Just LeDoux It . . .

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Good ride . . . .

A bronze statue of Chris LeDoux is dedicated to his memory and can be found in a small park in Kaycee, Wyoming.  This weekend, June 17, is the annual rodeo put on in his name by family and community members to celebrate Chris and the western tradition of rodeo.  While going through old photo files, I came across the shots I took at the 2013 rodeo and decided to have another look.

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Who’s up? . . . .

A cowboy prepares to mount his bronc for an 8-minute ride or a toss into the arena dirt.  What can be more fun?  What a lineup of pure cowboy pulchritude!

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Airborne . . . .

Even protective gear of a neck brace and padded vest won’t keep this guy from a few aches and pains next morning, if he is lucky.

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Just like settin’ in a rocking chair . . . .

If he lasts until the whistle blows, a couple of cowboys will help this rider off his horse. The horse is trying to help him along a little quicker.

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Trouble coming . . . .

Looks like a face plant coming.  Going to be a wreck.

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Please, oh lord . . . . .

The view from up here is a little turbulent.  Can’t tell head from tail!

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Man and beast . . . .

A little poetry in motion – looks like just about anybody could do it, right?  I don’t think so.

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Never too young to get in on the fun . . . .

Rodeos are family fun and all ages get to compete.  This young lady is getting a little assistance around the barrels but next year she’ll be handling this horse on her own.

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Cowboy down, holding our breath . . . .

These tough cowboys generally pop right up, swat the dust off with their hat and swagger to the fence.  They can usually count on a round of applause from the crowd for giving it a go, but not much else.

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Bareback . . . .

The Indian relay races are a testament to their skill in mounting and riding their ponies without a saddle.

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Fast and furious . . . .

The race around the arena moves at a swift pace and demonstrates the athletic ability of the men and their horses.

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Spectators . . . .

The old time music uptown before the rodeo is a local favorite.

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Charlie on mandolin . . . .

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Strut your stuff, cowboy . . . .

Looks like the street dance is getting off to an early start with a solo performance!

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Looks like it was a draw between cowboys and horses . . . .

The Chris LeDoux Rodeo for 2017 will be another great contest between the cowboys, cowgirls and critters.  Powder River, Let ‘er Buck!

 

R.I.P., Rosie

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“I’ll just have a little nap” . . . .

A little dog came into my life one winter day, and soon came to be my best friend, protector, and daily shadow.  She was fearsome, and stood her ground when a vet-tech brought her into my home in Laramie.  She was wet from a bath and it was February.  I remember going for a towel to dry her and gave her a good rub to reduce her shivering. A friend’s big dog (about 10 times her size as a 4-month-old puppy) tried to offer a friendly sniff and she bristled and barked, approaching the much larger dog in an aggressive stance that said, “don’t mess with me!”  I had no need of a dog and tried to convince the kindly vet-tech that, although this little dog desperately needed a home, I was much too busy to get involved with owning a dog.

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“I know this is TuTu’s throne, but I can fit!” . . . .

Sooooo, ten years later I am left with trying to figure out how to fill the hole left in my life by the loss of this little dog, who I named Rosie (my mother’s nickname) and came to love dearly.  She died after a four-day struggle with what we can only surmise was due to ingesting something poisonous or toxic.  We are still puzzling over what it could be–a dead animal carcass?  The vet said that can cause botulism but Rosie’s symptoms would have been more severe immediately.  Rat poison?  Again, the vet said they ran a test that ruled out that as a cause.  Fertilizer?  We have none on the premises, having used all we purchased last fall on the lawn.  Our garden fertilizer is kept in a secure place.  A dispenser with Round-up was sitting on the porch where I left it recently, but would have required Rosie to open the handle, depress the pump and drink out of the hose.  Not likely she would have been attracted to the taste or smell even if she could have managed to drink it.

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“A little sun is nice” . . . .

