Category Archives: Free-ranging-chickens

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Humpty Dumptytime

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming around.  I’m hoping you’re all getting your ducks in a row to put whatever lousy issues you’ve got to rest, come midnight.  Beginning one minute afterward we’ve all got to start the serious business of trying to live with all that behind us.  The Coincidence Coordinators have a lot in store for each of us and they don’t want any of it getting bogged down in tanglefootedness left over from yesteryear.

Some of you probably remember that bottle of Jack Daniels Black Label,

Juggling the Possibilities.

 I wrote about it November 17, 2011,

“I finished off most of this bottle of Jack Daniels on December 31, 1999, while I was sitting around listening on the short wave radio to Y2K not happening, first in New Zealand, then Australia, then places further west until it got to me, where it happened well enough to make up for those other places it didn’t.

“But as you can see, there was some left in the bottle when Y2K got to me.  I resolved to hold it back until something else happened.  I’ve had it sitting over there on the microwave collecting dust for several years, threatening to celebrate various New Year and Thanksgivings and I-don’t-know-whatalls.  I’d had it in the back of my mind lately I’d do my 70th birthday with it, then slid the clock backward and thought maybe my 69th here in a few days.”

Fact is, that bottle qualifies as an open container.  I can’t travel with it in the RV.  So this evening I’m going to put on some good music and sip that Jack Daniels to death celebrating all the Humpty Dumpties in my 2012.

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

The Great Speckled Bird went off maybe in July to wherever chickens go when they die, and later in the year I Humpty Dumptied my contracts with the hens and other roosters.  [Sip anticipated] 

I terminated my contract with Shiva The Cow Cat.  [Sip anticipated]

There’s this:

Roof and Chimney Leaks — White Trash Repairs

But we didn’t reach a consensus, the felines etc. on the matter of roof repairs and leaks.  Shiva the cow-cat argues, “What the hell!  Here’s a perfect spot for both those indoor cats in a thunderstorm.  What’s the big deal?  If they don’t like it throw them outdoors with Tabby and me.

I’m sick and tired of all the age discrimination around here in favor of geriatric cats.” [Sip anticipated]

And of course, the Humpty Dumpty trees. [Sip anticipated]

Men's ThermoPlus Extreme Boot Liner

http://www.sorel.com/Men%27s-ThermoPlus-Extreme-Boot-Liner/NU1490,default,pd.html

I’ve used my Sorel boot liners several years as thermal house shoes when it’s cold, and they’ve begun to fray.  Looked up the price of replacing them and discovered it’s $45, so I went to work on the seams and edges with super glue.

No Humpty Dumpty for them.  But I’ll sip to them anyway if there’s any left.

As for Shiva, she’s doing well up there, happy.  Jeanne and I have a ritual of talking on the phone, speaker phone on on her end.  Shiva sits on her shoulder, purrs, slobbers, and rubs her face against the phone.

I’ll sip to a happy ending, a new adventure, and the three remaining felines with active contracts.

And wish things equally good for you.  [Final sip]

Old Jules

Silky Rooster’s Been Raptured Out

I told you that silky rooster was intelligent, but I thought he’d outsmarted himself by getting loose and left behind here.  All those hens he came up with as a chick, the surviving rooster.  Kay’s hens and rooster.  All now joined with a free ranging flock somewhere else.

And he was sorely depressed being alone here.

But he must have known faith would see him through.  A lady down the road with 17 hens and no roosters emailed me after I listed him on Kerrville FreeCycle.  We arranged to meet yesterday at a pullover midway between her and me.

“What a beautiful rooster!”  He preened.

What’s his name?”

I’ve never given him a name.”  She scowled and stroked him.

I always name my chickens.”  Attractive pucker.

To which Mr. NoName Silky replied, “I’ve been to the wild wood, mither.  Mak my bed soon.”

All’s well that ends well.

Old Jules

Teetering on the Brink of a New Era – May My Flock Decrease

A friend of Linda’s [the lady who runs the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store in Kerrville] has agreed to take my flock of free-ranging chickens.  As well as Kay’s smaller flock.  He’s been taking care of Linda’s free-rangers when she isn’t home, lives adjacent to her, and Linda vouches for him being a responsible person.

So it’s one more bug on the windshield of this old life, thinks I.

Sometime today he should be coming out to pick them up.   I’ve kept them caged so I’ll be able to catch them.

One small step for a man, one giant step for mankind, I figures. 

I’ll miss them, but you can’t take them with you, as the saying goes.  Once the Great Speckled Bird joined the Great Rooster Fight In The Sky things haven’t been the same around here anyway.  A lot of the joy that came with having the flock around went away, and the hens quit behaving themselves without him to keep them in line.

Old Jules

11:00 am addendum:  The birds are history, except for the silky rooster commie pictured above.  He got loose and I’ll never catch him today.  But a silky of his stature oughtn’t be too difficult to find a home for.  Everyone wants a chicken with his kind of class, thinks I.

Trot-lining for Skunks

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.  I appreciate you.

We’ve been blessed with some moisture the past couple of days and the ground’s soft enough I might be obliged to cancel my trip to Kerrville for groceries and cat food.  Not at all sure that car will make it up the hill until things dry enough to give the tires some purchase.

When I went out to turn the chickens loose this morning I found I’d offended a skunk who’d been trying to take advantage of things by digging under the wall of the chicken-house several places.  Because it happens occasionally, and a skunk, or coon will kill every chicken it can corner, I’d laid out chains along the bottoms of the walls with treble-hooks attached.  Evidently this was a new skunk, or [if an old one] it had forgotten the last time it tried this.

