And Now for Something Completely Different: Chicken Clucker Edition

 

So. I’ve about wrapped up, absent a bit of trim and the installation of an outdoor-accessible nest box–not an immediate priority because the elderly ladies involved rarely lay eggs anymore–the construction of my assisted-living chicken coop for the geezers.  It’s going to have to stay in the driveway for the winter, but it is on wheels (what they call in these parts a “Chicken Tractor”), and I’ll tow it to a better location in the Spring.  And while it isn’t as sturdily built as the larger coop (which I’m definitely heading for in the event of a nuclear attack or an imminent tornado), it’s pretty solid.

Two old girls and Chinggis, my beloved rooster (whom I rescued from the side of the road almost three years ago), now call it home. I wouldn’t wring their necks for the world.

They seem quite happy in there, as can be seen by their comfy positions on the roosting bar last night.  (Feeling that the whole display was a bit disrespectful, I did my best to get them to face forward, but they weren’t having any of it.):

TBPC, the flat panel on the back wall of the coop isn’t a television provided for their entertainment.  It’s a radiant heater, something I consider much safer as a heat source, once the temperature goes down well below freezing, than the traditional heat lamp.

Here’s the outside of the edifice:

Two other female members of the gang have already passed on to the great coop in the sky, and I don’t know how long it’ll be before one, or two, or all three of these particular inmates join them.  (Meanwhile, I’ve four fourteen-weekers (their birthday is today!) up in the larger coop.  They should be ready to lay eggs by Christmas, but I’m not sure how diligent they’ll be, given the seasonality, the chill, and all. It may be sometime in Spring before things really kick in.)

But there I was the other night, having a nice text chat about my chickens with a friend  who–like me–is a country music fan.  He delights in sending me weird and (on rare occasions) wonderful links to oddball stuff, and so, after a discussion about the coop mentioned above, along came a link to Ray Stevens’ “Henhouse Five Plus Two” rendition of In the Mood.  (I should think US Army Bronze-Star recipient Major Alton Glenn Miller is spinning in his watery grave, God bless him.)

At the time I received the link, I was sitting on the steps from the driveway up to the back deck, listening to the wild birds–including the owls down in the woods –and enjoying last of the rare November warmth. I pressed “play.”  And the result was unexpected magic.

So the following day, I worked a little harder in my digital studio (😂😂, eat your heart out, @ejhill) to repeat the feat and I came up with the music video for the enjoyment of friends.

Chinggis is extremely obliging, every time the music starts.  Here’s an excerpt:

My dear Chinggis.  My only rooster, and a volunteer one, at that.  A real gentleman (pace his namesake).

I think he has, (for an amateur) a remarkable presence and sense of rhythm.  A strut (as my sister pointed out) worthy of Mick Jagger at his best.  And an unparalleled sense of drama which resulted in this grand finale:

Every once in a while, I run across a modern writer who might be for real. Perhaps Caroline Mellor is such a one:

What if there is no new you
No #vanlife mountain vista
No trail of dust, no grand rebirth

What if your life
is more a slow, uncoiling thing
than a series of bangs,
a bowl to fill and fill
rather than a bucket list?

Stop looking for the big moments.
They will find you in their own time.
Turn your gaze instead to the small things,
the minutiae of the sacred ordinary:
the quiet grace of dust dancing in the sunbeams,
the sound of the rain through the streetlamps.
The soft smell of the skin on someone’s neck
that takes you home in a microsecond.

What if you could take your one messy, complicated life,
all of your failures and your unmet yearnings,
all of the colours, the dreams and the hungers
and, just for a moment, see it for what it is:
a fragmentary masterpiece of the universe,
a speck of dust dancing in the sunbeams
which you alone hold in warm, cupped hands–Caroline Mellor, Small Things

“The minutiae of the sacred ordinary.”

Such is my life.  And I am blessed because of it.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Not quite the same thing, but close enough.

     

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Maybe a little Beethoven.

     

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The “Canon in D” cello part is key:

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She: “The minutiae of the sacred ordinary.” 

    Indeed.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    This is the second post in a row with a picture of a chicken.

    • #5
  6. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    @she, your chicken tractor, like the more permanent facility is a thing of beauty. Mrs. B and I are even now preparing a new feeding and daytime outdoor shelter structure for our six chickens we acquired earlier this year. Our building results have been much more modest and we remind ourselves “it’s just a chicken coop, after all”. 

