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First Post On First Blog

  1. angry gary
    NOW CHICKENS?
    THIS WAS THE FIRST WORDS OUT OF MY IN-LAWS MOUTH WHEN THEY HEARD FROM MY WIFE THAT WE WERE BUILDING A CHICKEN COOP! "THEY STINK AND ARE NOISY. YOU WILL NOT KEEP THEM FOR LONG" WAS THE OBJECTIONS WE WERE HEARING FROM MY MOTHER IN LAW. WHO BY THE WAY GREW UP IN THE CITY OF WILKES-BARRE PENNSYLVANIA. NOT MUCH ROOM THERE FOR KEEPING LIVESTOCK OR POULTRY.
    I GREW UP LIVING WITH MY GRANDMOTHER FOR MANY YEARS FROM MAY UNTIL SCHOOL STARTED IN SEPTEMBER IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THEY HAD A HUNDRED ACRE FARM THAT WAS MAINLY GROWING A ROTATION OF SOY BEAN, CORN AND COTTON. BUT THEY HAD A TON OF FREE ROAMING CHICKENS, MANY CATS THAT MULTIPLIED IN THE SPRING AND HAD DOZENS OF KITTENS THAT SOMEHOW DWINDLED AWAY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR UNTIL WE WERE DOWN TO ONLY A COUPLE "SURVIVORS" THAT BECAME PERMANENT RESIDENTS. I GUESS HAWKS AND PREDATORS TOOK THEIR TOLL. I ONCE SAW ONE OF THE KITTENS TRYING TO ATTACK A CORAL SNAKE. NEEDLESS TO SAY IT DID NOT TURN OUT WELL FOR THE KITTEN. MY GRANDMOTHERS HOUSE WAS ALSO THE LOCAL DUMPING GROUNDS FOR BEAGLES. IN SOUTH CAROLINA BEAGLES ARE USED TO RUN DEER DURING DEER SEASON. I GUESS IF A DOG DID NOT PAN OUT IT WOULD MYSTERIOUSLY END UP AT MY GRANDMOTHERS. ONE MORNING WE WENT OUTSIDE TO SEE A THREE LEGGED BEAGLE THAT HAD LOST A LEG HUNTING. MY GRANDMOTHER NEVER BATTED AN EYE AND NEVER ONCE HAD A BAD THING TO SAY. THE DOG WAS INSTANTLY PART OF THE FAMILY. THATS HOW THINGS WERE THERE.
    I NOW KNOW I GOT MY LOVE OF ANIMALS FROM MY GRANDMOTHER.

    EVERY MORNING I WAS AWAKEN AT 5 AM FOR BREAKFAST THAT WAS SERVED FOR AROUND 10- 15 PEOPLE EVERYDAY. UNCLES, COUSINS, FARMHANDS AND OCCASIONAL NEIGHBORS WOULD HAVE A SEAT AT MY GRANDMOTHERS KITCHEN TABLE. I REMEMBER WAKING UP TO THE SMELL OF FRIED EGGS ,FRIED BOLOGNA AND THE GIANT PAN OF GRITS! AND AS A KID WE WERE EXPECTED TO WAIT UNTIL THE UNCLES AND WORKERS ATE AND WERE OFF TO BUSINESS OF THE DAY BEFORE WE ATE.
    IT WAS AT THIS TIME THAT I WAS TAKEN ALONG WITH MY UNCLE WHO WORKED A COMMERCIAL CHICKEN OPERATION. HE HAD 5 OR 6 HOUSES THAT HOUSED AROUND 200,000 CHICKENS AS BEST AS I CAN REMEMBER. THERE WERE 3 LAYER HOUSES WITH DOMINIQUES, RHODE ISLAND REDS,( OR WERE THEY NEW HAMPSHIRE REDS?), AND RHODE ISLAND WHITES.
    MY JOB WAS TO FIRST WALK THE HOUSE LOOKING FOR DEAD LOSS CHICKENS AND CLEANING OUT THE AUTOMATIC WATERING TROUGHS. THEN I WOULD GRAB A COUPLE DOZEN 30 COUNT EGG TRAYS AND START MY MORNING COLLECTING OF EGGS. I REMEMBER SLIDING THE TRAYS ON THE PERCHES NEAR THE NESTS LIKE I WAS SLIDING MY LUNCH TRAY AT SCHOOL. BUT ALAS THERE WAS NO PIZZABURGERS AND PUDDING ON THIS PARTICULAR LINE!
    AFTER FINISHING ALL THREE HOUSES WE WOULD LOAD THE BACK OF THE OLD FORD PICKUP TRUCK BED WITH THE MORNINGS HAUL AND OFF TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE PROPERTY WHERE THEY HAD CONVERTED AN OLD ABANDONED HOUSE INTO A CHILLED STORAGE ROOM FOR THE EGGS. THIS IS WHERE I ALSO LEARNED TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT "THREE ON THE TREE" AT THE RIPE OL' AGE OF 11! TALK ABOUT PRESSURE! IF I LET OUT THE CLUTCH TOO FAST AND CAUSED THE TRUCK TO JUMP AHEAD I WOULD SPILL EGGS ONTO THE GROUND BEHIND ME! I NEVER REMEMBER DUMPING ANY EGGS ON THE GROUND AND TODAY I THINK MY UNCLE WAS JUST PULLING MY LEG ABOUT ME RUINING EGGS!

