Penney’s Adopt-a-versary

My memories on Facebook alerted me to the fact that we have had Penney for two years now. I can’t say she is the easiest dog to own, but she has her own special charms, and has come a long way in her behavior.

Penney likes to be on my lap, when Carlton isn’t there, to supervise activities, like playing with toys.

She no longer insists on licking me in the face and sleeping on top of me. She sleeps by my feet, which is just fine. She is a lot less “needy” but still doesn’t like it when other dogs get attention. She does love to sleep in her little bed beside my office chair (usually with Goldie and Carlton on the couch, and Harvey on the floor).

Her spot by my chair.

She enjoys swimming and playing with the other dogs when they are outside, even Vlassic, who occasionally comes in the house now, after she attacked him in the night for daring to sleep beside me, soon after she arrived. It’s a good thing Vlassic enjoys sleeping over in the RV with Lee’s brother (and he is so good for the brother, too)!

Everybody having fun.

Penney is a real wiggle worm and cracks us up with her extra-submissive behavior sometimes. We just wish it didn’t make her pee on the floor. She was doing a lot better with that for a while, but since Goldie showed up, it’s worse. The two of them get annoyed with each other, especially in the house, when they both want Lee’s attention.

Pay attention to ME!

But, outside, she and Goldie are buddies. Lee told me this morning that they went on a little exploratory walk together, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun.

I’m glad we have her and can take care of her, special needs and all. Penney is full of love, just expresses it funny sometimes!

Progress Report on Horses Drew and Apache, Plus Future Plans

Here we are at mid week, and things have calmed down at least a little. We’re getting into a routine with all the new horses and our very workable facility. While there will be improvements, like more roof and the tack room, what we have now feels quite luxurious!

Drew wishes he had Apache’s dinner, but it has very few calories, so he wouldn’t get much out of it.

It is so nice to have the round pen right there to warm up horses and to work with Drew. I’m happy to say that he is a lot better on the lunge line and now walks and trots more than trotting and cantering. Plus, he is starting to figure out that I am asking him to transition. He is also being a much better citizen when walking on a lead, and only crowds me in crowded spots. There’s work to do, but also progress. On the other hand, I have not found his “back” button.

Wow, exercise area, feeding area, pasture, shelter, and even a temporary washing station are here!

I’ve been riding Apache as often as possible. Yesterday, he acted like his right back hoof hurt and did not want to trot in the round pen, so I’m watching for another abscess. Yet, we went for a very long trail ride all over the cow pasture, front yard, and such, and he did just great. There’s a lot of progress with him, too, and I’m relaxing my feet more in the Western stirrups.

And look at this! We have trails mowed into the pasture for us, on both sides of the fence. We sure appreciate that!

The new horses of Kathleen’s are enjoying their lives very much. She’s been riding Dusty for hours every day, and they also are making huge progress. It’s fun to watch them. She walks all the horses daily and does tons of grooming. She’s the horsiest!

Dusty says, I’m enjoying riding around with Kathleen, and I’m gaining some weight!

Mabel has been looking sort of droopy, though, so she’s going to the vet ahead of schedule, just to be sure she is all right.

I’m eating a lot, but still working on filling out these old ribs of mine, says Granny Amaretto.

As for me, I know I am not equipped to train a young horse myself, so I have been talking to a local trainer whose philosophy and ideas agree with mine about getting him started the right way. She’s the woman who was the judge at the Working Equitation show we went to a while back. Starting in October, Drew will spend some time learning manners and skills, and I will also learn how to work with him the way he’s been trained.

Excuse me, I’m a teenager. I do not need manners. But, at least I’m clean, says Drew.

In the meantime, I’m going to start going to lessons with Apache, to help the two of us get more in tune and refine my riding and his horsing. I really look forward to finally getting some real lessons in horsemanship, after all these years of not doing it. It’s an investment into my future retirement fun. I can’t wait for Apache to get more balanced, so I can ride him at a trot and canter and maybe help get some of that weight off.

