Circa ’60s

The Ronettes

Thursday, January 13, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon” is Waxing Gibbous, will rise as month’s fullest moon on the 17th.)

This morning, I’m steeped in rock ‘n roll, listening to music featuring Ronnie Spector. She was lead singer of The Ronettes, a 1060s vocal trio. They were a powerful trio who transformed girl-group music. One of their biggest hits, “Be My Baby”, is a best-example of early big-music producing.

Listen to them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSPpbOGnFgk&feature=emb_imp_woyt

Yesterday, this great singer died from cancer, at age 78. Her big voice, similar to that of Mama Cass, was correct. A pioneer, she transformed “girl-singing” in times when getting ahead wasn’t easy for for women in general, and much harder for women of color. She married her genius helper, the crazy music producer, Phil Spector. His creative backup sounds helped to make her a singing star. She paid a price of long personal abuse from him.

Early technology made The Music Business a fantastic, wonderful avenue of pursuit for talented young people. The scene wasn’t all-pretty, with entrepreneurs like Phil Spector moving things along, creating chaos.

Technologies continued to advance, bringing the personal computer, and more. Technological changes offering new creative avenues tempted talented youths. No longer was music the only potentially progressive path for promising individuals.

I grew up in times that brought new musical individualism and progressive technologies. Both still are powerful social factors. But technologies have and keep-continuing to affect us all.

It’s joyous, hearing the Ronettes. As evidenced by Ronnie’s story, the group’s sounds don’t represent “simpler times”. Instead, its sounds and success recall a hopeful era preceding the onset of highly-complex technology.

Dear Friends: Modern societies hope that ahead offers new-hope eras. Diana

Chickens

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon” is Waxing Gibbous, will rise as month’s fullest moon on the 17th.)

Today, I shall begin to build a chicken coop, one relatively simple. That is simple in design but complicated for my carpentry skills. I’m eager to tackle the challenge.

My friend Dave came over and saw the space where a coop should go. He explained how to build one and kindly offered to do it for me. That sounded good, until I started thinking about how I’d like to try building it myself.

As a transplanted city gal who’s now a country gal, I should be able to build simple structures. I remember several years ago being at a rancher-friend’s place. My friend and I stood in a corral talking, while nearby her stepmother constructed a well house. I watched as that woman added support and siding to studs set into the ground. I hoped someday I’d learn to be more handy, feel more independent.

Now there’s an opportunity for hands-on learning. Little matter if the coop isn’t beautiful, long as it’s functional. I have carpentry tools, plenty of 2×4’s, am highly motivated. The completed coop will house two hen turkeys and three chickens that I’m adopting.

Speaking of adopting fowl, the store where I’m a part-time worker is preparing to bring in baby chicks. The bins are ready and chicks will arrive in a couple of weeks. I’ll learn how the presence of those cuties affects customers. Many who already have chickens might add to their flocks, while many will struggle about adding. Not much is cuter than tiny chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

I must avert my eyes from all filled bins. I’ll pretend I’m undertaking a weight-losing diet and re-training my brain, making it capable of rejecting starches and sugars. Nope, no new babies at my place!

Dear Friends: Starches, sugars, and new baby chicks. Oy vey! Diana

Fowl Are Fun

Incoming hen turkeys

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon” is Waxing Gibbous, will rise as month’s fullest moon on the 17th.)

The caption photo is of two young hen turkeys that will come to live with me.

First though, my place needs an appropriate shelter. The best options for installing a large coop are building from scratch or bringing in a prefabricated unit. Building is cheaper, but prefab is the quickest way of acquiring the turkeys (and three chickens living with them). There’s a rush to get the critters, before their current owner’s recently adopted dog does.

The dog, a rescue from Korea, was living on the streets and staying alive by killing and consuming domestic chickens. The dog’s new owner, Josh, likes him enough to re-home a remaining flock. The dog aggressively pursues chickens, has killed a couple of Josh’s.

So, we’re eager to move five birds here.

My kind friend, Dave, offered to help build a coop. He was here yesterday, seeing the available space and making good suggestions.

Meanwhile, my Rhode Island Red hen escaped the coop again. Yesterday morning, after managing to get her inside I saw how she escapes. Red hopped onto the back of one of my Dwarf Goats. From the upward boost she stretched to leap the fence.