Underneath that wall is limestone, most places, but there are a few places were a determined predator could get underneath if it got past the treble-hooks.  This one didn’t.  Left a tuft of hair, a bit of paw-hide and a stink enough to have the chickens overly anxious to get the hell out of Dodge in a hurry. 

Maybe some things are worse than having your life saved.

Incidently, all that erosion control stuff I was doing for a while’s performing a lot better than I expected.  Lots of that cedar’s now buried in silt.  This place must have been losing tons of soil every time it rained for longer than anyone alive has any business remembering.

Damned cattle were eating their seed corn without a thought.  Same as the rest of us.

Old Jules

Suppression of Public Discussion of How Damned Hot It Is

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I went to town a few days ago to get the stolen car covered by liability insurance, and when I returned the Great Speckled Bird was defunct.  Evidently decided it was better to take his chances on ending up in a factory farm for chickens next lifetime than put up with more of Old Sol’s blessings during this one.

Naturally his passing stirred things up considerably here.  The bachelor roosters were promoted to full-fledged hen-chasers and released to free range daily, sleep with the flock, nights.  But it’s also caused an undercurrent of rumors.  Whisperings and quiet cluckings nights when the doers can’t be identified and prosecuted.  Claims that it wasn’t just the heat offed TGSB, but radioactive fallout. 

It’s partly my own fault.  One of the felines was probably sneaking a look when I was reading trivia such as the article below:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9498292.htm

Gen. Stubblebine’s prognosis is dire: “When the highly radioactive Spent Fuel Rods are exposed to air, there will be massive explosions releasing many times the amount or radiation released thus far. Bizarrely, they are stored three stories above ground in open concrete storage pools. Whether through evaporation of the water in the pools, or due to the inevitable further collapse of the structure, there is a severe risk. United States public health authorities agree that tens of thousands of North Americans have already died from the Fukushima calamity. When the final cataclysm occurs, sooner rather than later, the whole Northern Hemisphere is at risk of becoming largely uninhabitable.

“. . . The US Government’s statistics document an excess death rate of 20,000 US residents, mostly healthy infants, in the first 9 months following the multiple nuclear events at Fukushima. . As a humanitarian, strategist, intelligence analyst, father and grandfather, General Bert understands that doing nothing is, quite simply, not an option.

“. . . The lack of information is, however, a matter of State policy in Japan where it is now a felony offense to discuss negative aspects of either nuclear power or the Fukushima situation in particular.”

Old General Bert’s correct, the cats, chickens and I all agree.  Doing nothing is not an option.  But as Commander in Chief around here, I’m not aware of a damned thing I can do, nor of anything the cats and chickens can do to influence whether the Northern Hemisphere becomes largely uninhabitable.

Any more than we can do anything about this heat wave, except hunker down and try to think of ways to not follow TGSB into the next incarnation.  And maybe try to find something useful to occupy ourselves despite the standing 8-count we’re all trying to function in.

For starters, I’m declaring martial law within the hearing-radius of the cabin and henhouse.  Japan, at least, can be accused of doing something, even though not a damned thing can be done.  I’m taking a page from Japan’s book and making it a criminal offence for any item of poultry, feline, or human being here to say, “Damn it’s hot.”  Or, “Reckon how radioactive it is today?”

Old Jules

Divine Intervention – A Blossom Fell

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I was relaxing in a camp chair just before dusk yesterday when the Coincidence C0ordinators gave me a nudge to remind me my priorities are too much anchored in the chicken, cabin, drainage issues recent past.  The bachelor roosters were loose for their afternoon free range and my attention was directed to making certain neither of them sneaked off to bloody TGSB.

KERWHUMP!

Suddenly a few feet away I had an oak tree poking into my affairs.  The chickens were going crazy running every direction, guinea-mania drowning out the chicken-panic, me just trying to fathom what I was seeing.

Turned out one of the remaining trunks of the oak that fell on the roof of the storage building a while back decided to put the squeeze on the Bachelor Rooster Containment Center.

Spang blocked off the chute between the pen and the night fortress, raising all manner of questions about protected places to house the roosters for the night.

But more importantly, forced the awareness that this cabin, all the storage buildings, even the main chicken pen, surrounded by dying oaks waiting to fall on something important.

Nobody got crushed in this one.  The cats were well away, even I was far enough out of reach so only a few leaves and a bit of dust got to me.  But I’ve got lots of trees and not-all-that-many cats.

I pondered it all last night for a considerable while.  If that tree had come down on me there’d have been a lot of hungry, thirsty chickens and felines lying around with Xs over their eyes before anyone got around to wondering how long it had been since they’d seen me and why.

And the fact is, even though I’m a fair-hand at the one-man-band act, I can’t figure any way in hell to bring a lot of these potential crushers down in a way that doesn’t include them falling on the cabin roof.

So I did a lot of weighing and juggling what I ought to be thinking and doing.  Concluded I first need to scout around for a home for the chickens.  The lady who runs the Habitat For Humanity Thrift Store has a lot of free rangers, along with some goats and two dogs to protect them all.

I reckons I’ll be talking to her next time I’m in town to find out whether she might give them a home.

Meanwhile, maybe put up a tent out in the meadow for summer sleeping until I can feel some confidence the tin roof won’t be sleeping beside me if I snooze indoors.

When I left New Mexico a lot of the reason I felt pressured to do it was the fact of a roof arguing in favor of collapse and an 18 inch adobe wall looking for an excuse to fall.  If Gale hadn’t offered the use of this cabin I’d have had to find a lot less wholesome place than this before the snow flew.

Back to square one, thinks I.

Old Jules