trial and error will teach you the proper technique. It must be noted that “Perfect Dads” have a very sensitive gag reflex.  I often wondered if one could not use the same method for cleaning the child as well, but I was informed that it was not allowed.

Then, too, the cloth diaper method we used required two safety pins, one for each side. This was not easy. Making the folds while holding the squirming child down required a third hand, which I did not have. I never saw a third hand on his mother, but somehow she always managed to pin the diaper on the child without sticking the pins in his skin.

I might also mention that you need protective equipment, such as goggles when changing diapers on little boys. If I were “A Perfect Dad”, I would have known that. (I should have read the book!) As I said, times have certainly changed over the years. Child rearing in this day seems much simpler to me. How hard could it be to change a disposable diaper? Tape it on?

Fathers, Grandfathers, relish in this day. In someone’s eyes, you are a “Perfect Dad.”

My Dad has long since passed on but I recall a plaque I once gave him for Father’s Day. It was purchased on the spur of the moment, a last minute decision.gift.  It featured a pair of shoes with the inscription, “No one can fill the shoes of my Dad.” My Dad loved that small gift. He placed it on his table where he could see this everyday. He was my step-dad but the only dad I ever knew.

On this Father’s Day, take a few moments to reflect upon your father, even as you celebrate being a father. Know that our Heavenly Father is the one truly, “Perfect Dad”, who produced a truly “Perfect Son. God’s Word tells us to “honor our father and mother, that our days will be long upon the land that God has given us”. Ex. 20:12

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

June 19, 2011

NO Rooster Necessary

So the “Rancherette” arrives at the post office unannounced with two cardboard boxes of chickens for shipment to Oklahoma. Why these birds wanted to go to Oklahoma in the first place is beyond this Texan’s imagination. I mean no disrespect to the great citizens of Oklahoma, but the best thing ever to come out of Oklahoma was the musical, “Oklahoma”. I’m a sucker for musicals.  I love that musical and Shirley Jones singing. Then there is Mickey Mantle and Johnny Bench.  And I must never leave out Native Americans, the backbone of the state. However, it is not Texas, I’m just sayin’.  And I am now trying to dig myself out of a hole. Before I get mauled on social media, I maybe should change the subject.

As I was saying, the “Rancherette” is shipping “Mille Fleur D’uccle bantams and Silkie bantams to Oklahoma. These birds are show quality and are headed for distinction. “The Rancherette”, herself is a person of distinction and especially in the chicken world. She is an expert, knowledgeable and very professional at raising chickens. The “Rancherwriterpoet” is not a biased person, he is however, rather smart.

Well, she queued at the post office, (which one shall remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the USPS) to ship the birds. While waiting in line, several people were inquisitive about what was in the cartons. Never missing an opportunity to discuss chickens, the “Rancherette” was quick to respond. The conversation went something like this, “Chickens”, she said. And that was all she needed to elaborate about what was in the cardboard boxes. I venture to say, before she left the building, every person in the place knew so much more about chickens than before they came in. They also had in their little hands, “The Fuzzy Chicken Farm” business cards in case there should be any further dialog.

When she approached the counter, the clerk recognized her and mentioned how much she likes chickens.  The “Rancherette” mails all her chickens from this post office. As you might expect, the hens are cackling, I mean the ladies are talking chickens, when the clerk commented that she would like to have a few chickens so she could have fresh eggs but she did not want a rooster. She thought she needed a rooster in order to have fresh eggs. This obviously opened the door (to the coop) for a discussion about when a rooster is needed and when not. In her calm and mentoring demeanor, the “Rancherette” explained that a rooster was not needed for a hen to merely lay an egg. The clerk was dumbfounded at this information.

This is going to take a lesson in chicken biology at which the “Rancherette” is very well versed. I can imagine that the subject was covered in full explicit detail so I want further complicate your day by revealing those elements. If I did, this would need to be rated X. Needless to say, the line behind the “Rancherette’ grew longer as the seminar continued. I find myself wondering if there was participation from those behind her. There was certainly curiosity. I am confident that viable information was presented by a Master Professional and all went home having learned that a rooster is not necessary for eggs or you can buy eggs at the super market. I don’t believe they have any roosters in the back.

Next week, there will two more shipments of birds to some far away land like Idaho and Illinois. Idaho has potatoes and Illinois has the Cubs. The “Rancherette” can’t wait. She will be holding another tutorial at the same USPS facility. She anticipates another great discussion about chickens. Hopefully she does not have to repeat last week’s lesson.  The “Rancherwriterpoet” was not there for confirmation of this conversation, but the expression on the “Rancherette’s” face as she was relating this was hilarious. I found this to be very informative. If you can’t stand the cackling or crowing stay out of the coops.

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, so sang Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting.  Other artists have recorded this song over the years. It is a Christmas song written by Frank Loesser in 1944. It is an interesting song and delightful to hear.  However, the message is concerning.

I awoke this morning to a chilly 39° out here on “The Fuzzy Chicken Farm.” Wasn’t expecting that. Yesterday it was near 80° and me out there sweating away while mowing the yard. But this is what you get in North Texas. After this past week at a Physicians Cardiology Symposium, for which the “Rancherette and the RancherWriterPoet” were the subjects of the focus group, I fell far behind in my yardly duties. It is amazing how quickly grass grows. With a rear view mirror on my riding mower, I could actually witness grass growing. The evening before the vicious return of the bitter winter, it rained. The grass sucked it all up. You know what that means.

So, on this cold morning, the baby fuzzy chickens, not used to this arctic condition (well, it feels Artic-y {new word}), were conveniently clustered together for warmth, like football players huddle.

baby chicks

These very young fowl have been hatched in an incubator and have no identity with a mother chicken. The “Rancherette” fulfills that role with much enthusiasm. She is the heroine on the Farm. Occasionally, her birthing skills are required to help the little chick crack open their egg and arrive in this new world right on schedule. Peering into the incubator is like choosing a pastry from a bakery window, so many choices. It is a smorgasbord of different breeds, sizes and shapes.  The “Rancherette” tends to each and every one personally and quite surprisingly, they respond. So on this cold morning, she is certainly like a mother chicken, protecting, hovering and cajoling her flock.

Not being sled dogs from Alaska, the kennel dogs weren’t too keen about racing into the cold air; however, the geese have no fear of such weather. After being released from their nightly quarters, they made a beeline (or is that geeseline?) straight to the pond.

heading for the pond Geese 1

 

Braving the elements, honking and squealing, they wasted no time diving into the icy water as though it was the middle of summer in Puerto Rico.

I, being the bus driver and handyman on The Fuzzy Chicken Farm, spend part of my daily time watering and feeding the flocks. And on this chilly morning, I feel much like those baby chicks. When the quarterback breaks the huddle, everyone scatters to their assignments. Me, I just wanted to stay in the huddle.

Monday will be in the 80’s and the grass will have grown to new heights. mowing the grass

 I need gasoline for the mower but, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

I have it on good authority that the Physician’s Cardiology Symposium Report will be forthcoming this next week. Sure hope that doesn’t give me a chill.53321-Its-Cold-Outside

Stay warm, wherever you are.

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