rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Poodles”

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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Optimism

I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist. My glass is usually half-full as opposed to half-empty. Why do I think that? Because I believe, everything will eventually work itself out.
For example, it has been raining for about a week. Everyday! But tomorrow, the sun will shine. This is optimism.

Animals are natural optimists. Dogs persist in optimism. We do not own an Airedale however, one owns us. Alfie is an eternal optimist. Everything leads her to nirvana. Whether she wants to play ball, find it, or believes you have a treat in your pocket, she is always in the eternal optimism mode. We have a kennel of retired standard poodle show dogs. They are eternal optimists. I have no scientific knowledge that this is true, however, observing these canines on a daily basis leads me to believe that. I make this comparison; I think I am connected with these canines somewhere.

Sailors are optimists as well. Seems to me, one would have to be an optimist to sail into unknown waters. Else, why would one ever leave port? I was a sailor. I left port. I am an optimist.  Explorers have conquered the seas, or perhaps not so much conquer as gaining an understanding,thus making them optimists.

However, those who have been before us have left markers for us to follow. Road signs, if you will. These buoys of life guide us into the calm of knowledge. They offer us a way to sail. In that sense, we have optimism as we approach those guides.

So I wrote this poem because, optimistically, it makes good sense to me.

Optimism

Floating on an angry, seething sea
A buoy struggles against the rage,
against a tenable thread of sanctuary
as if seeking escape from peril,
all the while sustaining its mission.

The world thrives on provocation.
Incendiary actions conflict with care.
Angry seas indulge in harsh discord,
waters boil with intense aggravation,
yet a buoy of optimism stays fixed.

Though we may bobble in angry seas,
Drift back and forth like fastened buoys,
Just be mindful of the strands of shelter,
for markers exist in unbounded optimism
fastened to an Anchor of eternal refuge.

        Pete Robertson
March 2016

Poodle Home Security

So during the past few months, I have had a tooth pulled, finished the 3rd chicken coop, gone through cataract surgery, (hooray, my vision is excellent), experienced flooding from the May rains, (now back to the August drought), and gained a new resident, (not counting all the chickens that come and go). I have much for which to be thankful.

In the meantime, I got behind on my writing. Not having the ‘muse’ sitting on my shoulder, I must take action and determine a subject for another fine piece of literature. Then it comes to me, I mean literally, he comes to me. Apollo, our Standard Poodle, places his head in my lap, looks at me with his big eyes and says, “Write about me, Dad”. He calls me Dad through the voice of the “Rancherette”.

Apollo firmly believes himself to be the dominant character in this household. He has rules, his rules. Several years ago, he became a business owner. He established Poodle Home Security. He is the CEO and the lead investigator. He is quite adapting at fending off the UPS and/or FedEx drivers. He allows no cars to enter our driveway unnoticed. The weekly refuse truck should not tarry long or perhaps suffer the consequences. He wards off squirrels, bunny rabbits, gophers, etc., which threaten us from time to time in our yard. Even evil spirits are subject to his menacing bark. Occasionally, when the cattle in the pasture across the road begin to chase their food truck, he hurries them along. And, we always know the comings and goings of our neighbors.

Once a day, he makes his rounds in the back yard. He checks his PeeMail, for messages, and replies if necessary.

PeeMailHe also inspects the kennel dogs and their surroundings, much like a drill sergeant with his recruits. He is constantly barking orders. Some recruits are a bit more stubborn than others are. This only increases his authoritative nature.
He alerts us to storm threats, issuing warnings of severe thunderstorms and comforts the “Rancherette” when there is lightning followed by thunder. Yes sir; we have the finest Poodle Home Security money can buy. Life could not get any better, or so Apollo thinks.
Enter his new trainee, Alfie the Airedale. So named for she looks like Alf, the alien from the TV series in the late ‘80’s. Notice the eyes.

AlfAlfie the Alf

Unbeknownst to Apollo, he is going to have to work overtime to shape this “recruit” into a lean fighting machine. She already has one strike against her. She is not a Poodle. That can be assuaged as long as she takes her training seriously. I dare not forget, Apollo is an  equal opportunity employer.He does not discriminate when it comes to hiring.  However, if she expects to wear a detective badge for Poodle Home Security, she must immediately realize this is serious stuff. The offenders that drift into Poodle Home Security territory do not necessarily have treats in their pockets. They do not have squeaky toys under their arms. Not everyone she meets will come bearing gifts.

