A Hardworking Heavyweight in the Pasture

Hooray! I have a ranch project I can talk about! We’re getting the front pond dug out more, so it will be bigger, deeper, and hold more water. The pond was originally made from an arroyo (ditch) that made it hard to build a driveway into our homestead area. The dam is our driveway.

Removing willows that are in the way.

While it’s all dry, the tenants have had the ponds (cattle tanks) in the area between our house and the creek dug out. They silt up and need it every so often. since the guy already had the dozer here, Lee seized the chance to dig ours out, too.

It looked familiar, but don’t they all look alike?

It turns out the bulldozer is the same one that built the pond in the first place! The current operator got it from the previous guy when he gave up the dozing. It’s pretty cool! Plus the dozer guy (see, I’m not naming names) grew up right down the road, so he knows how the drainage works from first-hand experience.

Dozing with scenic ragweed.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much our budget will buy in pond digging. He’s first digging deeper into what’s already there, then enlarging it. I’m confident all the water plants will return. After all, they showed up quickly once the pond was dug in the first place!

I took a walk and enjoyed the cool October morning air today, too. What a refreshing work break! I got to pat all the equines and see what was blooming and growing. The horses were mostly ignoring me and staring intently to the north, though.

Alert!

It turns out one of Sara’s horses was walking down its pasture. They sure keep an eye out for each other! I know they miss Drew, who is making new friends, I hear.

All right then, these are some more pictures from my day. One good thing about starting work at 6:30am is having time to take pictures after work!

As they say, getting out in nature is good for you, even if it’s just a horse pasture.

More Fire but Okay

The wind came up and blew the fire from yesterday across the road. But they saved a bunch of other hay and then used our tractor to spread the remaining bales out so they would burn out more quickly.

Spreading bales

These round bales are like cigars. They are so dense that it takes a long time for them to burn. Once again I’m sure grateful to our local fire fighters.

You can see it went across the road.

Interesting fact: the hay field will come back beautifully once it rains. Burning the fields is good for them. This just isn’t a good time.

Goldie says don’t play with fire.

Other than that I’m tired from working, doing stuff with the two horses that aren’t mine, and cooking some dang good jambalaya with ham and boudin. Plus I’m sad that a friend lost her husband yesterday. That will do for today.

For Me, All Is Well

I can’t speak for the rest of my family, but today’s been good. I got to do grocery shopping for sickly children and had fun with that. I got them a Mexican saint candle to protect sick people. I need to get one for Kathleen, too, to ward off future surprises.

Come set a spell. We’re open!

I guess I’ll just share my tack room improvements, which make me happy even if they are small. My favorite things are my Mexican pottery from my beloved old office. I really like the foal with a disapproving look on her face.

Vacuum more!

I also brought the burro planter that I’ll put something in one of these days. I hope spider plants.

My kids got me the wall hanging one year when they still did gifts.

One of the baskets my friend Gina sent me recently makes my ugly tissue box fit in well. It has a weird liner, but that’s fine. And people who are allergic to scents can take care of the problems the adjacent diffuser causes. How efficient! The diffuser makes it smell less like garlic and coconut in here (from feed).

And I grabbed a bird hanging thing to charm anyone who goes to the tack area to view Drew’s ribbons. I predict this area will be more colorful next year. There will be competition!

I was so busy writing about the vacation rental we’re working on that I didn’t share the pretty things I found on a walk through the lower pasture yesterday. I checked to see if there was still any water in the creek and yes, there is a trickle.

Cow says why don’t you have cubes for me?

Mostly I enjoyed early autumn seeds and flowers. And more mama cows. That never hurts!

Hearts, Hay, Horses, and Headaches

The letter for today is apparently H. I shall start with hearts, since it’s a cheerful topic and something to be proud of. After finishing the camo blanket, I went back to work on my heart afghan I was making for Kathleen. Today I finished the heart section.

heart afghan
It’ darned cheerful!