Tired of Horse Pictures?

Well, too bad. While sitting around with the horses and waiting for Trixie, I enjoyed getting pictures of them being themselves.

When one lays down, the other stands guard.

I’m really loving Remington. He’s about as friendly as a horse gets. He likes to rest his head on one’s head, and sweetly kisses (no nipping!) He’s even nice to Vlassic.

All the other horses have been napping and enjoying their salt blocks, especially Drew. It’s just so peaceful!

Plus, the main entry gates are now up. The big red one will no longer try to kill me when I lift it. And the big gates to the pasture will make moving cattle a breeze.

I’m also really surprised how the dogs and horses get along, other than Goldie chasing Fiona. Fiona needs the exercise, though.

Peaceful Interlude in Austin

This is a rare time. There really isn’t anything pressing at the moment, and I spent all last night doing things that weren’t stressful (other than figuring out why the television isn’t working in the living room at the Bobcat Lair). I even did the things on my to-do list (Kathleen now has software for us), including finding someone to clean the ranch house. I have three candidates to talk to!

Highlight of yesterday was getting this odonata (damselfly) to hold still.

One thing that’s good about having two houses is that you get new scenery and a bit of a break. I LOVE that there’s usually so much to do at the ranch, but an occasional day of not sweating profusely or shoveling anything does give my back a break. I’ll have plenty of energy for when I get back!

Anita and I watched Dr. Pol (show about old Dutch vet in Michigan) in my beautiful bedroom and said ooh and aah to cute puppies and kitties, and ICK when there were two scenes of cutting off cow nipples. That was plenty of drama for me!

Regrettably, this may well have been the last peaceful evening we have. Tonight we have visitors and will get some work done around here as we prepare to move all Anita’s boxes to her new house in Cameron, and I prepare to get the beautiful and unique Bobcat Lair sold. Have I mentioned the housing market in Austin is ridiculously hot? So, as a professional house flipper, I know it’s time to flip the house, as much as I love it.

I will miss my quirky but very pleasant office so much.

The plan is to get an apartment near my work for the next couple of years. A quiet one, if possible. We just have to get the boxes out, sell the house, and move things to various places, other than the things that just go away.

I am no longer stressing out or worrying about any of this. We can handle it all by doing one thing at a time. I may still occasionally lapse into patterns of self doubt or have trouble handling change, but I’m sure doing a lot better. That’s all any of us can ask; to do better. I’m also doing way better accepting people in my life just as they are, warts and all, and am only requesting that favor in return, when possible. No wonder things are a bit calmer for me!

Glad for Goods and Good Vision!

I’m just plain glad and just plain good, I guess. As always, I’m glad for nature. When I stepped out of the house at 6:45 am to drive to Austin, I discovered we had a visitor. We looked at each other, I took her picture and bid her a good morning. Kathleen said she was still there when she came out to go to the gym, so I sure hope she found someone else to visit before the dogs woke up!

Young, confused skunk.

As I drove down the side road to US 77 (to avoid the potholes of our road), I saw a deer jump across the road. Thinking that if there was one, there were probably more, I slowed down. Yep, another one jumped by. When I got to them, I saw that they were both mature bucks with beautiful racks of antlers. I’m always glad to see the deer population recovering in our area.

Excitement!

All that nature love fit right in with my new license plate, which came in yesterday. It’s even prettier in person, and has my nickname surrounded by hearts on it. The plates raise money for our organization, and look way prettier than the standard one. Those are some good goods.

I learned a lot at work meetings today and got to hug various people who I missed very much during the pandemic times. At one point, my cheeks hurt from smiling at old work friends. That’s way better than my back pain from all the shoveling and Drew wrangling I did over the past few days! All good, though. Goodness.

And in addition, I got to enjoy good vision, finally, because I was able to pick up my two pairs of glasses at the optometrist. They are still very serious about their masking and such. It’s a very clean office. Anyway, the round ones are transitions lenses, which I know aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but work great when I’m messing with horses and having to go in and out of the sun.

