Friday, March 2, 2012

Determining bird gender. Don't ask.

“It’s territorial”

    ROOFTOP -- The first thing I’m gonna do is lose the shirt. Not cool enough for flannel. I only grabbed it before climbing up here, because it was one of the few times Kay wasn’t wearing it.

The woman has started wearing my shirts. Granted, she looks cuter in ‘em than I do, but that’s only because I stopped looking cute at the age of 18 months. At least that’s what Dad told me. And, I didn’t even ask him.

It’s absolutely beautiful up here is it not? The ground is wet as all get out, but we’ve got a dry roof with a small splotch of shade, thanks to the water oak. Thanks, water oak. The leaves are still green on the thing. Not sure it’s ever going to let lose of those things. Probably still waiting for winter.

I have every confidence that it’s perfectly safe to unwrap my pipes. Not that I’m in need of the faucets. I can’t believe all the rain. People on the lake are probably dancing the dance of, uh… “The Lake is at 80 percent capacity and we’re real happy.” There is bound to be a dance for that.

I’m not sure you call what those two mockingbirds are doing “a dance.” No, over there in the neighbor’s tree. Boy, they’re really getting after each other. And, they’re not singing about it. They’re grackling. Not a happy sound. I don’t know if it’s foreplay or a territorial dispute.

Hard to call, ‘cause I can’t tell the sex of mockingbirds. Well, of all birds. All except for cardinals. The real red one is the male. I know them. And, peacocks. The male is the show-off with the big plume. Eyeball patterns on the feathers. Almost like they’re dressed for Mardi Gras. And, no, I’ve never been.

Oh, and I can tell the sex of chickens. If they’re chickens, they’re female. I can’t tell the sex when they’re chicks, though. I saw a documentary where some ladies in a chicken warehouse were sorting chicks by sex. I have no idea what they were looking for, but each would pick up a chick, glance at it and throw it one of two bins. I don’t even think the hatchlings new what they were, but those two ladies did. Acted like they did, anyway.

Chickens must have the poorest quality of life of all creatures. Other than earthworms. Squirming around in rotting manure is no picnic. Take my word.

Oh, and speaking of cats, I was at the computer yesterday evening, looked over and saw two cats on the roof. Free range cats. On my roof! Is nothing sacred? 

Cats on the roof and dandelions in the yard. I fear it’s the year of the dandelion. I hate ‘em. An ugly weed with a rather pleasant sounding name. Dandelion. I pulled up all the tall ones. It was easy after about the third rain.

Yesterday I grabbed hold of some bull nettle without paying attention. A dandelion is no fun to grab, but it’s so much better than a first full of bull nettle. My hand didn’t start stinging till minutes later.

The first time I met bull nettle I was in forestry school. After a morning of surveying, I laid down in some of the stuff and really wished I hadn’t. The guys were quick to tell me the cure for bull nettle stings, but I decided against it. You’re supposed to wet on the affected area. Someone else is going to have to tell you if that works or not.

After a day or two more of sunshine, I’ll go ahead and mow the rest of the weeds. The first mow of the year. Not looking forward to that. I’ve gotta change the oil, the air filter and probably the blade. I don’t sharpen blades. It
always always messes up my knees.

See if you can find the male chick.

By the way, the mockingbirds? I’m pretty sure there’s no wooing going. I’m thinking it’s territorial and it’s between two males. If they were chickens or peacocks, I wouldn’t have to guess about that.—Next time.


To watch Brad and Mark’s review of Mama J’s BBQ & Grill, go to YouTube and key in Mark Hayter Mama J’s BBQ. You can reach Mark at


  1. Good article Moke. Today, it feels a little bit Springy outside. Hope it doesn't get hot real quick... not looking forward to the heat.

  2. Why the heck is Jill anonymous? Has she forgotten who she is?

  3. Ha! Yes, I have forgotten who I am.
    My blogging experience is not very solid and I have tried and tried to log in as myself, but I give up. --jill--