rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Silkies”

The Travelin’ Fuzzy Band

I, being the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band concluded a bus trip this past Sunday with the band in Comanche Texas.  It was a two day gig with four performances.

 As with any trip we take, the bus must be prepared for the journey.  The “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” had packed their bags the night before. We typically wait until the last minute before departure to inform the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They get so antsy and uptight that we go to all lengths to keep them in the dark.  However, they must have suspected something was up. Probably it was the baths and blow dry the day before.

You could hear cackling cries of “road trip, road trip”.  Even the chickens who free range next door got excited. Their enthusiasm created more uproar around the neighborhood. Mind you now, the neighborhood fowl do not travel, except into the dog yard and that usually is not a good thing. Luka, our little rescue Italian Greyhound with a hitch in his get-a-long, can still chase down a free range chicken in record time. If that chicken cannot fly back over the fence, well, chicken nuggets.

All the band members were raring to go, except for Cowboy the Cochin. He was still miffed because I did not get him a new ride as he suggested last trip. He wanted to know, “what’s in it for me?”  “Ho hum, another show, another award”.   Reluctantly He agreed to go if I would program the satellite radio to his Bluetooth. Seems he is a huge fan of the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty and George Harrison. He loves “The End of the Line”.  You can listen here if you are so inclined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

If you listen closely you can hear Cowboy singing along.

Well it’s alright, riding around in this Ford
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m not being bored.
Well, it’s alright doing the best that I can
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m pleasing my fans

Of course that’s Cowboy’s version. He’s got more but I refused to include any out of respect for my readers and of course, the Traveling Wilburys.

So bags were packed, the bus loaded, the first class quarters readied for the Fuzzy Chicken Band and the traveling music is ready on their Bluetooth.

They were fluffed and primped and ready for the big trip and of course the performances. This would be the first time for two performances each day in a two day show. The manager, AKA “The Rancherette” had them at their best. She gets the most from these performers. You should hear her at times. She cajoles them; sweet talks them, bribes them with treats and in general persuades them to listen to her coaching. Notice I said persuades; I’ll leave it at that. But me thinks she could probably coach a hockey team with her sweet demeanor.She  taking notes, I’m staying clear.img_7121

On Saturday, before the judging began, The Fuzzy Chicken Band made the rounds meeting and greeting the other performers. They met new friends, renewed old acquaintances and in general were on their best behavior.  It is really interesting when the band jams with other bands. They make beautiful music together. Especially since they all speak in different dialects and foreign languages. The little Cochin Sisters performed admirably. A couple of newbies made their first appearance and did well. The “Rancherette”  is always on the lookout for new talent for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. Cowgirl did her best in spite of Cowboy’s lack of harmony. I think Cowboy was still not on his game. Sunday brough about two more shows and Cowboy’s attitude was a tad better.

The accommodations for the performers at Comanche Crossroads were excellent. img_7114They were the best the Fuzzy Chicken Band had ever experienced for these poultry shows. The staff, Dwayne and Melody,  are to be commended for their first-rate adherence to perfection.They took very good care of the humans with free donuts, cold drinks and a genuine attention to detail. As the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band I’m always looking for free food. It is a sure bet the the manager, AKA The Rancherette” will solicit an invitation to the next show in Comanche. The bus driver seconds that motion. Cowboy, not so sure.

Well, the trip home was a quiet one. After four performances this little band was very tired. Cowboy kept his mouth shut, at least low enough where we could not hear his complaints. I’m thinking now that it could be because “Zorba, not the Greek”, did not make this trip. The two of them usually collaborate on a duet at least twice during the trip. The two newbies tried, but they are too young. Yep, that’s it. No duet! Maybe next time, Cowboy.

No rest for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They have already begun rehearsing for the next show in Beaumont and looking forward to jamming with other bands. Hope they get it together before we travel and not while we are traveling. I’m keeping very quiet about this next trip. Do not want to start any hubbub with the divas or the divo.

