Category Archives: Free-ranging-chickens

The Great, Great Speckled Bird

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

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

A few years ago when I had a lot larger flock of chickens a pair of fox-critters killed over half of them in the space of two days.  The second day I heard another chicken-drama taking place, grabbed the nearest long-gun and ran out to investigate.

Confusion out there.  The hens were all huddled underneath cedars pointing at one another, hoping someone else would be selected by whatever had them scared.  But The Great Speckled Bird was out in the open, craning his neck, looking for the problem.  As I ran by, he joined me, then hopped out front.  He ran straight for a cedar tree about 30 yards from me.

A fox was under that cedar, saw the rooster approaching, probably saw me, as well, and turned to scurry away.  I quickly dispatched him a few yards into the escape.  At that point TGSB joined me as I examined the carcass, dancing, clucking excitedly.

I’d never heard of a rooster behaving hunting-dog, thought it was an anomaly.

But yesterday he strutted his stuff again, and he’s still got it.  Hens were acting about as before, one out in the open making a lot of fuss, though.  I looked out and saw TGSB running across the meadow for the henhouse.  I snagged the long-gun and headed out to find out what was happening.  Arrived about the same time as TGSB.

A glance inside the henhouse showed black feathers lying around inside.  Probably came from the Australorp raising the dickens initially.  But TGSB was clucking, rubbed my leg and I looked down.  He was dancing around the rear-end of a coon, hind legs and tail sticking out from under Battlestar Gallinica. 

I’m sure the coon didn’t realize any of it wasn’t hidden, and I’d never have seen it if TGSB hadn’t pointed it out.

Battlestar Gallinica, the US Space Program, and Fluid Reality

Having resolved the coon issue, I just paused, drew a deep breath and admired him for the ten-thousanth time.

Some of you have wondered why I keep an old, crippled, useless rooster around.  I’ll confess, TGSB is the reason I keep the hens around.

Old Jules

Old Sol: “They don’t know nuthin about chickens”

http://spaceweather.com/

“‘CH’ STANDS FOR … CHICKEN? A big dark hole in the sun’s atmosphere, a ‘coronal hole’, is turning toward Earth spewing solar wind. According to NASA’s official rubber chicken, it looks an awful lot like a bird.

“Coronal holes are places where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows the solar wind to escape. A chicken-shaped stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole will reach Earth on June 5th – 7th, possibly stirring geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”

Me:  “Morning big guy.  Having yourself a little snack up there, are you?  Something to start the morning off right?”

Old Sol:  “You people really piss me off sometimes.  This isn’t a chicken, doesn’t look anything like a chicken.  It’s a belch building up.  Feels more like a tumor the size of a grapefruit stuck in my gullet than some damned chicken.”

Me:  “Wasn’t me, amigo.  It’s those NASA guys.  They know about as much about chickens as they know about anything else going on with you.  More maybe, even though none of them could name the breed of chicken it most nearly resembles.”

Old Sol:  “Then why do they keep talking all this weak BS?  And what breed of chicken are we talking about?”

Me:  “Looks to me as though it might pass itself off as a Buff Crested Polish rooster if it had more tail-feathers.  But the reason they do it is the same reason we do pretty much everything else.  We human beings don’t feel good about ourselves if we don’t already know everything.  Species self-esteem thing, I reckons.”

Old Sol:  “Sometimes I’d rather just hang back, not even come out and have to face all you tiny damned crawlies.  Never can tell what you’re going to come up with next.”

Me:  “Yeah, right.  But keep in mind nobody down here has a Buff Crested Polish rooster tattooed on his face.  You getting your stuff together?  You’ve got a long day ahead.  Not long before we’ll be expecting great things from you, same as yesterday.”

Old Sol:  “Yeah.  Just give me a few minutes here.  Warm up the engine.  Do a few things on my backside where I’ve got some privacy.  I’ll be along.”

Old Jules

 

 

Real Smart Cookies, Hermits and Shadow Cats

I’m having a rough time gearing up to do any outside work and my brain’s too fuzzy to try sorting out the maze of computations and comparisons on the offline comp.  I’ll be able to clear my conscience in a little while by waving the bloody flag at some other shadows, but for the moment I’m at loose ends.

A couple of days ago I was sitting in the swing bench hanging out of a dead tree when I heard a vehicle approaching down the hill.  Almost never happens, this is maybe the second time in several years, except Gale, who honks at the top of the hill as he approaches.  Simple country courtesy to a guy who’s made no secret of the fact he often runs around buckassed naked except for a pair of shoes during hot weather.

Me, since summer’s not hardened into anything desparate yet, sitting on that swing in a pair of jockey short skivvies and tennis shoes.  Naturally the sound of an approaching vehicle made me want to dress up a bit for who the hell ever it might be.

If this were December, no problem.  I’d have been spiffy as hell, ready with a joyful tapdance.  Or if they came by air later in the summer, maybe an orange jump suit.

