I’m taking a little blogging break, because I’m doing so many other things right now. Here are some things.
The Austin job is full to the brim with tasks. And random new ones keep popping up. Job security, I guess, but, gee, if someone wants you to do something that you thought was their area, a direct request would help. I’m whining.
Luckily I visited my kind therapist/shaman person who listens to me and helps me plan how to deal with my challenges. One of these days I’ll share my big one, but it’s not time yet. Just remember that no matter how cheerful people may act, they may be hiding heartbreak.
At work, we got access to new video hosting platform, and I saw that they have a free extension for Chrome that lets you record short videos, with your webcam embedded, so you can talk to people and show them things on your computer. It’s called Vidyard GoVideo, and it’s Canadian!
I had some fun trying the software out, and found it easy. It gave me LOTS of ideas, too.
If you’re on Facebook with me, you’ve already seen this (be my friend; I don’t yet hate Facebook!), but I’m sharing this for others who might find this technology useful in their work, or to publicize their blog or other projects. It’s got branding on it, so it isn’t perfect for all business uses, but you can see how many people view your videos and other basic statistics, so it’s potentially quite useful.
You can turn the camera off, and just talk about what’s on your screen, or just use the webcam to do a video blog. Best of all worlds, especially if you aren’t trying to be a professional video blogger who wants to be on video blogging platforms.
You can’t embed in your blog page, at least as far as I can tell, so that’s a downer. I’ll have to explore this simple tool more.
First, don’t worry. No one is hurt. However, on yesterday’s ride, a bit of freak-outage did occur with Apache.
Oddly enough, our ride Saturday was practically idyllic, as we traipsed all over the ranch, through beautiful tall grass (pre-baling) with Fiona in tow. Fiona always needs to be rounded up when it’s time to go through a gate, so our herding practice is fun (however, Apache sucks at it).
But yesterday was different. First, we decided not to bring Fiona, since she was still limping a bit. And second, the baling operation was going on pretty close to where we were riding. Some combination of these things did not please Apache, though he was doing what I asked him to, including squishing over a wet spot.
He kept turning around and looking urgently toward his pasture, ears up, all attentive. We finally figured out he was hearing Fiona braying in her loneliness. I guess he’s used to having her around now!
Then, when the tractors got close, everything he encountered suddenly became A Big Deal. Trees, cactus, the overhead power lines. He’d turn around, start randomly trotting, and basically act like he was on his last nerve. He used to act like that often, when I first started working with him four years ago, but he hasn’t done that recently.
It’s the time of year when the lush grass of spring becomes the forage of autumn. Just yesterday we were riding the horses through the tall grass, up past Fiona’s belly. Today it looks like this:
While my friends and I were out frolicking in Temple and eating great food (Megg’s), the Vrazels had baled a lot of silage. Silage is hay that ferments a bit. Cattle love it.
They did our whole meadow, which delighted the dogs. They can run without having to bound like deer, which they cannot do amid all those wildflowers in front of the house.
The other residents who love baling season are the raptors. When I was driving back from horse riding, the air and ground were both full of hawks. I counted eight red-tails as well as the harrier. I saw a hawk leap in the air and land on a creature. Boom.
I hope there weren’t too many nests of the local sparrows destroyed. I remember finding one last year, but haven’t seen any today. I also worry about turtles. Spice nearly stepped on one yesterday!
I guess that’s how it goes here in ranching land. Life and death.
I must say that the baling machine is cool. It picks up a round hay bale, then spins it round and round as it wraps it in plastic. And that’s a life and death thing, too.
Where does that plastic end up? Lots of it’s in landfills. Even organic farms use the stuff. I just hope the advantages of silage over hay are worth the cost.
But wait, nowadays hay tends to be baled in netting, not with wire. That’s a mess, too. I’ll have to look into this more.
It’s prime time for observing flowers and insects right now. I thought I’d share a couple of the things I’ve been observing, and give an update on my cactus that I shared a photo of a couple of days ago.
Insect of the Month
I’d say this is my favorite insect observation this month. Look at that big, green head! It’s a compost fly, and quite tiny. It was calm enough sitting on my hand that I could get a couple of nice images of it.
I don’t think I’d ever heard of compost flies before. It turns out they are a type of soldier fly.
Solider Flies are brilliant mimics of wasps and bees, but they do not sting and are so tiny, they may be difficult to find.
It turns out these are insect Good Citizens, too! The bug identification site continues: “This species of Soldier Fly can be found in woods, gardens, and parks, with populations of adults hovering or standing over rotting plant matter. They are very small in size. These Solider Flies are not pests and do not seem interested in humans or their buildings like House Flies. They have been seen on compost heaps, piles of grass clippings, and other decomposing vegetation. Females lay fertilized eggs on the plant matter, so they are also called Compost Flies. Maggots are also small and tan in color with ten segments to their worm-like bodies. The Solider Fly maggots eat the compost and their presence may deter other types of pesky flies from inhabiting the same area. Adults are believed to drink flower nectar.”
This sounds like an insect I’d like to see more of at the Hermits’ Rest. What a little helper!
Hee haw hi! It’s me, Fiona the mini-donkey! I told Suna I wanted to tell you all thanks for all your good thoughts when I was having trouble walking!
It was mega-annoying not to be able to trot along behind the giant horses all day long. It was even harder than usual to protect my feed bowl from the Pushy One. Luckily the Long Tail licked me and tried to make me feel better.
The humans paid so much attention to me! I love attention.
Now my feet feel pretty good, and I can walk fine, though I’m not running a lot yet. I was worried that when I was well, no one would pay attention to me.
But hee haw! I got to be with the horses and only had to poke my head in Suna’s face twice to remind her to groom me and give me the hugs I deserve. Woo!
Thank you all for caring on whatever a blog or Facebook is!
Back to my old habits of reading nonfiction about nature, I just finished this book: The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion―Surprising Observations of a Hidden World, by Peter Wohlleben. The author is a caretaker for a forest in Germany, which gives him lots of time to observe the habits of the animals and plants he encounters there. He’s also the author of The HIdden Life of Trees, which has amazing information about how trees feel, communicate, and more. There’s a third volume in the series coming out soon, too.
You’ll either love Wohlleben’s approach to observing the feelings, morals, and behaviors of animals or be a little uncomfortable with it. He uses a lot of scientific evidence to back up his claims (the footnotes are a book unto themselves), but there’s plenty of gut feelings and assertions that an animal felt this way or that way, because it just looked like it to him.
Adventures in raising littles to become budding naturalists in their own back yard and beyond. The wonders of the natural world await if we could only take the time... Follow me on Twitter @naturemomtexas!