All Natural

I live in Colorado farm country. That blends a very dry climate with some hard-working and practical folks.

Which means you see some weird stuff at the farm store. As I stood in the checkout line, I saw a little display box containing little white tubes of a product called Chicken Poop Lip Junk.

Story_squareIt isn’t a joke product. It gets great reviews as the best lip moisturizer ever.

And there’s no poop in it, they state.

I’m a farm kid and there isn’t much that is gross to me, but I’m having trouble thinking of smearing Chicken Poop Lip Junk on my lips.

But there was more at the counter.

Near the Chicken Poop Lip Junk was another box of tubes labelled “Crack Zap It.” This stuff is guaranteed to eliminate the cracks in your fingers in three days. You roll it on like lip balm but on your fingertips, hangnails, peeling skin.

We’re talking dry skin like Mojave desert dry. This is skin that erupts from hard-working hands that handle oil, mud, and cold weather.

I asked my dear husband, who works outside a lot and knows all about cracked finger tips. He liked the idea of Crack Zap It.

“Why don’t you just use hand lotion?” I said.

“I tried it but it’s not thick enough. This stuff might work.” He stared at the wall for a moment. “Do we have any cow salve?”

Cow Salve is a thick product originally used for a cow’s chapped udder but has found new life as a heavy-duty skin ointment.

The lesson for today is that, if you live in farm country, your dry skin is not an issue. You can lather on Chicken Poop Lip Junk, Crack Zap It, and Cow Salve.

All natural, of course.


That first bike

My first bike quickly resembled a pancake but not in my eyes.

In my eyes, it had red steamers flowing from the handlebars, sparkles along the bright paint on the frame, and a big white horn on the front. I was only six and, knowing my parents’ financial state at the time, none of those things were true.

Story_squareBut it was my first and I had learned to balance on it with only a couple of skinned knees along the way.

I had the bad habit of dropping it on the ground when I was finished riding, usually in the driveway. My father warned me several times that it’d get run over if I kept doing that and I tried. But my six-year-old mind seemed to resist the idea.

One day I came out to find that my bike had been flattened when Dad backed over it with one of his big farm trucks.

I stood there while my brain connected the dots. Leaving the bike on the ground did indeed mean it would get run over.

I learned. I never did that again.

But my years with bikes was not over. In those days, Dad would visit farm auctions in the winter, trolling for bargains. And he often came home with a bargain bike.

Since I was the oldest child, I would get the new bike (“new” only in the sense of never living on our farm before) while my old bike went down the sibling chain.

These auction bikes usually lacked fenders and color. Certainly no streamers flowed from handlebars. One was so big that I had to ride on my tiptoes until I grew some more.

But we rode our bikes daily. Up the lane, over the bumps, into the wind.

I still like bikes. I’ve never had one with streamers or a white horn. But I’ve never ever again left one lying on the ground. I’m ok with plain bikes but still not so crazy about pancake bikes.

Hiding out

Hollywood’s car chases keep getting faster, louder, more explosive and destructive. Where would we be if Jason Bourne hadn’t destroyed innumerable police cars, several taxis and a few SUVs?

But my favorite car chase included a few cell phones, corn fields and an arrogant thief.

After holding up a convenience store on the Interstate highway in western Nebraska, the young man leaped into his car and raced away. As his speed zoomed over 100 mph at times, he probably assumed he could outrun the State Patrol.

Soon he had the Patrol out in full-force following him into Colorado. The driver soon realized he couldn’t outrun their radios and that reinforcements were assembling in front of him.

A couple of towns flashed by, hardly blips in his vision at his speed, before he swung onto an exit and headed into farm country.

Out where only corn and wheat fields swayed in the wind. No State Patrol. He could hide.

So the driver flew down dirt roads with no worries. He’d lost his trackers.

But he didn’t understand the nature of the rural mind.

Farmers tend those corn and wheat fields. And they know the traffic on those country roads. When an unknown car flashed by at high speed, a farmer grabbed his cell phone and called a neighbor. That neighbor called a neighbor.

Before long, the sheriff was alerted as farmers tracked the car careening through the farmland through cell phone calls.

While the racing thief thought he had outsmarted law enforcement, the network of farmers calmly plotted his course and helped the sheriff lay out a plan.

The sheriff and his deputies blocked the road ahead and behind because they knew exactly where their man had been. And was going. He was nailed.

So, don’t think that you’re hiding in farm country. You’ve never been more exposed.

How a prowling rooster fared

Now I like chickens as well as most people, which is hardly at all, but roosters have an even lower place.

An adult male chicken, the rooster has a promi...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was under the age of accountability (determined by my lack of maturity in this case) when my little sister jumped on her bike to ride around our farmyard.  She had one of those fat-wheel pink jobs with streamers blowing in the breeze.

As she rode past the flock of free-ranging chickens, the rooster spotted her. Maybe it was the streamers. Maybe it was the heat of the day. In any case, he stretched out in hot pursuit of the bike and my sister.

She glanced over her shoulder to discover the rooster, his head extended, legs churning. She screamed and stuck her legs straight out to the sides of the bike. No more pedaling.

A more mature (or at least kind and compassionate) older sister would have run to her rescue but this was too good to miss. I wanted to see what happened although the tears from my laughter obscured things.

She had enough momentum that, by the time her bike wobbled to a stop, the rooster had been shooed away by our diligent mother, who scurried past giggling me in rescue.

I might have matured a little over the years because something similar came up after I was married with kids.

We had a bantam chicken trio that I liked because of their chocolate tails and rich orange wings and back. They made nice ornaments in our barn.

But the rooster was mean and he started chasing my kids. This time I didn’t laugh until the tears ran. This time, I declared that this beautiful orange rooster had to go.

I offered to give him to a neighbor for butcher. We managed to trap him and stuff him into a feed bag.

“Don’t let him out,” I warned her. “He’s mean.”

After she took the wriggling feed bag home, she called me.  “Do you have a hen to go with him?  He’s beautiful.”

I repeated my story of a prowling rooster seeking whom he could devour. She insisted so we brought her a hen to go with the rooster.

This was a great win-win, I thought, until a couple of months later. My neighbor called me on the phone again.

“That rooster is crazy! He chases anything that moves!”

I wasn’t very sympathetic. And I do think that rooster ended up in a noodle soup shortly afterward.

For all I know, so did the one chasing my sister many years before. Mothers stand firm against prowling roosters.