rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Inspiration”

Buddy Poppy

 

BuddyPoppy_COB_Rotated

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

That poem reminds me of my youth. Growing up in East Texas, we observed most all things patriotic. I had many small town “little boy” jobs. Mowing lawns (with a boy-powered push mower), selling newspapers, you name it, I did it. One job I remember was selling Buddy Poppies, the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans. These were to honor our fallen soldiers. And at that time the focus was on WWII men and women.

Somehow I cannot visualize myself being in a war. I did spend a few years in the U.S. Navy; however, it was not during a period of American involvement in conflict. Honorably discharged in 1960, I spent the bulk of my military service aboard the USS Oriskany and the USS Hornet, both aircraft carriers. I married in 1959 and made the transition to civilian life upon my discharge. A few years later, America became involved in the Vietnam War.

But raising a family was my first concern and while my allegiance was to my family, I have always been conflicted about not serving during that period of time. Even today, I feel a deep regret for not stepping up to the plate. I feel sorrow for those who had the unpopular task in the Vietnam era.

My father-in-law was a combat veteran during WWII, serving in the SeaBees and among the first to venture onto the islands of the South Pacific, fighting battles and building airstrips. He was very private about his time in the service, but was among the many who received accolades for his time in the military, unlike the Vietnam veterans. I suppose this is one reason I feel a kinship with those who did.

Many returned home to an unpopular welcome. Derided and made to feel ashamed of their service. No other service to our country has ever been placed in that reasoning. Over 58,000 American men and women lost their lives during that conflict, and at the time those who survived were made to feel ashamed. That was a disgrace then and now.

Monday, May 27th is the day we observe Memorial Day this year. It is a day of remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The burden is upon you, the America citizen, to remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Don’t disappoint me. Remember and respect all who did so. They served with distinction. And to the Vietnam veterans, I especially thank you for your service. I apologize for you taking my place.

Maybe I can find a Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day. I do remember.

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Christmas Eve, 1892

I have spent a lifetime cultivating friends.  It has been a gratifying experience on my part. I hope it has been for those who have befriended me. At this time of year, we are inclined to recognize the sincerity of friendship. I would love to list each one individually, but I could not possibly single out any one person for to do so would overlook someone and that would clearly not be my intent. So, allow me to use this platform as my way of saying Merry Christmas to all my friends of today and those of years past and to all my family members.

Times have changed so much and so fast over the years. I do not send out Christmas Cards as I once did. I suppose social media has a lot to do with that. But with the technology of that medium, this will serve as my Christmas greetings. My family is scattered and grown with grandchildren of their own. Each family celebrates Christmas in traditions and customs of their making. However, the custom and tradition of family love is inherent in each. I love my family and support each as we welcome the celebration of the Christ Child.

From time to time I dabble in Cowboy Poetry. This is a poem of such in recognition  of the celebrated Child.

It was Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
when the crusty old cowboy come riding thru.
the years ain’t been too kind to his wrinkled old skin
but that wasn’t stopping his toothy old grin.
He was wearing his frazzled and moth-eaten old coat
with a dull-colored scarf wrapped ‘round his throat.
under his coat he wore an old woolen shirt
thread-bare ‘round the elbows and covered with dirt.
His legs was all chafed by the rough leather straps
of his battered and weathered scruffy old chaps.
His tattered old hat barely covered his wind-reddened face,
wrinkled and wearied by a tediously…backbreaking pace.
His worn-out old boots had known much better days
When they weren’t stuck in the stirrups rounding up strays.

Ain’t been no easy years for this doddering cowpoke
For he’s played out his life mostly hard up and broke.
Been riding the range for most all his existence
Depending on nature for all his subsistence
Too many Christmases have passed him on by
But this one seems different yet he can’t figure why
May be he’s thinking it’s the end of his ride
And there’s a few things in this life he ain’t never tried.
Like hearing a preacher tell and discuss
’bout ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Or hearing the story of the birth of Christ
Born in a stable under the Daystar’s light.
This old cowboy ain’t figured it out just yet
But when it finally comes ‘round he won’t ever forget.

