Earth Day Campout Highlights

Most of today has been great. The big highlights were predominantly nature oriented, but I also rekindled some old friendships and made some fun new friends.

I got to stand in the lake!

After coffee by a nice campfire I went on a brisk (for me) hike on the trail that goes around Lake Georgetown. The whole trail is 26 miles long, so no, we didn’t go the whole way. The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed going up and down the limestone escarpments. I didn’t take as many photos as usual, though I found a few new plants I had to record.

We enjoyed views of the lake and all its sights and sounds. I was sad to find zebra mussel shells on the shoreline. They’re very invasive. So is the Japanese honeysuckle we saw. But a black swallowtail cheered me up.

In our way back, I remarked to Mike that we were in the perfect habitat for golden-cheeked warblers, with Ashe junipers and native oaks. I swear only three steps later, the blaring “la cucaracha” call rang out! We never spotted the bird, but it sang for quite a while. Great Earth Day experience! Here is scenery from the trail.

I was ready for a nice rest after the hike, so I hung out with Lee for a while. Then I did some chatting with new arrivals. Of course there were some campsite emergencies that we helped take care of. The afternoon culminated with a tradition campout potluck meal. Unfortunately, the original location was lost, and I offered our shelter for the food.

Before too many people were there.

I didn’t realize everyone would sit next to our motorhome. It was too hard for Lee to be near people for that long, so I won’t make that error again! I made a couple other mistakes being too hospitable, but I’ve learned the hard way to keep folks away from the RV. I sure feel bad for that!

Young and old gathered. Loudly. Fun for non-hermits.

We did find the summer tanager again, which helped a little. I’m very grateful to the Merlin app that identifies bird calls, even though at first it said it was a Baltimore oriole, which got us overly excited. Away from the crowd, it got the ID right, plus we saw the bird and it was red, not orange. I ended up getting extra blurry photos of the male and a better one of the female. They are beautiful birds with a beautiful song.

It was fun to show birds and plants to others. I wish there were opportunities to do this at parks in Milam County for volunteer hours!

Old friends are good friends

Technology Is My Friend

I’m getting tired of toting two laptops wherever I go. It really makes my computer backpack heavy! And it seems silly to bring my personal laptop everywhere I go, when all I really want to do is blog, check email in case there’s a message from a human on it, read social media, and search for stuff. I can do all that on the phone.

The sky was absolutely glorious this morning. Worth waking up to!

I just solved that problem by finally getting a new keyboard that will attach to either my laptop OR my phone. As a matter of fact, I’m blogging on it now! That pleases me very much, because, as an old person, I type way faster than I can use a phone for entering text. I just haven’t gotten the hang of using my thumbs, or whatever it is the quick people do.

The latest new flower is the silverleaf horse nettle, which will bloom all summer long.

I got a little Logitech keyboard K585. It lets you switch between a laptop and a phone with relative ease (once you figure out how to set it up). The computer was easy, once I realized I had to turn the keyboard off and on again to connect and figured out that my USB unifying receiver didn’t like to share.

Look at it, editing this post right here. This shows how grungy my trackpad is.

The phone was harder, because even though I pressed the button to set up the second device and turned Bluetooth on, there were no instructions for entering the magical pairing number on the keyboard. I kept entering the numbers and nothing happened. About the fifth time, I just pressed the Enter key when I was finished, and sure enough, it worked. I wished the instructions had SAID to press Enter.

Now I’m a happy keyboarder. I like blogging on the phone, because I can upload photos straight from my camera images rather than putting them in the media library from the phone and then accessing them on the laptop.

My computer bag will be much lighter tonight when I go to Round Rock so I can work at Dell HQ tomorrow. I’ll get to meet some of my coworkers for the first time, AND when I’m done with work, I can pick up my much-needed new glasses. That will save me a separate three-hour trip. I’m a winner all around.

