Animal Tales

This page is where you can find all my cute dog, horse, donkey, and chicken stories. Aww.

Example. Horses and donkey

Who Supports Whom?

I was thinking about support even before I saw that it was the UU Lent word for today. Right now pretty much everyone needs support, right? Times are so confusing for everybody. Still, many of us are called on to support others. And sometimes the people we support need us to support them, too. My … Continue reading “Who Supports Whom?”

We Have the Freedom to…umm

Perhaps today is not the best day to talk about freedom, but that’s what the UU Lent calendar said to talk about. Freedom’s always been a hard topic for me, even without being confined to quarters/office and following so many rules and regulations (our home health agency gets new guidelines from the State every day, … Continue reading “We Have the Freedom to…umm”

Playing! Fun! Okay!

Today’s word for UU Lent is play. Great choice, since Lee and I are taking a birthday present road trip to visit a new place and see some relatives. It’s my gift to him. We hope to get Lee relaxed and me out looking at water. Fun. I’ve always tried to incorporate play into my … Continue reading “Playing! Fun! Okay!”

Chickens Like Toys

The new chickens have ended up being a very popular addition to the Hermits’ Rest collection of animals. Even Lee has been seen sneaking out to give them some treats. Lee’s brother, Jim, who is staying in an RV in our garage area, mowed the grass this weekend, and made sure when he went by … Continue reading “Chickens Like Toys”

A Visit Cut Short

I was about to start writing this, when I got more and more annoyed at a phoebe flying around me. It got SO loud. I looked up, and she was sitting right on the porch with me. Missed that photo op! Speaking of photos, you might enjoy a visit to the Master Naturalist blog, where … Continue reading “A Visit Cut Short”

Loitering Livestock

Yesterday I ended up spending a lot of time around the resident cattle, even when intending to hang out with the horses and Fiona. It was all fun, though, and a great reminder of some of the things that are common on a ranch that aren’t common for city folks. For instance, I was walking … Continue reading “Loitering Livestock”

Ginger Hen Genetics

I couldn’t remember the breed of chicken our new brown one, Ginger, was. I knew if I just saw it, I’d remember, but it wasn’t listed on the Bird and Bee Farm website. Chicken-loving friends to the rescue! Cheryl pointed out on Facebook that she is an ISA Red. I got her so that I’d … Continue reading “Ginger Hen Genetics”

Doggie Doo, Oh Poo

Oh, look. Here’s my dog, Vlassic, sound asleep in his doggy bed. Isn’t that sweet? Look at how he is not wriggling, squirming, or digging his nails into anything. What a great dog. As an added bonus, there isn’t dried up cow dung all over his collar, either. Mmm, that was fun to clean off. … Continue reading “Doggie Doo, Oh Poo”

Who Wants Dog News?

Of course, YOU want dog news (especially if you are Don L., the dogs’ biggest fan). I’m here to share that the battle between Vlassic and Penney is finally settling down. We haven’t had even the slightest grr sound from either of them in a few weeks now. They run and play outside like the … Continue reading “Who Wants Dog News?”

Holiday for Harvey

Whew. I was not a hermit today, as I spent a fun bit exhausting day surrounded by people. But I did fine, laughed a lot, and made it through dinner for nine people at the ranch table this evening. The highlight of the day came toward the end of the delayed present opening. For some … Continue reading “Holiday for Harvey”

Ha Ha! Today Didn’t Suck!

What do you know! A group of people determined to have fun despite setbacks CAN do it. My little department at work is like that little engine that could in the kids’ story. We just keep on doing good stuff and having a mostly positive attitude. We had three people with sickness or sick children, … Continue reading “Ha Ha! Today Didn’t Suck!”

Damp and Dreary Can Be Cheery

Today started out bathed in fog, and as the sun sets it’s still drizzling. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day. You can find beauty anywhere if you just look around! Just look at all these beautiful water droplets! Anita stayed over last night, sleeping on my gradually softening air bed. Shoot, that was a GOOD … Continue reading “Damp and Dreary Can Be Cheery”

Horses Heal Hearts

I feel so good right now. Sara and I just went on a long ride on Apache and Spice. Due to our schedules, we hadn’t been out for a while. I was a little worried that Apache would be hard to ride after so long, but he seemed as glad to go explore as I … Continue reading “Horses Heal Hearts”

It’s Not Always Exciting

Some days I run around doing interesting things. Some days I’m just full of deep thoughts. Not today. It was a very welcome normal day. Everyone needs a day of downtime. I got to walk the dogs. I went to the office and did web and Facebook stuff for all my jobs, volunteer and paid. … Continue reading “It’s Not Always Exciting”

Ranch Return. Ahh.

Being away from nature for a week was hard on me! I was so glad to come home to the ranch and see familiar sights. The trees, the cattle, the birds, my dear pets. It even smelled like home. I got to check out what has changed and what’s new this evening. I also got … Continue reading “Ranch Return. Ahh.”

