Flowers and Zooming Dogs

Off and running

Bonus post! Lee wanted me to get some pictures of the dogs out in the Texas paintbrush flowers, and I didn’t argue much. They didn’t mind the chill in the air!

Once again, Carlton imitates the Greyhound Bus logo.

It’s endlessly enjoyable to watch the dogs run, especially the speedy two. Vlassic and Carlton have so much fun, and the others join in when the tussling starts.

Where’s the best place to pee?

Today, Alfred was hanging out with Lee, but I got plenty of still shots, and even some video, of the others.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHermitDogs%2Fvideos%2F587152521762291%2F&show_text=0&width=560

I’m so glad to see how well our Pound Puppy Carlton has done. In a year he has grown and thrived. What a guy.

A year old and quite striking, isn’t he?Enjoy the flowers and the canines!

We Had a Little Spring. Now Chilly.

My friends the blue-eyed grass have returned.

Well, shoot, just when I was really getting into long walks and frolicking amid the wildflowers, a late cold front has driven me indoors. Yesterday, we hosted an event at 11 am at our office. The front showed up right as all the attendees were coming in or trying to find us. A big wind and brief rain surprised everyone, and blew away my meeting signs. March decided not to go out like a lamb after all!

We have a patch of pink evening primrose that is nearly white. It’s striking against the green grass.

But, I did get a lot of flower-viewing, pet walking, and iNaturalist uploading done before the front! It’s a great year for flowers, thanks to the winter rains, so I know I’ll be out finding more to share soon.

Yellow Flowers

The wild and crazy collard green in bloom.

Here’s something I’ve been grappling with lately. Many of the flowers that are blooming right now are yellow. They’re just beautiful, but when I try to photograph them, they are all washed out, making it hard to see details. Luckily, the collard greens I let go to seed (I ate off this ONE plant all winter) look pretty good. Perhaps the blue sky helped.

Poor little glowing flower.

But this ragwort, like many other yellow ones I’ve photographed, looks like a bright blur. I have tried adjusting the color on my phone, but no luck. Suggestions? Get a real camera! Yes, I know.

Just a giant dog, making ripples in the pond!

I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon. I know the dogs are, too. Alfred had a fine time yachting around in the pond on Friday, but I don’t think he’ll try today!

Take care, friends, and don’t forget to like, share, and comment!

Busy Little Volunteer

Once again, I’ve over-volunteered, but I’m okay with it.

Dog Love

Last night I went to an organizatioinal meeting where a group of local animal lovers got together to figure out ways that we can support animals in need in Milam County. You may recall that almost a year ago I adopted our precious blue-eyed boy, Carlton, from the Cameron Pound, and while their staff is doing all they can to protect the lost/mistreated dogs in the city, we know there’s a wider need throughout the county.

Jean Schara tells us about the work she’s been doing to organize an animal support group in this area.

A few hard-working people took the initiative to look into forming a nonprofit organization to support all county-wide efforts to help animals, which led to the meeting. Jean Schara, who led the meeting, is a knowledgeable and organized person with a good head on her shoulders, which led me to agree to volunteer to serve on the board with her and four other energetic people.

Look forward to more on this organization when we have more to tell!

Activism Love

I also volunteered to host a group watching the campaign launch of a national political candidate. That’s brave in these days and times, I think. We had a lot of fun, though, and made new friends. My main triumph was managing to get the projector to work AND scanning the sign-in sheets to send off. At least so far, this former techie still has her skills.

LLLove

I hope I don’t screw this up. I’ve already delayed getting in touch with people who said they’d help me out! But I can do it!

Third, I’ve been working on a website and newsletter for the Friends of La Leche League, which is a group of people who want to support that organization. It’s nice, because those of us who went through some hard times there can get back together with friends and remember why we joined in the first place: to support each other on our parenting journeys. It’s been healing for me, so if you are one of my LLL friends from the past, please consider joining us.

Of course I still have my work for the Earth Day event for the Master Naturalists to get done, so I have a full volunteer plate!

Bluebonnets! Maybe They’re Interesting!

My last few posts have been duds. Nothing has died or anything, so I understand. But it’s wildflower season!

Anita matches the flowers.

I’ve been driving by some really pretty patches of pink flowers on my way down the big Far West hill lately. I wanted to know what they were.

Pink onions!

So, with the pretext of taking dog photos among the bluebonnets, I got Anita to go with me to check them out. They are Drummond’s onion, which is a pink version the wild onions that are blooming everywhere in this area.

Noble canine among the lupine.

I love alliums, so I was happy to identify a new one.

Selfie fail. I even made the dog laugh.

And yes, we did frolic among the sweet-smelling bluebonnets with Pickle and Vlassic. I failed pretty well at doing a floral selfie, but we had fun.

I’ll try to get some traditional bluebonnet pictures of the other doggies back at the ranch.

