Friday, November 22, 2019

Tough old (young) bird

As I begin writing this (0530), to the best of my knowledge the hen who was savaged by Red the other day is still alive. She was last evening when last I checked, and she gave me no reason then to think she might expire overnight.

Evening before last, while she was isolated in her cage, she escaped while Mom was changing her drinking water. The hen of course joined her flock mates, and as there are five red hens and we awful speciesist people haven't been good enough SJW's to learn to identify the people-birds as individuals. We're every bad story about "personally, I can't tell them apart." So Mom had an impossible task before her; identify which red hen was the injured one, then figure out how to get her locked back in sickbay.

As Mom was standing there trying to work up a solution to the problem, one of the red hens sauntered into the cage. Close enough!

So yesterday morning when I checked the hen in the cage was clucking loudly and energetically pacing back and forth. Also there was a large brown egg in the cage with her. That told me that either the hen in the cage was not the injured one, or, if it was the injured one, she was probably more or less healed if she was up to laying an egg. I suspect that most fifth graders would find my logic a bit dodgy, and they would be correct. Which makes me wish I had a fifth grader on call to come help me with my thinking from time to time! Nevertheless, I decided to free the well-enough-to-lay hen from medical bondage. And as I said above somewhere, I saw no evidence of a sick chicken last evening. All five red hens looked to be right as rain.

My best guess is that the hen lost a lot of feathers and a few drops of blood, had a bit of bruising from being roughly handled, but was otherwise only very lightly damaged. I was very surprised to find that a hen which lost so many feathers could appear to have lost very few or even none. It's a data point I'm very pleased to have obtained, and it makes me wonder all kind of neat why questions, leading me to believe that shedding feathers may be a last-ditch survival feature which could allow captured birds a final chance to escape the slavering jaws of a murderer. Or perhaps it's just a happy accident that works out for the hen from time to time. But not always.

Another interesting thing is that Mom has names for all the chickens. Neither of us can tell the red hens apart, or the black ones, or the gray and black ones. The roosters, Aaron and Riley, are easy, as is Howard the Duck. The indistinguishable hens all have names though, and the injured one (whichever one she is) is Ann, named after the legendary sister of my grandma Helen, Ann Strasheim (nee Burback).

I personally feel no urge to name the fowl. Except of course I named Howard. So there goes my tough guy "they're just blankety-blank chickens!" reputation. On the one hand I know intellectually they are just chickens. On the other, they're in my care so I have a responsibility to look after their well being, and that can be a pretty large tent to operate beneath. It's a pretty comfortable place to be, actually.

Whoops, forgot a video.

Boy, that's a lot of yabbering on for an introductory paragraph!


What I started to write about is the old saying about the perfect being the enemy of the good. There's some of that in the blabbery intro above.

However, here's an interesting experience which illustrates that sage bit of wisdom as it applies to human interactions.

Last week I was in the parts house and opined as how I'd like to get me one of them fancy new LED shop lights, the kind that comes on a sturdy stand and has detachable spring-clampy lights. I'd recently seen one on the interwebz and it looked just like something I should free up some cash for. And not one of those yellow pieces of feces, either!

So Dave whips out the weekly parts house ad circular and says, "Like this?"

Down in the corner of the colorful advertising rag, in a 3x3-inch box, is an image of just prizackly what I'm hungering to purchase. So using the parts house nod I arranged in non-verbal fashion to get the light doohickey headed this way. It would be here on Tuesday. And it was.

When I put it together in the shop though, one thing became quickly obvious. It was a great stand, solid welded and powder coated steel, with very functional spring clamps for the lights and everything. But it was just the stand. No fancy LED lights anywhere in the box. Those are sold separately, and represent an additional eighty bucks or so on top of the eighty bucks the stand cost (actually an extra $160, but it's only 2019 bucks, right?).

So my choice is this. I could get all butthurt and whiny about one of those "blankety-blank small print scams," or I could tell my butthurt self, "way to go champ, you're a sexagenarian (we put the SE, oh, never mind) who hasn't yet figured out how to read fine print, or to remember that if it's too good to be true..."

So I roll into the parts house this morning, and my plan is this. "Get the clean oil drain pan you need for the Bobcat, and ask about getting lights for the nifty stand." I haven't taken my second step into the place and Dave is apologizing. I wasn't the only cranky old duffer trying to get a too-good-to-be-true deal. "You just wanna bring it back?"

Well hell no I don't! It's a crackerjack of a stand. Put some damme decent lights on it and it'll be well worth the cash.

My point? YGTBSM! I need a point here?

Oh yeah. Right. I guess I did promise one.

So in these interpersonal relationships, expecting perfection from the people you do business with is exactly the same as if they expect perfection from you. It's just way, way, better to be genuinely humble and pleasant, up to the point you catch them stealing from you. But hellfire, it was a simple mistake, and we both made the same mistake, so how does getting angry at the other guy do anything but wreck the hell out of the good?