We Invade the Plantation

Yesterday was a bit more of the same vacation stuff as the rest of the week. We have a routine where Anita works all morning (that’s why I have time to blog; otherwise I’d be doing activities) and then off we go. I made a lunch with our eggs and turkey and cheese all scrambled … Continue reading “We Invade the Plantation”

Stinky but Fun!

In my previous post, I talked about going on a walk with Kathleen (who will be here for the next year or so, getting our Hearts Homes and Hands business going) around the ranch for a long time and getting no “exercise credit” for it on my watch. While annoying, there are darned good reasons … Continue reading “Stinky but Fun!”

Chicken Resurrection

Happy Autumnal Equinox! Welcome Mabon, the middle of the harvest season! Happy thoughts to Texas finally cooling off at some point in the future. Today’s little tale has a sort of harvest theme, because it happened when I went to harvest eggs last night (make that egg, as there was just one). I got a … Continue reading “Chicken Resurrection”

Dogs Are Weird But Good

We have not had any dog issues since night before last. In fact, last night I sat on the back porch and watched the three younger dogs running and playing with toys for nearly an hour. Vlassic was happy as he’s ever been. But then, last night, he was sleeping directly in front of my … Continue reading “Dogs Are Weird But Good”

Recharge Time

This morning I waved goodbye to Eva and Joe, found out what was going on with the rest of the family, and realized I was gloriously alone for a while. Lee and Kathleen are still in west Texas, Mandi has other issues, we canceled Sunday dinner due to stress and confusion, so no visitors today. … Continue reading “Recharge Time”

New Mamas and Wannabes

I just had to share this! As I was driving into the Wild Hermits part of the ranch, I saw our tenant messing with a cow. Hmm, I thought, some of those cows looked pretty bagged up yesterday (yeah I talk rancher talk to myself). Sure enough, when he left, I saw this shiny new … Continue reading “New Mamas and Wannabes”

Chicken Cube

Today I had two potential things to write about. I’m chickening out (oh how humorous) and writing about the hens rather than ranting about self-righteous millennials. We’ve been stable with chicken numbers for a couple of months now. Mandi thinks it’s because her dogs have managed to catch a couple of owls. I’m of two … Continue reading “Chicken Cube”

Apache and the Ants

No, that’s not the name of a new musical group. It’s about why today’s ride was rather antsy for my usually patient steed, Apache’s Smoke Signal, AKA Apache AKA Patchy. The morning went as usual. It was hot and I dripped sweat all over myself, but Sara and I got the horses (and Fiona) ready … Continue reading “Apache and the Ants”

Vlassic: A Mysterious Lump

Something’s up with Vlassic! He’s happy as he can be, running around like normal, and eating all his food. But, he’s developed a big lump on his shoulder. It doesn’t seem to hurt, but you can’t miss it. We’ve been trying to figure out what it is going on with him. I had a couple … Continue reading “Vlassic: A Mysterious Lump”

A Year of Classic Vlassic

It came as a shock to me when my calendar popped up that August 1 is our sleek black weenie dog mix, Vlassic’s “birthday!” Only a year ago, Sara saw something strange on her picnic table and called me over to get my new dog. We never saw any posts looking for him, which is … Continue reading “A Year of Classic Vlassic”

Doggie Doin’s

This weekend so far has been all about my canine buddies. Thursday night we had the quarterly board meeting for the Milam Touch of Love group. Lots more people than I thought were coming were there, which made me wish I’d moved into the sanctuary rather than in the conference room. That made it rather … Continue reading “Doggie Doin’s”

Is Everything Dead Yet?

This time of year, it’s usually looking pretty bleak out here in central Texas. By now, the grass is usually very brown and crunchy, and there are good-sized cracks in the soil. But this year it’s rained a lot more than usual, so how’s it doing? It hasn’t rained in a couple of weeks, and … Continue reading “Is Everything Dead Yet?”

Test Driving a Canine

It’s been hard on us since Brody died. Lee and I finally decided to look into a female dog, thinking we could use some balance. I talked to a couple of people about potential new dog friends. One sweet girl lives in Mexico and looks like a bigger Vlassic. One is a large and beautiful … Continue reading “Test Driving a Canine”

Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth

So, I started yesterday feeling all fancy and business-like as we got our pictures taken by the Chamber of Commerce, because Hermits’ Rest Enterprises is the July Business of the Month. Mandi and I had on nice clothing and jewelry, and Mandi’s hair was all straight and fancy. (See the Hermit Haus blog for more … Continue reading “Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth”

Horse Schooling

That’s right, two posts in an hour. I had two topics, you see… so. One of the things we found while doing things around the house yesterday was a beautiful black widow spider that we must have disturbed in all the work. I’m sorry to say we had to dispose of her, because I just … Continue reading “Horse Schooling”