    Our six are Whitey and Blackey, Reddy and Jet, and Ping and Pong. Ping and Pong are the identical twins of a mottled reddish hue that I can’t tell apart while the others are readily identifiable. White and perhaps one of the others started laying last week. I have only caught White actually sitting in the laying box. There has not been much production yet. Whitey is the eldest and in-charge, though probably the smallest. She is the one most likely to fly up on the kitchen window sill and to talk to us.  

    Whitey had a brother named Spot who went to our Amish friends when we found out he was a rooster. He has become quite a pet of the younger three boys. 

    Like you, we will probably keep them until they die of natural causes. They are interesting creatures to watch.

    • #6
  7. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Wonderful post.

    • #7
  8. She Member
    She
    @She

    JoelB (View Comment):

    @ she, your chicken tractor, like the more permanent facility is a thing of beauty. Mrs. B and I are even now preparing a new feeding and daytime outdoor shelter structure for our six chickens we acquired earlier this year. Our building results have been much more modest and we remind ourselves “it’s just a chicken coop, after all”.

    I have not much else to occupy myself and quite a lot in the way of leftover building materials lying around, so I enjoy mixing things up.  I recently found this book at Tractor Supply, which I used to kick off my chicken coop design (although I made several alterations).  It has quite a few other fun projects I may attempt next year.

    Our six are Whitey and Blackey, Reddy and Jet, and Ping and Pong. Ping and Pong are the identical twins of a mottled reddish hue that I can’t tell apart while the others are readily identifiable.

    LOL.  I wanted to give my four babies distinct names drawn from the ranks of country music queens, since I acquired them the same weekend I went to see Willie Nelson in concert. Eventually, it was borne in upon me that only one of them was distinct enough to recognize, and that the other three were interchangeable and identical, never to be told apart.

    So I reached a bit further afield and they’re now known as “Gladys Knight and the Pips.” (I realize there’s a bit of gender-bending going on there, but this is 2023, after all.)

    White and perhaps one of the others started laying last week. I have only caught White actually sitting in the laying box. There has not been much production yet. Whitey is the eldest and in-charge, though probably the smallest. She is the one most likely to fly up on the kitchen window sill and to talk to us.

    Whitey had a brother named Spot who went to our Amish friends when we found out he was a rooster. He has become quite a pet of the younger three boys.

    I’ve been lucky with Chinggis.  He’s very gentle.  Hope Spot follows suit.

    Like you, we will probably keep them until they die of natural causes. They are interesting creatures to watch.

    They are, indeed.  Quite intelligent and interactive, if a person makes a bit of an effort.

     

    • #8
  9. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Oh, how I love this post.

    Your coop looks wonderful. I’m curious about that radiant heat screen – if I can ever have chickens again, that sounds like something I should incorporate.

    I grew up partly on a farm, and so chickens have been in my life, well, for most of my life. One of the first life lessons I learned as a young girl was, don’t make pets of the meat chickens.  My Dad would often buy different breeds for the egg chickens and for pets – Polish, Cochins, etc.. My late husband, on the other hand, grew up on various airforce bases and had no knowledge of the joys of poultry whatsoever. When I began suggesting we get a few chickens to add to my pigeon coop, he balked at first. But he soon came to enjoy them, and he enjoyed the fresh eggs immediately. We would usually have three hens at any one time (no roosters). They all became quite tame and would come into the house, and would come running for table scraps when called. Because they had the run of the place, foxes took a few over the years but we replaced them, trying different breeds from time to time.

    When we moved to our little town, I asked the real estate agent about our chickens and my hawk – would the city fathers have a problem with either? The answer came back that my killer hawk was permissible (not surprising given the federal and state permits required for a falconry license), but our dear hens were not. So we had to give them to a friend who had a farm.

    I miss them, so this post is a real treat.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She (View Comment):

    I’ve been lucky with Chinggis.  He’s very gentle.  Hope Spot follows suit.

    Like you, we will probably keep them until they die of natural causes. They are interesting creatures to watch.

    They are, indeed.  Quite intelligent and interactive, if a person makes a bit of an effort.

    Vicious brutes.

    • #10
  11. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    I clicked on your link to look at the first and permanently located coop. I am still shaking my head, @she. If I ever build a new house (which ain’t gonna happen) I want to hire you as the general, or, at least, the consultant. 2 x 6 studs and double for the headers with a steel roof! Am I seeing that correctly? When you have great, great-great-grandchildren, they should be able to play safely in your coop.

