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Friday, May 28, 2010

And the Peacocks Name Is....


How do I know this?

Well, once again I have gotten ahead of myself in telling the story.

So "lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!"
(anyone know where that very famous quote is from?)

We left our peacock saga with many cliff hangers:

1)ll the peacock ever leave the roof?

2)Will "Roo" ever recover from his fall from glory?

3)Will the peacock ever be claimed by its rightful owner?

4)Will Dixie Dawg ever make it out of the laundry room?

The answers:

1)Yes! The peacock left the roof and nested for the night in a nearby tree.

2)Roo is ego maniacal and has short term memory loss. He is fine.

3)See below *

4) You will be relieved to know that Dixie Dawg had resigned herself to her laundry room sentence, had made the best of it and was found reclining on a laundry pile of dirty jeans with all the airs of a diva at a spa. She was almost reluctant to be "sprung from laundry room jail" and laid there yawning for a few minutes before she nonchalantly resumed her post as chief enforcer of the premises.

So as to question #3...

*Once I had the immediate threat named Dixie Dawg contained in the laundry room, I drove a little distance down an adjoining dusty road that turns on to yet another dusty road. I was working off an old memory of driving down this road once and seeing a guinea hen on the side of the road. I thought that guineas sounded like a good place to start in my search for the origin of the peacock. I turned into a long lane of cedars to an opening with a home, a camper, a truck and two people standing beside a car in the driveway.

I said hello and asked if anyone here was missing a peacock. A question that I figured would either make me look certifiable OR helpful depending on whether I had found the right place or not.

Fortunately the relieved and happy look on the mans face was encouraging.

Here is our conversation as best I can recall it...

Me - Hi I found a peacock down on my farm over that way (pointing) I wonder if you know anything about it?

He - Pete! She found Pete! (looking rapturously at his friend)

Me - So his name is Pete huh? Ok. He is safe for now but he is very far from home and I have a LOT of dogs and I don't think he is safe at my place.

He - So where is your place?

Me- Giving descriptions and getting a blank look I realized I needed to resort to the time honored way of giving directions this far out in the country. I live down the Webster family road (what the road was called before it got a real name back in the 60s) I'm just after you pass the Campbell's place? (mentioning the founding farmers of our area)

He- (brightening and getting much friendlier) oh yeah, Pete Campbell married my cousin Mary.

Me- I know Mary, (feeling like I just discovered the open sesame code word) she gets cow manure from me.

With that little bit of rural southern "who's your daddy" etiquette behind us, he seemed to relax and so I mentioned "Pete" again...

So..."Pete" is up in a tree and like I said I have dogs that are not going to understand why he has showed up? (asked as a question)

He - (reaching casually over to the top of a rusty unused grill to retrieve his can of beer) This hear is my cousin Cyndi he said (pausing to take a swallow from the can while Cyndi nodded.) She checks in on me. I'm a widower.

Me - Oh I'm sorry (no earthly idea what one is supposed to say other than that at this point)

Cyndi checked her watch and declared that she had to be off to work. Night shift at the post office.

I drug the conversation, such as it was, back to "Pete".

Me- So what do you want to do about Pete? I'm really worried about him getting home safely.

He- You are a nice lady. ( while popping the top on a fresh beer) He then suggested maybe I could catch "Pete" and bring him home?

Me- Oh nooo.....I can barely catch my chickens. I am too afraid. Can you come get him?

He - No. I am too drunk tonight to do that. I'm getting ready to go to bed in a few minutes.

Me (wringing my hands mentally) but what about Pete? If he comes down out of that tree the dogs will get him!

He- Oh well. If they do they do.

Me- You wont feel that way tomorrow

He - Hes not hard to catch. Once you put the net over him his very easy to pick up, He's mostly feathers.

Me- The net? Well you see I don't have a "net".

He- (with a look of sodden incredulity) you don't have a fishin net?