I spent all afternoon heightening that fence, completing just one section where, seemingly most easily, she’d have hopped. This morning will be revealing. If she’s in the coop, maybe I fixed the worst section. Regardless, my next day off will be more heightening and patching.

It’s a bummer to spend days off chasing and patching, but a Country Gal with animals has no choice. Must do the cutting, sawing, and hammering, instead of the reading, thinking, and writing. However, there’s a fun component, the pitting of brain against brain.

My labor is to get me ahead of a too-smart chicken.

Dear Friends: Imagine, if Red’s escapes teach her flock-mates to escape! Diana

Please, Rhode Island Red!

Studio Portrait, Michael Winokur

Monday, January 10, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon” now Waxing Gibbous, will rise at its fullest on the 17th.)

My lunch “hour” is thirty minutes long. Just enough time to drive four miles to home, handle a couple of must-do chores, and drive back to work. My chores are to let the dogs outside, hurriedly toss hay to my horses, and then bring the dogs inside.

This deep-winter time of year is bitterly cold. My aging dogs and young puppy stay inside while I’m away. Of course, dogs inside and unsupervised for long hours isn’t ideal. In my situation, it’s a reasonable choice, and mostly they sleep. The puppy minimally is destructive.

Yesterday during lunchtime while hauling hay to the horses, I spotted a chicken outside the coop and standing in the horse’s area. Rarely a chicken flies over the fence, but that happens. And “Dang!”, this was the Rhode Island Red, intolerant of being handled.

When I tried to herd she ran in all directions. I opened the coop gate to entice her in, and my goats got loose. Suddenly, I had to chase a hen and two goats.

Not enough time to work these problems.

My rational mind knew goats could be recaptured, and they were. It assumed Red would stay near her fenced-away flock, and Rooster kept calling for her. It guessed she could wander, might become lost or injured. It worried about a raptor grabbing her, and gobbling (not long ago my neighbors lost a hen to a Golden Eagle).

My rational mind had to decide: call the boss to say I’d be late, or leave things and hurry to work. I didn’t have the boss’s number, so made the decision. “Somehow stay safe, Red. I’ll return at dusk. If I find you perched and roosting, I’ll lift and return you to the flock.” My rational mind added, “Little chance then of finding her.”

I worried all afternoon and after work rushed home. No sign of Red. She wasn’t roosting in sight nor were there scattered feathers suggesting a snatcher. I searched the property with a flashlight, not finding Red.

After haying the horses, I carried chow to the goats. Inside the goat area, my chickens roost crowded-together on a bench. As usual, I counted them. Seven? I blinked and peered, counted again. Counted yet, again, and yes there were seven! With Red squeezing among them!

Relief washed through me. Leaving her running loose had been awful, and worst, were my hours of fearing her lost or hurt. Today, my rational mind again is busy. What if now, Red is a too-educated hen? Might she become an adventuress, at will leaving and returning to her flock?

If so, she’ll wind up as a garage mate to my still-thriving Old Welsummer hen.

Dear Friends: Happily all worked out well, I still have a job and seven chickens. Diana

Creative Collaborating

Sunday, January 09, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon”, having waxed to First Quarter, will rise at fullest on the 17th.)

If you didn’t notice yesterday evening’s quarter “Wolf Moon”, you missed a beaut. It’s hard to await the Moon’s fullest version. To feel the joy of seeing it begin to rise, and first-glow above a dark horizon.

As deep winter reigns, Dark January’s “Wolf Moon” compels. This season needs light!

Susie and I are fullest-moon chasers. Guided by her compass, we travel to some spot, very dark in the desert, to await a fullest moon’s earliest rising.

We don’t think about much except the natural new light and how to use our cameras and binoculars. But we feel excited about an increasing globe adding new light. While working toward capturing, we’re laughing and dancing.

Glimpsing any month’s fullest moon is joyous. Especially, while in darkness and peering toward an almost invisible horizon. That first light appearing has a powerful affect, by inspiring delight and incredible happiness.

It’s difficult to explain, but Susie and will attempt. In a new adventure of combining talents, we’ll comb through past photos and blogs to capture our nearly year’s-worth of Moon Chases. We’ll arrange our adventures, sightings, and descriptions in an order to create a narrative.

