Firecracker

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was CONNIPTION. In response I’m going to post one of the stories I wrote awhile back, and read at the POETRY NIGHT two weeks ago. I’ll embellish it a bit for today’s prompt.

Image from Pixabay

Firecracker

See that handsome young rooster? That’s Firecracker. Raised him from a chick, I did, fed him, fussed over him, gave him lots of TLC so he’d be nice and plump come fall. He was a cute little guy back then, especially when he started following me around the yard. I’ll admit, I’m going to miss having him tagging along after me, but now that he’s full grown, he’s going to be the star of our Thanksgiving table.

He wasn’t very old when the grandchildren named him Firecracker — and we thought it was kind of a cute name, so it stuck. I’ll tell you why he got that name. Oh, yes, he can make enough noise when he wants to, like at 5am when you’re wanting another hour of sleep. But you should hear him explode when he catches sight of a mouse or rat around the chicken yard. One day the grandchildren were in the yard fussing over him like they do, when he spied a mouse in the grass nearby. They said he went off just like a firecracker and went dashing over to do battle.

He’s been really good that way. Every time he sees a rodent he goes after the thing, calling all his ladies to come help him. He has a certain kind of squawk that says, “Enemy spotted!” and the hens come running. Our dog, Duchess, dashes into the action, too, when she hears that sound. Between them all, they make short work of rodents. And what a conniption if the intruder manages to escape into a crack in the wall!

I’m thinking old Duchess will miss Firecracker. The hens will, for sure, but he’s destined for our Thanksgiving table. One can’t be too sentimental about these things.

One thing I’ve been happy about is how good Firecracker behaves when the grandchildren come over — maybe because they’ve fed him grain and other tidbits ever since he was just a spring chick. Roosters can sometimes be cantankerous, but not him. And you know how kids are: as soon as they get here, they rush out to see Firecracker. He usually comes running when he hears their voices, to see what treats they might have for him.

Maybe we shouldn’t have let them spoil him quite so much. When I told the youngest grandchild last week that Firecracker is going to be our Thanksgiving dinner she got all sober and sad-looking for awhile. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I guess she’s going to miss seeing him around.

One of the grandsons must have heard about this, too, because he phoned a few days ago and asked, ” Grandma, are you really going to cook Firecracker for our dinner?”

“Well, yes. We can’t eat him raw.” I was trying for a little levity but by the gulp I heard from his end, I guess he didn’t appreciate my humor. So I gently explained to him how Firecracker has had a good life and now it’s time to say goodbye, because he belongs on our Thanksgiving table. That’s what Grandpa and I raised him for. This is life on the farm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve got the bread cubed and in the freezer for the stuffing. On Tuesday my husband’s going to dispatch Firecracker. I’ll tell you, plucking that bird is going to feel pretty odd — he has such beautiful plumage, you know. Oh, hang on a minute…my phone’s ringing. Call display tells me it’s my oldest son.

“Hi, Jason,” I say. “How are things going? Glad to hear it. By the way, I wanted to let you know we’re planning to have our Thanksgiving dinner at 5pm this time… What do you mean, you’re not coming? … Are you saying NONE of you are coming? But why? I have this huge meal planned…

“Your kids are all refusing to eat Firecracker. Can’t you just explain that he’s part of our Thanksgiving meal – that’s why we raised him. What are we supposed to do with him if… What!?”

I tell Grandpa about the call and he shakes his head. “What a conniption!”

“The grandchildren have all emptied their piggy banks and they want to buy Firecracker. They want to keep him as a pet, of all things, and we can just let him live here. The family is offering to bring fish for the meal—Jason says none of them know any fish.”

“If that doesn’t beat all! Guess he’ll live to a ripe old age then.”

“I’m not especially sentimental,” I tell him, “but I’ll admit I’ve gotten rather fond of old Firecracker myself. And for sure the hens will be more content having him about the place. Even Duchess will be happy if Firecracker lives to chase more rodents.”

“Guess we can do this to make the grandchildren happy,” says Grandpa. “But next year we’ll buy a bird from the store and not let them see it before it’s cooked and on the table.”

Hope is a Thing With Mice

Monday Morning Musing

Good morning everyone. Time for a brief update and maybe a few haiku. Last night I was reading a book about the early masters of haiku. According to an old legend one of them, Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693) wrote 23,500 verses in a day. Can you imagine writing almost a thousand verses in an hour – using Japanese characters? Legend is a wonderful thing.

