Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “nature”

The Geese say, “Early Spring”

Well today is the famous (or infamous) Groundhog Day. This is the day when Punxsutawney Phil, from the city by the same name, burst forth from his lair after hibernating over the winter months. Supposedly, if he sees his shadow, the winter season will last six more weeks.  Of course, if he doesn’t, then winter is over and spring is forthcoming.  I’m here to tell you that the little critter from the north did see his shadow this morning.

Living here in North Texas is not the same as in the utterly cold Northeast or Midwest, but, I do not want to see any more winter. I bet my counterparts in those areas of the country are in agreement with me on this. I have a different method for predicting the forthcoming spring as you will see below.

These days, Punxsutawney Phil is treated like “royalty,” so says, William Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club  But when Groundhog Day first came to Pennsylvania, that likely wasn’t the case. “It was a social party,” Deeley says. “They basically got together and instead of him being the honoree, he was the entrée.” Yes, that means they “probably ate the groundhog,” Deeley clarified.

I don’t know about you but I do not fancy eating a groundhog (woodchuck), although I believe Alaskans living off the grid fancy these rodents as a delicacy. However, being raised in the piney woods of East Texas, I have been known to eat squirrel. So I guess it is appropriate.

Around our place in North Texas, we do not have groundhogs. I am thankful for that. No shadow-seeking critter for me. However, I do have an abundance of gophers. The critters have little mounds all over my yard.  Since we have nine dogs, seventy-five+ chickens, Sebastopol Geese AND numerous neighborhood free-ranging chickens, I am reluctant to put any chemical on the ground for fear of the animals ingesting the stuff and leading to their demise. So I spread repellant. It is supposed to help in the relocation of these animals. Doesn’t work. And in the rare case where it did help, the moles just seemed to like it even so.

I am wondering if I could convince a gopher to forecast the weather. Naaa…, but maybe one of our Sebastopol Geese? We have three of these beautiful birds. Adorned with their long feathers, they look like a bride in a wedding dress.

Three geeses

They have about a ½ acre to roam complete with a pond and other features to occupy their time. The “Rancherette” gave them names upon their arrival here at the Fuzzy Chicken Farm. “Indie”, for Independence, “Shya” for shyness, and “Bailey”, just because it sounded good. They are smart and know their names. When it is time for them to be put up at night, we simply call out, “Geeses, let’s go home”. They usually go straight into their goose house.

So I’m betting I could train them to predict the weather. Of course, they love cold weather and cold water, so this might be a challenge. Even in the middle of the last cold snap here in North Texas, (15°) they did not falter about going into the pond. However, it was frozen and about all they could do was to ice skate. But the moment the pond defrosted, cold as it was, they were smack dab in the middle, dunking their heads and throwing water over their back.

I’m going to work on weather forecasting by geese. We know for sure that Indie is a Gander (male) and Shia is a Dame, (female) and Bailey, well I am not sure. Sometimes the goose acts like a Gander and sometimes acts like a Dame.

Anyway, I decided that training them to prognosticate is not so hard. I laid it on the line yesterday that if a goose egg was discovered in their pen it would mean an early spring. Well, guess what? The very first goose egg was found this morning. Yea, an early spring.

Goose egg

The challenge for you is to determine which egg it is.

Forecasting weather is a complex and serious matter. It takes many years of study and dedication to get it right, most of the time. The longer one prognosticates, the more experienced they become. Take Punxsutawney Phil, for example, his knowledge dates back to 1887.

But geese have been laying eggs and hatching goslings since time began and certainly after the great flood. You remember, two-by-two. It stands to reason that laying eggs is in their genes. this can be used as a prediction for an early spring. We’ll see how this works out.

Interestingly, the young groundhogs are known as “chucklings” which is what I am doing about now. All this begs the question,

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could
if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

None, he saw his shadow and scurried back inside his warm den.

Have a great “early” spring.



I awoke this morning to a dastardly chill in the air. When I went to bed last night (long before the New Year arrived) it was 24° and expected to drop even further. Now my friends in the Northeast may be saying, “What’s your problem with 24°?” Well, I live in Texas where it is possible for one to experience four seasons all in the same day, depending upon which part of the state you reside. Me, I’m in North Texas and I can tell you we are in the winter season. It is cold at 24°.

So, when I did finally awake at the distasteful hour of seven a.m., the temperature had dropped to 18°. The weather prognosticators have this saying, “remember the five P’s. Protect People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants. Sounds like good advice to me.

Since out here on the Fuzzy Chicken Farm, we have a motley, hodgepodge, eclectic order of a pack of dogs, a gaggle of geese, and a flock of chickens, we must prepare them for a cold winter’s night.