We were on the way home from a trip to Colorado when we got a call from Joyce, our caregiver.  She was alarmed that Rosie was nowhere to be found as she was doing evening chores.  A little dog who for 10 years has always been at the gate or nearby, waiting for the people who matter to her to return, had disappeared.  When we arrived home it was growing dark but we began the search with flashlights.  We called her name, whistled and poked into all the sheds and likely places for her, to no avail.  By 10:00 p.m. we gave up and went to bed.  I did not sleep but tried to imagine why Rosie would have vanished.  And shed a lot of tears.

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“They could make these cat beds a little bigger!”

We put a photo of her in the post office and hoped if she had decided to leave home to find us, someone would have seen her along the highway.  We knew something was really wrong with her, because there were dark ominous stains on her sleeping pad out on the porch and her nighttime perch on our sofa was stained.  Rosie must have been mortified, because she has never in her entire life left a mess in the house. Later that morning Michael was coming from dropping off a salt block at the pond, and saw a white blob near a neighbor’s cattle guard.  He drove closer and found Rosie, still alive but barely.  When I saw him walking up the road toward our house with her in his arms I thought she was dead.  When I called to her,  she lifted her head.  We wrapped her in a blanket and raced to the vet clinic in Kaycee with her, knowing there wasn’t much time.

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The straw boss . . . .

Rosie never left our side.  Our daily travels are as varied and taxing as can be imagined but Rosie was not to be left behind.  She would snarl at Ricky, our goose if he became too aggressive when I penned them at night; she flew at Cromwell, our rooster when he decided to get too frisky as I was placing feed in his pan; she nipped at Michael and the entire universe of visitors if they came too close to me, which could be exasperating.  We tried a variety of things to reduce her insistence on protecting me, fearing she would eventually bite someone and we’d be in real trouble.  Nothing would deter her.  Michael fed her daily, warming her food and trying to win her over.  After nearly eight years, it didn’t make any difference.  She loved him too, but not enough to alter her fierce protection of me.

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“Bleu is bugging me!” . . . .

Competition for attention was foremost in Rosie’s mind.  If our cats Bleu, Oscar, TuTu or Mr. Mouse came around for a rub or a scratch, Rosie could not tolerate it.  Consequently, the cats migrated to Michael’s lap, leaving me off limits and bereft if Rosie was around. When I worked with Tilly, our horse, Rosie was vigilant and would try to sneak in a nip at her tail, which would get her a scolding and banishment from the barn.  She would wait patiently in a shady spot nearby, watching and waiting for me to finish.  To understand her psychosis, one must merely know that she is half Border Collie and half Australian Shepherd.  She looks more Aussie, but her obsessive compulsive personality is pure Border Collie.  She loves to herd the guineas and chickens and while her methods are not always successful, her failures can largely be attributed to her mistress who has done a lousy job of training her!

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“More critters to herd!” . . . .

X-rays determined Rosie had no broken bones or bruising, nor obstructions from a bone in her digestive tract.  She had suffered from severe diarrhea which had evolved into a yellow fluid leaking from her behind which she seemed unable to control. She was severely dehydrated.  She could stand for a short period, but could not walk. Diagnosis was inconclusive.   We were referred to a clinic in Sheridan, 84 miles north.  As we neared town, Rosie seemed to rally a bit.  She moved around on her pad into a new position and when I looked back at her, she was trying to sit up, panting and grinning like she always does when she gets to go with us for a ride.  High on her list of favorite things to do was go for a ride and her only regular opportunity was a monthly trip to the landfill in Brownie, our old trash truck.  Now here she was, getting a real long ride!

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Coming up Rosie . . . .

We answered a battery of questions regarding Rosie’s environment as they prepared to do more X-rays, ultrasound and get her on fluids and antibiotics. We left her believing she would perk up and overcome whatever illness she was suffering from.  A lengthy message from the vet when we returned home confirmed all the ongoing tests and efforts being made in her behalf throughout the day since we had departed. We were to pick her up in two days since we had dental appointments in Sheridan and we were confident that she would recover. The next morning we had another message from the vet with a lengthy update and a request that we call her.  The update was not encouraging and I began to fall apart again. After a thorough discussion with the vet, we concluded we should return to Sheridan right away and bring Rosie home.  We would care for her over the weekend and have her euthanized at home.

