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OPINION

Good Morning: Groundhogs and roosters

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley

Now that we are almost done with January, Groundhog Day is just around the corner and we will all be talking about how much longer winter will last.

To be clear, we really haven't had a winter here in North Texas yet, thought it has been plenty cold for me a couple of times. I have even watched it snow twice since November. 

But soon enough, that little rodent called Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania will be plucked from his snuggly little home and some folks will stand around and pretend that he tells them something or the other. None of this will have any impact whatsoever on the weather down in here Texas, or anywhere else for that matter, but it will be a very entertaining show. That is, it will be if they are allowed to gather for the event in light of the ongoing pandemic. Who knows, maybe 2021 will be the year that dear little Phil gets to remain in his snuggly little home on the appointed day just like all of the other little rodents out there in the wild?

Speaking of wild creatures, I was surprised recently to find out that the city of Sherman ordinance concerning chickens concerns only how many birds a person can have on a specified amount of land inside the city limits. It does not address what kinds of birds can be kept or how one must take care of those birds.

Why, one might wonder would that information come to my mind? Well, I called. See, I live over in east Sherman and there is a bit of an ongoing chicken issue over here. We have a free-range flock of chickens that includes some roosters that like to crow. Man, oh man, do they like to crow. I am talking these fellows are up before the sun and start crowing and keep crowing for way longer than a middle-aged woman living nearby with her schnauzer would like them too. 

I know Grayson County is still considered to be a somewhat rural county and I love that about this place. I love that I can drive for just a few blocks really, and see pastures and cattle and fields growing with things other than houses. I am a little sad every time I see one of those fields become another group of cookie cutter houses. I am also a little happy for the economic growth of our community. So, I realize that there is some give and take there. 

But could we give the chickens a place to roost and take the roosters inside at night so they don't wake those of us who live near them, but would like to sleep past 4 a.m. every once in a while? I sleep with a fan all year round and listen to some other sort of white noise most nights and I still hear the crowing.

More importantly, my dog hears them. Then, some mornings, if I don't catch her and redirect her attention quick enough, my neighbors hear her. I have wonderful neighbors who have never complained (to me) about the dog. I hope that is because they see and hear me trying to control her barking and not because they are afraid of that crazy woman with the yappy dog. Either way, we practice live and let live most of the time. 

And if I knew which neighbor owned the loud-mouth birds, I would go up and ask about the situation. But they literally just roam the neighborhood. One would think with the number of feral cats and stray dogs of every breed roaming the neighborhood as well that Mother Nature might take care of the problem. But these are apparently some hardy roosters.