Now he’s close to the end of this rough cowboy life
And he’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
But he ain’t never stepped foot inside of no church
So, he’s got no sense about where he should search.
But the voice in his mind kept telling him ride,
Keep riding cowpoke, the Lord will provide.
So, the crusty old cowboy woke up before dawn.
This was the day before Christmas so he kept riding on,
for there was a particular… place the voice said to be
and he needed to be there… on Christmas Eve.
He rode into town feeling so distressed
When a stranger asked him, “would you be my guest?”
The crusty old cowboy felt a sense of relief
As the dark-headed stranger shared his belief.

The old cowboy wondered if he could hear more
‘bout what all that happened on that stable floor.
And he wanted to know ‘bout any gifts he should bring
The stranger said, “He is the gift, He is the King”.
This old cowboy’s at the end of his rough cowboy life
He’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
He’s looking to finish with a whisper and smile.
Knowing Jesus is what makes it all worthwhile.
No more dust and grit to choke when you ride.
No more chasing strays and branding their hide.
No more riding watch in the middle of night
No more wrangling horses in the flickering light.
You signed on to ride with Christ the rest of your days
You’ve stood your ground and heeded His ways.

No more riding ‘crost the prairie plain
All wrapped in a poncho fighting the rain.
I’ve fixed up a camp spot high on a hill,
with bedrolls and blankets, in case there’s a chill.
There’s a campfire burning that never needs wood
A cast iron pot of beans that always tastes good.
Sourdough biscuits made the campfire way
and cowboy coffee to start your day.
And if you think you might… just get the urge
To ride the range where the rivers converge,
Then your dusty old bay is tethered near by
You can ride forever ‘neath the clear blue sky.
And the angels all gathered to sing and shout
Surely, old cowboy, you’ve figured that out.

It didn’t seem much like Christmas Eve he thought…
But his life was made new by the gift that Christ brought.
So on Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
The crusty old cowboy comes riding thru
His looks had been changed from his wrinkled old skin
But there sure wern’t no mistaking his toothy old grin.
The story goes on ‘bout stars in the sky,
How the cattle are lowing but the baby don’t cry
How the bells keep on ringing the news for today
That the Christ Child was born on Christmas day
on this Christmas Eve he was feeling so blest.
This crusty old cowboy heading for a long winter rest.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

 

 

Once Upon A Time, the Saga

Once upon a time! That’s how most fairy tales and stories for children begin. One can write a story and start with this idiom and immediately it gains some sort of legitimacy. So with that in mind, I begin another story of Gweeny Goose. I will try to keep this story suitable for children.

Once upon a time, there were three geese, Bailey, a gander, Indie, another gander, and Shya, a goose. (I am told there is no specific name for a female, so I will just call her a ‘goose’.

‘ Three geese coming from pen

Indie came by his name because he was rather independent. And Shya came by her name because of her shyness. And Bailey? Well, the characteristics were appropriate for a female. As it turned out, she was a he and since the name Bailey is gender neutral, Bailey it was. However, we now had two ganders and one goose. Bailey has evolved, seemly, into the dominate gander, although he is actually the smaller of the two ganders. Like they say dynamite comes in small packages. I think that Indie is just biding his time.

Life was good for the ganders but not so well for the goose. According to the geese experts, a female chooses a monogamous partner about the age of three. Since these three are just now approaching the age of two, it is difficult for the lone goose to manage two suitors.  I can only imagine her difficulty.

On a regular basis, I interact with these three ‘geeses’ (I call them ‘geeses’ which they understand). It requires much study, but I have a Master’s degree in geeses language, and I speak it fluently. Like, ‘att choo doin’ geeses?’ Sometimes, I yell, ‘eir u goin’, geeses? They honk back at me and the louder I get the louder they honk.  Since we put them up at night to protect them from predators, we have taught them a method of cooperation to help us at that task. From goslings we have called out, “let’s go home” as a means of bringing them in. It works quite well, even as they have matured. We sometimes use a small children’s rake to ‘herd’ them into their pens. These three geeses mind very well, most of the time. And most of the time they answer to their names. But a friend of mine reminded me that it is a scientific fact that only when they want too!