Now the CEO of the Fuzzy Chicken Farm, i.e., “the Rancherette” , has some significant notions about the feathered friends. Of course these poultry participants are grouped according to their gender, (illegal) the color of their feathers, (illegal) their nationality, (illegal) and the number of toes, (I think illegal)). Because of the grouping, some (those that have crests that cover their eyes), require more attention than do others. (Probably illegal). Me, I just call them chickens and run the dogs.

The dogs are protected from the elements with indoor kennels and radiator type heaters. Earlier this week I wrapped all the outside pipes and placed the fragile plants in the garage, (except the pineapple plant, lost it to the freeze) and prepared all the coops with windbreaks so as to protect the birds from the wind chill. Inside the coop buildings are radiator type heaters that will keep the temperature above freezing. We have outdoor pens as well. These birds are of the more hardy breeds and require less maintenance. Their pens also received windbreaks.

So this morning, at 18°, the “Rancherette” and “the “Rancherwriterpoet” ventured out in the frigid temperature to soothe the birds, calm the dogs and appease the geese. Did I fail to mention the first two P’s in the order of P’s, was to Protect People? I wore long Johns (where did that name come from?), layered my clothing, put on my gloves, and set out to the task at hand, with the “Rancherette” tagging along behind me, saying, “It’s not too bad out here”. She is not native to Texas, she comes from a distant land, Memphis, I think. Tennessee not Egypt. They think differently in Tennessee.

Calming the dogs is a more difficult task. They run freely each day outside their pens and they like it when it is cold. They don’t want to come back to their inside pens, preferring to romp wildly about the back spaces. Of course, it takes them longer and I get colder. The geese are quite adapted to cold weather. They like to swim in the pond even at this cold temperature. I could not appease them this morning. They could not swim today, so they ice skated. But, I was cold. The outdoor chickens did not seem to mind the cold either. However, it was impossible for any outdoor animal to drink water this morning. I had to change out all the waterers due to frozen conditions. That made me even colder. I suppose if I had feathers or fur I might not be so cold.

The temp is expected to stay in the middle twenties until the latter part of this week and people will ask, “what’s going on at your place,” . To which I will say, “Oh, nothing much, I am cold.” To which my friends in South Florida will be agreeing with me. I can say, unequivocally, I am ready for the next season to enter North Texas. Winter has lasted long enough. In the meantime I will be lounging around in my long johns in the warmth of my recliner. It is a New Year, the sun is out this morning, and I hope each of you have a healthy, prosperous and A Happy year ahead.


Once again, we are faced with a piece of our heart broken. “Denali, Snow on the Summit”, a wonderful male standard poodle, has passed on. He was approaching 8 ½ years. I remember when he came to us as a 3 month old puppy. Although he was never shown, from the beginning he knew how to strut like a champion. He was a brilliant dog, very playful, a bit shy around strangers until he warmed up to you, but he could steal your heart. He had a stuffed duck that we called his baby. When I fed him, I would say, “Nalli”, time to feed your baby. He would pick up the stuffed duck and place it in his food dish. I regret I never got a picture of that. He loved to play ball. We have in our yard a Jolly Ball, typically used by horses, and several of our dogs play with that, but Denali was the best at grabbing the attached rope and swinging it around his head. He would stand there with it in his mouth and dare you to come and get it.

Once, our little black Cairn terrier, Grendel, got out of his kennel while Denali enjoying his run outside. Being the alpha dog that he is, and thinks he is Super Dog, this ten pound canine attacked this fully grown 40 pound Denali. This is where my instinct failed me. I reached in to separate the two dogs. Denali, fully, believing that he was biting Grendel, defended himself and bit me on the hand. The water hose did the trick, however. I have a scar that I will always treasure for it will forever remind me of this beautiful dog.

When Denali was growing up, he never quite mastered the technique of hiking a hind leg to “mark” his territory. Thus he constantly had yellow front legs. He most times “missed “his target.He would be embarrassed if he knew I told on him. But he eventually grasped the gist of the routine procedure.

Denali and his bottle

Twice this year we have seen beloved pets cross over the rainbow bridge. And now, Denali joins Munchie and Prada to play forever. I placed his “baby” beside his head. As I said before, I understand it, but I will never get used to it.

Go rest over the rainbow bridge, Denali, my Santa Dog


Denali as Santa



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

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

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


In the wonderful world we live in, I have noticed several different varieties of bugs.In my latest edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, the term “fashion bug” is in Vogue, (pun intended). To be a “fashion bug” one must be up to date with the latest fashions. One could be described as a “Fashionista”. There are certain retail establishments that cater to “Fashionistas” or as I call them, “Fashion bugs”. They may not cure the “bug”; however, it is treatable with “medication”. This rarely attacks men.


