DREAMING ABOUT CHICKENS – Marilyn Armstrong

Last night I dreamed about chickens.

It looked a lot like it does around here. A bit hilly. Lots of trees. There was a movie star living in the house. She was supposed to be young, but her skin looked like the bottom of an old leather suitcase and was a trifle orange. She was going back to California where she believed she would be better off.

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That left me with 200 chickens. The fowl were arriving (shortly) by truck. Healthy, young, hens and roosters. Enough to start a nice little chicken farm.

Except I didn’t want to be a chicken farmer and I was pretty sure, neither did Garry. I couldn’t just leave the chickens to die of hunger, thirst, and cold. I’m a responsible person and I love animals. Even chickens.

Chickens don’t get lost

I was still baffled over the whole chicken conundrum when I finally gave up, opened my eyes, and began my day. Coffee would banish chickens. Garry said it was from a movie we’d seen and I was caught in an old movie loop.

Sometimes, the absolutely best storyteller in the world has got to be my subconscious. I would never consider creating a story involving me and chickens.

Author Gordon Winter, Garry and chickens
Author Gordon Winter, Garry, and chickens

Not counting authors since this prompt doesn’t concern that … who tells great stories?

Garry tells wonderful stories. He makes us laugh. I don’t know if the story is true or maybe just a little true, but whatever, it is great entertainment. Tom tells great stories too and he usually has a good closing line, which is probably my biggest story-telling issue. I can tell a good story but I run on too long and am not good at wrapping it up. I’m good for the yarn’s first three-quarters.

Story-telling is the glue that makes friends want to hang out with each other. If you can keep the crowd laughing, you’ll never be alone.

It’s not booze, movies, or video games. Certainly not texting. It’s stories. The tales of our experiences, things we remember, times and places and people we’ve known.

Photo: Ben Taylor

I keep wondering what people will do when they realize you can’t live forever with just a cell phone? They don’t seem to have a clue about having conversations or telling stories. From whence will their stories emerge?

Our stories are our personal mythology. Will our children and grandchildren have stories? Or anyone to tell them?

It worries me. It really does.

WHICH WAY? NO, REALLY … WHICH WAY? – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – August 24, 2018

Garry and I got lost in the hospital. We went the wrong way out of the elevator and suddenly, I realized I’d never seen those bank machines before … and the cafeteria … we hadn’t passed that on the way in.

No one gets lost like we do. We have a special talent. Even when we find our to the place we are intending to go, we will probably get lost in the parking lot or inside the building. Or while trying to find the restroom.

The only place this works in our favor is when we are looking for new places to take pictures and just drive randomly around, hoping we’ll find a new dam or a lake or a heron.

So for me, “Which Way” is a valid expression of the meaning of what I humorously call “life.”

Out the window of Miss Mendon

They don’t need a road. Goats can just go. They are walking on top of a stone fence.
Horses don’t need a GPS … YOU are the GPS.
Chickens don’t get lost
Walk down the aisle?

CHICKENS AND EGGS AND TIME

Author Gordon Winter, Garry, and pet chickens

Do you think chickens worry whether they or their egg came first? Do chickens look worried? They certainly are easily ruffled and they do a lot of clucking around the chicken yard.

Do they wonder if they hatch an egg, if it is out of order, it will be a motherless chick? Or they will be a chickless mother hen? That seems a lot of thoughts for one chicken.

It’s right up there with hoping my dogs would notice that it was the end of Daylight Savings Time today, so they could sleep later. Because the Two-leggers had done something with clocks. Would you be surprised that the dogs were completely oblivious to the change in time? Lord knows how they will deal with dinner being an hour late!


DUKE THE DOGGE: Mom?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: Yes Duke.

DUKE THE DOGGE: What’s a clock?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: It’s a measurement of time, Duke.

DUKE THE DOGGE: Mom?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: Yes, Duke.

DUKE THE DOGGE: What’s a time?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: It’s the not-happening between this thing happening and the next thing happening.

DUKE THE DOGGE: Mom?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: Yes, Duke.

DUKE THE DOGGE: What thing? Am I a thing?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: You’re a dog. I suppose that’s sort of a sort-of thing.

DUKE THE DOGGE: Am I happening?

MOM THE NOT-DOGGE: Constantly, Duke. All the time. You are the most happening thing in our world.


I’m going to make eggs for dinner. Cheese omelets with a side of home fries. Maybe I’ll throw in a few onions too. Do mother chicks mourn their eggs? That’s another philosophical debate for a different Sunday morning.

ANTIQUE CHINESE CHICKEN PORCELAIN

It is not leftovers that have stayed too long in the refrigerator.

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Typical famille rose design on an antique porcelain plate

You may know (or not) I have been a collector — in a small way — of antique Chinese porcelain and Asian art. As a collector, I love flea markets and yard sales. It’s part of the collecting mystique, that one day someone will be selling a great antique piece for a few dollars and I will be there to grab it.

