Something for the Dogs

First, thanks for all the kind thoughts yesterday. And those virtual hugs. Y’all are the best friends and readers.

Ooh, the Spy Who Licked me!

Today let’s move on to something that not only cheers me up, but it makes a certain pair of weenie dogs (Vlassic and Pickle) very happy each month: the BarkBox shipment!

I’ve been getting these for a while now, and each month Anita and I are charmed by the effort this company goes through to make a quality product that is fun for both people and dogs (a very good marketing strategy).

Great logo.
Continue reading “Something for the Dogs”

Ups and Downs

We all have them. There are just some times when the difficulties, negative surroundings, and struggles to get things done just overwhelm us.

Yes, cheerful tree, I see you.

Today I feel that way. My hip hurts. Things break at work. Friends and family are sick or injured. I miss my kids.

I know I’ll feel better soon, because I have good coping skills. And a therapist. And a spouse and friends. Just think of me.

This is my ugh face.

I’m probably thinking of you.

Green and Greener: A Photo Essay

Look! A fairy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, the day when those of us with Irish ancestors (or Irish children or both) celebrate their heritage. This day always coincides with the part of the Texas spring when it’s so green that it almost hurts your eyes.

Dewberry on a fence

Each year I try to burn the spring green into my brain, to carry me through parched brown summers.

New growth

So, yesterday, when the late afternoon light was especially suited to enhancing the green of spring, I took many photos. Some were interesting. Others breathtaking. I hope you enjoy the Hermits’ Rest at its greenest.

The Hermits Creeklet with budding willows and dewberries.

Very green

Wow. That’s green. Alfred is king of the woods.

Cedar elm

My favorite

Baby blue eyes say thanks for looking.

Ranch Life. Not for Wimps

Yesterday I went to feed the horses but they would not come down to where we usually feed. They whinnied from the end of the narrow passage to their water trough.

We aren’t coming any closer, thanks.

I gathered their feed tubs and turned around to go get food. There I saw a very sad sight. A poor cow had died giving birth. Poor beautiful mama. I won’t share photos.

No wonder the horses would not come up. Even food didn’t convince them, so I took them their food.

Thanks for Indy, Human Mom.

Then I heard it’s harvest day for the sheep. Well, that’s their job and all, but sigh.

You really toughen up and remember life is hard when you live in the country.

But here are happy cows and green grass.

Birding Experts on Birding

Last night I went to the El Camino Real Master Naturalist meeting, as I do most every month. I wrote up a post for their blog with lots of details about what I learned, so here I want to share my deep enjoyment from listening to women who are passionate about birds and birding as they share their passions with others.

Three women from our group spoke about how they engage in bird watching, each with a different perspective and knowledge base. I sat there like a little kid, all enthralled at the details they shared. It was thought-provoking to look at how each of them engaged in their hobby. Here’s what I saw (just using first names here).

Ann tells us you really, really need a good bird book.

Ann has been birding for many years, and she does it for the same reasons I do: basically, she likes birds a lot. Her passion and enthusiasm for identifying new and unusual birds was very obvious, but she reminded me of my methods for birding. She said if she didn’t know what a bird was from quickly observing it, she’d often just move onto the next, in contrast to her birding friend who just HAD to identify every single bird she saw, in a scientific way. Of course, Ann knows pretty much all the birds you can see around here; she just doesn’t stress over what she doesn’t know.

Joyce shares the various ways we can upload our observations to help researchers.

Joyce also loves birds, and watches them in a very accurate and detailed way. She keeps good records of her feeder, counting them carefully, and only identifying the ones that come into her feeder watch zone. There is a great deal of discipline to her approach to observing birds, which goes along with her amazing attention to detail in other parts of her life. We need birders like Joyce, too, to provide accurate data for researchers. (Of course, she’s also having fun.)


Here, Ann is listening to Cindy tell us her suet recipe. Some samples are on the table.

Then, there’s Cindy, whose approach to birding is to figure out how she can practically help the most birds. She shared with us her recipe for making lots and lots of suet for little money, so that the woodpeckers and other birds that like to feed on trees and eat more than just seed can be satisfied. She’s not there just to watch or count or record she’s there to help the birds thrive.

(All the women also carefully feed and water their birds; I was just contrasting their main styles.)

Another birder style was described by Ann, who talked about a very intense young man who asked to come to her house, because he was on a mission to get three more birds on his Milam County list of 100, and she had some of them in her yard. As soon as he saw one, he went on to look for the next. No lollygagging, watching behavior, or anything. And he didn’t stick around to chat; nope, he had to go to Bell County to work on his count there. These are the kind of birders people often gently poke fun at, but hey, they aren’t hurting anyone, are they?

Bonus sinset from the meeting yesterday.

Like any other hobby, there are many ways to enjoy birding (don’t get me started on process versus product knitters). Do you like to watch birds? Do you feel like you need to know what they are? Do you just enjoy their antics? Do you use them to tell what season it is? Share!

Now, that is a yellow flower!

By the way, I was almost late to the meeting, because I had to take this photo of beautiful evening primroses along County Road 140 across from the cemetery.

A Bubbly Question

So, I know there are a lot of words for fizzy beverages that many people drink (my favorite is sparkling water, so don’t lecture me).

But I just thought it was redundant to label this occasional treat beverage as “sparkling flavored soda.” Isn’t all soda sparkling?

The word “sparkling” is hard to read. Do the Fresca people feel sort of bad about it?

Just wondering.

Intense Hawk Action

Swooping! You can easily see tail stripes.

I got a request for an update on the hawks at my workplace. You know I just love requests. Since the people in our office spend a LOT of of our break time looking at them, there’s no problem with coming up with a report! The raptor couple are the talk of the water cooler, which pleases me a lot. We have a lot of budding birders being developed!

Thinking about sitting on that ledge.

Here are some of the behaviors we’ve observed:

  • Eating small animals. They like to do that at the parking garage.
  • Working on the nest. Every so often, a special new stick comes over.
  • Dealing with windows. There’s a report that one of them went BOOM into a window earlier this week. Both birds seem okay, now.
  • Dealing with ledges. While I’ve seen one of them successfully land on the narrow ledges on our building, they also miss frequently, and flap around awkwardly to regroup.
  • Screeching. Lots of screeching.
  • Engaging in synchronixed flying. It’s just beautiful watching then swerve and curve then land delicately on the roof or nest.
  • Being friendly. They groom each other and snuggle up, both before and after what we call their “special time.” We expect some EGGS out of all this! (I do believe Mrs. Hawk is looking, um, plumper.)
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