So, I ran indoors, threw on my cleanest pair of work-dirty britches, hoisted up my galluses and re-emerged on the porch in time to see the new neighbor pull up in front of the cabin.  Likely just bored and felt like talking to someone a while.  He’s not used to living in a place where people don’t necessarily seek out company with any frequency, don’t yearn to fill the gaps of self-conversation with answers to the question, “What is this thing?” referring to a maze of wires, coils, magnets connected to a solar collector, a parabolic dish and radioesque antenna stretched across the meadow.

And not knowing what to make of the answer, “I ain’t saying!”

But we sat a couple of hours, anyway, pleasant hours, talking about this and that.  Heavy equipment.  Land.  Animals.  How many different big machines he’s got up there and how well they do the jobs.  How it was in Korea when he was there in 1959 compared to how it was when I was there in 1963.

During which time his dog slinked in, hair standing on end, bristling.  The dog got loose up at his place and  followed him down here, turned out.  He got up, scolded it gently and put it in the cab of the truck.  I didn’t learn until later during the head count when I put the chickens in the fortress that one was missing.  The Communist Americauna hen.

He’d come down here once before, you might recall, immediately after he bought the place, and we talked briefly.

Fact is, he and I are both so hard of hearing it’s fairly obvious each of us is mostly only hearing our own half of the conversation.  Which is probably why he came to visit, I reckons.  More personable than talking to a television set or radio.

Old Jules

Cunning, Intelligence and Free Ranging Chickens

I don’t think this applies to caged chickens, but my experience with caged birds is limited.  All I can actually tell you is that free ranging chickens are some of the most cunning, cagy, calculating, communist creatures on the planet.

A free ranging hen can calculate to the second how long it takes my eyes to narrow, my jaw to clamp, pause listening, and spring out of my chair when I’m trying to do something on the comp and I hear a chicken on the porch.

A free ranging hen can judge almost to the inch how far and hard a person can throw a rock with any accuracy.  A free ranging hen can predict almost exactly how far and how fast a 70 year old man can run swinging a stick before he gives out.

A free ranging hen is able to predict within a few seconds how long and how loud it can cackle and raise hell just outside the window before it needs to start dodging rocks or running into the bushes.

A free ranging chicken recognizes a slingshot and knows the difference between a slingshot stretched as an empty threat, and a slingshot with just about a bellyfull of chicken games.

A free ranging chicken usually won’t eat ants unless it thinks a person would rather it didn’t, in which case it will.  The whole flock will stand on a red ant bed pecking, so long as the ants aren’t carrying off their feed to the ant bed.

A free ranging chicken will ignore hard cat food scattered around on the ground away from the porch, but it will sneak around trying to find some on the porch everytime it thinks a person’s in the middle of something needs concentration.

I subscribe to the philosophy the reason the chicken crossed the road was for practice.  Training dodging cars.  And motivated by some human being not wanting it to cross the road.  Try to get a chicken to cross the road and it’s going to stay home cackling under the window or crapping on the porch.

Old Jules

Dancing With Roosters

Good morning readers.  I’m obliged you made a swing by here.  I’m going to do my best to give you something to have read by the time you leave if the Coincidence Coordinators and the commie phone line will sit still for it.

I’ve about decided I’m going to have peace and harmony around here, and I don’t care who I have to kill to do it.  The roosters are driving me nuts with their sneaky non-harmonizing ways.

The Great Speckled Bird surprised me by surviving the winter, feeling better most ways than he has in a longish time.  But more crippled up than ever.  Not much use of the one leg anymore, one wing weak or useless.  So when he falls, the usual ritual is to lie on his back waving his legs around.  Struggling for a shift in reality to get into a position where the one foot can get a hold on something.

But even so, he’s out there ranging with the hens, doing what roosters are supposed to do as often as he can see his way clear to do it and he can find a willing hen.

But meanwhile I keep my bachelor roosters penned most of the day.  Mainly because they’re of a mind that if I’m not looking it’s okay to open up a can of whoopass on TGSB.  They can knock him down and peck the bejesus out of him in less time than it takes to tell it.

But I’ve digressed.  I was going to tell you about dancing with roosters, which is the only way a person can establish harmonious society with them.  A rooster isn’t long on understanding the ways of a human being, but he does understand who’s the cock of the walk.  And if he doesn’t understand, or he forgets, he’s forever trying to reassure himself about whether he’s boss, or someone else is.

A rooster has two main dances.  One he does for the hens, which I’ll describe some other time, though it’s important to know how to do it so’s to keep him and the hens on their toes.  But the one used to communicate “I’m a contender,” and “You want some of this?  Come get it!” is an absolute necessity.