Anyway, the lights will be here tomorrow. I'll be glad to have them and glad that we have a good parts house with good people. And I'll strive mightily to be a good people in return. Because that perfect shit is for the birds, and it utterly destroys the good.

So quickly now, because once again I got started on this early and I'm only now finishing it more than a full day's work later...

One of the Big Guy's rocks.

Bobcat run good! Replaced a valve and cracked housing/fitting. Drained olden fuel, flushed the tank with petrol, replaced a dodgy pickup line and filter, put in new ruby red diesel. We'll feed her a hot supper tomorrow and see how it goes, but I'm suspecting I've managed to do a reasonably okay job and she should hold up. Knock on wood.

Ann the red hen is okay. Still a bit gimpy but gaining ground. Red the dog is still wishing she'd never seen a chicken in her entire life, but Mom still loves her (of course) and all is forgiven. Until the next, well, let's not even bring the possibility up.

To celebrate the great stuff that happened today Mom and I drove the 40 miles to the closest city (tiny town formerly known as the birthplace and headquarters of Cabela's), bought some egg cartons from the "farm store", and went to Perkins for a late lunch. It was a really good meal. Excellent service and our piping hot meals were on the table in less than five minutes. I had the Monte Cristo breakfast platter.

Believe it or not, the Nebraska Cornhuskers once had a quarterback named Monte Christo. I shit you not. And not back in the 1800's, either!

Mom had the 55+ chicken fried steak.

I used to joke about all the old duffers and Perkins. Here's a warning to all the young hipsters -- Stay The Firetruck Out!

Yesterday sucked a bit what with having a nasty 24-hour bug (almost completely gone today)  an the weather being damp and chill and gloomy. But I was alive to have a bug, and the damp and chill and gloomy were magnificent.

Today? Yeah, just about perfect.

When is a tumbleweed not a tumbleweed, but a dried kochia trying to pass (and doing a better job of it than eBeth Wampum)?

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.


  1. Chickens on the mend! Fine print reading! (Or not...) Kochia masquerading as Russian thistle!

    What new adventures await our hero of the Plains? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Great post Shaun, lessons given, lessons learned. It's a joy to visit this little outpost of Nebraska on the web.

    1. It's a full time adventure, that's for sure! :-)

      Lovely feeling to see the word joy used in a comment about this dumpster fire of a blog. That's very kind of you and charges me up with firm resolve to endevour to persevere. I hope I don't ruin the whole bloody thing now.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sarge!

  2. Is it a mom thing to want to name all the critters, I don't know but I usually did. My favorite hen was named Maude, another was named Myrtle May after an ex sister-in-law. Make of that what you will...
    Local stores tend to be aware that they need repeat business to survive, and that comes with good customer service.
    Good to hear that you and Ann are doing better.

    1. I don't know either, but it's a fun thing to think about. The roosters Aaron and Riley are named after grandkids, and it might be all in my mind but the birds' mannerisms are very similar to those of the human Aaron and Riley -- one a tough guy strutter and the other a gangly goof. I love that your favorite hen was named Maude as that's my great-grandmother's name and she was a remarkable woman who raised a dozen kids on a ranch in the middle of nowhere before there was anything like medicine, cars, electricity, etc.

      Good customer service makes trading money for stuff a joy.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Brig!

  3. Replies
    1. It was billed as "strawberry dipping sauce." I believe it was strawberry jam or preserves watered down to a dipping consistency. Served cold rather than warm. A bit of a disappointment, but that's just me. Didn't detract at all from the meal or the experience.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Scott!

  4. Yes, what Scott wrote. Also what Chris wrote. Nice to read that life goes on mostly on the right track in your world.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. It's a dynamic adventure lived in a dynamic world. The world does what the world will do, and the only part I have control over is what I do. The cold, watery strawberry preserves weren't exactly perfect to my mind, but the choice of letting something I judged to be imperfect ruin the experience or not ruin the experience was entirely up to me. Spending precious and priceless time with Mom is such an indescribable blessing that they could have served rocks and tumbleweeds with kerosene sauce and it would have been okay. Actual good, hot, tasty food served quickly and well by very competent staff blew the top off of the good stuff meter.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Paul!

  5. Now I'm ready to eat breakfast. Can you get a side bowl of grits with that? Thank you for the post.

    1. With a sample size of one, it's not looking good for grits at Perkins. :-O

      It's been well over two decades since I've eaten at Waffle House, but as I recall they served the best grits I've ever eaten. Usually at 0300 with hunger and alcohol involved, so YMMV.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Mark!

  6. In one video, there are cows on both sides of the fence; are all the cattle yours and are they separated because the acreage will only support so many head? Inquiring minds and all that.


  7. Obviously the parts house WANTS you to continue to be a customer! And kudos to him for stepping up... Sounds like you weren't the only one that got 'taken'...

    1. Yep, good people doing the best they can to keep the lights on in a small farm/ranch town. Whether the advert people were being sneaky I don't know and don't care. I got a reasonable deal on good lights and I supported the parts house which I really hope will be able to stay in business.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!