    NOW OFF TO THE FOUR BROILER HOUSES TO CHECK WATERERS, TURN ON THE FEED SILO AND ONCE AGAIN LOOK FOR DEAD LOSS. I HATED CARRYING DEAD CHICKENS OUT OF THE HOUSES. BUT IT HAD TO BE DONE.

    ALL DONE AND HOME BEFORE DINNER,( OR LUNCH DEPENDING ON YOUR PART OF THE COUNTRY). I HAD A FEW HOURS TO GOOF OFF AS A KID AND PLAY BUT BACK TO THE HOUSES IN THE EVENING TO DO IT ALL AGAIN.
    I LOOK BACK ON MY TIME IN SOUTH CAROLINA ON THE FARM AND IT SADDENS ME TO KNOW THAT MY CHILDREN WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE AND DO SOME OF THE THINGS I WAS ABLE TO DO AS A KID. TO EXPERIENCE LIFE ON A FARM, TO WITNESS ALL TYPE OF FARM ANIMALS GROW FROM HATCHLINGS, CALVES, PIGLETS TO FULL GROWN ANIMALS AND THEN TO THEIR FINAL DESTINATION AS FOOD ON THE TABLE. THE CYCLE OF LIFE ON A FARM. I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT AS CRUEL OR INHUMANE, BUT AS A NECESSITY OF SURVIVAL IN THE COUNTRY. AND AS A RITE THAT HAD BEEN PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.

    SO NOW ALMOST 40 YEARS LATER......
    I HAVE MARRIED AND HAVE TWO BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS AGED 30 AND 20. I HAVE HAD "PETS" SINCE I FIRST MOVED OUT OF MY PARENTS HOUSE AT 19. I REMEMBER GETTING A TV, A MATTRESS , COUCH AND OF COURSE AN AQUARIUM!
    MY LOVE OF ANIMALS HAS BEEN A STRANGE RIDE AT TIMES FOR MY WIFE WHO NEVER GREW UP WITH ANIMALS OR PETS FOR THAT MATTER.WITH THE EXCEPTION BEING A GOURAMI NAMED GEORGE WHO LIVED IN A TEN GALLON TANK THAT WAS HALF FILLED AND COMPLETELY COVERED IN ALGAE WHEN I MET HER. I AM GRATEFUL TO BE MARRIED TO A WOMAN WHO SEES MY ADDICTION TO ANIMALS AND PETS AS ACCEPTABLE. SHE ALWAYS AT FIRST SEEMS A BIT LEERY BUT COMES AROUND QUICKLY. SNAKES, MICE, TURTLES, SALTWATER REEF TANKS, PARROTS, KEETS, AND FINCHES ALL HAVE GRACED OUR HOME AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER!
    AS I GET OLDER I AM TRYING TO KEEP PETS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE CONSTANT WATER PARAMETER TESTING AND HUGE WATER CHANGES. I HAVE BEEN KEEPING AND BREEDING POISON DART FROGS FOR A LITTLE OVER A YEAR NOW.AND WE HAVE TWO DOGS, "GEE" OUR MINIATURE DACHSHOUND THAT TURNED OUT NOT TO MINIATURE AT ALL THANKS TO DISHONEST BREEDERS. AND OUR POUND DOG, A MIX OF EVERYTHING AND THE KITCHEN SINK TOO. WE FIGURED A DOG OF SUCH A HIGH CALIBER BLOODLINES DESERVED A NAME FITTING OF HIS HERITAGE. SO BARKLEY J. RAVENSWORTH IV WAS THE LATEST ADDITION TO OUR FAMILY UNTIL NOW...........

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