Me - (feeling as though I am being outed for the yuppie that i am having only worked the land here for 20 years which makes me practically a newcomer) I um.. I don't fish I said lamely. Effectively canceling out all the good will I had engendered by living near the Campbell's. There was a bleary side glance to his cousin as this information was slowly processed by him and Milwaukee Light.

Feeling very benevolent he said "Well here, you can borrow my net" and with that he walked with the slow purposeful movement to a shed and took a net off of a hook. He walked toward my car for all intents and purposes seeming ready to shove a huge fishing net attached to a ten foot long aluminum pole into my open drivers door.

Cyndi and I intervened and I left holding the net by the pole outside my care while I drove 2 miles down long sandy roads back to my house looking like almost as big of an idiot as I felt.

When I got home, "Pete" had settled in the top of an oak and tucked his head under his wing and was done with us for the day.

With no peacock scent on the ground, Dixie was off to her own pursuits. I hung the net with its super long pole in a tree near "Pete's" night accommodation and called it a day.

The following morning "Pete" was no where to be found. There where nor tail feathers leaving a trail of carnage and the dogs acted as bored as usual.

Later that day I drove down the lane and returned the fishing net.

Pete was marching the yard of his owner doing quarter turns with his hens watching admiringly.

All's well that ends well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just when you think you have seen everything...

when you think that your day is almost over, twilight is falling and things are wrapping up.

That time of day when you are done with this particular day, whatever it is you did or didn't plan or get done.

The land is cooling off from the heat of the afternoon. Thoughts turn to dinner, a nice bath, a good book.

THAT is exactly where the danger lies my friends! This is called being in a RUT.

Albeit a nice comfortable rut (that we prefer to call a routine)!

Then something happens and you and your comfy routine, and your relaxed blasé "I know how the rest of this day is going to go" attitude get a total shock.

It hits hard and fast and bounces you right out of your rut. Causing you to shake your head and laugh and call to people nearby so they can come see and be amazed too.

Then if youre the kind of fool that never has their camera handy at such important times (ahem) you holler for everyone to freeze right where they are, while you run for your camera and of course there is no freeze frame on life, so no one listens and you make it back to the scene of jaw dropping amazement and take the best pictures you can at 8 o'clock at night and just hope you do the moment some kind of justice....

and then....

you post them on your blog!~
(but wait - I'm getting ahead of myself)

It was twilight and another gorgeous sunset was rapidly becoming a thing of the past. I was driving the beef cows toward their pen after an afternoon of grazing. I have found it works better for me and them if I do this slowly, letting them eat and browse, grabbing last delicious mouthfuls here and there as they walk in basically the "right" direction (north). Once we are within sight distance of the gate to their enclosure, they usually go right on in, anxious for a long deep drink of water from the trough.

We had meandered our/their way over the distance of about a mile. The cows staying bunched in a loose casual circle while they walked and grazed their way forward. We were within about 100 feet of their enclosure when the lead steer stopped to munch again, which was of course the signal for the entire bunch to do the same, which was (of course)the signal for me to stop about 15 feet away on the golf cart ( my version of a horse) and pick up my book for a 5 or 10 minute read. We are creatures of our routine and we like it that way.

About three sentences into my book I heard snorting, followed by moo-ing followed by cows breaking their informal loosely held circle and going in every direction the way a cue stick breaks a rack of balls in a game of pool.

My biggest fear was of course a rattlesnake but the steers didn't seem panicked, they seemed more flustered than anything and they were quickly regrouping in a tight bunch, all staring in the same direction.

As I looked in the direction they were staring, a peacock marching sedately, as though leading a parade! He marched past the bewildered cattle and down the lane. I saw a yellow blur (Dixie Dawg) out the corner of my eye, she was moving fast and coming at a right angle straght toward the peacock who only in that moment saw the dog.

There wasn't even time to ask the obvious questions was that really a peacock? how did it get here? where would it even come from? when the peacock saw the furious, fast moving yellow blur streaking to him and something in his 1and 1/2 inch skull said RUN and so he abandoned his grand march with his beautiful trailing feathers, in favor of the worlds most awkward attempt to hoist himself into the air. Which he managed to do exactly one tenth of a second before Pitt bull jaws tried to clamp on turquoise tail feathers only to get nothing but air.