The Champion Is…

Today we did a rare and lovely thing at work: we had a relaxing team building activity! Our fearless leader, Craig, loves to barbecue and smoke meat, so he decided to cook for our team and have a traditional cookout.

Craig says he is very happy. Maggie sets out food.

My friend Maggie, who is a party planner extraordinaire, put together the side dishes, and we got out some lawn games the company had.

Rachel supervises competitive gaming. What’s this game called?

The day was perfect! Everyone had a delicious meal, then we tried all the games.

It was so nice to see the group relaxing and chatting. It reminded me of paintings of the past, with people picnicking and playing croquet or something.

Jon works on another step.

The highlight of the day was when Maggie and our colleague Jon started game of big Jenga. As the stack of blocks grew taller and taller, more of the team gathered around. The stack would wobble, but keep growing!

Voila!

More than once, we declared that HAD to be the end, but no! Maggie and Jon were really steady and smart.

Boom! The tallest stack any of us had ever seen finally falls.

When it finally fell, we erupted in cheers! Dipu got a Live Photo, and the one below is from it!

I wish we could all have a pleasant break from the work day in the spring when it’s neither hot nor cold. I’m so grateful to our group at work for pulling this off.

Too Busy to Write!

I did so much over the weekend that I never got time to sit down, much less write about what I was doing!

Just for the beauty. Not a native tree!

A lot of my stuff was work-related, so I wrote about that over on the other blog. Much paint selecting, light fixture choosing, office rearranging and such. I’m actually quite surprised at how little my arms hurt after wrangling giant tables.

Fuzzy willow blossoms and a bit of the bluebonnet I was sniffing. They smell great.

Luckily, there was also some time to check out what’s blooming and flying overhead. I think the black willow flowers are really pretty, like fuzzy caterpillars.

Flying ducks

And all over town, as I was driving between projects, I enjoyed hearing the gurgling sounds of the black-bellied whistling ducks as they flew over.

I’ll try to get a closer photo.

I was not at all upset to need to take our helper, Kim, home, because I knew I’d get closer looks at the ducks. They really have day-glo beaks and feet! I love their visits, especially when I can spot them in trees.

Cedar waxwings backlit.

The cedar waxwings are still around, too, and their little chirps often surrounded me. Kim had to be very patient when I took a bunch of pictures. I had to!

And I’m friendly, too.

Saturday night we spent a bit of time with this fellow. He’d spent two weeks in the rye field across the road. He finally figured out there is a big gap in the fencing and took a stroll. After much discussion it was determined he didn’t belong to any neighbors and got taken to a sale barn where they’ll try to find his owner. You’d think someone would miss a Charolais bull this handsome.

See my sweaty back? I’m so tired.

My final weekend fun was getting the poor horses all sweaty. We went all over the ranch and did brave things. Fiona kept dawdling, so Sara and Spice kept herding her. Once we just waited in the cool shade of a wooded area. When Fiona finally made it, we looked down to see the grass higher than her belly. She looked like she was a toy in an Easter basket. Wish I’d had my phone!

More later. I guess it’s good to be busy!

New iNaturalist Project

Yesterday I was thinking about how many observations of plants and birds and such I make around the office park where I work in Austin. I said to myself, “Suna, that would make an interesting iNaturalist collection, and then you could also see observations other people make around there.

This pecan tree was here long before the fake pond and office complex.

Since I’d just taken a nice, long walk where I took many photos of plants, trees, birds, and such, it seemed like good timing.

Of course, nothing is simple, so it took me a long time to find the hidden option for making a project a “collection” with a defined set of boundaries. The nice thing about these is that any observations you make in that area automatically get added to the project, so you don’t forget to add them. I remembered that Linda Jo Conn (the great iNaturalist guru) had showed me how to do it when I made the Hermits’ Rest collection, but I had to re-remember.

Heron on fake pond, which is surrounded by cypress trees and has lots of nice riparian plants

I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end, though, and especially pleased that three other people had made observations there in the past. So, I’m not alone. I’m just the more obsessd person with it.

Why it’s interesting

The area where our relatively new office complex is located interests me, since I’ve actually been observing it since 1997. When we were building our house in Brushy Creek, we’d drive through the complex as a shortcut between Jollyville and Round Rock. Now, of course, there are large zoomy highways to get there. Back then, there were only a few companies with
large buildings there, and we enjoyed seeing many deer in the wide expanses of grass and groupings of trees.

Now, many more buildings are present, but there are still a few relatively natural areas, along with some places that were once landscaped but gone wild. There is an interesting mix of native and introduced plants.

Native plant!

Plus, our office has the courtyard where the hawks live, and it is full of mostly native plants, just groomed to death by landscapers.

I’ve written about this site before, especially one article last June when I did another major sweep of the area. That’s when I first started on iNaturalist and was practicing my identification skills.

I hope any of you on iNaturalist will enjoy what I share there. Of course, I’ll share a lot of the photos here, too!

Yellow iris that was planted by the pond