The last couple of days when the bachelor roosters and TGSB were out concurrently I’ve had to do a lot of dancing around stiff-legged, acting like I was pecking the ground watching them out of the corner of my eye and flapping my arms threateningly.  Reminding them if they want to mess with TGSB they’ve got to go through the bull-goose-looney to get there.

I think where I slipped up was when the warm weather started I quit wearing my red stocking cap they considered a comb, and forgot I’m a rooster too.  Got thinking they could each be a contender.

Old Jules

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

The Liar: The Great Speckled Bird, Part 2

News from the Middle of Nowhere

October Quietude, Dead Bugs and Old Roosters

Guard Cats – In the Interest of Harmony

In the pic they’re patrolling in Placitas, New Mexico.  But it’s the same here.

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

There’s a rich-people kind of house up the hill, a quarter-mile south of me.  It sits on 90-odd acres of land, has a barn worthy of the name, and it’s been sitting vacant during all the years I’ve been here.  Vacant, but for sale.

But a couple of weeks ago a couple of strangers pulled up in front of the cabin on a four-wheeler with side-by-side seats.  It’s the first time I’ve ever had an unexpected visitor here except Gale or Gale and Kay.  Naturally I scrambled out to find out what they wanted.

Turned out he’d just bought the place and wanted to introduce himself to his nearest neighbor.  That done, he left saying they’d be moving in soon.  Friendly exchange.

Then yesterday I went up to Gale’s and he was there.  They’d just done their moving into their new home.  He and Gale were discussing things and I sat down for a quick cup of coffee before going on about my business.

I’m hoping you won’t shoot my dog.”

Is it a chicken killer?”  Thinking whatever danger there was to his dog probably came in the form of dead chickens.

“It’s never been around chickens.  It’s a mutt, a rescued dog, part lab, part herder, part pit-bull.  What killing it’s done was cats.  I had a lot of feral cats on the last place I lived.”  He paused.  “I know you have cats down there.”

That gave me pause for thought.  While I was thinking, he added, “If you see him, he’s gun shy.  Just fire into the air and he’ll run away.”

I’m a man who has a huge respect for how badly neighbor problems can intrude and make life a hell for both neighbors.  But I’m also aware that animals can cause neighbor problems lightning-fast.  Quicker than almost anything else.  For instance, there’s almost nothing that will piss a man off worse than killing his dog, no matter what the dog was doing at the time of demise.

“Tell you what.  I’ll make sure my cats don’t come up here killing your dog if you’ll make sure your dog doesn’t come down here killing my cats.”  Seemed a fair enough proposition to me.  I pretty much figure if my cats go up there attacking his dog, anything on his place, he’s welcome to shoot them, but it would be more fitting if he came down here and put a bullet between my eyes.

He expressed a concern that his dog might mistake me for a cat, saying that since I’m around them I’d have their scent on me, but I assured him that wasn’t a concern.  I’ve never met a dog I couldn’t stand off.  And I shouldn’t have any reason to be around this one.  During my years here I’ve only set foot on that place a couple of times.  Once because of cows, and once challenging some people who were up there loading things into a truck.  I just politely asked if they had permission, and noted the license number of the vehicle.

The man’s 74 years old, seems a nice guy.  Ex-pilot.  And if we need to talk we  probably will enjoy most things we might discuss.

I surely hope my cats don’t go up there attacking his dog, though, because I’d expect him to shoot them. 

Old Jules

 

Shinola, etc.

I’ve been coming across the word disambiguation somewhat frequently on the web lately. It always brings a smile when I see it, gives me a momentary ambition to disambiguate something.

But the problem is that I don’t know anything much.  Even inside the 21st Century where uninformed opinion is respectable, almost universal, and carries the certainty and power of positive speaking, I just don’t know anything much.

Besides, the dialup connection, or WordPress is being a pure D Communist this morning.  It’s taking me forever to even load the site.  I’m rolling on the floor with joy everytime it tells me it can’t find the webpage.

So instead of disambiguating you readers on some uninformed opinion I have, I think I’ll give you a quick and dirty on something I know something about because I’ve discovered it around here and watched it happen.

I’ve told you about the Great Speckled Bird and how he’s in decline because of something he did in his youth to cripple him up something awful.  One side of him just doesn’t work the way it ought to, and it causes him a lot of pain and distress.  I’ve expected him almost every morning to be dead when I go out to turn them out for free ranging.

But  I’ve been making up orange-peel tincture and treating him with it for a longish while, and it always makes him feel better after I’ve done it.  Sometimes when he’s in particular pain he actually volunteers, gimps over and sits around near where I am, hinting.

I don’t have arthritis troubling me, but if I did, the Great Speckled Bird testifies it’s the way to the truth and the light, orange peel tincture.  He says it’s the difference between Chit and Shinola.

Costs almost nothing to make, too.  Just put your orange or grapefruit peels into a jar of vinegar instead of throwing them away.  In a while you’ll have a tincture.

Chit and Shinola disambiguated.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  State of Democracy?