The only diagnosis the vet could come up with was a wild card and quite rare–dysautonomia–a condition currently under study at the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab.  Some, but not all of Rosie’s symptoms seemed similar.  It typically appears in dogs age three or younger; living in rural areas; spend half time outdoors; and it is prevalent in Kansas, Missouri, and some reports in Oklahoma.  The vet had arrived at no conclusions on this diagnosis. She was not optimistic they could do more for her, however.  Rosie’s vital signs were all pointing in the wrong direction.  She offered to euthanize but we declined, deciding to bring Rosie home and say our goodbyes.  We picked up some supplies for her care and when we arrived at the Sheridan clinic, we were ushered into the waiting room while they prepped Rosie to go home.  After what seemed an interminable amount of time, the vet came to us with the bad news that Rosie had just died, probably just a few moments before we arrived.  Her IV pump had stopped and they did not notice right away.  We were devastated.  I only wanted to hold her once more and tell her how much I loved her.  I was too late.

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A quiet place in the orchard . . . .

We buried her wrapped in a shroud in a white cardboard coffin furnished by the vet, with a few mementos tucked inside.  The fruit trees and flowering shrubs are just beginning to bloom, and the Maine bell hanging above her chimes softly in the breeze.  I will plant a climbing rose bush in the hope it will cling to the rustic metal stock panel we erected in the orchard as yard art.  It will be a place we visit often.

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R.I.P., Rosie . . . .

Wyoming Seafaring Days

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A ship for Wyoming . . . .

Maine is a long journey from Wyoming.  One does not expect to visit there and find much to remind you of home.  Imagine our surprise when we came upon this model of a schooner named Wyoming at the Maine Maritime Museum.  She was launched December 15, 1909 from the Percy & Small shipyard in Bath and was built for the coastal coal trade.  She could carry 6,000 long tons of coal with a crew of 12-14 and was the largest wooden sailing vessel built in the United States at the time of her launch. The scale of the model is 1/8 inch = 1 foot.

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Maine was the ship-building capital of the United States . . . .

The above poster details  the mast design and lists some interesting facts: 1) launched after 8 1/2 months of construction; 2) contains 700 tons of white oak used in building her frame; 3) 2,300 tons of longleaf yellow pine used in planking, ceiling, clamps, waterways, keelsons, stanchions and deck beams; 4)  300 tons of iron and steel used in fittings, fastenings, and strapping; 5) lower masts were 123-foot sticks, 30 to 32 inches in diameter, of Douglas fir (Oregon pine); 6) 12,000 yards of heavy cotton canvas were used to make her sails; and 7) Wyoming was the largest wooden sailing vessel built in the United States, and the last 6-mast schooner built.

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Reconstructed Deck and Inboard Profile Plan . . . .

The Wyoming dimensions were 329.5 feet in length; 50.1 feet breadth, and 30.4 feet depth of hold.  Height, from bottom of keel to top of topmast, 177 feet.  Original cost was $164,800 and she set sail on her first voyage December 21, 1909.  From 1909 to 1916, the schooner made 83 trips north with coal–30 to Portland, 53 to Boston, averaging 32 days per round trip, including loading and unloading.  In 1916 Percy & Small sold Wyoming to the France & Canada Steamship Co. for a reputed $350,000, nearly twice her construction cost (because World War I was going on).  Wyoming made at least one trip to Europe during the war.  In 1921 the schooner was purchased by A. W. Frost & Co. of Portland, ME.

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Launching Day: Wyoming . . . .

Under the vessel and on top of the groundways greased with tallow and cottonseed, carpenters installed “sliding ways” of timber. The cradle and hull of the ship were packed and fitted snugly into the sliding ways and the schooner now sat on a big sled perched on inclined greased tracks.  The Wyoming  would be gradually eased down the ways into the Kennebec River, which was no easy feat and required precision and coordination of a large crew of men.