The peacock landed on the roof of my house, turned around to stare down at the still furious barking dog on the ground below him and opened his mouth (beak) to make a noise as exotic as himself.

For one split second we all forgot we were in rural "no where-ville" and were transported to thoughts of a rain forest by the peacocks exotic tone as he looked down (both literally and figuratively) on the dog below.

Next he strolled down the south side of the roof to take a look at ground conditions there while one dog, one human and 15 cows all watched in silence

Apparently he was looking for a good spot to leave his perch on the roof and continue on his majestic journey. Not liking the odds where we all watched, mouths gaping, he turned in a magnificent sweep of tail feathers and began to walk the length of the roof to the other end.

On reaching to end of the roof...

"His Majesty" turned (this guy made more dramatic quarter turns than a soldier on parade)to look down down at the yard below. The scene was much more peaceful as I had managed to corral the dog inside the laundry room and the cows, attention diverted, had quit looking upward when one of them spied a weed growing in the yard that they all had to try and taste.

There was only one lone soul for the peacock to take the measure of below...

Thats right. Poor "Roo" was standing there innocently plucking at leaves, knowing internally as he does everyday, that he is "Cock o the walk" in his little kingdom, the fairest of them all.

and then...

a shadow falls over him. He looks up. The sound he made would defy description. It was a strangling noise and he tilted sideways looking up, like he couldnt believe what he was seeing! Then he high tailed it a safe distance away, flapped his wings and crowed in a slightly wobbly and high pitched "Im not threatened at all - no siree" kind of cry.

Poor guy...must have felt like being the hometown "hottie" that all the girls swoon over. Captain of the football team. Class president. All the "chicks" in town dig you.

and then one day,

Brad Pitt walks casually in the door. Reducing you in one moment into a lesser role.

So what happens next on "As the Farm Turns?

Will the peacock ever leave the roof?

Will "Roo" ever recover from his fall from glory?

Will the peacock ever be claimed by its rightful owner?

Will Dixie Dawg ever make it out of the laundry room?

stay tuned for more after these messages....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake!

Once again I had a "neighbor visit and drop off food!

Either I am incredibly fortunate and have really great neighbors


I am desperately ill and no one is telling me!

So here's the scoop;

This beautiful slice of cake showed up at my door...

Oh, and the neighbor is beautiful too - but this is ALL about the cake. Focus!

She said she was trying a new recipe.....she said it wasn't quite what she she took it "off the road" recipe wise (did I mention she is very brave that way?) and started adding and pretty soon she came up with this:

A honey butter cake she calls it....baked in thin layers till it has a slight crispness. Each layer separated by blackberry jam - barely sweet and tasting mostly of fruity blackberry goodness - homemade from her own blackberries no less. And finally iced with a sugary icing that smells of vanilla.

That would be real vanilla folks.

As in not artificial flavoring. No cardboard box. No thaw before serving instructions, no artificial food coloring....

just a real cake with real fruit, made be a real girl.

Desperate For Rain

Aprils long dry cool days have continued into May only minus the cool part!

With the hot dry wind and no real rain in over a month, the lush pasture for my grass fed beef steers is all gone.

What to do?

I cant just feed them grain. That undoes the whole premise of grass fed. I cant let them survive on just hay. They could survive but they wouldn't grow and that is the whole point.

The next best thing seems to be to allow them out to free range on the hay field.

The same hay field that was beautiful with flowers last year.

see here

After it got mowed down, it got plowed under and after lying dormant for the winter has burst out in all its spring glory as green as a golf course.

The problem (and trust me - there will be a problem sooner or later) is going to be

keeping the young steers out of the rye field to the East, which is about ready for harvest and off the road to the West and I don't even wanna think about what happens if they head South and get mixed in with the dairy cows!

