Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Rancho Days

Just another day at El Rancho. Joe, the rabbit, was in the chicken coop, the chickens were locked out, and none of us knows how it happened. I really am going to clean the truck today, and then we are taking Nena, the senior cat, to the vet. She is not herself, and we want to resolve any issues before our departure day. Once we have Nena settled we will be delivering Sunshine to the feed store in a nearby town. Yes, we have found suitable arrangements for our infamous runt turned rooster. The boys are firm in their decision. Geoff, on the other hand, is taking it rather hard. He wonders if the hens will be deprived of their dedicated protector while we are away.

Sunshine is a poor choice for a small child's pet, but he is an excellent rooster. He warns of low flying hawks, he stands aside to let the hens feast when there are bugs or snails or extra scratch, and he has even gone after dogs 20 times his size. He is handsome. His feathers are full, brilliant and iridescent. His posture is dignified, robust and athletic. Sunshine has a deep red cockscomb, and penetrating, golden eyes.

Of course we can't take all the credit for his good looks and dutiful behavior, but I am proud of the boys. They have raised their first chicks, remarkably well. They have been patient and considerate, even of Sunshine. And now they are showing unselfish concern for the well being of their hens; they don't think Sunshine display suitable manners in the area of "love." "He is too rough when he's loving Rosie and Gracie," Alex worries. So, though they are sad to see their once runt sent away, they know it is for the best.

Geoff is down in the pasture inflating the tires of the tractor; then he'll head to the office. Diego is pawing the sofa cushion; preparing for a nap. Nena is sitting in my chair; slowly nudging me out. The boys are reading Muse, and laughing and improvising. Grandma and Grandpa are quiet, still sleeping, I think. It is Tuesday at our Rancho.

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