rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Rancherette”

SHARK ATTACK

The old floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery has finally died. Alfie, the resident Airedale, is celebrating. Before it passed from existence, It was interesting to see her peek her nose through her doggie door and remain alert in case that thing made its way in her direction.

We made our way to the local big box store (no name, they refused to pay for the commercial) for our regularly scheduled food replenishment trip. We stumbled into the housewares section on purpose and studied the shelves for a replacement floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. The “Rancherette” studied the machinery, the ”Rancherwriterpoet” studied the prices. We eventually came to agreement on which one to purchase.

This got me to thinking. I remember when I was a child (a long time ago) when the Kirby salesman came to the house.  He would break out a fancy machine, colorful and all that stuff. He had numerous accessories to go along with this remarkable contraption. He smooth talked my mother all the while putting a piece of carpet on the floor and then dirt on the piece of carpet. He then proceeded to push buttons and this machine came to life. It sucked the life,uuh, dirt from that piece of carpet.  Honestly I was fascinated. We never had any such mechanism at our house. My mother explained to him that we had no carpet in the house, only linoleum floors. The broom worked just fine.No matter, he said, this modern 20th century product would take care of all our cleaning needs.  My mother did not buy the vacuum cleaner. But the exhibition was phenomenal for this ten year old boy.vacuum-sales

Fast forward to our excursion to the big box store (again no name, i.e. refusal to pay)

With the selection made we made our way to the more important part of the store. The food section! The grocery basket was not as full as usual except for the new-fangled vacuum cleaner. I did manage to sneak in some chocolate without the “Rancherette” noticing.

Obviously, the new machine was in desperate need of assembly unlike the vacuum cleaner of old. In that day, the machine came fully assembled. The salesman made sure of that. He even gave a demonstration of how to use the machine. Come to think of it, most every type of machinery, or furniture came fully assembled. But that was then and this is now. I purchased a new riding mower recently and most of it had to be assembled. Of course by me, otherwise it would cost an additional $75. Well, I digress.

We return home and unload the groceries. While the “Rancherette” puts away the groceries, I remove the vacuum cleaner from the carton with much difficulty. The machine has wheels but only after removal from the carton. This thing weighs a ton. One needs special tools to even open the box. The directions said to read the assembly instructions carefully. The only way you can read them is very carefully. First, you must find the correct language. The instructions are on a folded sheet with four languages. Unfolding the pamphlet is like refolding a map. (Who uses a map anyway?)

Finally I find the assembly instructions in my native language. Once I unfold the map, uuuh, directions, I am told to check all the pieces that are supposed to come with the package. With all the parts scattered across the floor, and needing screwdrivers and who knows what else, I discover I should apply to the local junior college and take a course in vacuum cleaner assembly. It is probably a non-credit course, but I don’t care. I do not plan on making a career of assembling vacuum cleaners.  I don’t think this is as simple as programming an IPhone. If you have reached the age of kindergarten status, then you know how to program an IPhone. Assembling a vacuum cleaner?  College degree!

Eventually, the process is complete.shark-machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking I may very well pay extra for assembly next time, except the big box store (still no pay) does not offer that choice.

And now Alfie, poor Alfie, must now turn her attention to a very different floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. This one glides across the floor, as if swimming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCfWHqrYUqo

Not breaking the water just gliding along, still floor sucking but swimmingly. Alfie must now be very fearful of this Shark. She could wind up being Shark bait. It reminds me of another shark song. I wonder if Bobby Darin had Alfie in mind?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEllHMWkXEU

Do not go in the water!

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Go West Young Silkies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day.

The New Doggie Door

In case you may not have seen my original piece, titled “Uses for a Pickup Truck”, posted in April 2015 Archives of rancherwriterpoet.com, then perhaps you could read it for the background.

The storyline is this: The “Rancherette” brought home a “hitchhiker”, an Airedale that “supposedly” opened the front door of my pickup, jumped in and “hitchhiked” home. I’m pretty sure the “Rancherette” knows better than to pick up hitchhikers, however, one look into the eyes of this Airedale and she was hooked. I still have my doubts.  We later named her, Alfie because of the strange resemblance to the “Alien Life Form”. We know this character as “ALF”, from the TV series in the late ‘80’s.