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    cdor (View Comment):

    I clicked on your link to look at the first and permanently located coop. I am still shaking my head, @ she. If I ever build a new house (which ain’t gonna happen) I want to hire you as the general, or, at least, the consultant. 2 x 6 studs and double for the headers with a steel roof! Am I seeing that correctly? When you have great, great-great-grandchildren, they should be able to play safely in your coop.

    Thanks.  😀

    Mostly 2x4s, although there are some 2x6s, and yes, double headers.  Part of that was necessitated by the fact that–since I was on my own and building it by myself–I invented and built “prefab” framing units on the flat back porch which I could carry up the hill one-at-a-time and then screw together once I’d dug the holes, concreted the posts in, and installed a level floor.

    I originally started out with the premise that I’d use whatever was lying around and do it as cheaply as possible.  Then, I started to have so much fun that things sort of got away from me in the budgetary department.  Most of the internals, the posts, and the floor were already here, as were the two rescues from my “graveyard of dead windows,” which is quite extensive.  But I bought the T1-11 siding, and the steel roof (which matches that on the house), new.

    I did much better with the second coop, as I really did have just about everything except the roofing (polycarbonate panels) and some of the hardware already here.

    I’d love it if the great-grandchildren played in and around it.  One of my fondest memories was of a little “playhouse” in the yard of my house in England which–I eventually discovered–had been Granny’s chicken coop during WWII.

     

    • #12
  13. JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery Coolidge
    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery
    @JosePluma

    My two survivors of a flock of eight mostly hang out on the porch instead of their coop.   Of course, it seldom gets very cold here in Texas:

    Save for the deep freeze we seem to get every February.  Oddly enough, the brown mutt chicken has given us ten eggs in the last two weeks after a drought of several months. 

    • #13
  14. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    Not quite the same thing, but close enough.

    Chinggis recognizes it for the fraud it is and keeps schtumm.

    It really sets the dogs off, though 🤣🤣🤣

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Oh, how I love this post.

    Your coop looks wonderful. I’m curious about that radiant heat screen – if I can ever have chickens again, that sounds like something I should incorporate.

    They work quite well.  I haven’t found one yet with a thermostat that turns itself on and off at appropriate times, but basic models are widely available on Amazon and at the farm stores.

    I grew up partly on a farm, and so chickens have been in my life, well, for most of my life. One of the first life lessons I learned as a young girl was, don’t make pets of the meat chickens. My Dad would often buy different breeds for the egg chickens and for pets – Polish, Cochins, etc.. My late husband, on the other hand, grew up on various airforce bases and had no knowledge of the joys of poultry whatsoever. When I began suggesting we get a few chickens to add to my pigeon coop, he balked at first. But he soon came to enjoy them, and he enjoyed the fresh eggs immediately. We would usually have three hens at any one time (no roosters). They all became quite tame and would come into the house, and would come running for table scraps when called. Because they had the run of the place, foxes took a few over the years but we replaced them, trying different breeds from time to time.

    Gladys Knight and the Pips (the fourteen-weekers) are Easter Eggers, so I am hoping for some colored eggs.  But I’ll be happy with whatever they give me.  I discovered for myself something I suspect many people who’ve raised chickens for years already know–that the egg color, shape, and size is quite distinctive from chicken to chicken.  We’ll see what they come up with:

    Yes, naming farm animals is always a bit dicey. 

    Hawks are a problem around here, as well as racoons (probably the worst predators of chickens), coyotes, and the occasional fox.  I don’t worry too much close to the house, but I’d rather not provide a consistent and readily-available food supply for the local feathered and four-legged meat-eaters, so I generally keep them in runs. Dreaming up entertainment for them is fun. The cabbage piñata is always a big hit and lasts for a few days, and they do love a nice juicy apple every now and then:

    When we moved to our little town, I asked the real estate agent about our chickens and my hawk – would the city fathers have a problem with either? The answer came back that my killer hawk was permissible (not surprising given the federal and state permits required for a falconry license), but our dear hens were not. So we had to give them to a friend who had a farm.

    I miss them, so this post is a real treat.

    Thanks.  Do you still have your hawk?

     

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I was going through the posts on Ricochet this morning, and- Look!  A chicken!

    • #16
  17. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    She: Two old girls and Chinggis, my beloved rooster (whom I rescued from the side of the road almost three years ago) now call it home. I wouldn’t wring their necks for the world. 

    One chapter of All Creatures Great and Small is about a farmer and his long-retired draft horses:

    “They’re in a nice spot, Mr. Skipton,” I said.

