Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “winter”

Mother Hen

On a cold and windy day here in North Texas, I find myself dreaming about warmer weather. Oh, well, I can look forward to the middle of April when it begins again.

In the meantime, I spend my time working with the “Rancherette” as she prepares for the new chicks that will be arriving into this world on or about the 18th of this month. We know this because she has placed the fertile eggs in an incubator. We know fertile eggs are in the incubator because she has candled them. That’s like an ultrasound for chicken eggs. You see, you run a little gel on the stomach, then rub, no, wait, you don’t really do that.

Anyway, I built a Candler for the “Rancherette” to use. It is a simple little device. I took a  large commercial size green bean can, cut a hole in the bottom of the can smaller than an egg, turned it upside down over a keyless light fixture, placed a 60 watt bulb in the light fixture and voila, you have a Candler. You cannot tell if it is a boy or girl like human ultrasounds but I’m working on that.

Candling is where you place the egg over the hole in the can. The light shines through the egg and you can tell if there is a mass inside. If there is a mass, then the egg is fertile. The rooster did his job. The way he struts around in the pen, he already knew that. He’s as proud as a peacock. The hens, however, look like they just went through a windstorm. Talk about a bad hair day.

There is a lot of work to do to prepare for the new additions. We set up the brooder in the garage, with the infrared lamps, new pine shavings, and all the paraphernalia that goes with baby chicks. You should see the “Rancherette” acting just like a mother hen. Change this, fix that, turn this, move the box here, test the humidity, the temps too low, are the lamps working… etc. Just like a mother hen.  I’m thinking that the real mother hen could do this job without all our interference. When she sets on the eggs, she doesn’t know or even care if they are fertile or not, she just likes to set on the eggs. In fact, if she is broody, she may even set on golf balls.

I wonder if when the feathered mother hen does this on her own, does she discuss this with the father of the chicks before hand? I’m thinking that if he had to go through this kind of hubbub he would elect to disregard her flirty eyes and keep things to himself. Just saying…

Well, we are just playing the waiting game now. “The bags are packed the car is gassed up, and we are ready to go”. The expectant “Mother Hen is nervous but not nearly as nervous as the expectant “Surrogate Father” is. Please keep that under your incubator.

Stay tuned. For your information, in the back room, there are other incubators. On the top of each is a schedule. In the second incubator, a hatch is scheduled on or about the 26th of this month and another hatch on or about December 2nd. The good times just keeping a coming. Bach, Bach, Bach. Cock a doodle do!!!

I think we should plan the next mating season for a delivery in warmer weather. The rooster may not want to cooperate, but we can “fix” that. I got to go now, must go to the store and get some cigars or should I get donuts? Maybe some of both.  I have to be ready.

Problem Solving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pond


I awoke this morning to a glistening snow-crested and beautiful view of the pasture across the road. During the late afternoon yesterday, a cold front blew in and with it, delivered first, a freezing rain, and then some sleet and finally this fluffy white stuff. During the night, the temperature dipped to near 15º F and consequently everything froze solid, including the pond. Out at the kennel pens, the dogs’ water was a solid circular bowl of ice. With the freezing rain that had fallen, the gates were frozen shut. I had to take a pitcher of hot water to lift them open. The overhead polyethylene covering used for shade and protection had about an inch of ice and would not be moved. Luckily it is braced sufficiently to avoid collapse. However, I must wait until the ice melts to repair any damage. The roads are all iced over, with only a dual rut for tires. There isn’t much traffic around here, it is a very rural area. It is not likely to improve any by tomorrow. So, we are content to enjoy the beautiful views and stay inside where it is warm.

It does give me the opportunity to sit at my computer and write. I have not been very consistent in my writing. I wish I knew the answer to a more regular regimen. In the meantime, I sense a muse and act upon it. Such is the case today. Thus, the poem of the season is the result of that muse.

  • The Pond
  • The pond, she is a frozen
  • The frogs ain’t even leaping
  • the duck is stuck in ice,
  • and the birds keep loudly peeping.
  • They’re peeping ‘cause they’re hungry
  • And their feeder’s nearly bare
  • They’re glaring in my window
  • With such an evil stare.
  • these birds ain’t got no patience
  • They scratch and scratch and peck
  • we want our food and now”, they chirp,
  • They’ve made me just a total wreck.
  • The kennel dogs are so afraid to even take a step,
  • They’ve not ever seen this much snow.
  • so they sniff and sniff and sniff again
  • and still can’t find a place to go.
  • At least their pens are nice and warm
  • So back inside they go.
  • And that old duck that’s stuck in ice?
  • He’s not really real, he’s just there for show.
  • Those frogs are still in infant stage
  • This cold may stunt their growth
  • It may even turn them azure blue
  • Or maybe do them both.
  • It’s still so very cold outside
  • I don’t want to venture there
  • The snow’s ‘bout two foot deep
  • (well, almost that much…, I swear)
  • And those wicked birds, they have worn me down
  • So I’m through writing this lament
  • I’m filling up their feeder, now
  • So they won’t treat me with contempt.
  • Okay, okay, I’m coming!
  • I think I may need some more bird food.
  • I can’t get out today
  • The weather just don’t fit my schedule
  • Unless I use the sleigh.
  • Pete Robertson
  • March 2014


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