Alf

                                                     Enduring Eyes

The alien is described as  a “protagonist, an orange-haired, pint-sized 299-year-old space alien with an aardvark-like nose and a propensity for mischief and comic sarcasm”. That’s our Alfie, except for the pint-size and the age.

When Alfie first arrived in the spring of 2015, she ate the wood trim around the entry door, the wood casings on the custom built bench, the drywall around the windows, and anything else that would fit into her mouth. She had a proclivity for chewing anything. I first thought the “Rancherette” had brought home a beaver. We could not keep any kind of bedding for her comfort; it became something with which to play with not sleep in. She, after all, was only fourteen weeks old.  Alfie on the rug

So now at 18 months of age, she has matured (?) somewhat. Of course she sleeps on the area rug. It’s a good thing it is large, or it would become fodder. She isn’t quite as destructive as she once was. The trim and drywall seems to be untouchable now, however, when we look for new toys to occupy her time, we describe them as a thirty minute toy or perhaps a forty-five minute toy, meaning this is about how long it will last before she destroys it, too.  Forget any toy we deem to last an hour. There is no such toy that is indestructible for Alfie. Not happening! Some maturity, huh?

However, one thing she seemed at which to be familiar was the doggie door. Because we already had Apollo, a Standard Poodle living in the house, we obviously had a doggie door. Alfie, being the smart dog she was, took to the door as though she had been using it all her life. She is definitely a smart canine. Her enclosed backyard opens into the main yard and is divided with a chain link gate. She quickly learned how to open the gate latch. We had to put a fastener to prevent her getting out without our knowledge. (Maybe she really did open the pickup door, hmmm) However, for 18 months now she has used the doggie door, so much so, that she has broken the frame and destroyed the flap from the use.

So, we get this new doggie door. No problem, right? I beg to differ. Alfie does not like change. I once moved her food and water bowls from one side of the room to another. It was two more days before she wanted to eat and drink from that location.

The “Rancherette” decided to relocate her office from the shared room with Alfie. If you know Airedales, you can certainly understand that. For another two days, Alfie stood in a far corner of the room before she finally ventured back to the gate. This gate separates her from the main house. We had hoped she would acclimate herself to the main house, however, that was wishful thinking. She definitely has an idiosyncrasy about change.

We love this creature. She keeps us in stitches every day. She is very playful and energetic, loves to aggravate the “Rancherette’s” Silkie chickens through the fence and in general rewards us with much pleasure. Her antics are hilarious. She can search your pockets and pick them clean, will chew on my shirt buttons looking for “cookies”.

Pocket 3

Her vocabulary starts and ends with “cookies.” As for the new doggie door, well she doesn’t like it one bit.

img_7028-2

                                                       img_7029-2

 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

The “Rancherette” took her Fuzzy Chicken Band, “On the Road Again,” this past weekend. We usually begin road trips listening to the “The Fuzzy Chicken Band with lead singers, Cowboy, the Cochin, and Zorba, Not the Greek, rehearsing for the “big show”, and this trip was no different as they practiced by warbling out “On the Road Again”. Cowboy crows the lead and Zorba, Not the Greek, harmonizes, (Cowboy pictures himself as Willie Nelson) and of course, he makes a few changes to the lyrics.

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is seein’ chicken friends again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may not want see again,
But I can’t wait to get on the road again.

I apologize, Mr. Nelson; I am only the bus driver, not the manager. I know you were making music with your friends and you had absolutely nothing to do with chicken bands. But you do not have to listen to these squawking birds for another four hour trip, I do. They have the most up-to-date and comfortable seats in the bus and they still complain. (Only a personal opinion, after all, this Fuzzy Chicken Band has won numerous awards from their performances and they pay a decent salary).

This particular road trip sent us to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo, in Abilene, Texas, for another live chicken show performance. After consulting with the Fuzzy Chicken Band, their agent (and manager), the “Rancherette”, booked this performance. The Fuzzy Chicken Band only plays at marquee performance halls and the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene was certainly one of those.