It’s way too small to be useful to keep one warm, so I am already a third of the way through with making a border of squares to go around the hearts. I have ten colors of yarn for the centers and need 30 squares. That’s pretty dang good how it worked out!

squares
Pattern from that book I got on crochet quilt blocks.

After that, I’m gonna do something else as another border, probably also from that book. I have a lot of yarn. Well, except for the cream. I may need another skein of that one. All the other colors I haven’t even finished the first skein on!

Hay

I decided that since hay had gotten so expensive due to the drought, I should “harvest” what was left when the front pasture was shredded. There was some long and very nice coastal Bermuda out there that got mowed.

That’s a good amount of hay!

It was fun to pick it up. I feel ranchy!

Horses

Sometimes the horses mystify me. Both Fiona and Drew had smears of blood on them this evening.

Just a schmear.

No horse had a cut. Maybe Apache had another nosebleed? His nose looked fine, though. A mystery.

I’m still thrilled Mabel looks so much better.

Mostly they make me smile. They see me coming and pick those heads up to see if perhaps there’s food.

We see you. Is it dinner time?

When it’s been a hard day, watching their antics and rubbing those soft necks can make everything better. Which I needed.

Drew’s relaxed enough to drop and roll around with me right in front of him. Probably trying to wipe off the blood.

Headaches

Have you ever had a day where you start off sorta irritated and then actually irritating things start happening? That was me at work today. Sometimes I wonder how people get hired. Or how they keep their jobs if they don’t understand what their job entails. It’s like signing up to be a carpenter but you insist on hammering the pointy sides of nails. That’s not how nails work!

But I’m way better at shutting up these days. I didn’t write the software I support nor their job descriptions. I’ll just do my job and let their bosses notice the quality of their work.

Still. I got a headache.

Occasionally this helps.

Plus I missed a meeting this evening. My calendaring skills are something my boss should have a chat with me about.

Pretty Gray Things with Horsepower

Admittedly, the gray things with horsepower are quite different. But they’re both pretty.

One Horse with Power

Today was Drew’s turn to shine. He was scheduled to get filmed doing the dressage part of this quarter’s Working Horse Central virtual show. We walked over to Sara’s lovely arena that she made all by herself. I had to bring a bag with my show boots, show shirt, number and a drink, along with Drew’s show lead and little crop. The only problem was the heat. i was already dripping from grooming Drew and cleaning the former concrete out of his feet. Thankfully, it was dewy this morning, so each foot was packed with mud, not concrete!

He came out quite pretty, but was sweaty as heck by the time we arrived. So was Aragorn.

I wrote up every detail of our dressage pattern in my horse journal, so I’ll just summarize here. He did a GREAT job this time, not perfect, but with much improvement. I also did better with my posture and not going so fast.

I didn’t go too fast trotting, and Drew even got through the right circle at a reasonable pace and only one attempt to bite my hat. No doubt my circles weren’t even, but we did better! Yay us!

After our two minutes of glory, it was time for Sara’s horses. It’s been a lot of fun watching Sully get better and better. I’m so proud of how hard Sara has worked with her.

Of course, Aragorn did great. Well, it wasn’t like it was a walk in the park getting ready for it! His feet are doing so much better, and he didn’t cough once during the pattern. It is so fun to watch the two of them (Saragorn) work together. They have also come a long way in their partnership.

Sara has also come a long way in her show outfits. These guys are so coordinated now, with navy and tan, along with her Wild Type Ranch logo. They’re sharp! I, on the other hand, could not find my belt anywhere. So, I am wearing a yellow bungee cord that accentuates my “full figure” oh so well. Where was my belt? Right next to the boots I DID find.

I enjoyed watching the horses interact with each other when it wasn’t their turn, or when we were getting ready. There’s a lot of gray horsepower among these three! Horse heaven!

Before you get the idea that all this horse stuff is positive progress and great behavior, I must share that when we set out to leave, Drew was having nothing of walking quietly beside me. He was, I guess, jumpy, or jittery. So, I had to stop and get him to trot in circles for a while, to try to focus him. He was having none of THAT, either, and began trotting weirdly, coming in way too close to me, and not going the direction he was asked to go in. I channeled my inner #TarrinMadeMeDoIt and kept stopping and starting him over and over. There were kicks and bucks followed by severe words coming from me. I did great, never lost my temper, and got him a little calmer.