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Wyoming’s Lena Brooks . . . .

Lena Brooks, ” . . . dressed in a very stylish green rajah suit . . . ” pronounced the traditional blessing.  “I christen thee WYOMING,” and scattered a bouquet of flowers and ferns over the bow.  And who was Lena Brooks?  She was the third daughter of Governor and Mrs. Bryant B. Brooks of Wyoming and was attending Dana Hall, an eastern finishing school at the time.  She was granted the privilege of christening the Wyoming  because her father was governor of Wyoming from 1905 to 1911.  Governor Brooks wrote in his autobiography how ” . . . Wyoming and Maine joined hands in sending overboard the finest craft of her class that the world had yet seen. . . .”  The Percy and Small ship-building company had been very successful in developing interest and Western capital for Eastern shipping!

Governor Brooks and a group of investors acquired interest in some of the older vessels of this same company and then signed a contract for the building of the Governor Brooks, in 1907.  It was a successful venture and his initial investment was paid back in full in dividends by July 11, 1916.  Governor Brooks wrote that ” . . . during the world war our company sold the entire fleet of sixteen vessels, of which I had an interest only in four or five, to some government for colliers.  On September 12, 1917 I received payment for my interest in the schooner, Governor Brooks, sold through the Percy and Small Company, Inc. , ship brokers of 52 Front Street, Bath, Maine. . . .”

The Wyoming, which had been launched in 1909, also paid good dividends and was disposed of with the fleet in 1917, returning Governor Brook’s capital investment.  He wrote that “seven years later, the Wyoming went down off Chatham, Massachusetts, in a terrible storm.  That very night my wife and I were on the stormy seas between Halifax and New York harbor returning from a trip to Europe.  The next morning we were greeted in New York by glaring headlines across the papers, about the tragedy of the Wyoming.”  The entire crew was lost March 11-12, 1924 near Pollock Rip between Cape Cod and Nantucket Island.

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The essence of the Wyoming . . . .

Perched on the grounds of the Percy and Small Shipbuilding Company, which is now part of the Maine Maritime Museum, sits this life-size sculpture of the Wyoming.  It was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of the Wyoming’s launch in 1909.

Governor Brooks, in his autobiography, wrote that ” . . . .Captain Charles Glaesel of Boston, who commanded the vessel, had a crew of twelve, and was bound from Norfolk to St. John, New Brunswick, with five thousand tons of coal.  No survivor was ever found to tell the story of her disaster. . . .”

Tilly Goes To School

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“So, what’s up?” . . . .

The Ides of March

Monday, March 13, 2017 was a noteworthy day.  Call it bad luck, bad Karma, bad timing or just plain bad news.  The minute the stock trailer rolled into the barnyard, Tilly started having fits.  She knew it wasn’t her trailer and I guess she smelled a rat.

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Nothing to get excited about, Tilly . . . .

The following photographs of Tilly capture her typical fit.  The actual events of March 13 could not be photographed because all hands were on the end of a rope.  This is how things went.

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“I’m going to act up a bit here” . . . .

At four years old, Tilly is ready for the next step in her development–saddle training by a pro who can get her attention.  She has been a fine filly since we got her at six months as a weanling, giving us fits at times but basically being cooperative and showing real signs of intelligence.  I had her in a daily routine of desensitizing tactics, lunge exercises, and a pretty thorough grooming ritual.

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“I hope they’re watching me” . . . .

We had previously worked with Tilly tying her to a patience pole, saddling her with a bareback pad and then a real saddle.  She was reasonably calm.  She crow-hopped a couple of times with the saddle, but settled down to her lunge routine.  Being very head strong and sensitive about her mouth, she gave us resistance to a snaffle bit.  We succeeded in getting it on her but not without a fight.  I attribute some of this resistance to several nasty procedures she has undergone to clear up infection in her throat and gutteral pouches, as well as treating an eye for a corneal tear from a weed stem that poked through her face mask.  Ah, horses can be a wonder!