Regardless, every musical group has a bus driver, so I went along to provide the chauffeuring for the trip. I am also in charge of providing accommodations and cuisine for the “Rancherette” and the band’s bus driver. I’m always looking for restaurant signs along the way that say “bus drivers eat free.” That appeals to me, for financial reasons of course. Typically the “Rancherette” prefers a different epicurean adventure.

Now the Fuzzy Chicken Band can eat anywhere and anything, however, they have their own special cuisine, concocted by their handler. The “Rancherette” is in charge of that department. Yet, when it comes to eating, no one can match up with “Cowboy, the Cochin,” who happens to be the lead singer; not even the Little Cochin Sisters, who have their own reputation to maintain.After, or should I say, during, the rehearsing by Cowboy, the Cochin and Zorba, Not the Greek, the Little Cochin  Sisters were warming their vocal cords with this little ditty:
“Abilene, Abilene”
Prettiest town I ever seen.
Hope the judges don’t treat me mean
In Abilene, my Abilene.”

I apologize to Mr. George Hamilton IV. He sang it much better, but, as I told Mr. Nelson, I am only the bus driver, not the Fuzzy Chicken Band’s manager.

Eventually, we arrived at the Taylor County Expo Center, where the Fuzzy Chicken Band would be performing, along with other chicken bands in a contest to determine which band or performer is better. However, the band was a little disappointed in their dressing rooms. But being the troupers they are, they would manage. Cowboy did occupy a prominent location and was happy about that; however, Zorba was relegated to a lesser spot. The Cochin Sisters are happy as long as they have sufficient food and water. When they do not, they get happy feet. Their stage is not large enough for performing the Chicken Dance, yet they still do their little happy dance.

Cowgirl joins The Cochin Sisters in the Cochin Trio performing their own work “Pecking and Scratching” and the Little Motown Clucking Silkies, with Cowgirl in the lead, presented one of their oldie favorites, “R E S P E C T”, (again with apologies, this time to Aretha Franklin.)

They still get requests for other clucking songs and also autographs. They are happy to oblige. But Cowboy stole the show. He received numerous standing ovations for his performance and a very élite accolade. He was the only one to receive this award from all the fuzzy chicken bands performing there. Other members of the band did well, with a few 1st place awards.

This was only a one nite stand, and they, meaning the band, were exhausted from their performance, thus the drive home was one of mostly silence. I, being the bus driver, was happy about that. I couldn’t wait until I got back home and put the bus in the garage. And speaking of the bus, Cowboy, being the star, wants a new ride. He chose this one.

rooster-car-copy

Hope you have a very happy day.

The County Fair, Part II

County fairs are so much fun, with all the vendors selling everything imaginable. The sideshows, the rides, (which I do not attempt) and , of course, the food, which I clearly DO attempt. There were concerts each night with several name stars performing. We were only there for Friday night, and the concert featured The Triumphs, a band from Rosenberg, Texas. They were an outstanding band and starred B.J. Thomas, with special guest, Roy Head. Roy is old school, very popular in the 60’s and 70’s. We were pleased to visit with him at the hotel where we both were staying, even meeting his wife. They also enjoyed holding one of the “Rancherette’s” little Silkie chickens. Later, we attended the show. Since we are of that generation, it was very entertaining for us. The “Rancherette” was fortunate to get a “selfie” with him.  It has been difficult to live with her ever since.

jennie-and-roy-head

While the entire fair is exciting, I think the main focus is on the kids, the youth who participate and show their animals. These young people work very hard to care for these animals and reap the rewards for such endeavors. If you have never been to a county fair, you can only imagine how many sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese and chickens these kids have entered in competition for various awards, scholarships and sportsmanship trophies. They receive  medals, belt buckles, plaques and other prizes. They experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, yet they hold their heads high and show good sportsmanship to each other. Time and again I watched these youngsters compete with their animals. The judges for these premier competitions are extremely helpful to the young people. They explain different aspects of their particular animals and always in a helpful manner with words of encouragement for each one. I am in awe of the maturity of these youngsters. I think the country is in good hands when these young people reach adulthood. I also want to commend all the adult volunteers who help make this a great time for these kids. And hats off to the Fayette County Fair officials, great job.