Still, walking down the narrow alley of trees didn’t go great. He was rushing and crowding me. So. Much. Discipline. My arm was killing me by the time we got to the barn. He was not feeling inner peace. BUT. After a bit of a rest in the shade, we headed home. Who was this horse? We had a perfectly pleasant calm, slow, walk where I barely had to hold on to the lead rope. I do wonder what was going on in that boy’s head!

355 Horsepower Grayness

So, Lee’s Tahoe has been giving him some trouble. It is now living at the dealership getting its troubles dealt with. He decided to replace it and get a mobile office. That’s more easily said than done, but I will summarize by saying that something of a reasonable size and the power to tow the horse trainer will be ordered as soon as the dealer gets an “allotment” and customized in some number of months. That way he can drive me to horse lessons and then stay and work. This is all great, but doesn’t replace the Tahoe right now. Lee didn’t have to ask twice when he wanted me to go look at cars. I love car shopping.

What not to get. Fifteen passenger van. Overkill.

So, he looked for a comfortable vehicle that would tow the trailer if needed and be nice for our travels. That was getting frustrating until someone returned a rental vehicle to the dealership that was not too big, not too small…just right.

It’s a vehicle!

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever sat in such a comfortable seat in a car, and the back seat has enough leg room for very large people. And there’s a huge trunk for carrying bags of horse feed. Oh wait, it’s for Lee. It doesn’t have adaptive cruise control, but otherwise is crammed with safety features. I hope it works out. I, of course, like the ambient lighting that changes colors and the pretty covers on the speakers.

I am glad I don’t have to drive back and forth to College Station every day now that the Lee’s Gleemobile is here (it’s a GLE 350). I’ll also feel a lot safer in a vehicle that doesn’t randomly die as you’re driving along. And, I got to enjoy lots of time in my car, which I am not giving up yet, plus got crocheting done.

That’s my story. Fancy used car deal complete. And before you think I’m being snooty by getting a Mercedes, it was less than the Tahoe or other American cars that fit our needs.

And hey, I didn’t get this one, though I tried to convince Anita that’s what Lee picked. Red seats. Convertible. Giant engine. MMM. Do well on ranch roads? Nope.

Healing and Grace

It’s been almost a year since I grabbed the opportunity to leave a job where it had become increasingly obvious I wasn’t wanted. The new offer was so perfect I had to accept. It’s been a great year

I mooooved on

Today I attended the yearly conference put on by my old employer. It was my first time as a customer. Customers are way more welcome than technical writer managers, so that was good. Other than accidentally starting to attend a session by one of the people who uh, um, wasn’t a fan of me, it was interesting and I learned a lot, especially from other customers.

I just breathed and thought of the beautiful sunrise. Tuesday is sunrise day, because of the 7 am meeting.

The healing came as the day went on. I’ve heard from very few people who still work at that company, which are fewer by the day. And I have not asked the ones I hear from what’s going on there; I just keep up with the products. So, I was touched that some people reached out to me today. That felt so nice, especially since people I’d asked for help before I left had not even said goodbye. Well, only one person did.

It’s okay.

But to hear kind things and learn how some folks were doing felt healing. There’d been no closure after ten years there. The good wishes helped. Right now, with my focus on keeping just what’s good in life, I’m feeling a sense of grace.

Transformation time.

Well it’s either grace or a fever from getting both the new COVID booster and a flu shot today. No horse riding today. Sore arms.

I wish you healing and the ability to move on.

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

I’m just gonna pretend that’s true. Why not? I’m tired of living in fear of “the other,” which I think comes from all the stories you hear about crazed people on the other side who want to shoot you or take your guns, or whatever. Just two examples.

Actual roses.

After reading about the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse, I was thinking that little horrible can happen if I just live like people are basically kind and loving.

