Tuesday, April 24

Rojo's Belated Funeral

Rojo's open casket
Last fall, I posted the lyrics to the song Rojo about a red rooster. Our neighbors had named their red rooster Rojo in honor of this Archie Campbell song. I ended up finding a copy of the recording on ebay and purchased it for 99 cents. I gave the record to Coy Dan for his birthday.

This is an account of Rojo that as you can tell by the title ends is his belated funeral. Stay with me on this one...

Rojo's harem, as we called them, included several hens that Jennifer had brought down to keep him company. The pen they called home was a converted dog kennel. We added a wire top to keep them safe from varmits and they made themselves at home in the dog houses and on roost we built. Later in the year we decided it was getting too cold for the chickens to remain in that pen so one afternoon Jennifer and Glenda decided to move them to our house. They hadn't figured out yet what to do with Rojo, however, since we had roosters of our own. Jennifer and Glenda didn't want Rojo to get hurt by our roosters, so they left him in the pen by himself, just until the following day when we could figure out what to do with him or build him suitable shelter.

Coy Dan delivers the rooster eulogy

This was what Coy Dan called the first mistake that led to Rojo's demise. According to him, Glenda and Jennifer had broken poor little Rojo's heart by taking all his girls away.

That night, the wind had a biting cold to it. Rojo, exposed to the cold wind, stubbornly stayed perched on the roost where he and his harem spent most nights, only now he was alone (with a broken heart). Glenda, so well-intentioned, hung a blanket up as a wind-break.

Coy Dan can hardly keep a straight face explaining how this was the second and final mistake that killed Rojo: the blanket had a print on it of a wolves.

So Rojo, cold, alone and unloved, and now psychologically tortured by a giant wolf head in front of him had died in the night. While a necropsy was never performed either he died from this or more accurately "something got him" (which by the state of his body was much more likely).

Glenda and Jennifer were pretty broken up about Rojo's death. Coy Dan and I make light of the whole episode, but Glenda, Jennifer, and the Blakemore grandchildren really did become attached to Rojo and missed him immediately. More than a few tears were shed. Glenda asked Coy Dan to take care of the body so he did. We didn't see Rojo again.

Since that fall every time Rojo had come up Glenda would speak fondly of the rooster then close with "..and Dan probably just threw him on a brush pile somewhere." She couldn't have been further from the truth. Each time she would say this, Coy Dan would say nothing.

That day Rojo died, Coy Dan had built a casket and kept Rojo frozen in a deep freeze until two weekends ago. He was waiting for a chance to get his son, Bruce, and all of us over to have a proper funeral for Rojo. We celebrated Glenda's birthday and Rojo's funeral that night with Bruce singing Amazing Grace (and trying to keep a straight face)!

Bruce sings Amazing Grace for Rojo

Coy Dan is definitely committed to seeing a joke through. He once told me a series of jokes that on their own weren't that funny. The combination of all the jokes, (properly told several days apart) made for a good laugh. This one tops the cake however.

Glenda laughing

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Friday, April 13

Spring teaser

Kite flying
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
This photo was taken in late March when it appeared Spring was here to stay. Pictured is our neighbor's granddaughter, Brianne. In the background are the woods to the north of our home. (I was able to get both a family member and the woods for my faithful reader Dianne!).

Since this photo was taken we've had a cold snap that has ruined lots of crops that were fooled by the spring tease as well. During that snap we were covering and uncovering plants that we had recently planted. Jennifer works at Hilltop Gardens in Ash Grove and gets a deal on plants. She jokes that since she spent so much time there I just said she should ask them for a job.

I'm Published Photographer

I gave my photos of the ChIPS event to the lodge and they ended up writing a story and using a couple shots in the Ash Grove Commonwealth.

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Tuesday, April 10

Answers to queries

Traffic on this blog is nothing spectacular, but I do get some interesting search queries. I'll try to address some of them as best as I can here:

horses hurting themselves with round bale feeders: Well I don't have any direct experience with this, but I have learned horses will do the damnedest things. Last year I went out to feed and found we were one horse short. I eventually found that Eve had wedged herself between the back of the barn and the barbed wire fence. She was going after some tasty plants for sure. She managed to squeeze herself past several tree trunks, which sprung back in place, holding her in. This episode was proof positive of the calm nature of the Percheron breed. She just stood there while Coy Dan helped us cut the fence away to free her.

guineas and chickens together: I have sad news to report for some: we gave the guineas away. Our guineas did in fact coexist with the chickens quite well. We grew tired, however, of their constant squawking, and the rooster of the bunch started flying after Jennifer. The last straw came when Jennifer found them taking a dust bath in one of her flower beds. They went to a good home however, neighbor Bob loved hearing them, so now they're at his place!

why do the amish have rocks in wires cornering their property? This is an excellent question, and by no means am I an expert on Amish folk or their fencing techniques. I can tell you though that fence corners made of wire filled with rock are not unique to the Amish. This area of the country has some very rocky soil. Driving around our rural area you'll spot pile after pile of rocks that have been picked off the fields for generations. Some people choose to create corners out of the rocks, I would guess, simply to put them to use. Plus I would think it makes for a pretty good stationary object to stretch fence against.

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Call out

Coy Dan
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
I've learned I have some regular readers that enjoy keeping up on the goings-on in our neck of the country. Coy Dan and Glenda said a few of their more internet-saavy family members are frequent readers of my blog. I hope they've enjoyed reading about our adventures and the many lessons Coy Dan and Glenda have taught us.

Coy Dan had no idea what types of of stories I was telling about him. I think he thought I was poking fun at him and his country ways. Any of my readers know that's not true however. I'd like to encourage any anonymous folks to come forth and identify yourselves, especially if you're related to the fellow pictured here. Reading and responding to comments is half the fun of this blog!

Monday, April 2

Rick, rack, chord


Creating this type of structure is something that I've been spending quite a bit of time on. I haven't yet measured how much wood we have, but there are several stacks like the one shown above strategically placed through out the farm. Strategically placed in this case was some place close to where the wood had fallen and was subsequently cut.

Firewood should pretty much be a commodity item in these parts next year, but in the event you find yourself negotiating a price for firewood, you should be familiar with the different terms used to describe they quantities. A "chord" of wood is 128 cubic feet of neatly and tightly stacked wood. No more no less. A rick or a rack usually describes one sliver of a chord, but to me, is a useless measurement since the wood lengths in the stack vary depending upon who cut it. I found this site to have a good explanation of the measurements.
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