A worthy idea!

Dear Friends: We’ve done most of the work, now to review, arrange, expand. Diana

Flocking-Up

Saturday, January 08, 2022

(January sky’s “Waxing Crescent”, or the “Wolf Moon”, will rise fullest on the 17th.)

I drove way south of town to Josh’s home. He has two hen turkeys and three chickens that he wants adopted-out. Recently, Josh rescued a stray Shiba Inu dog, from Korea where dogs routinely are fed chickens. He’s found his new dog is a determined chicken-killer, but otherwise a fine pet.

Josh has owned chickens for years, says he’ll plan being without more for a long while. His current turkeys and chickens are young. Last spring, Josh obtained two just-born hen turkeys, intending to raise and slaughter them for Thanksgiving. But the birds grew into easy, sweet companions, and just before Thanksgiving began laying eggs. Josh had become attached and altered his holiday meal plans.

Those turkeys were my first experience with such big birds. Both were beautiful, very friendly, and easy to stroke. They seemed to enjoy being touched. All right, so I fell in love.

Ahead I be wrestling with how to create an appropriate shelter for five birds. I’ve a fenced area that’s unprotected, in three directions, from freezing weather and high winds. Unfortunately, we’re solidly into deepest-winter months. With Josh’s input, I’ve some creative-sheltering ideas.

My challenges are getting into place that shelter. Bringing home those friendly fowls, before a determined dog manages to grab one or more.

As to turkey eggs. Josh says they taste slightly gamey, and says they’re good!

Dear Friends: Promising those turkeys and chickens never to become dinners. Diana

Flocking

Friday, January 07, 2022

(January sky’s “Waxing Crescent”, or the “Wolf Moon”, will rise fullest on the 17th.)

Winds are blowing mightily again, and today’s expected weather is for off-and-on rain and snow. This is a day for me of no outside work, and I’ll walk the horses over to Bobby’s pasture. Let them graze all day, unless our weather gets just awful and that’s doubtful.

Today, I’ll travel to this town’s southern section, Deschutes River Woods, to meet two hen turkeys and three hen chickens that I’ll be adopting. First, my place needs adequate shelter in an area that’s safely-fenced and adjacent to my current chicken flock. My plan is to keep both new and established birds safe while all mutually become familiar. And then to integrate all as one flock.

I continue worrying about having two roosters, and having too few hens to give each rooster his own flock. So far, there haven’t been signs of fighting or bloodshed. Neither rooster has attempted to attack me. Surprisingly, neither has fully developed spurs with claws. I’m hopeful that both may continue their lives among the flock. Otherwise, the Old Welsummer hen, still thriving in my garage, may gain a garage-mate.

Maybe I could leash-train an unneeded rooster and take him into the feed store where I work? Maybe we’d run across someone who’d wish to adopt him?

Dear Friends: Integrations and roosters, not easy fixes but worthwhile projects. Diana

Calendar, 2022

Thursday, January 06, 2022

(January sky’s “Waxing Crescent”, or the “Wolf Moon”, will rise fullest on the 17th.)

My friend Susie showed up with a New Year’s surprise that knocked my socks off. She has created a large 2022 calendar, loaded with many best and fun photos from my various blogs.

Each month’s header is a fine capture of one of my beloved animals. Date spaces are populated with photos of key moments. There are horseback rides, full-moon chases, and strolls with animals. Susie is an intrepid planner, so date boxes trigger birthdays and special events.

Wonderful photos, beautiful memories. And ahead a whole year for more. Oh my, oh my!

Her creativity and our browse through the calendar generated fresh ideas. We recalled exciting moon chases and witnessing full moons rising, all visually beautiful. We’ve seen first-lights breaking total darkness, watched new globes move upward through complex clouds that alternately obscure and reveal a light’s journey.

Waiting in total darkness for a moon to rise, and eagerly anticipating sudden light.

Our joy in this experience must be primitive. Susie and I might be re-enacting human behavior since time immemorial, in moments of first-light penetrating darkness. During future full-moon chases we’ll try capturing more of that excitement and creatively sharing the fun.