    “Aye, they can keep cool in the hot weather and they’ve got the barn when winter comes.” John pointed to a low, thick-walled building with a single door. “They can come and go as they please.”

    The sound of his voice brought the horses out of the river at a stiff trot and as they came near you could see they really were old…

    “When did they last do any work?” I asked.

    “Oh, about twelve years ago, I reckon.”

    I stared at John. “Twelve years! And have they been down here all that time?”

    “Aye; just lakin’ about down here, retired like. They’ve earned it an’ all.”

    • #17
  18. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    She (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Oh, how I love this post.

    Your coop looks wonderful. I’m curious about that radiant heat screen – if I can ever have chickens again, that sounds like something I should incorporate.

    They work quite well. I haven’t found one yet with a thermostat that turns itself on and off at appropriate times, but basic models are widely available on Amazon and at the farm stores.

    I grew up partly on a farm, and so chickens have been in my life, well, for most of my life. One of the first life lessons I learned as a young girl was, don’t make pets of the meat chickens. My Dad would often buy different breeds for the egg chickens and for pets – Polish, Cochins, etc.. My late husband, on the other hand, grew up on various airforce bases and had no knowledge of the joys of poultry whatsoever. When I began suggesting we get a few chickens to add to my pigeon coop, he balked at first. But he soon came to enjoy them, and he enjoyed the fresh eggs immediately. We would usually have three hens at any one time (no roosters). They all became quite tame and would come into the house, and would come running for table scraps when called. Because they had the run of the place, foxes took a few over the years but we replaced them, trying different breeds from time to time.

    Gladys Knight and the Pips (the fourteen-weekers) are Easter Eggers, so I am hoping for some colored eggs. But I’ll be happy with whatever they give me. I discovered for myself something I suspect many people who’ve raised chickens for years already know–that the egg color, shape, and size is quite distinctive from chicken to chicken. We’ll see what they come up with:

    Yes, naming farm animals is always a bit dicey.

    Hawks are a problem around here, as well as racoons (probably the worst predators of chickens), coyotes, and the occasional fox. I don’t worry too much close to the house, but I’d rather not provide a consistent and readily-available food supply for the local feathered and four-legged meat-eaters, so I generally keep them in runs. Dreaming up entertainment for them is fun. The cabbage piñata is always a big hit and lasts for a few days, and they do love a nice juicy apple every now and then:

    When we moved to our little town, I asked the real estate agent about our chickens and my hawk – would the city fathers have a problem with either? The answer came back that my killer hawk was permissible (not surprising given the federal and state permits required for a falconry license), but our dear hens were not. So we had to give them to a friend who had a farm.

    I miss them, so this post is a real treat.

    Thanks. Do you still have your hawk?

    Are Easter Eggers another name for Americaunas? We had a few of those over the years. They had quirky personalities – very fun. My husband gave them old aunt names, like Mabel and Agnes. One used to come into the house and sit on the computer mouse as if it were an egg. Some of our Americaunas laid blue eggs, others a lovely light sage green. I took one of the green eggs into a hardware store to get paint to match it for a particular room I was painting.

    No, I don’t have my hawk anymore. I had to euthanize my hawk because he was starting to fail. Old age, really – he was over 35. He was in very good shape until he wasn’t. When he started to look poorly, I talked to a falconer friend who had a hawk that they (she and her husband were both falconers) had to euthanize because of old age. She told me that there is organ failure happening, and the bird is in fact in pain. Her description of their hawk’s condition matched what I was seeing in mine. Their hawk was the same age as my Dakota – 35 1/2 years. So euthanasia was a necessary  action to take, though incredibly painful, coming as it did less than two months after my husband’s passing.

    • #18
  19. She Member
    She
    @She

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Are Easter Eggers another name for Americaunas? We had a few of those over the years. They had quirky personalities – very fun. My husband gave them old aunt names, like Mabel and Agnes. One used to come into the house and sit on the computer mouse as if it were an egg. Some of our Americaunas laid blue eggs, others a lovely light sage green. I took one of the green eggs into a hardware store to get paint to match it for a particular room I was painting.

    Yes, they’re also called Americaunas, a cross between Arucaunas (which is where the colored-egg gene comes from) and a brown-egg laying breed.  As I understand it, pure Arucaunas can have some genetic problems, and the cross-breeding resolves that, resulting in eggs that aren’t quite as colorful as those of the Arucaunas, but are still quite fun.