And at breeding season, forget all this information. I recall last season. It was so very difficult to go around them. I believe Bailey saw me as a threat. And Indie was not subtle either. Occasionally we would have to use the aforementioned children’s rakes to defend ourselves. The secret to defending yourselves is to not let them get behind you. They are sneaky. Face to face, they seem quite mild. They are friendly and will come close but not too close. Have you ever had a dog nip at your heels? Our geeses have picked up that trait during breeding season. We have a kennel full of dogs and on their afternoon run, they have learned to not go close to the geeses.  Talk about nipping at heels!

So breeding season is fast approaching. Enter Gweeny Goose!  If you read the previous post you know how she came to be the newest addition to the geese population at the Fuzzy Chicken Farm. This story, “Once Upon A Time”, is part of a continuing sage of Gweeny Goose. Perhaps you have once been the new kid on the block or at school. You may recall the reluctance of many to make friends with you or you with them. Such is the case of the “geeses”.

Yesterday was the first day the four were allowed out at the same time. The “Rancherette” and I were very apprehensive about letting them out simultaneously. It was unknown how any of them would react. Would there be any animosity between them?  Would the three original residents cause any rancor? Or would she? Well, there wasn’t necessarily any congeniality between them but there was no bloodshed either. That’s a good sign.So, this morning was the second day of mingling.They appear to be “mingling” just fine. Swimming together and checking each other out. Bailey is either nosy or jealous. He  wants her to be around but then he chases her away when she gets too close to Indie and Shya.

Foour geese a swimming                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since they slept in adjacent but separate pens it was a curiosity of Bailey and friends to check out her apartment. It seems that she has spacious sleeping quarters. Gweeny's apartment

She has good food, too. (It’s the same stuff.) But, it is only a matter of time before she will move in with her choice. [being a female (goose) she is allowed to make her choice.]

But do not be dismayed, breeding season is fast approaching. And I am trembling.

One More Christmas Story

If you are past the age of finding out whom Santa Claus really is, then you probably have heard all the Christmas stories ever told, or so you thought. Allow me to provide you with one more.

Somewhere beyond the heavenly stars dwells a Being that made His presence known on this earth in the form of a Savior. You say, well, that is the same old story I have heard for years. This is a twist on that story.

The Cradle

The old carpenter spent many hours trying to finish his project. He had a deadline to meet and the hour was growing late. It did not seem as though he would be able to complete it. He had started in plenty of time he thought, back when he first learned of the impending arrival. He had scoured the sparsely wooded perimeter of his home looking for just the right tree from which to chisel and perform his gifted talent of carpentry. He finally found a cedar tree just about the right size for his purpose. So, he cut the tree and brought it back to his workshop. It was green and would have to season a bit, but he could deal with that. He laid out the wood for the sun and the air to dry it. It would take thirty to forty-five days of seasoning to be just right. If it dried too fast, it would check and crack. He would sprinkle water on it to slow the process, but if it did not become dry enough for his work then he would be unable to hew and chisel the material.

The days fast disappeared and he began to spend longer hours late at night on his personal project, as he still had work to complete for others as well. After all, he was well known throughout the community, having crafted pieces of furniture for some of the most renowned citizens of his village and in the city not too far away. But he busied himself and continued on his task. He would finish it in time, he vowed as well as the other pieces.

His tools were shopworn but one could see the care he gave them. After all these were tools of his trade. A man without good tools usually does not take pride his product and you could tell the quality of his work just from looking at his tools.

His work of art began to take shape and it was evident of his love for this piece. Perhaps he had insight as to what he was preparing. If it appeared that if wasn’t just right, he would have to start over. This is something he did not want to do. But that would not be the case for it was going very smoothly.

Then unexpected news arrived. He and his family were about to take a forced journey. It could not be delayed. Severe consequences would apply should they not make this trip.

The notice arrived declaring that all residents would have to appear in person with their family members to be counted. He must make his way to his place of birth. He was taken aback. If he disobeyed this government order, he could be prosecuted. If he complied with the order, then he may be unable to finish his project on time. It was a dilemma.

Thoroughly discouraged, he had no choice. He must go with his family to be counted. He would not be able to finish. Feverishly he worked but it appeared that the project would have to wait. Then he thought, I have just a day or two before we must go, so worriedly he worked through the night. By noon the next day he completed the project. Giving thanks, he then set about procuring the animals for the journey to his hometown.