The segment that inspired me the most and gave me particular pleasure occurred when a very young girl entered the show ring leading her heifer as her grandfather walked beside her. It was a very moving picture. I spoke to her grandfather after they finished and he told me that “they like to start them young”. A lack of wisdom on my part, I did not get their names.
grandaughter-and-grandfather-2

For me, however, this was the sparking event of the fair. That is, except for the awards the “Rancherette” received for her birds. She did well, but then she was not up against the youth either.

Our part of the show ended and you know what that meant, a four hour drive back home in North Texas with harassing among chickens. It has to stop. If I could have just send these birds home via FEDEX or UPS, then I would have had a quiet ride home.Should have stopped at Walmart and bought a pair of ear plugs. because you know the birds in the back discussed all the way home, cackling, squawking, and crowing about how some birds won a ribbon and some did not.

Just take a look at the gloating after we arrived back home. This may be the Silkie that Roy Head was holding at the hotel. Regardless, she definitely has a big head, flippant little chicken!

just-a-strutin-2

Check out the county fair where you live, you will certainly enjoy it.                                               Have a great day.

THE COUNTY FAIR, Part I

Many of my readers know that I have experienced some heath issues these past few months. Thankfully, I can say that I am recovering nicely and beginning to hold my own, partly, thanks to steroids and definitely thanks to God. So, in a manner of speaking I was able to take a side trip this past Labor Day weekend from our North Texas home to La Grange, Texas. The “Rancherette” was showing her prized Silkie and Cochin bantams at the Fayette County, Texas Fair. La Grange is a great little town. This was our second trip to La Grange and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
So we began our trip with a pickup load of chickens. Let me assure you, they ride in their custom made chicken containers in the back seat of the cab. The seats fold up, thus creating room for these spoiled fowl. They have the air conditioner vents spaced in such a fashion, that each bird practically has their own personal vent. Wonder how all this fits? Well, the ice chest with all the drinks and snacks for humans, along with the expensive luggage, rides in the bed of the truck. Obviously, if one needs a drink or any other personal item, I pull over and climb in the pickup bed to obtain such creature comforts. One can probably identify with the priority.
The trip was fun, if you can understand chicken language. Because space is limited, some birds must share their crates with each other. The hens are cackling, causing one to think eggs are being laid. Wrong, they are communicating with each other, discussing the pros and cons of traveling to a chicken show, like which chicken is going to win and squabbling and arguing with each other. I’m thinking that we were not 10 miles down the road before they began asking, “Are we there yet?” Sometimes, they quarrel and fight and then blame the other for starting it. “You started it”, did not, did too”. When this happens they must disciplined. The “Rancherette” is in charge of discipline. I suggested she use the code words, CHICKEN NUGGETS!, however, she disagreed. If you have children, you will understand the personalities of fowl.
When the “Rancherette” scolds them, most of the time it doesn’t work. When it seems to make a difference, they cease cackling and begin pecking on the bottom of their crates. You may think they are only pecking, however; they actually are speaking in Morse code. It is a trick to confuse us humans, thinking, of course, we do not understand. They do not know I was in the military and can understand every utterance. Then, if that is not enough, the roosters get in on the act with their crowing. The “Rancherette” encourages it even farther by pitting Cowboy, the bantam Cochin against Zorba, the Silkie, in dueling squawks. First Zorba crows, then the “Rancherette” says, “your turn, Cowboy”. And back and forth, they crow. Meanwhile, the hens are still engaged with their Morse code. Reminds me of the movies where the incarcerated rattle their tin cups against the bars and pass notes from one cell to another. The “Rancherette’s” chickens are very smart, but they do not possess the skills to write notes. Therefore, they use codes so the correctional officers will not understand.

And one other thing, the next trip I am going to record some chicken songs on a CD for these birds to listen while we travel. Songs like, “Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens, or Ray Steven and the Hen House 5’s version of “In the Mood”.  If you wish to hear their favorite ditty, click on  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PENJxl-THS8. The chickens just love this version.