Another type of “bug” is the “Ladybug”. This is a petite little creature.  But it ain’t no bug. It’s a beetle. For my purposes, I’m calling it a “bug”. Of course, this is not the same kind of bug as a “Fashion bug”, in that there is no condition that needs treatment. I just threw this in for a little variety in my post.


There is another “bug” in which you may be familiar. Youngsters of all ages have watched this movie star for generations.  He is the “Cwazy Wabbit”, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd’s arch enemy. The “bug” brought many a laugh from me as I grew up. It was a wonderful time at a Saturday “pitcher” show to watch old westerns and Bugs Bunny cartoons.  Treatment for this “malady” is to sit through the Cartoon Network shows on Saturday morning.


This time of year there is always the dreaded “flu bug” floating around. This is a difficult and sometimes dangerous “bug” to say the least and not a bug to mess around with. Get your flu shots.

The FBI and CIA and NSA and who knows what other government agencies use “bugs”. Of course if you’ve nothing to hide then there is nothing to worry about, (Or is there?)

If you travel often, stay in hotels, B & B’s, Hostels, then, you should know about to possibility of the dreaded “bedbug”.  This is not a subject I wish to spend any time writing about.  Just know that it is a “bug”. ‘Nuff” said.

There are bugs all around us. Day in and day out, bugs everywhere.  There is one “bug” in particular that I have been having a bit of a problem with lately. It usually begins late into the night, somewhere between the hours of 3 and 5 A.M. I awaken to the nocturnal urge of having to go to the bathroom. This happens when one reaches a certain age, (To be determined). That however is not the “bug” I’m talking about.

When I return to the bed and attempt to fall back to sleep, I am deluged with thoughts of what I need to be engaged in on the following morning or other things that take over my mind. The “sleep bug” avoids me and that bugs me.


This brings up the subject of the “Napbug”. What is a “Napbug?”  When the “sleep bug” avoids us during the night before, then the “Napbug” attacks. Usually in the middle of the afternoon and especially on a Sunday afternoon. You may try to avoid it however, it is a strong symptom and very difficult to overcome. You may wish to simply give in. I find one of the best ways to “give in” on Sunday afternoon is to warm up reading the morning paper in the afternoon. This puts one in the mood and gently persuades the eyelids to falter. Be sure to put the television on a golf channel. This is unlike a football or baseball game. The crowd does not cheer a lot. They whisper and this helps with the mood. A leather recliner is of upmost importance. The “Rancherette” is probably in her craft room and thus the room is quiet. If the sun is coming in through the blinds, then close them slightly. “Voila”, before you know it, the “Napbug” has completely taken over your body. It is like the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

As I write this, it is not Sunday afternoon, there is no golf match on the tube, the sun is not shining, I do not have a leather recliner only a fabric type and of course the Sunday Morning News is not out yet. But, somehow, the “Napbug” is attacking. I must end this conversation. I have something to do.

shirtless-man-asleep-chair-illustration-depicting-recliner-61805417                 a_man_sleeping_in_his_recliner_snoring_loudly_royalty_free_clipart_picture_110523-050164-966053

Be careful out there, it’s a “buggy” world.

Pete Robertson                                                                                                                                           March 2017


Can you imagine sweethearts putting their initials inside a heart carving on the trunk of a tree? I believe that young people have been doing that since time immortal.  Perhaps, you have done that, etched your initials on a tree. It isn’t just for lovers. But it can be.

On occasion I confess to being somewhat of a romantic. A recent download caught my eye about writings on trees. I composed this poem for my own enjoyment and decided to share it on my website in honor of “The Rancherette”. I hope you enjoy it.


Under the canopy of a weather-beaten old tree
stands an antiquated little wooden bench.
I sit serenely on this small resting place
studying the engravings on the bark of the tree.

I ponder the originality of those etchings
and wonder of the hands of these crafted designs.
It is a unique process that guides my thoughts,
mesmerized by the inscriptions of expression.

The impressive creations imprinted upon this trunk
were carved with great expectations.
It is the intuitive genius of the illustrator
to seek approval from the intended.

Immersed in the hush of my surroundings,
I am intrigued at the theme sculpted into the wood,
From my vantage point on this little wooden bench,
I derive inspiration and contentment.

My imagination runs the gamut.
Songbirds warble melodiously and pleasing.
Such creatures of tuneful sound and splendid beauty
should not remain hidden or dissuaded.