Starvey Harvey at Four

When we brought Harvey home from where he was dumped at the Rattlesnake house, the vet said he was about the same age as Brody, so I assigned him the summer solstice as his birthday. Sigh. Brody would be four now. Anyway, Harvey is doing well. Not as porky as he was for a while, … Continue reading “Starvey Harvey at Four”

A Dog and His Frog

[Note: that should say “toad,” as you will see later, but I like that the title rhymes.] Last night, while our merry community members were sitting on our porch watching the weather, we noticed that Vlassic, the little black dachshund mix was looking at something else. He was very intently observing the water trough that … Continue reading “A Dog and His Frog”

The Year of the Snake?

You’ve heard all about our snake and chicken issues. Today I was happy to see the hens in the chicken yard, so I could give them some new food. But as I walked toward the yard with the food, I saw a funny-looking garden hose. That was yet another snake. It was heading under Tyler’s … Continue reading “The Year of the Snake?”

8 Chickens + 0 Eggs = ?

Finally, a non-introspective post. Read it anyway! Yesterday when I checked the chickens, there was just one egg, from Rosie, and it was in a weird spot, not in the nest boxes. I thought to myself that just didn’t seem right. Today there were no eggs in the henhouse. Because I was suspicious, I entered … Continue reading “8 Chickens + 0 Eggs = ?”

A Dog Is Not a Donkey

So, today I went to visit my dear horse and donkey, who I hadn’t seen in a whole week! They’d already been fed, and Sara had ridden Apache in the morning. But I just had to say hi. I brought Apache and Fiona out for some loving, and it became clear she had to be … Continue reading “A Dog Is Not a Donkey”

Grateful for Insights

I was feeling pretty crummy today. I guess grief hit me hard. I asked my Facebook community friends to share things that brought them joy recently, thinking it might help. I was smart. It did help. I highly recommend reaching out and asking for help when you need it. It will remind you that people … Continue reading “Grateful for Insights”

Life, Death, All That

Still feeling numb about losing our Brody. To top that off, two chickens got killed over the weekend, the white one and the very perky little one who had only just started laying. Tyler repaired the chicken coop and blocked the theoretical fox hole better than it was before. He also came up with a … Continue reading “Life, Death, All That”

Donkey and Storm Update

I’ve been so busy writing about Fiona that I haven’t had a chance to talk about the horrible weather that’s been going on here (what else is new? the weather has been bad everywhere!). But I know the donkey fans out there will also want to know how the little darling is doing. Feisty Fiona … Continue reading “Donkey and Storm Update”

Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem

by Mandi Shuffield All of you who are following the woes of Fiona the mini donk already know that she has been dealing with a list of ailments (one, I really wonder about as far as accuracy in diagnosis goes) for a couple of weeks now. I’m going to recap just a bit, and explain … Continue reading “Guest Post: Donkey Mayhem”

Happy Dog

Vlassic may be dirty, but he is happy. I’m mainly trying to upload the video here. But you might enjoy it anyway. Well, it looks like that worked!

Pond-ering

Since it’s rained like crazy and the rivers are still rising, I thought it would be a good time to check out our pond, the arroyo, and the riparian areas at the front of our property. Also, since it’s time for the second wave of wildflowers, I’d check them out, too. I’m always happy when … Continue reading “Pond-ering”

When Your Horse Freaks Out

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 … Continue reading “When Your Horse Freaks Out”

A Year of Carlton the Dogman

Facebook is good for something: This morning it reminded me that I found my precious doggie Carlton a year ago today. Time really flies, doesn’t it? Some of you may know this story, but I’ll share it in Carlton’s honor. I was really missing having a dog to hang out with when I was in … Continue reading “A Year of Carlton the Dogman”

Tribute to a Rooster

I don’t cry much anymore. I used to cry multiple times a day, but I hadn’t in months, until yesterday. I thought the chickens were acting a bit off, and when I walked into the coop, I saw why. There lay one of the older black hens, with our dear rooster, Buckbeak, lying at her … Continue reading “Tribute to a Rooster”

Leading Horses to Water

Because I don’t take my phone on trail rides (just Sara’s old emergency flip phone) I have no photos. So, enjoy these paintbrushes and cattle while I brag about our horses. But wait! I have sad calves to share! These little darlings got weaned and wormed today. Much mooing is happening now. Sniff. On to … Continue reading “Leading Horses to Water”

Flowers and Zooming Dogs

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! 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 … Continue reading “Flowers and Zooming Dogs”

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! 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 … Continue reading “Too Busy to Write!”