It happened. Twice, to be exact. One pieces I got was a small, 200-year-old Qing dynasty pitcher. In pretty good shape. Got it for five dollars, sold it for $150. Ka-ching!

The other was a little dish which I’ve kept. It’s decorated with blue and yellow chickens. It’s a rice bowl, the sort of thing a working man might carry to work and use to eat his lunch. The piece fits loosely into the category of famille rose. Or famille verte. I haven’t decided if rose or green is the dominant color.

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They are both a style rather than a dynasty, though the vast majority of piece in this category are between one and two hundred years old. Most of these pieces are elaborately decorated, but simple pieces were made for regular folks.

qing famille rose rice bowl

Chinese porcelain was secular. Art for art’s sake. Decorative. Non-collectors may assume Chinese porcelain was lavish. What I would call “imperial porcelain.” Certainly some very fine porcelain was made for the wealthiest members of society, but much of it was not. The Chinese were very egalitarian, believing that everyone needed art, the same way everyone needs food.

Food feeds the body. Art feeds the soul.

blue chicken on a qing dyn rice bowl antique porcelain

Art — dishes, figures, vases, ginger jars and so much more — was made for peasants, servants. Middle, and upper classes. Beauty was not a privilege of the few, but part of life for everyone.

The concept of art for everybody delights me. Too many people think art is a waste of money because it has no “function.” Merely being beautiful isn’t enough for them.

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In this bowl indeed has a function, but it wasn’t painted to make it more functional. It would hold a man’s rice without hand-painted chickens. But me? I prefer it with chickens. In fact, I just love those chickens!

ONCE UPON A TIME

Spinning Yarns — What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?


Fear According to Savage Chickens

Last night I dreamed about chickens. After a tooth-grinding review of how badly mistreated we have been by past employers — Garry’s and mine — somehow I slid sideways into an old house in the country.

It looked a lot like it does around here. A bit hilly and lots of trees. There was a movie star living in the house. She was supposed to be young, but her skin looked like the bottom of an old leather suitcase and was a trifle orange. She was going back to California where she seemed to believe she would be better off.

That left me with 200 chickens. The fowl were arriving (shortly) by truck. Healthy, young, hens and roosters. Enough to start a nice little chicken farm. Except I didn’t want to be a chicken farmer and I was pretty sure, neither did Garry. I couldn’t just leave the chickens to die of hunger, thirst, and cold. I’m a responsible person and I love animals. Even chickens.

I was still baffled over the whole chicken conundrum when I finally gave up, opened my eyes, and began my day. Coffee would banish chickens. Garry says it’s from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and I was just caught in an old movie loop.

Sometimes, the absolutely best storyteller in the world has got to be my subconscious. I would never even consider creating a story involving me and chickens.

Author Gordon Winter, Garry and chickens
Author Gordon Winter, Garry and chickens

Not counting authors since this prompt doesn’t concern that … who tells great stories? Garry tells wonderful stories. He has me mesmerized from the first word to the last and that includes when I’ve heard the story before. Our friend Tom is also a terrific storyteller. He makes us laugh. I don’t know if the story is true or maybe just a little true, but whatever, it is great entertainment.

At my best, I tell a good story. I run on too long and I’m not good at wrapping it up and finishing before the audience needs another drink, but I’m good for the yarn’s first three-quarters.

Story-telling is the glue that makes friends want to hang out with each other.

It’s not booze, movies, or video games. Certainly not texting. It’s stories. The tales of our experiences, things we remember, times and places and people we’ve known.

I keep wondering what young people will do when they realize you can’t live forever with just a cell phone for company? They don’t seem to have a clue about having conversations or telling stories to each other. From whence will their stories emerge?

Our stories are our personal mythology. Will our children and grandchildren have stories? Or anyone to tell them?

It worries me. It really does.

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: LIVESTOCK

A Photo a Week Challenge: Livestock

I fear our local livestock is not the least bit exotic. This is dairy country. Horse breeding country. Chicken raising country. If there’s anything less exotic, I can’t think of it off-hand.

THE FARM AND THE HOUSE

cows in the pasture

The cows are happy. The chickens are happy. The corn is growing, joyously absorbing sunshine and rain. Three generations live on the farm … and the land has been in the family as long as anyone can remember.

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The farm-house

The work is hard, season after season. But the people … they look happy too. Maybe it’s living with the soil and the animals. Letting the seasons dictate what there is to be done.

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Corn is ready

Autumn is coming. The corn will be gone, the cows will no longer graze and sleep in the green pasture along the river. Ice and snow will cover the ground. Even the chickens will huddle in their coops. Everyone and everything will wait for spring to come again. Fortunately, it always comes.

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