These charming feathered friends
submit that romanticism’s in the air
and from the little wooden bench
I perceive that love is written everywhere.


The carvings on this weathered tree of sublimity,
portray the many natures of relationships,
from the corny to the poetic to the sensual,
as I see it from my  little wooden bench.

tree-carving  Pete Robertson
i-love-you-heartFebruary 2017

The Peculiarities of Nature

I sometimes feel the need to explain myself. No matter what course of action I take, it does not always seem illuminating. I wonder if you ever feel that way.
In writing this poem I was influenced by the weather of late. Temperatures hovering in the teens and a smattering of white fluffy stuff drifting about the surface of a frozen earth. Living here in North Texas, we occasionally experience varying degrees of weather. Snow, ice, cold temps, makes one want to stay in bed. Well at least when one gets to be my age. Maybe I should not generalize.

Let me put it this way, I, at times, want to stay in bed and can’t. I find the circumstances to be exasperating. The occasions that come to mind are those in which I find myself with a serious motive for rising early. On these occasions, my desire is to stay there however, the circumstances prevent that desire.

On the other hand, some mornings I am not obligated for any particular project and have the freedom to stay a bit longer. However, I awake at an early hour and find myself unable to go back to sleep. Such is the revolving degrees of slumber and I have no solution.
So here are The Peculiarities of Nature. Perhaps you may see the motivation in this poem.

The Peculiarities of Nature

The early morning sun rises daringly
through the slits in the venetian blind.
Peering timidly from within, I resist approval.

I battle its domain;
He, not willing to retreat,
Me, not ready to abandon my comfort.

His actions imperil my sense of slumber.
As the darkness retreats, I stare helplessly,
Even as my vision flounders in the shadows,

Events of pretend still fresh
Of faraway places in my mind
I struggle with consciousness.

I feel bewildered.

I seek authority; there is none
I seek motivation; there is none.
I seek insight; there is none.

The whims of nature are tenacious.
The glimmer of his powerful rays
overcome my illusions of self-possession.

His persistence is overwhelming.
The venetian blind, raised to the limit,
my eyes are focused distinctly.

The morning ritual is bright and cheery
and I reap the reward of full satisfaction.
Good morning, Morning!

                                                                                                                                       Pete Robertson
© January 2017

Stay warm, wherever you are.


Is It Christmas Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

Of a Serious Nature

I am deviating from my usual genre of writing because one of my readers commented recently on “The Character of Nature”,  an article I wrote concerning  the extremes of weather activity. That comment also suggested that I share more of my personal perspectives on grief as well as the weather.

The weather, well, this is in the authority of God and I have not yet acquired nor developed the skills to assimilate the various instabilities in weather related disasters. I can only offer my condolences and support to the victims of these calamities, along with spiritual encouragement.

Sometimes we humans wonder if God causes these disasters.  It seems like God isn’t on our side, however, we still need to realize that He can be trusted. Why, because He has injected Himself into our lives by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to intercede on our behalf. This is the love of God most clearly. Martin Luther once said, “When you look around and wonder whether God cares, you must always hurry to the cross and you must see Him there’.”                                                                                                                                                                                          After we see the response from people following a natural disaster, we see a genuine and heartfelt effort to help someone in distress. This is offered freely and is a trait given to mankind by God, whether one chooses to believe it or not.“When we hear about a natural disaster we should grieve with those who grieve. And we should ask what we can do to alleviate their suffering.”   http://www.Billygraham.org

As for as my thoughts on grief, well, there are literally hundreds of books and writings dealing with grief. I am not an authority on the subject and this does not in any way represent how one should or should not grieve. This is only my perspective on the subject.

Just like everyone else, I have experienced loss.  It is true that grief is unpredictable and inevitable, just like the weather, as the reader commented.  However, I learned a long time ago that giving in to the very feelings of grief is understandable. It is an emotion, yet we cannot allow emotions to consistently dictate the way we live our lives. I believe we should live through the experience, not in the experience.  There are lessons to be learned through these encounters.  However,  I believe at some point one must face reality. There is no time frame for overcoming grief. I cannot tell you how you should grieve over the nature of your loss.  It is very personal.  And personal stories of grief are just that, personal, to be shared only when you feel the time is right.   My suggestion would be to encompass  the love of God in dealing with grief.  David wrote in Psalm 119:50,  “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life”.

Thanks to Rainee C., for commenting and allowing me an opportunity to expound on this subject. It was indeed a mind opening topic.  However, do not allow the seriousness of this article to keep you from having a wonderful day.

Smile, be upbeat and check your humorous character.


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.





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