The Fuzzy Chicken Band sends HAPPY VALENTINE to all. And especially to the bus driver’s best helpers.

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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.

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                                                       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.

 

 

 

 

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?

A Day at the Spa

Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, things have been hectic, hence the silence from this writer about such. The first of the year we ventured to the Fort Worth Live Stock Show.(THIS THING IS LEGENDARY)

In addition to all the sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and swine, the poultry show also displays several different breeds of poultry and waterfowl.  I might add this includes Silkie chickens of which the “Rancherette” proudly raises. She wanted to “show” some of her Silkie birds. This was her first show and it gave her the incentive she needed to explore the world of “showmanship”. It was a successful endeavor. With first place ribbons in hand the task turned to preparations for the next “Big Shew”. The pressure is on.

Now the “Rancherette” has been very busy lately, what with the chickens molting and such. It seems one cannot deal precisely with a molting chicken when the goal is to get them ready for the “Big Shew”. If feathers are falling out, (a natural process) then there is not much you can do as far as grooming a chicken for the “Big Shew”. For those of you who may not have knowledge of such a venture, it involves quite a bit of effort on the part of the “Rancherette”.

Such efforts should be rewarded with a day at the spa. You know, the place where one can be pampered, massaged, a new hairdo, nail polish, skin rejuvenation, and whatever else one can get added to the procedure. Well, that is exactly what the “Rancherette” desires. Sooooo,

Each prize winning little Silkie will have their personal day at the spa. Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, pampering is quite normal for these birds, especially, since they have won ribbons. The first thing they are pleased to enjoy is a bath. Giving a chicken a bath is not quite like washing a dog, but somewhat better than washing a cat. It is more like washing a dust mop. In fact, we have a Silkie rooster named Dust Mop. However, he is not intent on having a spa day. He has other interests on his mind. Especially, after the little hen comes home from a day at the spa. Granted, cats and dogs do not have the same physical features of Silkies, beyond that, however, there isn’t much difference in the procedure. Feathers or fur, it is pretty much the same.

Apparently, since chickens are notorious for taking dust baths, being submerged in water is no big deal. They enjoy, so I have been told, having their little feathers stroked with all sorts of bath washes. The smellery the better (I know, it is not a word).

The “Rancherette” works her skills around and underneath the feathers to ensure each part of the feathery physique is manipulated. (This is the skin rejuvenation) The wattle must be combed or is it wattling the comb? Whatever, the color must be enhanced. Having enjoyed this, the chicken begins to cackle her appreciation. Soon thereafter, the little fluffy fowl will be wrapped in a luscious bath towel. Then, the Master Blaster is utilized. This is a device especially designed to remove water by the application of warm air to the body. Some folks call it a hair dryer. This particular one is a smaller version than that used for the dogs.

After the water is removed, the little hen looks lovingly at the masseuse as she begins to work her magic. She stretches the little wings here and there, above and under, around and over and then repeats the process, Who doesn’t like a massage every now and then? I am not sure when the nail polishing takes place; however, talcum powder is generously applied for a brightening effect. It has a smellery aroma as well. This addresses the “hairdo”.  Pampering, that’s what I call it.

At this point, I am not sure who receives the most pleasure from this experience, the little Silkie or the “Rancherette”. I do notice that the other feathery creatures are standing in line, cackling, “I’m next”, envious of the first one. I also see where the dogs in the kennel were creating a ruckus, howling and agitated. I think they want their turn in the spa as well. That is, except for the Airedale. Thankfully, we have no cats around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch.

The “Rancherwriterpoet” might as well stand in line, too. He could use a little spa treatment, perhaps after the “Big Shew.”

That’s How My Day Went

Various situations have occurred the past two months, preventing any posts to my blog. I will not elaborate on those circumstances. I am just picking up the past two weeks, starting with how my day went.

Day One.