Would any of those be of sterling quality? (STERLING being the Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning.) I was inspired to do a few myself, but for sure mine aren’t very sterling. It’s not hard to dash off words, but it takes me time to write something that will even make sense.

winter nipping
a mouse squeezes into the warmth
heaven or hell
?

When the winds blow cold and there’s a nip in the air, hopeful mice are wont to creep into houses, hoping to find a cozy home for the winter months, hopefully with a food source not too far away–like a bowl of cat food on the floor. Last Friday I was sitting in my recliner reading, while my black cat dozed contentedly on my lap. Glancing up, I spotted one such hopeful mouse creep out from under our wood stove sitting in the corner of our living room. We have poison set out, but this must be a clever mouse.

brave mouse scurries
under my wood stove
wee Napoleon.

“Mouse, Angus! Mouse,” I screeched, and the mouse quickly disappeared. Angus opened his eyes and gave me a “What are you on about?” look. It didn’t take long, though, before both of our cats caught on about those little mouse feet scrabbling on the stones. I’ve moved the cat food elsewhere and our cats spend time by the wood stove these days, hoping for a Waterloo.

Fresh Snow

Winds are definitely whipping and winter is nipping today. After a mild spell most of last week, the temp dropped yesterday evening and a north wind picked up. Snowflakes were falling by the time we left church, just before 9 pm, and before long we had the makings of a storm. Fine flakes blew through the air all night; we’ve a nice amount this morning and more is falling as I write this.

“Hope is a thing with feathers…” In this case sparrows hoping for a few grains have found a bare spot on our driveway somewhat out of the wind. Our sidewalk is blown in ankle-deep, I learned as I waded out a bit ago to scatter seed for them.

lame magpie
bullied by his own finds peace

among the sparrows

Poetry Reading

“Hope is a Thing With Feathers,” the famous poem by Angie Dickinson, was one of the verses read at our Poetry night Saturday evening. I was hoping for a bit larger crowd but, apart from the readers and their partners, only five others attended. Hopefully next time… Renaming it “Literary Night” might draw more interest. I read a mixture of my own poems and short stories myself.

Click here to read one of them.

So Tomorrow Will Be Twitter Tuesday?

Now that Black Friday sales are basically done, I received half a dozen ads this morning telling me that today is Cyber Monday. Can anyone explain that? No, never mind…

I’m hoping this will be a better week for me. I was pretty wiped out last week, not sick but very weary. Energy level 2/10 kind of thing. I suspect my white cell count is on the rise, but we’ll see how this week goes. Hope is a thing with energy… 🙂 I’ve another phone visit with my oncologist Dec 12, which should give me a better idea how things stand.

Speaking of energy, it’s our youngest grandson’s 12th birthday today.

Image: Dessie Designs — Pixabay

An Avian Paradise

Here’s my response to Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt...

How Will They Manage?

Our yard’s an avian paradise. Birdseed liberally sprinkled, water bowls, even a sprinkler on hot days. Cats trained to ignore birds. However will they manage in the real world?

Patiently waiting for lunch
Image: Peggy_Marco — Pixabay

This is no fiction tale. The noise in our yard can be deafening at times — like when I go out with my birdseed first thing in the morning. As I have written before, the birds aren’t the only ones taking advantage: in the past few weeks I’ve often seen a doe and her fawn drinking from the basin between us and the woods. A few days ago I was up at the crack of dawn and saw a jackrabbit hopping around my front yard water dishes. And I’m amazed how bold the birds are around my cats. Hummers will feed at flower pots right beside where the cats are lying!

Bumpy Blue Day

Clicker Free image from Pixabay. My Expression.

Warning: Moan Ahead

On June 27th I mentioned in a text to my daughter that “I still have a sore throat.” Well, I STILL have a sore throat. It has waxed and waned, but persists in paining me, especially in the mornings. In fact when I got up this morning the node on the right side was so swollen I could hardly swallow, so I knew it was time to see a doctor.