She does have the ability to keep the little Silkie chickens in line, as long as they stay on their side of the fence. That is fortunate, a good first step. However, I’m thinking that the Silkies do not pose any threat to the Rancher or “Rancherette”. She is also good at urging the lawnmower along, digging holes, and chewing doorposts or any other inanimate object that gets in her way.
She is smart, already learning from Apollo that water tastes better with ice cubes in it. Not bad for a rookie. She has quickly become adept at frisking pockets. In case you have something in there that is not allowed, like doggie treats, she will promptly confiscate any items not allowed. Occasionally, for training purposes, certain objects are left in the bark of trees and other locations for her to find. She is very good at searching out those items. I might add, they smell like cheese and her smeller is superb. However, I think Apollo must work with her on her attention span. She has so much to learn before taking her place in the barking order.

I have heard that when life deals you lemons, you should make lemonade. I am not a lemonade aficionado; however, I suppose I could learn. I can use rainwater to make the stuff if it ever rains again. That is, if Alfie hasn’t stolen the lemons. We probably should have done a background check before “hiring” her. Apollo, you still have work to do. Poodle Home Security 2

Shopping is So Exhausting

Yesterday morning, the day began much as every day begins. Up at the crack of dawn (only because I had to go to the bathroom), letting the new kid on the block, Alfie, the heirdale, outside along with her mentor, Apollo, the Poodle, then waking up the rest of the Poodles, Italian Greyhound and the two Cairn Terriers. After all, they need their time out of their kennels for their morning constitutional. 

Next, I check on the Silkie chickens. We have seven four-day-old chicks in the brooder, one chick healing in sickbay, nine juveniles in the condominium, which they share separately with four adults. Nine teenagers reside comfortably in the mansion on the hill. Much of this happens before I have had a full cup of coffee. It was an exciting morning, and all before breakfast.

So, finally, I’m sitting down to a bowl of cereal and a banana, (potassium, you know) before the television watching GMA. They have a segment called Deals and Steals, where various products are featured with the prices usually cut in half or more.

The “Rancherette” perked up.

“I must go to lunch with my best friend, “Rosie, the Realtor”, today,” she said. Bear in mind, she was not asking for permission, it was a statement of fact. It did not require a permissible acknowledgment from me. Nothing the “Rancherette” does, requires any sort of permission. In fact, I suggested that lunch with “Rosie, the Realtor” would be the thing to do. It is my duty as a loving spouse to support any endeavor the “Rancherette” attempts.

So the requisite phone call was made, plans were discussed and somewhere during the course of the morning, the “Rancherette” dressed in her finery, (she always dresses in finery.) Soon thereafter, the “Rancherette” left for her luncheon date with “Rosie, the Realtor”. I cannot speak to whatever transpired after the “Rancherette” left. I realize that when “Rosie, the Realtor” and the Rancherette” get together, all bets are off

.Gloria's

And so, on for lunch.

Food

Me, I had exciting plans of my own. Since I am supposed to be a writer, my plan was to sit down before my computer and begin punching away at the keyboard. Occasionally, I form paragraphs that make sense. However, earlier this week, a small storm invaded my backyard. The grass has been growing at a record pace since we have had so much moisture this winter. I am not complaining, for we need this and more. I empathize with those of you who are in dire circumstances. But the grasses grow with all this much rain. And to think, I fertilized this past winter and early spring. As I sit at my office window and look outside, I can almost see the grass growing. However, it is too wet to mow with my riding mower. Unfortunately, it is not too wet for the small push mower. You can probably guess how my day went.

After a day on the town,   the “Rancherette” returned, home. I witnessed the trunk of the SUV open. It opened wide. There were packages inside. Many packages. Hmmmm, I thought, this looks like much more than lunch. Besides, lunch has been over for several hours. It was time for dinner. 

Poor girl, she struggled with bringing in all those packages. I could not help for I had to restrain Apollo. He wants to bound out the front door each time it is opened. So, in she came, lugging all those packages. One would have thought it was Christmas. As I recall, there were two purses, shoes, clothing, (the “Rancherette” does dress in finery) a new pillow, and not to leave out the dogs, two new toys. They were very excited. The “Rancherette” was excited. I was excited.
I can only imagine how excited “Rosie, the Realtor” must have been, and Bob, her unassuming spouse.