The last thing I need in the back seat of my truck is a flock of chickens dancing to the tune of the “Chicken Dance”, so that one will not be included. And to think, this is only the first leg, we must still travel back home with these bickering little birds.

Have a great day and Stay tuned for Part II

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.

 

 

 

 

Sun’s Gonna Shine in my Backdoor Someday

Well, hello there and in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’m back., sorta. I have been on the mend for several weeks now and with my current medications, the severe bouts with RA are dwindling. This is what has kept me from my writings for several months. I can certainly empathize with anyone who suffers from this immune system irregularity. It is said you can’t really know what another person feels unless you walk in their shoes. My feet are firmly implanted in the shoes of a sufferer of RA. But now, after many doctor visits, specialists, x-rays, MRI’s, medications, and all those wonderful prayers, it appears that this old “ritus” character is going into remission.  I continue to improve; however, my treatment plan still requires medicine.

For the better part of four months, I was unable to drive. The “Rancherette” did all the driving. I might add, well appreciated. Now that I have some degree of mobility, I can drive my truck again. A few days ago, I was returning from a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and with the modern day conveniences of satellite radio, I was listening to my type of music. I am a huge fan of Bluegrass music. At that particular moment, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were sounding off to an old tune that seems to fit my situation, at least the opening line. I turned the volume up. Being alone in my truck, I am allowed to turn the volume up loud. Not so much when the “Rancherette” is with me.

The tune, “Sun’s gonna shine in my backdoor someday”, speaks for me, especially here in the middle of August, in Texas, where the temperature is a balmy 103 today and a heat index approaching 110. And since my back door faces west, I can feel the brunt of that heat.

Living in a rural area, I am exposed to many facts of nature. As I was driving home, I noticed a lonely oak tree in the middle of a pasture. Mind you now, this was not a large oak tree. It bordered on a twenty to twenty-five feet umbrella. A nice enough shade but not very large.

Standing underneath this canopy was a small herd of cows. They were huddled so close together that I doubt one could slip a sheet of paper between them. At first glance, they appeared conjoined. I am well aware that cows prefer the shade to the hot sun. However, they were so tightly packed together that I cannot believe they were feeling any cooling effect. Cows have a “pecking order” just like chickens. If one does rank high enough in that order, then they do not share any benefits. They are left out in the cold, except in this case outside the parasol of the shade tree. There were two or three standing in the sun just on the edge of the shade. I assume the “leader” had the best spot.  And if I had rolled down my windows, I probably would have noticed a scent of bovine methane. They must ignore that aroma or maybe they do not have a good sense of smell. I noticed one cow standing in the tank, (if you are from South Texas or pond if you are from somewhere else). I figured she (or he) was the smartest cow of all, not to mention, the coolest. One can learn a lot from observing cows.

But that tune by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs means to me that “someday” has arrived. The sun is shining through my windows and doors and the sky is so blue and the trees are waving greetings at me when I walk out the “back door” without my cane and the cottontail rabbits stop and wiggle their noses at me.  The birds chatter a “welcome back” chirp. The kennel dogs seem glad to see me, even the chickens seem to recognize my voice. Yessiree, God is good. And because we need a cooling down and rain, showers are quenching the thirst of the plant life today and the temperature is hovering around 72 degrees in the middle of the day. God is indeed good.

Hunters and Gatherers

The old rancherwriterpoet has not been around lately. Maybe you noticed, maybe not. Medical circumstances have prevented this old drugstorecowboy/wannabe writer from some of his usual activities.

He has reached a point in his life that calls for a time of observation. For example, little things that originally had no clear-cut basis for consideration have now become seemingly a big deal. Discovering in these past few weeks, simple things I previously performed on a daily basis are not always easy tasks to perform. Sometimes, they become complicated, difficult, and even impossible.

In the earliest of days, eons ago, man was declared the hunter and woman was declared the gatherer. The roles of man and woman were clear. “Me Tarzan, you Jane” I am not making a judgment for or against that thought. I do not necessarily subscribe to the “me Tarzan, you Jane” setting, however, as a man, I have always felt I had a role to perform as a “hunter”. This was ingrained in me as a youngster. There were roles for the male and roles for the female. After all, boundaries were established and not to be crossed.