His betrothed asked if they could bring the completed piece, but was told there wasn’t any room. Don’t worry, he said, it would be here when we return. So, they loaded their belongings for the trip and started out.  They had to make their way about ninety miles.

They could only go about fifteen miles a day, so it would take them about six days to reach their destination.  His bride, you see, was pregnant with child and their movement was trudgingly slow. The donkey was not very cooperative either and had to be led.

On the evening of the sixth day, they arrived. It was late and as they begin inquiring for places to stay, they were turned away. It seems perhaps they should have come earlier. The town was full of others who were coming for the census. They were exhausted and desperate. They tried one more place and again were told there was no room. However, the innkeeper felt sorry for them and offered to let them stay in the barn. It wasn’t very clean and the animals had to be shooed about, but they made their bed for the evening.

Before morning would come, she would deliver a baby boy. Right away, he thought of the piece he had made. You see it was a cradle. It was made with loving care for this occasion. But it was not here. It was back home. And he was terribly unnerved. Knowing that she was about to deliver, he searched for a place for the infant.

He did not see anything that could be used. Then he noticed the feed trough, a manger! We could use this if I put some hay in it and perhaps a blanket.

Then he thought, perhaps it was supposed to be. He had heard from those who said that a baby would be born like this and laid in a manger. His cradle would have to wait.

Before the night was over, others would hear of the birth and want to see the Child. But in a manger? Was this right? He wanted so much for this child to have his own bed. But the cradle would have to wait.

Then as the visitors, shepherds from the fields, came in, Joseph heard them talking. It is as the angel has said. He is lying in a manger. Then it came to him. This method, this journey, the manger, the visitors, all of this had been orchestrated by God, just as He said it would be. Joseph saw this for what it really was. The purpose of God was fulfilled. And suddenly, the cradle did not mean nearly as much as before. For God had provided a bed for His Child. A special cradle! A manger! It was a sign to the shepherds that God cared for them too.

December 2003

 

 

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

The Making of a Marriage

Much has been written and voiced about Marriage.  Max Lucado said, “God created Marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it, no social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”  I’m pretty sure I could not improve on that.

I can, however, add these words. New Year’s Day does not usher in marriage, the Easter Bunny does not hide it to be found at a later time; Santa Claus does not put it under the Christmas tree, nor is it some patriotic theme for the 4th of July, although Cupid may be somewhat involved around St. Valentine’s Day.

But it is a cause for celebration. Marriage is much more than words. It comes with the desire of a woman and a man to blend two different lives into one. It comes with the awkwardness of learning to adapt, to compromise. It is like kindergarten, like learning to share what previously was not necessary. These steps cannot be forced upon the marriage partner. It is an innate quality in each individual that determines the future of the relationship, characteristic of a defining fascination between two persons.

To the naked eye, this writing does not seem to be much of a romance story. But it is and it is my story. As I sit and write this for publication, I want to inform the world that it is indeed a romantic look of my adorable spouse. Circumstances beyond our control brought us together. The loss of our previous spouses left a void in both of our lives and I am grateful to God for bringing us together and filling those voids.

On this day, May 15, nine years ago, two became one, not by accident, but by design. God, The Creator and Ultimate Designer set in motion the wheels of romance between the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet”. Among the pines of Central Arkansas, near Hot Springs, in a little log cabin, with a minister for the ceremony and his wife and their dog as witnesses, we exchanged vows and became Mr. and Mrs.  The moment we tied the knot was truly spectacular. And I share our Ninth Anniversary with the world.

The first time I really knew she was for me was when we met in Barnes and Noble. She was in the romance section and I admired her from the map section. Our eyes connected. We met and shared coffee at Starbucks inside the book store. After our meeting for the first time we strolled through the mall, where she purchased a set of coasters for her house. We went for lunch at “On the Border” restaurant. Then we took a long walk through a small park not far from the mall. As we strolled along the path, talking, admiring the early winter scenery, wondering about how quickly the day had passed, our eyes met and then our lips touched. What a moment of excitement and then came the Pomeranian.  You may be wondering about that Pomeranian, well, you will just have to keep wondering. Although I love dogs, I am not a fan of Pomeranians.