    They’re smaller than my old girls (I think they’ll stay that way, although they’ve still got about about another month’s worth of growing to do), and because of the cross-breeding, they can appear quite different in coloration which–I suppose–is why Gladys Knight, who’s predominantly red is different from the Pips, who have a more dusky coloring and little fluffy tufts on their head.  The feathers are very pretty, though.  Some days they’re quite engaging and full of personality, and other days they seem to have decided that I’ve been sent by the enemy to kill them, so I never know what sort of reception I’m going to get.

    The story of your little girl trying to hatch the computer mouse is quite funny.  It reminds me of little vignettes I used to text my friend, of “conversations” I’d “overheard” between Darlene and Wookie, two kittens who came to live with me on the farm after Andy had resolutely found homes for their other four siblings (all six were born under her front porch–but couldn’t place these two.  They’re still with me.  Wookie is rather simple and was the runt of the litter.  Darlene is the oldest and a total boss girl.  One of the little stories (based on an observed event)  went like this:

    WOOKIE:  Darlene!!  DARLENE!! I killed a mouse!!!!!

    DARLENE: (Sniffs.)  I highly doubt that.

    WOOKIE:  I did!!!  I did!!!

    DARLENE:  How do you know?  Were its eyes closed?? Did it stop moving???  Did it cease to breathe????

    WOOKIE: (Shamefacedly.) No, but its batteries fell out.

    They’re about thirteen years old now and Wookie hasn’t gotten any smarter.  I’ve about stopped hoping.

    No, I don’t have my hawk anymore. I had to euthanize my hawk because he was starting to fail. Old age, really – he was over 35. He was in very good shape until he wasn’t. When he started to look poorly, I talked to a falconer friend who had a hawk that they (she and her husband were both falconers) had to euthanize because of old age. She told me that there is organ failure happening, and the bird is in fact in pain. Her description of their hawk’s condition matched what I was seeing in mine. Their hawk was the same age as my Dakota – 35 1/2 years. So euthanasia was a necessary  action to take, though incredibly painful, coming as it did less than two months after my husband’s passing.

    I’m so sorry.  I don’t know very much about falconry, but I should think the two of you built up quite a strong bond over such a long period.  And it does seem as if sorrows come in multitudes.

    • #19
  20. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    She (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Are Easter Eggers another name for Americaunas? We had a few of those over the years. They had quirky personalities – very fun. My husband gave them old aunt names, like Mabel and Agnes. One used to come into the house and sit on the computer mouse as if it were an egg. Some of our Americaunas laid blue eggs, others a lovely light sage green. I took one of the green eggs into a hardware store to get paint to match it for a particular room I was painting.

    Yes, they’re also called Americaunas, a cross between Arucaunas (which is where the colored-egg gene comes from) and a brown-egg laying breed. As I understand it, pure Arucaunas can have some genetic problems, and the cross-breeding resolves that, resulting in eggs that aren’t quite as colorful as those of the Arucaunas, but are still quite fun.

    They’re smaller than my old girls (I think they’ll stay that way, although they’ve still got about about another month’s worth of growing to do), and because of the cross-breeding, they can appear quite different in coloration which–I suppose–is why Gladys Knight, who’s predominantly red is different from the Pips, who have a more dusky coloring and little fluffy tufts on their head. The feathers are very pretty, though. Some days they’re quite engaging and full of personality, and other days they seem to have decided that I’ve been sent by the enemy to kill them, so I never know what sort of reception I’m going to get.

    The story of your little girl trying to hatch the computer mouse is quite funny. It reminds me of little vignettes I used to text my friend, of “conversations” I’d “overheard” between Darlene and Wookie, two kittens who came to live with me on the farm after Andy had resolutely found homes for their other four siblings (all six were born under her front porch–but couldn’t place these two. They’re still with me. Wookie is rather simple and was the runt of the litter. Darlene is the oldest and a total boss girl. One of the little stories (based on an observed event) went like this:

    WOOKIE: Darlene!! DARLENE!! I killed a mouse!!!!!

    DARLENE: (Sniffs.) I highly doubt that.

    WOOKIE: I did!!! I did!!!

    DARLENE: How do you know? Were its eyes closed?? Did it stop moving??? Did it cease to breathe????

    WOOKIE: (Shamefacedly.) No, but its batteries fell out.

    They’re about thirteen years old now and Wookie hasn’t gotten any smarter. I’ve about stopped hoping.