Ok, one thing at a time. My trusty assistant goes and gets the poor hapless steers who have no concept of what they are supposed to do

They like the idea though!

And settle right down to business...salad and a martini for everyone! Hooray!

After about three minutes....

"Are they done yet? Its hot!"

"What do you mean hot? Its only 92!" I say enthusiastically.

She does NOT seem impressed...

Seems I remember something in her union contract about lemonade....

"Watch the cows...I am going for lemonade and cookies, ok?

She still is just not catching my enthusiasm...I'd better hurry...

Fast forward two minutesand I return to see...

she has left her mechanized "ride" and is on foot with a staff no less!

That's my little sheperdess!

p.s. yes, I realize there are no sheep here, but doesnt sheperdess just sound nice?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Morning Coming Down

Aren't neighbors wonderful?

NOT the annoying kind ...

but the ones that just drop by to say hello and just maybe perhaps bring a little gift?

I have that kind of neighbor.

She grows a beautiful garden full lettuces of all kinds and tomatoes and herbs and sunflowers. She also bakes wonderful earthy artisan breads with fresh wheat, sunflower seeds and whatever else strikes her fancy.

So today she dropped by and brought the basket above, complete with a little jar of salad dressing. Crusty delicious bread and a salad so fresh it came out of the garden this morning.

I really love my neighbor.

I think I might just stop in to see her one day this week. Bring along some fresh raw milk with cream on top, along with some eggs from the Diva chickens who run this joint!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Dont forget to take some time to have a little fun...

kick up your heels a bit...

enjoy life a little,

Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bovine Buffet

We've all seen it, right?

That kid that butts ahead in the school lunch line, or the adult at the movie theatre ticket line or for that matter any kind of situation that involves waiting patiently for a desired thing.

There's always that "one" that just cant seem to think that decorum or manners apply to them....

While they may irritate with their crassness, you do have to admire their ability to take being glared at by all the passive aggressive aggrieved ones around them. Some (like New Jersey evidently) look around to see if anyone else notices this outrageous behavior

This bovine butinski howerver does NOT approve of others doing what she is in fact doing and warns them to back off with a glare and loud huffing noises...

An inherent part of being "one of those who chose the best places" is a terrific ability to absolutely not care about those who would try to censor their behavoir through glances and stares.

You lookin at me?

"Take a picture lady, it'll last longer..."

See what I mean? Its all about the attitude~

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Conversation With Turkey Lurky...

Most of you who read here will remember her...

She got her name from her very unique and slightly retarded (in a most endearing way) cockeyed dippity do cockscomb on top of her head.
See what I mean?

It seemed to be belaboring the obvious to name her "Cocky Locky", how lacking in imagination would that be? So she is named after "Cocky Locky's" pal....
"Turkey Lurky"

Much better name - one that you didnt see coming.

A name she completely embraces and lives up to.

While other chickens peck and cluck. "Turkey Lurky" carries on a conversation.

She follows all the rules of good conversation making.

She gets on your level and makes good eye contact..

She waits for you to speak and then opens her mouth when its her "turn"

Tonight's topic of concern was about those low life neighbors of ours,
especially this one in particular...

Seems he has been growling when she and her her "peeps" (yes, I really did just say that...) try to check out his food bowl. Worse than the growling, which he has always done and which they have always ignored, he has now taken to laying down on top of his food bowl...something that they cannot ignore because he weighs 160 pounds and there are laws involving physics and size and so on that just completely are beyond "Turkey Lurkys" immediate control.

While I sympathized with her plight, I was forced to point out these same laws of physics prevent me from moving "Blue" from any spot he chooses to be in, so really she and I am in the same boat so to speak....This caused much shaking back and forth of her little head

along with her well thought out reply that speaking of being in boats, if I would quit gallivanting off to the beach and stay home and dole out the cracked corn in a more timely fashion, she wouldn't have to worry about eyeing the Purina.....

and with that...

"Game, set, match"

And the conversational winner is:

"Turkey Lurky!"