rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Relationships”

Pushing Carts

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

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

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

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

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

.blood pressure machine

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

See the source image.

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

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

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

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

driving on wrong side

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the source image

Have a happy day.

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Update to “The Ice Cream Scoop” and other stuff

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

Drainer

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

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

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

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

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

bread slices

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ice Cream Scoop

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

IMG_7144

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

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

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

. IMG_7149

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

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

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

Christmas Eve, 1892

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

 

 

Once Upon A Time, the Saga

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

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

‘ Three geese coming from pen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Perfect Dad, II

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

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

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

“A Perfect Dad”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

June 19, 2011

The Making of a Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

If She Were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

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

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

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

baby chicks

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

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

heading for the pond Geese 1

 

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

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

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

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

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

Stay warm, wherever you are.

Cardboard Boxes

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

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

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

  flapping wings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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