This started the morning after I did a jigsaw puzzle from Value Village. The puzzle must have been stored and had a bit of mustiness in it, and I’m VERY sensitive to the faintest trace of must or mould. Though I couldn’t smell anything, I woke up the next morning with a really sore throat. In fact I could barely swallow. Drank a lot of chicken broth, took decongestants and the problem almost cleared up. However, a week later I began working with some fabrics someone had stored away, then donated to charity. I cut squares for a blanket top one day and that night already my throat was raw. If only I’d remember to wear my dust mask for any of these activities I could avoid this!

A seemingly unavoidable woe this summer is that I’m allergic to the bite of mites — mainly bird mites such as the cats bring home. Practically invisible, the bite of these pests produces in me a hive-like reaction that’s gotten so much worse over time. Mosquito bites give me dime-size red bumps, but some mite bites can swell up to about the diameter of a mandarin orange in my sensitive flesh. They itch like crazy for a few days, then slowly subside. A week later there’ll be a red scar about an inch in diameter. Our cats pick up mites from lying around where birds or infested stray cats sit, or when they catch a bird. I even got a few bites one day from refilling the bird feeder.

A few mornings back I brushed against a shrub in passing and later felt something on my face. I brushed off a small blossom or leaf, but it must have hosted a mite because an hour later the characteristic blister showed up on the right side of my cheek close to my ear. It’s grown into a huge hard bump, pink with a reddish center, and it’s blocking my ear canal and swelling the node in my neck underneath. This is why I could barely swallow when I woke up this morning. I’ve a smaller bite on my arm now too, which is really itchy and I showed the doctor all the healing ones on my legs. She has given me prednisone and told me to keep taking my antihistamine as well.

Now I have an over-the-phone visit with my Oncologist on Monday. Had a blood test Thursday in preparation, so I’m eager to hear what those results are. Also, I wonder what that doctor will say about all my swollen lymph nodes. How much is due to allergy and how much to the lymphocytic leukemia that’s starting to show up again this year?

We’re in a mini heat wave here in Sask. Not the 100-108 degree (38 to 42 Celsius) July weeks I recall from back in my teen years, but today it was 34 C (94-95 F) and that’s hot enough for us old fogys. Our cats are outside lying in any shady spot they can find — maybe collecting a few mites? 😦 Need to dose them with anti-parasitic stuff again.

I like to stay upbeat, but sometimes reality hits hard. My energy level is low lately. Forecast is for some cooler days ahead, like 28 C, which may not please seriously devoted heat lovers, but we’re looking forward to the slight drop. Hard to believe July is over half gone! Things outdoors, crops, etc, are looking great right now; the woods are filled with bird songs; harried parent birds are being trailed by open-mouthed offspring. Lovely time of year if it weren’t for bug bites!

Socks Our Hero!

It’s Thursday and high time for my response the Six Sentence Story prompt, hosted by GirlieOnTheEdge. This week’s word is TERM. If you go to her blog you’ll see the InLinkz button to click on so you can read the other responses to this prompt.

Here’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for awhile. Someday I’ll planned to flesh it out more but for now I’ll squeeze it into six (okay, some very long) sentences to meet the writing challenge. Hope you enjoy it.

SOCKS, OUR HERO

Sheriff Wilson, trying hard to look stern, explained to Farmer Rushton, “I’m here to investigate a complaint made by some fellow who came here last night that you have a – his term was ‘vicious wild boar’ – running around your farmyard.”

“There’s nothing vicious about Socks,” Rushton exclaimed, “and furthermore, she’s a sow, not a boar. But our Socks is as friendly and playful as a puppy; you know yourself she’s been Tommy’s pet ever since she was the runt of the litter last year – and she loves to meet our farm visitors.”

“Well, this fella stopped by last night when you folks weren’t home and says he was just having a look around – I’d use the term skulking myself – when he came past the barn and suddenly this vicious pig was charging at him, screaming like a banshee.

He ran but hit some slime, slid, and went head-first into a huge puddle of ‘barnyard sludge’–” Sheriff Wilson couldn’t hold back a chortle “– and the ‘berserk beast’ came wallowing in right after him so that he barely escaped with his life – and without whatever else he might have been hoping to take away, I might add.”

Rushton grinned, then shook his head and said, “Well, I’ve sometimes grumbled about how much water my kids use when they make a mud puddle for Socks to cool herself off in, but I won’t begrudge Socks her beauty baths from now on.”

Original image by Iris Hamelmann at Pixabay