If She Were:

If she were a season, she would be Spring. With the blooms of flowers and the multitude of plants she has meticulously introduced into our landscape everywhere, she has beautified our surroundings. And as with her flowering creations, she enriches my life with her beauty.

If she were a rose, it would be a welcome addition to any garden, truly a rose garden. As petals fall, new stems produce new buds and she is like a new bud bringing forth a pleasing rose in my life. I could say she is my Yellow Rose of Texas.

If she were an automobile, she would be a red Corvette. Who cannot admire sleek perfection? The elegance and style of a Corvette would only be enhanced by her own elegance and style. She brings that elegance and style to my life.

If she were a deep blue sky, she would be admired by the whole world, for who cannot be happy with a deep blue sky. I see a blue sky every time I look at her.

If she were a bird she would be the songstress of the air. Singing beautiful songs of endearment would be the sounds I hear.

these are only a few words about our marriage. I could go on and on, but I think you get my meaning; It is the epitome of love. It rings true and is most welcome in my life. I would not have it any other way.

God does indeed provide opportunities to fall in love. I took advantage of one such divine circumstance nine years ago and so I say:

Happy Anniversary to Jennifer, the “Rancherette” of my life. I love you.

 

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.

Cardboard Boxes

Spring is springing and it is raining today. That’s ok, trees are budding, grass is growing, flowers are blooming, redbuds are beautiful, birds building nests and laying eggs, and our menagerie is fulfilling their destiny. The geese are nesting. Ahh, the geese!

They arrived in a cardboard box through the U.S. Postal Service about a year ago, this thundering herd of geese. Namely three Sebastopol goslings, which have since become like full grown Geese, two males and a female, depending on whom is making the assessment. The “Rancherette” presumes the opposite of my viewpoint. We are sure about the one named Indie, a gander and Shya, a female. I find it odd that a female goose does not have a specific gender name other than a “goose.” The one named Bailey, is the one in question, a “goose” or a gander? But it is a gender neutral name.

Regardless, they frequent our lives on a daily basis, honking, nibbling at the pants legs, flapping their wings in a not-so-subtle way of discouraging your presence or demanding your attention.

  flapping wings

They can untie your shoes, strip the cushion ties from the patio chairs, scare the bejabbers out of you and clearly intimidate you, all the while creating an atmosphere of amusement.  During the mating season, this becomes much more prevalent. You do not want to turn your back on these obstinate, two-legged, pillow-making waterfowl.  Things could get ugly in a heartbeat.

When they were younger they were trained to go into their pen on command. Utter the words, “Geeses, let’s go home” and they would immediately walk ever so slowly into their pen. Actually, they do not walk, they waddle. They stumble over any obstacle in their path, be it a pine cone or a tree root. But the going home part, not so much now they are grown. Resistance has become the norm. Hence, the pants-leg gnawing. We use a child’s rake to guide them home. They will wrest it from your hands, believing it is an orange-colored predator and will bite it to death. If your finger is substituted , they can gnaw ‘til it’s raw. They make excellent guard geese. We already have Poodle Home Security. Now we have a subsidiary company, as well, the Geese Patrol.

Much like the Postal Service, rain, sleet nor snow will not discourage them from their appointed duties, like  swimming in their ¼ acre pond no matter the temperature. They do not mingle with the chickens or dogs, although there is occasional  interaction between the pens. They are very curious birds and intent on observing everything you do.  Always watching, they do not miss anything. The kennel dogs roam freely throughout their portion of the back yard, taking care not to violate the demarcation line next to the fence that separates one from the other.

Alfie, our resident Airedale troublemaker, who has a personal relationship with hardheadedness, can report first hand the effects of encroaching too close to the fence. The other kennel dogs must have observed that infraction and thus, are very reluctant to repeat Alfie’s action. If you ask Alfie, she will show you her scars.

So, here on the Fuzzy Chicken Farm, there is an assortment of poultry and canines. Until the cardboard boxes arrived last year, it was a peaceful co-existence.  We still co-exist; however, it is a delicate arrangement. After all, they are the royalty of the Fuzzy Chicken Farm.