Thanks, Lee I’ll stop and smell them…

Honestly, if you’re reasonably observant it will be apparent if someone feels malice or is duplicitous. Then you can just move on to the next adventure. What do you get from fighting or trying to prove something? Not much.

Stop and gaze at them…

It sounds like the kind of thing many religions promote but few actually try to do. Probably it’s hard, that’s why. I’ve been trying. I’m motivated to try harder.

Stop and touch them!

A soft life sounds blissful.

Two Dreams, One Came True, One Didn’t (Thankfully)

Let me start with the dream that didn’t come true. I was obviously a bit stressed out from going to work and not knowing where the office actually was. That night, I had a dream that I was visiting my previous job, the previous location for it. Everyone was there, and it had been remodeled with very cheerful colors and furnishings.

They had alcoholic beverages, too.

I chatted with the happy workers, but then, as it often happens in my dreams, I had to pee. I headed to where the bathrooms were, only to find people at workstations in there, cheerfully typing. I asked where the bathrooms were. “Down the road,” was the response.

WTF??

In the dream, I blurted out, “What if you have diarrhea?” The answer was, “We have an Uber right outside!” I went out and yep, there was an old black car. I got in, and the driver sped off. I asked him if he thought driving people to the bathroom struck him as weird. He turned around and smiled at me, saying, “The tips are great!”

I woke up.


The other dream, the one that did come true isn’t that exciting, except to me. The past two rides I’ve had on Apache the Paint horse have made me so dang happy that it’s like I’ve nailed my bucket list. We’ve been improving slowly over the past year, as you probably know.

Honest, he’s happy, too.

Yesterday we did the thing I’d been wanting to do so badly. We went out in the back pasture and wandered around, going up and down the arroyo, and checking out all the fences and trees. We just did it. No stress, no spinning around, no freezing and snorting. We just had a good time.

Hey Drew, we had fun.

Today was just as fun. First I worked with Drew, who’s getting better at his stuff on the ground. His reward was a nice walk together, which we both love. Halfway through was his big reward: he got to eat long grass in the unmown front field. What a dream, hanging out in the shade and relaxing.

So. Much. Grass.

The dream continued with Apache’s ride. He’s just doing so well. We trotted around like we k ew what we were doing, walked all the way across the road (I checked for cars), then headed out to the front field. Rather than getting worried as we got farther from the other horses, he looked around and checked things out. We looked at pretty pink flowers, sunflowers, and long, waving grass.

Wandering around looking at flowers while feeling safe on a happy, calm horse…that has been my dream since things went sour with Apache a couple of years ago. And I’d never been able to ride through fields alone before. I’d been afraid to ride without another person with me.

The view from the pool. Ahh.

Things are better.

An Early September Walk

I had this idea in my head that since the highs are no longer over 100° I could start taking longer walks. I set out to follow the ranch paths for a while. I was wrong. The humidity more than made up for the lower temperatures. But I enjoyed looking around.

Hermits’ Rest compound from my son’s cabin residence.

I enjoyed looking at our place from the back, which doesn’t happen often, since I’m usually wrangling a horse these days. You can see how tall the ridge past the creek is. The pool house will fit in better when it gets re-painted. It’s still moving along.

I stopped by Sara’s barn to enjoy the little twin calves before heading back. Calves are always cute. I also enjoyed watching the other cattle and bull getting their morning cud chewing in.

Other than that I had fun looking at insects and flowers. I have been seeing these tiny bee-like insects hovering and farting around the flowers, especially the tiny purple vervain flowers. I got what I though was a better picture, but I’m not sure iNaturalist knows what they are. It says bee flies, which I’ll go along with. See if you can find them in the more distant photos!

As usual these days I kept looking at mushrooms. There were some big ones in the pasture. And some smaller ones that made me pretty sure mushrooms inspired the invention of the umbrella.

In addition to bee flies there were other things buzzing around. What I thought were more beelzebub bee killers turned out to be these green June bugs, common green June beetles or Cotinis nitida. I thought they were something else, but they got IDed as such. Hmmm. They are scarab beetles. I got this cool photo of one flying.