    No, I don’t have my hawk anymore. I had to euthanize my hawk because he was starting to fail. Old age, really – he was over 35. He was in very good shape until he wasn’t. When he started to look poorly, I talked to a falconer friend who had a hawk that they (she and her husband were both falconers) had to euthanize because of old age. She told me that there is organ failure happening, and the bird is in fact in pain. Her description of their hawk’s condition matched what I was seeing in mine. Their hawk was the same age as my Dakota – 35 1/2 years. So euthanasia was a necessary action to take, though incredibly painful, coming as it did less than two months after my husband’s passing.

    I’m so sorry. I don’t know very much about falconry, but I should think the two of you built up quite a strong bond over such a long period. And it does seem as if sorrows come in multitudes.

    Yes, our Americaunas were all different in their coloration (though all had the fluffy tufts you mention), unlike the some of the clone chickens we had – one Australorp looks much like another, dittos for New Hampshires.

    Your wonderful overheard conversations between Darlene and Wookie remind me very much of the narrative my husband and I constructed for a cat of ours, Lake City Jake. He was a huge cat – 22 pounds – and was a thug through and through. We made up companions for him based on the other river towns in our area. So our Lake City Jake and his buddies Wabasha Willie and Rufus of Red Wing used to traffic in illegal catnip, which they floated down the Mississippi in bales. They all talked with thick New Jersey accents, which is what we took to be mobster accents. Fun…At some point my husband did a funny illustration for local consumption called The Pirates of Lake Pepin, and used the names from our cat’s story. I’ll try to attach an image, but I am a Luddite. (If I am able to attach a photo, be aware that the original is framed and under glass, so there may be some reflections from the glass.)

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    (If I am able to attach a photo, be aware that the original is framed and under glass, so there may be some reflections from the glass.)

    An admirable job.

    • #21
  22. She Member
    She
    @She

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Yes, our Americaunas were all different in their coloration (though all had the fluffy tufts you mention), unlike the some of the clone chickens we had – one Australorp looks much like another, dittos for New Hampshires.

    Your overheard conversations (very funny!) between Darlene and Wookie remind me very much of the narrative my husband and I constructed for a cat of ours, Lake City Jake. He was a huge cat – 22 pounds – and was a thug through and through. We made up companions for him based on the other river towns in our area. So our Lake City Jake and his buddies Wabasha Willie and Rufus of Red Wing used to traffic in illegal catnip, which they floated down the Mississippi in bales. They all talked with thick New Jersey accents, which is what we took to be mobster accents. Fun…At some point my husband did a funny illustration for local consumption called The Pirates of Lake Pepin, and used the names from our cat’s story. I’ll try to attach an image, but I am a Luddite. (If I am able to attach a photo, be aware that the original is framed and under glass, so there may be some reflections from the glass.)

    That’s delightful; thank so much for sharing.  I like the rhyming.

    Also, it’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one who indulges in such merry persiflage.  Thanks for that, too.

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  23. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Because I mentioned river towns, I should add/explain that Lake Pepin is actually a widening of the Mississippi River, caused naturally by the Chippewa River coming in from Wisconsin and dumping sediment. The bluff that my husband has shown behind the pirate ship is a well-known feature of Lake Pepin known as Maiden Rock. It’s named for the usual story: Indian maiden, daughter of the chief (how come it’s always the daughter of a chief?), is not allowed to marry the man she loves because her parents have picked someone else, and so she throws herself off the bluff. 

    • #23
  24. She Member
    She
    @She

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Because I mentioned river towns, I should add/explain that Lake Pepin is actually a widening of the Mississippi River, caused naturally by the Chippewa River coming in from Wisconsin and dumping sediment. The bluff that my husband has shown behind the pirate ship is a well-known feature of Lake Pepin known as Maiden Rock. It’s named for the usual story: Indian maiden, daughter of the chief (how come it’s always the daughter of a chief?), is not allowed to marry the man she loves because her parents have picked someone else, and so she throws herself off the bluff. 

    Not too far from here is (are?) Seneca Rocks, WV. 

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    Back in the heyday of such things (late 1970s), and via one of the simpler routes, I made it to the top alongside the late Mr. She who was an expert rock climber and ice climber.  (I refused to try ice climbing.  That’s just nuts.)

    There are a number of generally ahistorical legends similar to the sort you mention, but I’ve always liked the one about Princess Snowbird which, in opposition to most, ends happily.  For her and her lover, anyway.  Not so much for the rest of her suitors.

     

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