The only problem will be that I can’t put Apache away for the daylight hours tomorrow, which I’m trying to do to help his inflammation. Fingers crossed I can get someone both willing and able to do it for me. By the way, he is displeased. I thought it was really sweet of Drew to hang out with him when I first put Apache in there after his morning exercise.

What a good friend.

Very few seconds after this scene of companionship the tussling began. In the photos it looks like Apache is going after Drew, but in reality, Drew started after Apache’s sore back. I realize the medication has honey in it, but I don’t think it’s actually tasty, due to other ingredients. But, Droodles will be Droodles!

Thanks for all the good thoughts headed toward my family. We appreciate it very much. There’s always something going on around here.

PS: If you read the blog on WordPress or the Web, you’ll notice I took the ads off. I was making a small amount of money from them, but I got reports that icky phishing and scammy kinds of ads were appearing, so I decided to be kind to my readers and dump that stuff. You’re welcome. Let me know if there are any other oddities popping up, or if the ads persist.

One or More Seasonal Miracles

What an interesting day it’s been! Interesting animal health news abounded, and animals impressed me, too. I’m just going to start with the actual seasonal miracle. Well, you may recall me saying we’d lost our hen, Betty, the Americauna who laid light brown eggs. I said that because when I checked on her between rain storms, she was lifelessly laying in a puddle.

I was reminded that life is as ephemeral as a dandelion puff.

I didn’t put her in a plastic bag to be disposed of, because of the rain. Next time I checked, I realized she was still alive, though she hadn’t moved. Yesterday, when I did my evening check, she’d moved. What?

Birds are mysterious. Ask any swallow. They are weird, like me. So swoopy.

This morning when I went in, she’d moved again, and I saw her move around. I mentioned to someone that I could swear she was actually better. But how? She was really looking bad for a few days, and was soaked. Nonetheless, when I got home from horse training today, after being given up for dead for three days, there was Betty.

So, her name is Not Dead Betty from now on. Who knows what was wrong? Did she have a virus? An impacted egg? A cold? I just cannot believe this miracle of rebirth. How seasonal!

Take a break to enjoy a bee so engorged with pollen that it was acting inebriated. I tapped the flower and it finally drug itself out of the pollen paradise.

So, What Else?

Well, there’s good news and bad news in the horse department.

  • Good: I was able to get Drew groomed today, with just a few clods of dirt left in his mane. He’s all soft and smooth now.
  • Bad: Apache seemed ok in grooming, but when we got to Tarrin’s, his back was all bloody. Drew was biting him in the trailer. No wonder the trailer was rocking all the way there (which took extra long, of course, thanks to having to get gas, hitting every traffic light, AND being blocked by a train again.)
  • Bad: Apache seems to be all inflamed for some reason. His lymph nodes are all puffy. Tarrin thinks it’s allergies from all the new rich grass and pollen. He gets to stay in the pens during the day for a while to work on it, and he will need lots of exercise (that’s good).
  • Good: Drew was amazingly better at this week’s lesson, even with no riding in the past week. It was like watching a different horse, and riding him was actually fun! That was a miracle to me. Both Tarrin and I needed positive horse experiences today, so hooray.

I was relieved that Drew was doing so well today and paying attention to me so well. I am equally concerned that Apache is having his issues flaring up. I hope we have caught the inflammation in time to get him back on track. When one of your animals is sick, it’s like your child is ill. I’ll just hug on him and dote on him and let him eat hay all day.

We just all need to sit outside and breathe a while.

There were all sorts of other things going on here, none of which are my stories to tell, but I’m glad we all have each other to support one another around here. If you have any to spare, send vibes out to my family, okay?

It’s spring in Texas. Those of us not allergic can just enjoy the green grass, blooming flowers, and changing weather.

Do I Need Another Pet?

Things are back to normal for spring in Texas. There was another tornado warning here, but just some hail happened, not like what others in the US have been going through. Today’s fun was record heat. Then the power went out all over town! That’s spring here.