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“I’m really getting wound up” . . . .

But I digress.  Back to March 13th, an unlucky day if you see it from Tilly’s perspective. Not only did she start to act up in the corral, she carried on her tantrum and resisted getting into the stock trailer.  Ord and Michael had to push her from behind with a large cotton rope (this was not our first rodeo) while I hung onto her lead rope and tried to steer her into the trailer.  Finally she knew she had to do it and jumped in.  I fastened her lead to the ring at the end of the trailer and closed the inner gate on her.  We loaded several bales of hay, closed the end gate and she was ready to ride, wide-eyed with fear.

Memories

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“I think I’ll have a bite of this straw” . . . .

I miss her terribly and spend time looking at all the photographs we have captured of her since she was a weanling.  This is one of my favorites which I used on our Christmas card.  She is wearing a personalized halter which was a gift from Kristin and Chris.

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“Can’t scare me!” . . . .

We borrowed a youth saddle to place on her first, since it would not be so heavy and cause her much alarm.  Her expression says it all.

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“I’ll get rid of this thing” . . . .

She is trying to dislocate her snaffle bit, which she found quite annoying.  Boy is she in for some surprises!

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“I’m just a little girl” . . . .

My first sight of Tilly, after waiting eleven months for her birth on Mother’s Day, 2012.   We engaged a mare that belonged to my niece Sue, selected a sire after a few months of research and we were on our way.

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Tia and her baby . . . .

Tilly’s sire is a handsome black and white tobiano paint, Sugs Tru Luck, and we hoped she would have his coloration.  When breeding for color, anything goes.  Tilly’s dam is a registered paint breeding mare, although she is predominantly sorrel.  Tilly seems to have taken on the colors of JB Classic, her grandfather who was a sorrel overo.  Tilly is registered as a bay tobiano/overo.  She has blue eyes.

Meanwhile, back at the barn

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Tilly’s new yoga mat . . . .

In Tilly’s absence we laid a wooden plank floor in her stall and covered it with heavy rubber stall mats.  The ancient barn where she lives had a dirt floor and she had dug a hole in her favorite corner that went down to hard-pan clay and was a mess to clean up.

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Oscar does a test drive . . . .

The mats will cushion Tilly’s legs and feet while she is indoors.  They are also easy to sweep clean and remove the wood chips that go down each day for her bedding.  We did some additional strengthening of the walls, patched a leak in the roof, and we are ready for Tilly when she comes home.  In the meantime, I have to wait for Ord to call me and tell me 1) he needs more hay; 2) she is ready for visitors; or 3) she is ready to come home. He made it perfectly clear HE WOULD CALL ME.  I got the message.

Chicken House Rules

My little flock of 21 laying hens (plus one rooster and a few guineas thrown in) are great fun.  Certain individuals become dear friends and have conversations with me when I visit the hen house in the morning and evening to fill their feeding stations and gather eggs. We recently watched my favorite film “Cider House Rules” yet again, and it set me to thinking about some Chicken House Rules for my girls.

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“Cards, anyone?” . . . .

On this particular day, the girls are hopeful to go outdoors.  They have been shut in for 24-hours due to a nasty spring snowstorm that dumped 6-8 inches of new snow.  I believe we can relate to how they feel!  A mix of Barred Rock, Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, Silver Lace Wyandotte, White Tufted Black Polish and Australorp round out a colorful display with personalities to match.  They give us eggs of all colors and so delicious to eat!

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“Carrot peelings for lunch again?!” . . . .