Later that evening, the “Rancherette” commented, “Shopping really wears you out,” Silly me, I had not noticed. At least, she has a new pillow on which to lay her head.

Me, I’ll stick to push mowing the entire backyard. It is not nearly as exhausting as shopping. 

Uses for a Pickup Truck

So there I was, resting in my recliner on a nice Saturday afternoon. Apollo was content beside me. I was watching my favorite golfer, Jordan Spieth, as he birdied to take the lead in the Houston Shell Open. It was a nice peaceful afternoon. At least, until I heard the horn honk. It was the “Rancherette” returning from her day at Canton First Monday Trade Days.

If you have never heard of Canton First Monday, I suggest you Google it. And, if you live close enough, you should visit the place at least once in your lifetime. Put that on your bucket list. It is the “world’s largest” flea market. They sell everything and I do mean everything. New, used, from antiques to pure junk, tools, you name it, from birds to farm animals to elephants, (well I never have seen an elephant at First Monday. Should you want to bring one, it will probably sell.) However, this story is not about First Monday, but, without First Monday, it would have not been possible.

The first thing, for which one should take note, is the “Rancherette” was in my truck. It is never a good sign when the “Rancherette” wants to take my pickup anywhere. She doesn’t even like to ride in it. There are numerous places where we usually take my truck. For instance, I always have some sort of project going on around here where I need certain materials. Thus, I make a trip to the big box DIY store.

I take my truck when we need to pull the boat. I take my truck to pick up animal supplies. I take my truck, occasionally, when we need to go to the market and the roads are wet. I take my truck when I need to haul something that will not fit inside the SUV. The truck is a work truck, not generally meant for leisure. So, you can see my consternation when the “Rancherette” wants to take my truck to First Monday Trade Days. It probably means she will buy something that will need to be hauled and will not fit in the SUV. It stands to reason; I will probably have to put it together. Nothing comes put together nowadays. But that’s another story.

In addition to raising her purebred Silkie Chickens, the “Rancherette”, in a former life was also a Show Dog Fancier. Having raised Standard Poodles and showing them in competition for a number of years, she is an expert.  As I said, in a previous life.  Today, the eight Standard Poodles are living out their retirement in a favorable atmosphere, here in the country, secure in their kennels. And, of course, the Silkie chickens have their space as well. They also are very content in their luxurious Chicken Condo on the plain and the “Mansion on the Hill, living the life of Foghorn Leghorn, while the hens are laying a few eggs a day. All is well, or so I thought.

Until Saturday afternoon. Until the horn honks. My truck horn. Until Apollo barks.

Apollo is the Standard Poodle who lives inside the home. When the horn honked, he stood at attention. He barked. He usually barks when a vehicle pulls into the driveway. Usually, when the horn honks, it is an indication that the “Rancherette” needs help unloading something. Like a good neighbor, or in the case a good “Rancher” I am eager to help.

I bound out the door, enthusiastically, to provide my services. I always am enthusiastic when the “Rancherette” comes home.

Her words, “I have a ‘rider’”. My words, “did you pick up a hitchhiker?” “Yes, sort of”.

I was very excited that I did not see anything in the pickup bed that needed put together, so I’m guessing it cannot be too bad. I’m thinking she found a chicken she just could not live without. And then, I see “it”. It ain’t no Silkie. It ain’t no chicken at all.

We are now the proud possession of the newest addition to our zoological garden or should I say “circus”. Do you remember the television show, “ALF”, about the alien creature from outer space? Well she landed in our yard. Her name is now “Alfie”. This new Airedale puppy will be just fine as soon as the Poodle makeover is complete. Apollo has already begun the training.

In training

Me, too. Training Alfie to pick pockets, that is.

Pocket 3

I also have an idea about not loaning out the pickup to the “Rancherette” when she wants to go to First Monday Trade Days next month.

Grendel, My Hero

In my post “A Brutal Winter” Round 2”, I talked about  the “Snow Chicken” built yesterday by the “rancherette” during her morning play-time. I posted a video on FB of her actually building that “snow chicken”. There were several responses to that post. One in particular came from two-year-old John Paul Delagarza, who called her a “snow chicken lady”. I thought that was very intuitive for such a young person. It is obvious that young minds think alike.

