rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Texas”

NO Rooster Necessary

So the “Rancherette” arrives at the post office unannounced with two cardboard boxes of chickens for shipment to Oklahoma. Why these birds wanted to go to Oklahoma in the first place is beyond this Texan’s imagination. I mean no disrespect to the great citizens of Oklahoma, but the best thing ever to come out of Oklahoma was the musical, “Oklahoma”. I’m a sucker for musicals.  I love that musical and Shirley Jones singing. Then there is Mickey Mantle and Johnny Bench.  And I must never leave out Native Americans, the backbone of the state. However, it is not Texas, I’m just sayin’.  And I am now trying to dig myself out of a hole. Before I get mauled on social media, I maybe should change the subject.

As I was saying, the “Rancherette” is shipping “Mille Fleur D’uccle bantams and Silkie bantams to Oklahoma. These birds are show quality and are headed for distinction. “The Rancherette”, herself is a person of distinction and especially in the chicken world. She is an expert, knowledgeable and very professional at raising chickens. The “Rancherwriterpoet” is not a biased person, he is however, rather smart.

Well, she queued at the post office, (which one shall remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the USPS) to ship the birds. While waiting in line, several people were inquisitive about what was in the cartons. Never missing an opportunity to discuss chickens, the “Rancherette” was quick to respond. The conversation went something like this, “Chickens”, she said. And that was all she needed to elaborate about what was in the cardboard boxes. I venture to say, before she left the building, every person in the place knew so much more about chickens than before they came in. They also had in their little hands, “The Fuzzy Chicken Farm” business cards in case there should be any further dialog.

When she approached the counter, the clerk recognized her and mentioned how much she likes chickens.  The “Rancherette” mails all her chickens from this post office. As you might expect, the hens are cackling, I mean the ladies are talking chickens, when the clerk commented that she would like to have a few chickens so she could have fresh eggs but she did not want a rooster. She thought she needed a rooster in order to have fresh eggs. This obviously opened the door (to the coop) for a discussion about when a rooster is needed and when not. In her calm and mentoring demeanor, the “Rancherette” explained that a rooster was not needed for a hen to merely lay an egg. The clerk was dumbfounded at this information.

This is going to take a lesson in chicken biology at which the “Rancherette” is very well versed. I can imagine that the subject was covered in full explicit detail so I want further complicate your day by revealing those elements. If I did, this would need to be rated X. Needless to say, the line behind the “Rancherette’ grew longer as the seminar continued. I find myself wondering if there was participation from those behind her. There was certainly curiosity. I am confident that viable information was presented by a Master Professional and all went home having learned that a rooster is not necessary for eggs or you can buy eggs at the super market. I don’t believe they have any roosters in the back.

Next week, there will two more shipments of birds to some far away land like Idaho and Illinois. Idaho has potatoes and Illinois has the Cubs. The “Rancherette” can’t wait. She will be holding another tutorial at the same USPS facility. She anticipates another great discussion about chickens. Hopefully she does not have to repeat last week’s lesson.  The “Rancherwriterpoet” was not there for confirmation of this conversation, but the expression on the “Rancherette’s” face as she was relating this was hilarious. I found this to be very informative. If you can’t stand the cackling or crowing stay out of the coops.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, DEAR PRADA

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

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

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

COUNTDOWN

There is something about the human race and time that intrigues me. Seemingly, we humans are always counting down for some event to take place in the future. Those awaiting a birth of a child face a countdown to a time that is somewhat difficult to determine, nevertheless, the countdown cannot come soon enough, especially for the one giving birth.

Those facing retirement count down the days until it arrives, then wonder how it happened so fast. The students in school count down until summer. Of course, the teachers are much more in the countdown mode than the students. Those waiting to experience graduation, whether it be middle school, high school or college, all count down until the fateful day. In each case there is a transition from one situation to a different development. The middle school graduate counts down to becoming a teenager, the high school graduate counts down to becoming a university student and the college graduate counts down to employment.

New Year’s Day finds most of America and the world enjoying the countdown until 12 A.M., although many cannot remember it the next morning.

I noticed that those in the know have advanced the doomsday clock to two minutes, thirty seconds until midnight. This is a symbolic clock that sends a message of nuclear oblivion when it reaches midnight. That particular countdown is unnerving to say the least.

