Monday, July 29, 2002

Muddy Rancho Nymph

This is the week that Mission Pools implies there may be a possibility of some conceivable progress on the pool, but no promises. Mom asked how the pool looks, and it's safe to say that it looks the same as it did when she was here last month. Michelle schedules tile and coping (edging, not therapy) and she says that she is sending us the "accelerated team." After tile and coping comes equipment and then we have to pass inspection. The final step will be plaster, which takes 5 days to cure and requires daily brushing. So the end is in sight; distant, yet visible. It's not too soon to make reservations or claim your pool side chair!

Saturday I ran through the sprinklers. You really have to comprehend the circumstances to appreciate how ridiculous my romp was. Nacho is fixing the timers and checking all the spray heads. There are no shrubs or trees to water, and no grass to skip across. There is a great quantity of trenched and retrenched, but still rock hard dirt. But the lovely mist and the rainbows that encircled the sprinkler heads beckoned me and willingly, I ran forth. My overalls clung and my slippers obliged and I was a backyard sprite, a muddy ranch nymph. It was delicious, cool and refreshing. Water bliss.

Fiesta Update #6

Some specifics are occurring to me; on the tenth everyone needs to park on the street. No exceptions, sorry. We'll need to make maximum use of the driveway, since our yard will be 'out of commission' at party time.

Also, so far, days have been hot, but nights have been cool, so consider wearing layers or bringing along a change of wardrobe for the evening at the 'Ranch.' Let's be 'lovely and sophisticated' at the restaurant, and then 'beautiful and comfortable' at home. Personally, I find sophisticated and comfortable are often contradictory conditions. Is it just me, or this 'girl talk?' I live with a lot of boys, and I don't often engage in the 'what are you wearing?...I'm wearing_______,' conversations. I'll illuminate some more; for the evening wear something that likes to dance, eat, and, perhaps, sit on a bale of straw or hike around uneven terrain.

Okay, just call or write if any of this is confusing.

Fiesta Update #1

Fiesta Update #2

Fiesta Update #3

Fiesta Update #4

Fiesta Update #5

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Single Rooster Seeks New Roost

Further research has not brought any helpful suggestions regarding Sunshine and his temperament. We are completely disheartened. The only 'hopeful' suggestion for keeping a mean rooster is to frequently kick or hit him. I have no intention of including animal abuse in our life lessons for our sons. No one submitted any therapeutic, or behavior modifying ideas. There were many soup and roast recipes, and some very strong warnings against keeping a mean rooster where there are small children. Max and Alex are certainly 'small' and of course there are cousins and friends to consider, so I am slowly mustering the gumption to do what's best. I hope we can find someone who really wants a handsome, healthy rooster, for company, and amusement.

Single, Rhode Island Red; seeks long term housing and personal care. Must be vegan, tall, and enjoy waking at dawn. 'KFC' need not apply.

Sunshine was introduced as a runt, when I bought him at the feed store, and dropped in to a brown paper sack with the other chicks. He was certainly the smallest of the four chicks, and the only one that was classically chick-like; downy, butter yellow and round. Alex was immediately smitten and he was the one to christen the chick 'Sunshine.'

Sunshine was at the end of the pecking order, and always lagged behind in the quest for bugs and seeds. Daily we watched the subtle changes and progress that each chick made. Luna soon developed her white spots, and lost the one white 'moon' on her bottom. Gracie's wild and wispy feathers became more tempered, but no less colorful. Rosie grew and matured, but she was soon passed up by our 'runt.' And then it was clear that even Gracie would lose her standing as biggest chicken. Sunshine was outgrowing them all, and acquiring some unique characteristics. Sunshine was getting bossy, and walking with more assertion than before. All the chickens had lost their 'cheep, cheep, cheep,' but only Sunshine's 'cluck' was rusty and raspy.

The boys make daily accounts of their chicken's activities and developments. They hug them and pet them, and collect pincher bugs for their chickens to devour. Many evenings we hang out by the coop, watching the sun set, counting blossoms on the guava bushes and observing the roost time routines of the 'Chicas.' We hoola hoop, and pull weeds. We feed the rabbits and watch for the first star, the brightest planet. Then the coyotes whine and sing in the valley below, and the bats begin to flit and dart, so we close the coop for the night.

The very same day that Luna produced her egg, Sunshine assumed a new trait; he became territorial and huffy. I warned the boys, "He needs reminding that you are higher in rank than he is. Pat him on the head if he gets too pushy." Alex can still hold him, sometimes, and we still coo at all of them and pamper them, but all of our affection is lost on Sunshine. He is becoming more and more cantankerous and belligerent. He postures and threatens and pursues. He pecks at unarmed toes, and has begun to jump, spurs extended.

I suppose it is quite plain that Sunshine feels his duty very deeply, but I feel mine too. I can't keep an 'attack bird' on the premises, and so far we haven't persuaded the rooster that he 'needs to take his attitude down a few notches.' Nacho and Victor say, "He's dinner now. That'll teach him!" William wants to keep him confined to the coop, and Alex wants us to "try everything we can, but please don't get rid of Sunshine. He's my favorite." Oh dear. We are face to face with emotional farmer decisions.

Unless there is a method for taming our wily Sunshine, we may have to trade him in; find him a new home. We'll find him a Rooster Retirement Ranch, with plenty of fresh air, running water, great mash and spry hens. Some place where a cock can be a cock.