I hope you enjoyed that tour of my lip wrinkles and saggy jowls. Both glasses look much better in reality than they do in these photos! But, what matters is that I can see better; good vision is good. I am curious to see how the ones I ordered online came out. They should be done soon for which I will be glad. That will certainly do for glasses for a few years!

That is just about all the goodness I can dredge up right now, but I’m sure something will come up. Are you good? Any goodness to share? Do you hate it when people say “Are you good?” to mean “Are you well?” Are you glad I’m moving on from the topic of goodness and gladness?

Family Business Meeting

This is just cute. We had our monthly Hearts Homes and Hands board meeting this morning, which we hold in Lee’s office/our bedroom every time. What was cute was that we had to have so many supervisors

Fascinating business plan.

Right as we started, the upstairs dogs started barking. Why? Goldie was coming upstairs for the first time! She wanted to contribute!

I was lonely.

Or, actually, I think she wanted to be with her people. I particularly enjoyed it, because she sat with me, and I like having a big ole lapdog with me.

My lapdog from earlier this morning.

Our meeting went long, so eventually the dogs started their own meeting.

I move we adjourn.

Even Vlassic was in the house, and he came up until Penney growled. That’s at least progressing! In any case, the dogs made the people meeting much more fun. Now, off to mess with livestock some more.

A Bit of Digital Culture

What a treat today was! Anita bought us tickets to Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience months ago, because we’d read about the exhibit when it was in other cities. Today was the day of our appointment, so I drove in to Austin and worked until time to go over to the Circuit of the Americas place where they do car races, concerts, and such.

The exhibit is under a big tent

At first, all I could think about was how easy the exhibit must be to transport, since almost all parts of it fold flat, other than the projectors. Eventually I got more immersed in the immersive experience.

There were lots of fun mirrors.

The exhibit is well designed, like a grownup Disney World, where you’re in a queue but don’t realize it. I enjoyed all the quotes over extreme close-ups of paintings, as well as the fun empty picture frames.

The second part of the exhibit was a room with bits of paintings projected on the walls and floor. You could lie down in it, watch it, or stand in the light. There was theorizing that drugs might enhance the experience. Anita didn’t need drugs.

This needs to be made into a large print

The patterns were so much fun!

The final part of the exhibit was a big immersive room with paintings and words and beautiful music. I really liked the patterns on the floor.

Whee!

The paintings weren’t static. They transitioned in cool ways and there were very well implemented digital effects that made birds fly, water ripple, and clouds scut through the sky.

Most fun were the self portraits of Van Gogh. Every so often, they’d blink! And we slowly realized that his pipe’s embers were burning and very subtle smoke came out. It was not cheesy; it was cool. But, we were too busy watching to get photos, so here’s a beautiful illusion of cherry petals flowing.

The big room’s program lasted 35 minutes, so we ended up being there an hour. We both declared it unusual, but well worth going. Plus, there was a little humor.

Ha ha. Clever.

I had to drive back to the ranch in bad rain and did one of my meetings from the car, but that was a small price to pay for getting to see ART in a pleasant, uncrowded environment.

Rainy Blurry Day

I’m sorta typing this without really looking, since I suddenly have a pretty bug ocular migraine deal going on. I’m sure not fond of those things, and still don’t know what is causing them. The good news is that I can type with my eyes closed, I guess.

What’s wrong with my eyes?

What I wanted to write about is the fact that it’s been rainy the last few days, which came as a surprise to all of us, but a welcome one! It usually stops raining by this time of the year, so we will enjoy every drop we get.

It’s not bad enough to stop things from happening, though. I’ve managed to move the horse and Fiona, and I’m still impressed about how easygoing they are with being taken to the dry area. They just follow me over there and act grateful for their treats.

As you can see, it’s still very green.

Since it’s a lot cooler today, I’m hoping the rain lets up long enough to ride Apache today. I’ll just take him down the race, so he doesn’t put any dents in Ralph’s perfect grass.