At each month’s beginning, the blog’s header photo will be of that month’s calendar page.

By the way, inspired by her husband, youngest son, and a woman friend who motorcycles, Susie has obtained a learner’s permit and practices motorcycle-driving on local streets. Kudos to her bravery and determination!

Dear Friends: Moments with Susie can generate whirlwinds of activities. Diana

“Finishing The Hat”*

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

(January sky’s “Waxing Crescent” is the “Wolf Moon”, rising fullest on the 17th.)

A customer came into the store where I work part-time. She asked, if I’m “the lady who adopted a little dog from my mother-in-law?” Adding, “She sent me in here to find out how the adoption is going.”

“Of course! I’m the adopter. Tell your mother-in-law that I love the little masked dog. Everything is going well. She’s adjusted to my home, is fun and nearly fearless, has turned into a leader of my larger, herding-types, runs and plays with them. Her dose of Jack Russell dominates, she’s a nonstop zoomer.”

The woman laughed, “I’m glad to know she’s in a great home. Mom was pretty sure the decision to leave her with you was correct, although it happened quickly.”

“I understood she had been rescued, but have wondered from what kind of situation. Honestly, she already knows lots. She has a good recall, chases and fetches balls, rides nicely in a car, is leash-trained, and is very smart. Why was she rescued?”

“Her owner was a man, impatient and not always treating her well. He felt relieved about turning over the dog to someone else. My family worked a bit with her to do a little training. We wanted to make sure she would be adopted by somebody who’d really care for her.”

“Well, she’s in the right place. She has space for running with her buddies, sleeps in my bed, and on my days off goes everywhere with me.”

That woman and I are planning to meet at the store on one of my days off. I’ll have Mitzvah there, too. We’ll take pictures to reassure her mother-in-law that the pup has a loving home.

It’s so cool. The woman giving me the little dog, about a month ago, was traveling home to another Oregon city, and had stopped to buy a leash. She’s following-up, too. While handing Mitzvah over to me, she said her son often comes into the store and he’d ask about the pup. I’ve looked for him, wondered why the rescue. Now, knowing some of Mitzvah’s history, a larger story takes shape.

Next steps for the pup: (1) a veterinarian visit to learn if she’s spayed, and to get needed puppy shots, and (2) afterwards, a play date with Petey, the Gilberts’ Border Terrier. They’ll be an awesome combination, of “energetic littles”!

Dear Friends: In a time of hard-to-find small adoptables, that’s a mitzvah. Diana

*Reference to lyrics, from “Sunday In The Park with George”, by Stephen Sondheim

Darkness Doesn’t Reign

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

(January sky’s “Waxing Crescent” is the “Wolf Moon”, rising fullest on the 17th.)

Did somebody say, “Snow!” Yep, and non-stopping lots, wet, slippery, and badly needed. Non-stop, also, from the store where I work, went waterproof jackets, boots, and pants. Went de-icers, mouse traps, and heat-lights.

Outdoor conditions became so bad that the store’s forklifts got stuck, causing traffic jams at the load-out site. After our warehouse guys corrected that situation, one waded out into the parking lot and brushed the snow off our cars.

Just before Christmas, I decided to purchase a decorative multi-colored lighting device, but spent too long thinking because quickly they sold-out. Guess what. Yesterday a customer returned one of the lights, it didn’t suit a space planned for it. Almost immediately, the light became mine.

More about Christmas lights, this neighborhood’s still are on, and unusual, especially for my neighbor, John. Always before and on-the-spot he’s disconnected them, seemingly the very moment following New Year’s Day. Annually I accustom myself to missing his lights which please visually and brighten my way. This year, they’re still glowing.

Mine, too, are on. To be honest, I’ll leave them strung and powered-on through January, at least. This season especially, I arrive home from work in darkness, feeling welcomed by strings of glowing colors, beckoning me forward.

By the way, my hummingbird feeder, under-lit in red from a small bulb, does its job well. The unit is being used, nearly is empty. Some of the store’s customers care for over-wintering hummingbirds and know ways creative and cost-effective to heat feeders.

This morning, it’s beautiful outside, with snow covering greenery under a very pale sky.

Dear Friends: Embracing winter with lights, that’s simply the “bee’s knees”. Diana