Goldie, an Ameraucana, is typical of her breed. Shy and aloof, these girls like to roost on the highest outpost–in this case on top of the screen door that hangs ajar inside their ancient chicken house. It allows just enough space to perch for the night and typically there are three of them teetering on top of the door.  I don’t know how they decide who gets to perch there – they must draw straws! A little bit wild, these girls can fly over the fence into the yard and do so regularly, which is discouraged. They have figured out there is a good snack in the garden shed where Oscar and TuTu reside and if I don’t lock the door, they clean up the bowl of dry kibble.  Ameraucanas lay the most beautiful green and blue eggs and are very hardy.  Some of the girls are getting old by chicken standards, but they keep on keepin’ on.

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“What’s this about Rules?” . . . .

Luvena and her Barred Rock sister Vonna are two favorites.  Inquisitive, gentle and always under foot, they like to carry on a conversation when you are close by.  Luvena in particular is very gregarious and even as a chick, she would come to the door and peer up at me with great curiosity while the other chicks would huddle in the corner, afraid to come forward. You can be sure she will be giving me a piece of her mind about the Rules.

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“Have you seen the Chicken House Rules?” . . . .

  1.  Please don’t dribble in the food bowl if you have been drinking.
  2. Please don’t smoke on the roost or use candles.
  3. Please don’t go up on the roof if you’ve been drinking–especially at night!
  4. Please don’t take bottles with you up on the roof.
  5. Please don’t go outside to sleep if you are very hot or have been drinking.
  6. Please give your food order to the chicken house keeper before 7:00 a.m.
  7. There should be no more than half dozen chickens on the roof at one time.
  8. Please don’t sit in the nest too long–other chickens need to use them!
  9. Please do not break any eggs in the nest.
  10. Please do not leave messes in the nest – Cleanliness is next to Godliness!
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Chicken Fruit . . . .

The Rules are posted where everyone can see them, and the girls for the most part are trying to observe them.  They know they will be rewarded with good groceries and lots of love.  What more can a chicken ask?  Nevertheless, I believe some of the commentary from the free-thinkers is rising to a Greek chorus.  “What do they think we are,  just dumb chickens?”  “Who decided we need rules?”  “We do the work around here, laying eggs right and left!””What about us?” “Are we just a basket of deplorables?””The sky is falling!”

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“Now where do I wish to sit?” . . . .

The girls are assembling on the roosts for the night and will rise at dawn to begin a new day. Perhaps tomorrow we will have a Town Hall and discuss the Rules.   Hopefully they will settle down before feathers begin to fly and the clucking chorus drowns out the voice of reason.

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Chicken tanning salon . . . .

Heat lamps have come on and the girls cozy up to catch the warmth.  And now, we close the day with “GOOD NIGHT ALL YOU PRINCESSES OF DRY CREEK, YOU QUEENS OF WYOMING!”

Heart Mountain

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Broken hearts . . . .

Heart Mountain rises in the background of this photograph taken at the memorial site of what was a Japanese internment camp near Powell, Wyoming.  An estimated 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese American citizens were incarcerated behind barbed wire fences here and at several other locations in the west after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On February 19, 1942 Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt swept aside due process of Japanese Americans to protect against “espionage” and “sabotage.”

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Guard tower . . . .

Overnight, life changed for about 14,000 internees who were loaded on trains and shipped to Heart Mountain.  This guard tower is a silent reminder that these were prisoners of war, unable to go about life in any normal sense.  They were able to carry few possessions and were mostly from coastal cities and poorly prepared for Wyoming winters.

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Home sweet home . . . .

Most of the dormitory-style buildings were removed over the years but this is one of the originals still standing.

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To remind us . . . .

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Wall of fame . . . .

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Still Americans . . . .

Most of the residents at Heart Mountain were women, young children and the elderly.  As this plaque points out, able bodied men went to fight for America in WWII.

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Farming for food . . . .

The camp residents were industrious and farmed these fields to raise vegetables to feed their families.  The low sheds in the background were for storage.

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As far as I can see . . . .

This lone building might have been a school house, as education was an important part of the daily life in the camps.

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Visitors’ Center . . . .

A tour of the visitors’ center is a must.  A short film tells the story of the camp and murals and graphic displays line the walls.  Many photographs have been preserved and while the residents of Heart Mountain suffered many indignities, they made the best of their circumstances.  They appear to be in good health and the resolve to overcome their situation is clear in the faces on display.