This past year 2016, social media light up the airwaves with a countdown until the presidential election. It doesn’t matter for which political side you were rooting, it mattered when it was to take place. And the time arrived. One candidate surpassed the other. Certain individuals threatened to leave the country if a particular candidate won. The other side began the countdown as to exactly when that would happen. As I write this the countdown has to be reset each day for I have seen no exits from these personalities.

Then the countdown began until inauguration day. It arrived. Half the nation is happy and half the nation is not. I’m thinking someone should start a countdown as the when the two halves can come together on a common goal. Naaa, too much to ask. But God is in total control. His countdown is the only one that matters.

Until then I have it on good authority that the baseball season is upon us. As I write this, the countdown until spring training is 16 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes, 34 seconds and counting. http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/#sthash.BcTqhy1P.dpb

Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers report Wednesday February 15. Opening day for the Texas Rangers is April 3, 2017 at home against the defending American League champions Cleveland Indians. 65 days 2 hours 43 minutes 35 seconds and counting:    https://days.to/until/mlb-season-opening-day

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

Songwriters: ALBERT VON TILZER, JACK NORWORTH

This countdown works for me. What countdown are you working on?

The Peculiarities of Nature

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

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

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

The Peculiarities of Nature

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

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

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

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

I feel bewildered.

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                       Pete Robertson
© January 2017

Stay warm, wherever you are.

 

Federal Holidays

Today is January 2, 2017. Considering that yesterday was Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and New Year’s Day, I decided that if the Federal government can take the holiday on Monday, I will too. After all, I mostly do what my government says to do, especially when it comes to holidays. I observe every single one. That’s my right. I drive the speed limit, use my turn signals, (that’s a novelty), pay my taxes, (reluctantly), do not text and drive, nor do I miss a Dallas Cowboy game. I voted, (cried over my choices, but still voted) paid my mortgage on time, bought stuff on line, attempted to clean out the garage, but failed miserably, and helped “the Rancherette” with her chickens. The government did not tell me to do that. I volunteered.
As for Federal holidays, there are officially ten in the year 2017. I plan on taking every one of them. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, then it is observed on Friday. If it falls on Sunday, it is observed on Monday. Rest assured, I will observe them. I also noticed that certain holidays have been shifted to a Monday in order for observance of a three day weekend. Eight of the ten holidays for 2017 actually fall on a Monday or Friday. That accounts for twenty-four days (three day weekend x 8) of the year that can be non-productive. I plan on being non-productive for at least, oh say, twenty? And these do not even account for snow days or early dismissals. Living in Texas, we probably won’t be able to use any snow days or early dismissals from our government job. The school kids will dream, though.
I did not have black eyed peas and greens yesterday. I have tried it for, lo and behold, many years and the so-called good luck and prosperity that comes with this tradition has never materialized yet. So I skipped the southern delicacy. I settled for Mexican food. That type of food never gives me any good luck or prosperity either, but sometimes it does give me heartburn, especially the re-fried beans. Had the Barbeque joint been open, I would have opted for some good smoked BBQ brisket. There is nothing like a brisket dinner with beans, potato salad and Jalapeno peppers. Well, maybe a little heartburn. Sadly, no good luck and prosperity with these foods either.
I read that George Washington’s favorite food was Cherry pie. Martin Luther King’s favorite was pecan pie (That’s Puhcon pie, not Peecan pie) and July 4th is famous for baseball, hot dogs and Apple pie.(And of course, Chevrolet). Notice that these are also federal holidays.
Looks like pie makes my list of good foods. I am in favor of eating good food. Being from Texas, we have a very interesting assortment of good foods. Southern Fried Chicken is one of my favorites, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, another and cornbread. (Leave out the sugar, please) The list is endless and I like them all. I suppose my favorite is BBQ, so I am choosing to make one New Year’s resolution this year; I resolve to eat more BBQ, to heck with the heartburn. I think I can keep this one.
I hope you resolve to experience this New Year in good health and an abundance of happiness. I hope it will be an enjoyable one for you and your family. 2016 was a heck of a year. It certainly had its ups and downs around our backyard. But we experienced it and are moving on to 2017. I hope you do as well.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FOLKS.

Is It Christmas Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

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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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.

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Hope you have a very happy day.

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