About This Blog

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I have loved things Country and Western all of my life. I have loved the ranches and farms, the work, the fields, the barns, livestock, and the food. I was born and raised in Kentucky where I learned to ride and care for horses. Most of my family lived on farms and/or were livestock producers. I have raised various livestock and poultry over the years.I have sold livestock feed and minerals in two states. My big hats and boots are only an outward manifestation of the country life I hold dear to my heart. With the help of rhyme or short story, in recipes or photos, I make an effort in this blog to put into words my day to day observations of all things rural; the things that I see and hear, from under my hat. All poems and short stories, unless noted otherwise, are authored by me. I hope you enjoy following along.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer Simplicity

A dome of brilliant blue sets over the Chicken Ranch today. Only the thin brush strokes of fair weather clouds interrupt its bright covering.The breeze is fresh and the temperature in the 70's for now. A perfect day for doing summer chores. I'm picking cherries this early morn.

 The tree is full of the sweet/tart marble-sized fruit. The ripe ones are a beautiful candy red. The less than ripe are a  mixture of red to gold. I fill my bucket to the brim while standing on a ladder. Pulling the branches to me, I gather the darkest red ones that I can find, and dream of the tasty jams and pies that my wife, Patty, will wonderfully make from these. This chore goes easy as the breeze blows across my skin, and makes music in the pines and cedars. The wind massages my neck under my cowboy hat and eases the task at hand. Nothing like a cool summer breeze to lift your spirits.

The birds sing songs of praise for this day as I gather the fruit. A rabbit hops below my ladder and looks up at me with curiosity; then settles in to nibble the clover surrounding the base of my ladder.

Birds fly in occasionally and then flit off at the site of this cowboy high in their domain. I'm glad I'm picking theses cherries instead of them. Blackbirds can clean a cherry tree out in a day. A few years ago I started placing a large realistic looking owl close to the the trees when the cherries were close to ripening. This has worked wonders in keeping the feathered fruit-stealing critters from beating me to the punch each year, and robbing me of my pies and jam.

The garden will need attention today. A little watering, weeding and hoeing to keep it clean and productive.The full dark green leaves and bright orange blossoms of the squash plants promise the coming of great table fare. The blue/green kale is already adding its unique taste to our salads. Tomatoes are standing tall and full, and some now have green fruit growing bigger each day and ripening in the summer sun. We anxiously await the big red balls of salad and sandwich makers. I sometimes keep a salt shaker under a can on a post near the garden. When the tomatoes are just right I wipe them off, salt them, and enjoy the right-off-the-vine taste that cannot be beat.

Summer chores are a joy to me. My mind rests while I hoe or when I'm picking fruit or vegetables.While I'm in the garden, or on the tractor mowing, I feel unburdened by the worries and problems that are a weight of every day life. The feel of the sun on my skin, the touch of the breeze, the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees, are all a source of real joy and comfort to me.

Man is made from the earth, when he is in touch with the earth, he has come home. He is connected, revitalized. Sometimes the work is laborious. There is toil and sweat in daily living, but every drop of perspiration is an impurity leaving me. Every muscle movement is verification of my being healthy. Working outside carries me from just living... to feeling alive.

It's a simple thing, just doing what needs to be done. Some of what we do is of pure necessity, and yet, those actions remind me of what I have and enjoy in this life. I count my blessings when I work outside. It makes me grateful for all that I have; not just worldly possessions, but in my sight, hearing, feelings.

As I take a break, and sip sweet tea on my back porch, I take in all the summer scene of flowers, trees and nature as a whole. I expand my chest, inhale deeply, and take in the  fresh oxygen-rich breath of the seasons finest country air. I think, yes, I'm thankful for all that God has in His mercy granted me. I'm happy to be active. I'm happy to be alive. I'm very glad for summer simplicity.

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