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Artifact from the fields . . . .

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to compensate every survivor with a tax-free check for $20,000 and a formal apology from the U.S. Government. Many  internees lost their farms, homes and businesses and were forced to start life anew after the end of the war. They suffered hostility and discrimination in finding jobs and a new place to live.

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Coming back to life . . . .

These barracks were still in use nearby and relocated to the Heart Mountain camp. At the time of this photograph some stabilization had begun and renovation would follow in time for the 75th anniversary celebration in 2017.  It is good to be reminded.

Year of The Rooster

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Man about town . . . .

The Chinese New Year has just begun and it seemed appropriate to crow a little bit about it.  First, it is my Chinese zodiac sign and 2017 has been declared the Year of The Rooster! Having established that, I will move on to the roosters in my life.  The fine specimen above is “Fonzie,” a white-crested Polish who approached his manhood last summer in a stop and start frenzy of crowing, strutting and running after the hens like a kabuki dancer.  His amorous forays in the chicken yard created hysteria among the hens and two roosters were not in the chicken yard plan.  It was only a matter of time until Cromwell, Rooster Number One escaped his pen and dispatched Fonzie into the great unknown.  Imagining the spectacle of that, I suggested we take Fonzie to the vet to be gently euthanized.  I received a derisive snort from the better half and he promised he would be “gentle” when he euthanized our errant rooster.  I don’t want to think about it.  Moving along.

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Center stage, Cromwell the Great . . . .

Cromwell’s arrival was a surprise also.  But he was so magnificent a specimen (we are not sure if he is a Leghorn, Orpington or fowl play) that it seemed only natural to allow him to establish his kingdom–for awhile.  He made a great contribution to the flock when he and Betty White hatched a nest of babies.

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Rite of spring . . . .

From this lovely batch of chicks it was determined we had two roosters.  How to tell?  Some suggested their combs were different.  Another suggestion was that if you grab them by the feet and hang them upside down, the roosters will . . . . .now I can’t remember what they are supposed to do?  By the time we had these chicks, I realized I had exceeded my self imposed limit of 22 laying hens if even half of these turned out to be hens.  After a few weeks, it was time to find four of these babies a new home.  I marched on the brooder house with a fishing net and after a tussle managed to capture four and placed them in a cage for their new owner.  Turns out, the two remaining were hens.  I was happy to be spared the trauma of disposing of another rooster.

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Portlandia rooster . . . .

A visit to a Portland import/export shop several years ago turned up this wood-carved fellow who won my heart.  He wasn’t all that much fun stuffing in the overhead bin of the airplane, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  He keeps watch over the front yard a safe distance from Cromwell, and was joined by a motley crew of wood and tin imposters.

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Folk art frenzy . . . .

Roosters arrive in many forms at our house.  I believe I must have a subconscious attraction for them as they seem to have accumulated in various forms. I had to wipe some dust off before taking this picture of Archie, the most flamboyant of the collection.

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Reginald . . . .

Reggie came as a treasured Christmas gift from a nephew last year and won my heart with his bright colors.  We placed him out on the porch one day when Cromwell was given freedom to roam the yard, which in winter has been quite rare.  Snow drifts have been too deep for poor Cromwell to venture very far.  He ignored Reggie utterly and completely! Probably a good thing, as he might have come away the worse for wear pitted up against Reggie’s sharp metal feathers, comb and beak.

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Chinese Zodiak Rooster . . . .

This giant bronze was created by contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and displayed, along with the other Chinese zodiak symbols, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming May-October, 2015.

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Imposing symbols . . . .

The artist of these bronzes, Ai Weiwei, was inspired by an 18th century zodiac fountain in an imperial garden in Beijing.  These images are at least 12 feet tall and were an awe-inspiring exhibit. For all the roosters everywhere, have a splendid year!  Cock-a-doodle- doo!