Weekend Ranch Excitement

It’s been a fun weekend here at the Hermits’ Rest. I managed to go horseback riding twice, which is rare, and Apache and I had lots of fun. Sara set up cones, so we got to ride in patterns. He did way better on Day 2, like he figured it out. I also prevented him … Continue reading “Weekend Ranch Excitement”

That Dog

Just a funny little Vlassic story. This morning I had to gas up the car before heading to Cameron. I pulled into the bay, got out, and Vlassic jumped out right after me. I was worried he’d get hit by a car at the very busy station. But no. He ran around the car at … Continue reading “That Dog”

Great Hen Adventure Time!

Previously, I hinted that I was going to add some chickens to our flock. I’d met a woman at the Master Naturalist Christmas party named Cindy Vek, who told me all about her chicken farm, Bird and Bee Farm, between Rockdale and scenic Milano, Texas. I was intrigued. A welcoming display from the Tom! So, … Continue reading “Great Hen Adventure Time!”

Coop Cleanup

The Raising Chickens for Dummies book told me that coops of free-range chickens need to be cleaned out every six months to a year, and since I couldn’t remember the last time anyone cleaned it, I decided now is the time. Besides, the massacre appears to be over, egg production up, and I was thinking … Continue reading “Coop Cleanup”

Chickens and Dogs, Oh My

First of all, I’d like to sincerely thank all of you who have said such kind and supportive things to Mandi after yesterday’s post about Sweetie. I know she feels the love from all of you. And I mean ALL of you. Her post and the one about Brody getting hurt are the two most-read … Continue reading “Chickens and Dogs, Oh My”

Guest Post: More Dog Sadness

by Mandi Shuffield Country life is a special and different kind of life. It is even more important out in the country to form bonds with neighbors and their animals, in case an emergency ever happens. Country life does have some rules that are sometimes very heartbreaking for the families that have to abide by … Continue reading “Guest Post: More Dog Sadness”

Egg Production UP!

Hooray! I can’t wait until tomorrow to share this! The winter slump is over, and the ten or eleven remaining hens are starting to lay again. Mandi and Seth (the weekday gatherers) report that every day this week there are more. Today’s 7 is pretty darned good! The owl deterrent measures seem to have helped, … Continue reading “Egg Production UP!”

Yoga Fearlessness

I’ve been musing about how I feel fearless lately and thinking about the things that helped me get that way. Most of them are just normal things, but done intentionally (like walking). Another thing that’s made a huge difference for me is doing yoga regularly. Now, I’m not one of those super-flexible yoginis that they … Continue reading “Yoga Fearlessness”

Cattle Torture

Our personal land is surrounded by the Wild Hermits land that we share with the neighbors. We rent that land out to the Vrazels, who have many lovely cattle in two or three pastures (I think they took a fence down to make a really big pasture). Usually, the animals are way over by the … Continue reading “Cattle Torture”

Brody Update

You may remember that our Australian Cattle Dog, Brody, has been limping since early last week. Lee was unable to get him to the vet last Thursday, due to the floods, but this week he got Bro-Bro in to Dr. Amy (she is only in town on Thursdays, and Brody is not great at traveling … Continue reading “Brody Update”

Chicken Update?

Just wanted to share that the owl seems to have literally flown the coop, and we haven’t lost a chicken in a couple of weeks. As you can see, they are looking happy. Buckbeak is glowing! We have at least ten left. And we are now getting ONE egg per day! 100% improvement over zero! … Continue reading “Chicken Update?”

Poor Bro-Bro

Here’s a doggie who could use your thoughts for a while. Our poor Brody always seems to get the bad end of his brotherly altercations with the other dogs (mostly Harvey; they are so well matched that they have never been able to decide who’s number one). Last week they had their monthly battle while … Continue reading “Poor Bro-Bro”

In Praise of a Dog

Let’s recover from my downer of a post last time by looking at a beautiful animal that can defend itself, good old Alfred the Anatolian Shepherd. I walked into the living room at the ranch last weekend to see Big Al stretched out on the new couch, and he looked so beautiful and peaceful that … Continue reading “In Praise of a Dog”

Not So Cheerful News

When I went to feed the chickens yesterday, for the first time since I got back from vacation, I was sad to see that one of the latest victims to our resident owl was Big Red, the rooster with the red eyes. He just loved sunflower seeds, and Mandi said she realized he was gone … Continue reading “Not So Cheerful News”

A Winter Ride

Today was beautiful, sunny and cool, but not cold. It was a perfect day to saddle up the paints and explore the big pasture. Apache was amazingly well behaved as we warmed up, but Spice had a hard time when Sara went to mount her and the men working with unhappy bulls decided to turn … Continue reading “A Winter Ride”

Meadow of Meadowlarks

When I woke up this morning, my Facebook feed was full of beautiful pictures of the heavy snowfall in North Carolina last night. My friend Gina has two labradoodle puppies who experienced the joy of snow for the first time, and I just had to share her photo of their adventure. Here it’s just wet … Continue reading “Meadow of Meadowlarks”

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