It tried to fly out of my view.

Many flowers are coming back after the rain, but the snow on the prairie usually blooms in late summer. It’s a weed, but so pretty.

The other flowers are probably blooming because there aren’t so many grasshoppers now. Now I can enjoy the different colors of the females when they fly. They can be red, orange, or yellow. No photos; it’s too fast!

I hardly talk about trees, but today I enjoyed two. The hackberry by Sara’s barn has always been a welcome source of shade for us. It was full of bees yesterday.

It’s pretty to look at and is often full of birds

And this old cedar elm has been hollow ever since I’ve known it. I wonder how much longer it will shelter random creatures? I’ve seen many bird nests in it, too.

Just a shell of a tree.

I’m glad I was able to spend some time poolside this afternoon. It had gotten all messed up when the pool builder replaced equipment they’d burned out. The dude had set the chlorine to 0. Yay for our pool guy Kathleen found. It’s fixed, and Lee and I took good advantage of it.

Rain is coming again. The white egrets sure look pretty against the dark sky.

What Foods Would You Choose?

I had a couple of odd dreams last night. One was a plain ole nasty nightmare in which I had to free Apache from something keeping him from escaping a fire. I remember dragging him out while throwing chicken and dog food out telling all the other animals to run, run, run. Well, yuck. I guess that fire down the road yesterday was on my mind.

Thanks, doofus who started a fire with a burn pile.

In the other dream, I was in a game show (that’s because the television magically changed to Celebrity Family Feud in the middle of the football game we were watching). In the game, I was having to guess what foods people would choose if they were only allowed to eat ten foods and three “seasonings.” I have no idea how seasonings was defined.

Everyone needs onion. Or every Suna needs them, though I’d probably select yellow onions, not these beautiful Vidalia ones.

That got me to wondering what my ten foods for the rest of my life would be. I got a real chuckle out of the fact that the first thing that popped up in my mind was yogurt. I guess I like yogurt? I don’t know if I’d get just one flavor or perhaps a nice box like this. If I only had one, it would be full-fat key lime flavor.

Thanks, family, for buying me this.

And now, I would like to brag my butt off about the fact that I did not select chocolate, ice cream, and caramels as any of my top ten. I think I’d get sick of it, to be honest. So, here is what I came up with.

Better for me than pasta, especially if I got brown rice.

Food

  1. yogurt
  2. rice
  3. chicken breast
  4. cod filets
  5. eggs
  6. shredded cheese
  7. mixed vegetables
  8. spring salad mix
  9. plums
  10. onions

If I had two more it would be Special K Red Berries and milk. I could eat that most every day. I realize, too, that choosing mixed vegetables is cheating. But I love vegetables so much I’d need a variety. And it’s my list, anyway. Why did I pick cod? I just love cod. It’s inexpensive and you can mix it up with all that other stuff to make any meals, just like the chicken.

This makes anything good.

I need to go buy some cod. It’s more versatile than oysters. Mmm.

“Seasonings”

  1. black pepper
  2. garlic
  3. butter

I figure those three things can make any of the top ten items, other than the yogurt, into something delicious. The yogurt is my dessert item. Eggs are breakfast (I eat two hard boiled eggs every day).

I keep two of the favorites in the fridge already.

You know, having only so many things to choose from and not having to worry about what to buy at the store or what to make for dinner would save me SO much time and mental effort. I’d just put something on some rice and eat it, then go ride horses or knit or read. Something fun.

Fruit is good for you. This plum hybrid thing is too delicious.

Admission

If I were allowed to have one sweet item, I know what it would be. These incredibly delicious milk-chocolate covered caramels with sea salt. If these come home from the grocery store, I eat two each evening. They are everything I love in a dessert.

It’s cooked in a kettle, just like kettle corn, which would be my choice if there were a “snack” category, battling it out with Doritos.

So, could you do it? Ten foods and three seasonings? Would yours be more interesting than mine? I hope so. I picked boring foods, but ones that are fairly healthy and versatile. And I omitted tomatoes, because they do give me the reflux, much as I love them.

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