Well, that was then, this is now, and it never became clearer to me than in these past few weeks.

This “hunter” is here to tell you that in our household, the “gatherer” is perfectly capable of performing the tasks of not only her perceived responsibilities, but also those that I considered to be solely in my domain. In fact, she has stepped up the game. As I said, I am in a time of observation and I have observed the carpentry skills she has acquired, her chauffeuring ability, and her lawn maintenance proficiency. She has the leading role of managing the dogs, the chickens, the cooking, the grocery shopping, and auto upkeep and without a doubt the excellent care she affords the “hunter”. That only scratches the surface. Without the capable assistance of the “Rancherette” this old “Rancherwriterpoet” would have had a most difficult time.

I am making progress toward a time when this “hunter” can once again share in the family tasks alongside the “gatherer”. It will be a challenge, she is very good at what she does and I am so very grateful to her and to God for her.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a that says:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…

I doubt  Solomon wrote that with my circumstances in mind, but I claim it. I can say for certain, I am blessed.

Not Our First Rodeo

So, the big day came and went. To which big day am I referring? Why, the South Texas Classic Poultry Show in La Grange, Texas. I thought all folks knew about that event. Well, chicken folks in the state of Texas for sure. We were looking forward for several weeks to the trip and finally the day came. It was about a four and half hour journey in the truck with eight birds in the rear seat all properly resting in their properly vented traveling lounges properly fitted out with feed and water. Why do we call chicken feed, “feed” and dog food, “food”?  Or, cattle feed, “feed” and cat food, “food”.  Just wondering.

There were two roosters and six hens, separated much as if one would separate two or more siblings who insist on asking the proverbial question, are we there yet? If one can understand chicken talk, then those are exactly the phrases coming from the mouths of these birds. The only good thing (If you can call it good) is they did not mention having to go to the bathroom every ten miles. Well, maybe they did and I just ignored them. I recall that with my children back in the day.

The two roosters, named Zorba, the Silkie and Cowboy, the Cochin, were dueling tenors. The hens were the backup singers for those two. They covered all the chicken hits in alphabetically order, beginning with, “Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens”. A couple of times I had to quiet them down, once when they began doing the “Chicken Dance”. It was way too crowded for that. Try getting that earworm out of your head. Long before we arrived in La Grange, I just about had it with chicken songs. I decided to mention a phrase I have used before. “CHICKEN NUGGETS”, I yelled. They thought it best to refrain from any more musical interludes and remained silent the rest of the trip. I did hear a bit of mumbling back there, but I was calm.

Upon arriving, we ventured to the Fayette County fairgrounds to “coop in” as they say. You place each bird in a separate cage with your identifying number on a card, furnish them with gourmet feed (or is it food) and small containers of water. They are now bedded down for the night. And, luckily, we adults did likewise, at a local hotel, (I won’t use their name, however the chickens had it better).

At precisely Nine A.M., the next morning, the judges begin their job of inspecting each bird in the building. That was an exhausting all day affair. However, it did have its rewards.

If you recall from a recent post, A Day at the Spa, the “Rancherette” invited her fine little Silkies and Cochins to a day at the spa. That was a significant ceremony for it worked wonders on these fluffy birds. The “Rancherette” outdid herself, three 1st place awards and a Best of Variety prize.  One had a comb tht leaned a bit to the right. I wonder if we should have combed her wattle or wattled her comb. Needless to say the”Rancherette”was happy, I was happy. Having spent a couple of days at the Fort Worth Show, (with awards) the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” were old hands at this. One could say this was not our first rodeo.

After a brief tour of the La Grange area, a visit to Walmart, (That should be on everyone’s traveling list) a meal at a local BBQ stable, tailgating in the parking lot with the birds, resting a bit and afterwards heading home. The birds gloated all the way home. I was calm, I just let them have their say; after all, they were winners. All in all, it was a great trip. Who can argue with that?

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