Yesterday, all the after-school programs for the dogs was not cancelled, besides they had already decided they were not postponing any afternoon free time, anyway, so I let them loose from their pens for their usual run around. We usually let them take turns getting out to avoid any altercations between them.

Watching each one was hilarious as they discovered the “Snow Chicken” The first one to do so was our little male Cairn Terrier, Grendel. He is the Alpha dog in our kennels or at least he thinks he is. He has absolutely no regard for his limited size when compared with his Poodle counterparts. I recall once when he accidently got loose while Denali, a large male Poodle was enjoying his free time. Grendel thought he could bolster his manhood by defeating Denali. Unfortunately, I was the one defeated as Denali bit my hand, thinking it was Grendel. I am very careful, now, when I let the dogs run.

Anyway, Grendel’s first move was from about 30 feet away. Cautiously he approached the odd-looking monster with the funny-looking neck and fluffy head. He barked. He moved ever so slowly,  closer and closer. Then, another bark, a ferociously sounding bark. He raced around the creature, daring the unknown beast to make a move; even a slight twitch could set him off at any moment.

In the meantime, the other dogs in the kennels were cheering him on. Grendel was feeling his oats by now, strutting nonchalantly around this thing. He was playing it cool. He pawed the ground as he eyed this thing.  The thing just stared back, not making a move. Again, Grendel dared the creature to go away or at least react. And again, no movement. Grendel moved a bit closer, still cautious, however, more confident he could handle anything that came his way.

By this time, the Standard poodles were in full voice, egging him on. They (the poodles) have no shame, they were ready to watch a fight. Grendel unashamedly was ready to go into battle, to attack this obvious adversary if need be. But he was getting nowhere, fast. The unknown critter was silent.

And, then it happened. I’m only guessing, because I have no way of knowing what goes on in the mind of Grendel, but I believe he decided that if this thing was not going to engage him in any sort of combat, then he had only one recourse,

to pee on it. 

First one side then the other, up high and down low. In the front and at the rear. Thus, the “Snow Chicken” began to melt and Grendel had accomplished his part at protecting the back yard from monsters. Feeling ‘relieved” he sauntered back to his pen declaring himself to be the victor.

The other male Poodles were more than capable of helping Grendel when it came time for their run around. However, Grendel, my hero, had already conquered the beast of the backyard. It is nice to know our backyard is protected from “monsters” (and Snow Chickens).

Grendel the Snow Chicken Killer

 

 

 

 

 

The sun is now shining and all is well that ends well. Have a happy day.

A “Brutal” Winter, Round 2

In my previous post, A “Brutal” Winter, it seems I was a bit premature with my assessment of “Brutal”. Being a dutiful Texan, I am always subservient to the whims of tall tales. Not that there was any exaggeration with that post, however, as I said, “That was then, this is now.”

Accordingly, I am providing an update.

The winds blew, the temperature was dropping, all the way down to 33 degrees and the snow began to fall. This happened after I rose from bed this morning.

My first thought, after listening to the list of school and government closings and the urging of officials to stay home, was to call the television station and ask them to add http://www.fuzzychickens.com

Fuzzy Chickens dot com 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

and JPR Kennels to their lists of closures.JPR Kennels

For my part I was paying attention to the stay-at-home stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Should I call, I would respectfully ask that all Silkie chickens and Standard Poodles at these locations to stay inside today. I am cancelling all their activities and rescheduling their feedings until tomorrow. The hens do not have to lay eggs today. Besides, this is the first time any of our chickens have ever seen the delicate white stuff. They would be quite hesitant to venture out into this stuff, anyway. The hens could lay their eggs in the snow and I would be unable to find them. They have a tendency to drop their eggs wherever they happen to be at that particular time. Silkies are funny that way.

Now the dogs, on the other hand, consider this white stuff to be old hat. But for the caretaker, not so much. So they can just postpone their sniffing wherewithal until tomorrow. Everyone may as well reschedule their morning events. They can all just have the day off. I am not offended that they think otherwise.

After my suggestion about calling the TV station, the “rancherette” decided, for whatever unnerving reason, to build a “snow chicken” in the backyard. The local television station is always asking for viewers to send in their pictures. She said this would be a great picture for TV and she could put her website in the snow as well. What a great marketing tool, she said. And it would be fun, she said. I can put it on Facebook, she said. And it is very cold, I said.

