It alternated between hardly raining and raining hard the other day as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard. I was happy for the rain, hoping it would rain enough to break the drought. We are so dry now that I'm even happy for snow like we had one day.

I spotted the local flock of geese one day. There were a dozen of them, but they were in clumps of eight and four and looked at first like ducks flying. I suspected they had gotten up from the golf course and weren't formed into a "V" yet.

Later that day I spotted a flock of 13 in a perfect "V," except they were on the other side of Seneca. Of course, I wondered if it was the same geese, but I am unable to determine much difference in Canada geese close up, let alone from a distance.

A horse trailer full of happy laying hens greeted me as I walked in the parking lot of the agriculture building at Neosho High School. They were singing their happy songs as if living in a horse trailer was fun. I speculated the agriculture students would be studying laying hens that day. I'm not sure if they study them for class or for the FFA contests that gear up each spring.

When I was a kid, chicken thievery was quite common. Laying hens had quite a bit of value and nearly every farmer had some. Still, a "chicken thief" was the lowest of all criminals. Even thugs didn't want to be classified as "a stinking chicken thief."

Now a trailer load of chickens can sit out all night and not have a feather touched. Times change.

Sweden has a group of horsetail thieves. Apparently, there is a market for nice horsetails there. With this theft, at least the animal is not harmed. Poor tailless horses can't swat many flies, though.  

Cattle rustling in our area is on the upswing. The price of cattle makes them more attractive to thieves. If the rustling continues to increase, farmers and ranchers might go back to branding or tattooing cattle. Or will they have each animal implanted with an identification chip?

Sounds expensive, but quite easy to do.

All the pallid sturgeon released by the Neosho National Fish Hatchery have an implanted chip. These chips not only identify the fish, but gives its family heritage. All this information on a tiny chip which looks like a piece of lead from a lead pencil.

Take a walk, pay attention what is happening around you, use your signal lights, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.

Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.