Spring is springing. Beware of cardboard boxes arriving in the mail. It could be a thundering herd of geese. Honk! Honk!

From the Highest of Heavens

Some say we are in the Christmas season, but I say, God is never out of season. People sometimes take Him out of their box in December, put Him back in the box in January and leave Him there until Easter.
This is the reminder… as we celebrate the birth of Christ with family and friends; let us also take the time to reflect on our worship of Him throughout the year.

“From The Highest of Heavens”

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all”.  John 3:31
“And the Lord God Almighty said, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are too small to be among the army groups from Judah, from you will come one who will rule Israel for me. He comes from very old times, from days long ago.” Micah 5:2

In the highest of heavens,
Even, the heavens above the heavens,
The Most High sits on the glorious throne of the
Lord God Almighty.
In the beginning and from your splendid throne,
You Were…
Before the equation of time became measurable,
You were God…
Before the flawless design of endless space
You existed…
Before cosmic matter came into being
You were present…
Before God-breathed humanity was fashioned
You were…
Even before nothing …
You were…

And even before all of this, my name…,
MY NAME…! was on your lips,
And my soul… MY SOUL! was on your mind.
Love for me… was in your heart, because,
You Were…

And in that highest of heavens,
at your right hand sat your Son, Jesus,
with the Plan for my soul.
—You whispered my name, He said, “I’ll go!”

Then from that highest of heavens,
Down through the endless space,
in His measured time,
Brushing aside celestial spaces to
save humanity as the True Light…
In flesh…,through a virgin birth, He came…

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth John 1:14

Here in the month of December, we celebrate the physical birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But today isn’t His birthday, and neither is December the 25th. For we celebrate not the day He came, but that He Came. Some ask, was it real? I say, my friends, yes, His Birth was indeed real. He is real.
Can you imagine God whispering to Jesus, the names of everyone ever created in His image? Even before the world existed?…

God whispered your name…
Then He came…

CHILDREN AND CHRISTMAS

Many years ago, too many to count, I became the father of three wonderful children. Not all at once, you understand, but one by one. The first one, a little red-headed daughter, we named Cheryl. I was a young sailor, far away in Guam when she was born. It would be several months before I met her in person for the first time. She was a delight in the life of her very young parents. Grandparents were so excited.

Two years and four months later, another little girl came into our lives. We named this little bundle, Kimberly. Kim, as she became known, was a delight in the life of her older but still young parents. Experienced in parenthood, or so we thought, we doted on this new baby in our family. Grandparents were excited at the arrival of their second granddaughter.

Thirteen months later, a little boy was born into this growing family. We named Him Charles. Charlie, as he is known only by family, was, as his older siblings were, a delight in our young family. Now we were really parents with a great deal of knowledge of parenting skills. NOT, but, proud of our family unit. Of course, his older sisters were very proud as well. And his grandparents were thrilled at a boy coming into our lives.

That was then, this is now. My children are now grown with children of their own, the girls with grandchildren as well. It is only a matter of time until my son becomes a grandfather, too. As for this great-grandfather, that makes me so very proud.  I am so proud of my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.

I wish I would have written a book about all these years as they came and went, back when my memory was much more lucid. I could talk about vacations we took back and forth to different states, about bus rides for hours on end, and back to their childhood when clothes flew out a window. We could talk about those teenage years, of wrecked cars, yes, each child experienced that predicament. We could talk about band and baseball, good grades and not so good grades. We could talk about what they THOUGHT they got away with. Probably not those deeds they actually did get away with. We could talk about the cats and the dogs and Christmases past.

God willing, this will be my seventy-eight Christmas on this earth. I write this to say how much I treasure my family, how much I love each and every one of them.  The distance between our families is only in the miles and not in the love we have for each other. We spent many Christmases together and some were even in hard times.  As adults, we do not always get the opportunity to spend every Christmas together in person, but we always have each other in our hearts. The family has grown by leaps and bounds and I feel very gratified by their love. And now my children entertain their children and grandchildren in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.They make their own traditions and customs. That is how it should be.

Wanting this to be a very public announcement of how much I love my family, I post this enthusiastically and say;

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY CHILDREN. I LOVE YOU

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS

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