So the “Rancherette” and I are sitting around discussing what new projects we can accomplish around the old homestead. Having constructed the last of three chicken coops, our attention turned to some, much needed, repairs to our little farmhouse.

“It needs new paint”, I said. (The “Rancherette” moonlights as a painter.)

“It needs a complete makeover”, she said. We should hire someone to put new siding on the house, she said. “You can supervise”, she said.

So, the plan began to take shape. Except, I said, “I can do it, myself” (not the staining part). Famous last words”!  she said.

I immediately sprang into action. Got out my measuring tape, my quarter-inch scale pad, a sharp pencil, and engaged my brain. Must have a materials list, you know. I walked around the house, measuring and visualizing the steps that will be required, writing down the information as I went. That was how the Sunday afternoon went.

Day Two.  

Pardon me if I go off subject for a moment.

Around our little Silkie chicken ranch, we have several roosters. They all have names, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Dust Mop, Bloopety Blue, Goldfinger, and Tallyho. Goldfinger was once Goldilocks and Tallyho was once Tallulah, until we heard them crow. And speaking of crowing, they will crow on command, Seriously! Except for Mick and Rod, who refuse to crow at all.

So after my morning session with the “boys”, I turned my attention to the “running” of the dogs. Their daily constitutional is of utmost importance. It requires less attention to the sanitation of the kennels if they are allowed some freedom each morning.

While I am closely monitoring the canines, the “Rancherette” is tending to the “girls”, the female gender of chickens, who also have names. Just to name a few,  Sassy, Beauty, Baby Splash, Frosty and Rag Mop, who coos when the “Rancherette” sings R-A-G-G… M-O-P-P…, RAGMOP.

The “Rancherette” visits with each little hen every morning andthen  turns her interest to the two groups of baby chicks. They are kept in separate pens, the “Pre-K” chicks that are about two weeks older and the “Toddler” chicks, kept in their toddler pen. They do not have names as yet.

So, Monday morning, after the chores of tending to the chickens and running the dogs, I suggested we make a lumber run to the big “Blue” box lumberyard. I grabbed my list and off we went to the big “Blue” box lumberyard. Did I mention I also needed a new air compressor? 

After spending a couple of hours (and X-amount of $$$), we returned home, feeling exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. That was how Monday went.

Day Three.

Bright and early Tuesday morning and very excited to get started, I rushed through my chores with the animals and turned to the process of transforming the exterior of our home. I began by unloading some of the lumber and arranging the siding for the “Rancherette” (AKA, painter-deluxe) to start the process of staining prior to installation. She was spending her “girl-time” with the very friendly little Silkie hens and waiting on me. Sorry to say, I had to interrupt her session, as you will see next.

At this point, I will not go into describing each and every step, however, the first step of demo involved removal of some rotted wood. This being accomplished, I set up the table saw to rip a board into what is called a “water table trim”. This item can be purchased, however, it is quite expensive. Thus, I decided to manufacture this trim myself. About 10:30 A.M., The world changed dramatically. Without noting the graphic details, I was ripping the “water table trim”, and my little pinkie and ring fingers on my right hand, made contact with the table saw. Fifty plus years I have been around power tools, never having an accident of this nature. I must tell you, no matter how experienced you may think you are, it definitely is not enough if you do not remember to be SAFE!

Thanks to the “Rancherette” for her driving skills to the emergency room, the doctor thinks I will not lose my fingers, or perhaps only the tip of my pinkie. I will know for sure next week. It would appear that I am lucky  to keep the digits on my right hand. It has been quite a Summer to remember, what with new skin (Skin Cancer removal),  new eyes (cataract surgery) and now in the Fall a couple of finger repairs, I feel sort of like the “Bionic Man”. Rebuilt and even better than new.

And that was how Tuesday went. I can’t wait until Day Four. It will be here before I know it. In the short-term, I think I will go spend some time with the roosters. They may give me something to “crow about”.

Be safe out there.

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