They say that when one reaches a certain age, one has a tendency to revert back to their childhood. I can attest to that.

Being the artist, she is, and with her blank “canvas” before her, like a “phoenix” rising from the snow, a creature comes forth with a funny little beak, a fluffy head and a cedar bough for a tail. It looks just like a chicken. A Silkie chicken! Fuzzy 7

 

 

 

 

 

What with the temperature hovering near freezing, my solution would have been to just set one of the chickens out in the snow and wait a few minutes. Voila, instant “Snow Chicken”.  That did not go over very well.

nice chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was this morning, now it is afternoon. The sun is beginning to come out, the temperature is rising and the snow is melting. The ‘snow chicken” is shrinking. The day is just about gone. The dogs and chickens did not pay any attention to the cancellations anyway. I should have known better. It is too late to call the station back and remove my closures from their lists. And I was pretty sure we were in for a blizzard. Just shows you how much I know about Texas weather.

With the temperature the way it is, I have a hankering for a bowl of chicken and dumplings or chicken noodle soup. That would really hit the spot. Chicken sounds good about now.

Stay Warm!

Problem Solving

I love it when the first cold front comes marching in. It isn’t like a mild change in the temperature, I mean it rolls in with a vengeance. However, the way the wind was blowing in from the south yesterday, I sincerely believed the weather prognosticators were getting it wrong.

It isn’t like they always know. And on that subject, when I was a child here in Texas, we often had “blue northers” blow in. Nowadays, we have a “polar vortex”. Just shows how much I keep up with the weather, nowadays. Yesterday, the temperature was in the 70’s, today it is in the 40’s. You might call it a “blue polar  norther vortex.”

So, I stepped into the cold air this morning for my morning “running of the dogs” and raced back inside to get a coat. I have noticed that the dogs do not pay much attention to the cold. In fact, they seem to enjoy running about while I stand shivering in the wind. It seems they like to jump and want to play much more so than when it is hot.

These dogs are spoiled. They have heaters in their inside pens and their outside pens are protected from the wind, but do they thank me for that? Noooo, they want to keep me outside in the cold wind.

I think the cold weather causes certain hormones to escalate in canines, but I don’t know for sure. The females sashay around the male’s pens and flutter their eyes, and shake whatever gets the males’ attention. Of course, the males like to hang around the females’ pens. With five females and four males in the kennels, you can see the “excitement” that builds in the kennels.

But, I’m thinking, I have a “fix” for that. The males may just be barking falsetto, if they keep me in this cold much longer. Maybe if I teach them what “snip, snip” means, then things may change around here.

In the meantime, the “rancherette” ventured to the chicken coop to let out those little fluffy little loveable critters from their insulated confine. Upon opening the door, the one known as Captain Kanga Roo, stepped out onto the ramp and discovered the “rancherette’s” bare legs.

Not being a chicken psychologist, I don’t know if he thought those legs were a hen, in which case he and the “rancherette” both had a problem,  or if he actually thought they were a rival for his hens affection. Either way, he got up close and personal.

From across the back yard, I heard her raising her voice at him. I’m guessing, that if he does that again, he may become the focus of what some might call cruel and unusual punishment. He may even be subjected to the same “fix” as the male poodles.

I’m not a chicken  authority. I leave that to the “rancherette”. So I never knew a rooster could be “fixed” until I researched this. Guess what I found out. The “fixing” procedure in chickens is called caponizing. I am not about to go into detail. Just know that it is possible. I’m pretty sure I would not like it.

Now that I know, I can tell you that if Captain Kanga Roo doesn’t change his habits, he is likely to find out what happens in Neuter Neuter Land.  He will meet up with the resident neutician. He isn’t Catholic but he just may become an altered boy. Do you suppose a rooster can crow falsetto? They say, it improves the quality of the meat. Hummmm! Old Captain better just keep his harem in line and laying eggs and leave the “rancherette’s” legs alone.

So, now in addition to the phrase “Chicken Nuggets”, I another warnings for  the resident Roo. “Caponize”. And for the dogs, Snip, Snip.

In the meantime, enjoy the cold blue polar norther vortex . Have a nice cold day. Cover all the vital parts to keep from freezing. Seriously, it is cold out there.

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