Isn’t this pretty? It’s in the mallow family.

The pens at the Hermits’ Rest are getting worked on again. The area under the roof is all cleaned out, and a ditch is getting done to hopefully drain runoff from the future water troughs. Once that’s all clean and graded, the rest of the fencing can go into the stall area, gates can go up, and we will be ready for occupants.

Only stuff that’s being used is in here now, like the chair, the fan, the tunes, and the Vlassic swimming pool.

Well, that’s about all I can write with my eyes closed, so I’ll just leave you with hopes that you are having a good end of June. I feel remarkably chipper and calm (other than my eyeballs), even though I know it’s going to be a doozy of a week!

Goldie’s First Bark Box

Each month I get a box of dog toys and healthy dog treats from Bark Box. They are always cute as all heck, and they have a theme. Highly recommended.

A box. It doesn’t bark.

They used to go to Vlassic in Austin, but since he stays at the ranch now, I bring them to the other dogs, who actually destroy them more slowly than V did. Don’t worry, V has dozens of toys in the RV.

His tail crinkles and the inner tube can be removed to be a separate toy.

This month’s theme was summer camp. The best toy is a beaver in a pool inner tube, but all are cute.

S’mores and campfire. All have interesting textures and sounds, so even if the dog is a terrier who insists on finding and removing the squeaker, they stay fun.

So, Goldie is new and hadn’t enjoyed the monthly toy infusion before. When I distributed the toys, Harvey and Carlton grabbed them and began squeaking them heartily. Goldie watched.

Later, as the others lay snoozing after playing for a while, Goldie walked over and gently picked up a toy with her teeth. She then jumped on the couch with it.

She has a toy here

Did she squeak and shake it? Did she destroy it instantly? No. She delicately felt around it. She lightly tossed it into the air and delighted in watching it fall. Then she cuddled it. What a gentle soul.

Thanks for the toys

As she was doing that, Lee pointed at his feet. There was Carlton, daintily “fleaing” Lee’s foot. He’s also very gentle for such an energetic dog.

I’ll groom you!

It’s always a fine realization when I see how well life is with all these dogs. They entertain us, cheer us up, and comfort us. I never would have imagined having such a large pack, but it’s worth the effort and expense.

Enjoying the strawberry moon

Who’s a Poet?

Note that I do not consider myself a poet and never have. On the other hand, I’m a writer, and words come out of my fingers like water flowing from a spring. Ooh, a simile.

My little work area of poetic inspiration

I’m bringing this up, because I heard a feature on the radio encouraging young people to submit applications for being the Texas Youth Poet Laureate. The woman promoting it pointed out that there are many types of poetry, not just the classical things, and all it takes do create poetry is to write down what’s going on with you in some sort of disciplined way.

There once was a woman called Suna
Who lunched on some sushi of tuna.
And as it’s her hobby,
She piled on wasabi.
Her face turned red as a petunia.

Yep, that’s the story of my lunch, all right. I have always loved limericks. I used to write acrostic poems, especially when my kids were little and did them in school.

A horse can be a challenging friend,
Particularly when he won’t tell you his thoughts
And you keep guessing what the deal is until
Changed attitudes suddenly bloom and
He is like the buddy you once
Enjoyed, oh so long ago.

That exhausts my abilities. I’m not good at free-form, and though I love to listen to it done well, I haven’t mastered the internal rhymes and repetition in good rapping. But, the lady on the radio said to just get started by repeating “I am” over and over, and boom, you’d have a poem. Okay, then.

I am a knitter and weaver of fabric and words
I am glad for all my experiences (bringing wisdom)
I am braver than I ever thought I could be (take the first step)
I am content with uncertainty and change (at last)
I love fiercely, freely, and without expectations (so hard)
I am here

Speaking of being brave, I think it’s brave to share poems you write off the top of your head in just a few minutes. But, I admit this was fun. How about you? Do you have a poem ready to spring forth?

Last night’s pool view. You can hardly tell you’re in a large city.