Nope. No four-leaf ones here, either.

But this post is about a new pet. Spring brings the return of many old friends here. In fact, I was just thinking I was surprised I hadn’t seen any snakes yet this year. I didn’t see any over the weekend, either. But, the chickens let me know my search was over when I went to feed this morning.


Well, it sure seemed at home in the nest boxes. And there were no eggs. I didn’t see any lumps in our new pet, though.

It’s cozy here.

I just watched it for a few minutes, and I was surprised to see it slide…somewhere. I went around the corner and saw these very convenient (to a snake) slots made by the supports for the boxes. Someone asked why I didn’t stick my hand in there, and my reply was that the slots also looked like excellent habitat for black widows and brown recluses.

Blurry, but you can see the holes.

I’m feeling more happy with the snake right now, because I came back later and found five eggs. At least the snake is sharing! Later, though, after horse riding, feeding, and medicating, I went to shut the door to the henhouse and there it was, outside the chicken area.

So, as lovely as this rat snake is, and even though there are lots of mice in the hen area, we will have to discuss its meal choices before I’d let it stay.

But I have room for another pet, because we did an oopsie yesterday. Kathleen and I teamed up to do the spring worming for the horses, which went well except for Mabel, who was not at all interested. She and Kathleen both ended up with wormer all over themselves and I had some on my hands. Everyone rinsed off in the water trough. Oops.

Wah. My fishies!

That was NOT very smart of us humans, but Mabel had more on her, and she wasn’t about to let us wipe her mouth. Luckily feeder goldfish are quite inexpensive. And I do still have one trough with big fish in it.

Spring in Texas. It’s harsh.

Where’s Meridian, Texas?

It’s northwest of Waco. Where’s that? It’s near the Magnolia Silos. Anyway, this tiny county seat of Bosque County is near Meridian State Park, where I am sitting and listening for golden cheeked warblers.

Only birds spotted so far are this motley crew.

We left the ranch in the capable hands of the other residents to give them some couple time, Lee some truck-driving time, and me some nature time. We even got here before dark!

The only problem with our campsite, which even has sewer hookup, is a distinct lack of cell towers. The little connectivity I get is from the public park wifi. Eek. Oh well. What did I expect in the middle of nowhere?

Beauty. I expected beauty.

I have a feeling the work I intended to do tomorrow may not happen. I guess I can go to the park HQ and sit outside?

Or I could go look at this lake, if it isn’t raining.

That’s ok. I have flowers to enjoy, including some new ones, and trails to hike. I’m thankful once again to the Civilian Conservation Corps for building so many beautiful parks for us to visit.

And places for Lee to drive to.

If by some miracle, this uploads, enjoy these floral beauties.

Rolling Home Improvements – No Bull!

My family likes to renovate homes. You may already know that! We’re low on actual homes, so it became time to renovate the rolling home, Seneca the Motorhome. Lee had a plan to make himself a rolling home office.

Hey, where’s the dinette?

We hardly ever use the dinette that converts to a bed fit only for children. So, the men of the house got to work. It wasn’t too hard to get anything out except the seat belts. Those were in really well, which was a good thing when I was riding in there.

It’s not a table now, it’s a desk!

They unbolted the dining table and put it up the correct height to be a desk. They had to put it next to the couch, because that’s where electrical outlets are. I think it’s a good spot.


I like that you can more easily get to the bathroom when the slide outs are closed. And a person could watch television and work, as long as that person isn’t Lee. He needs to concentrate. He’s ordered a desk chair that will look good, and there will be tie-downs to keep the chair secure when we’re on the road.

I ordered a nice little vacuum cleaner for all the past and no doubt future mouse turds. It didn’t help that dog food was lodged under the dinette! All in all, I’m looking forward to our next outing.

The Bull Part

This started my day off right Sunday. I headed out to feed the chickens and check on the horses and noticed the horses were all near the pens, not out grazing. They do that sometimes, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then I realized something was amiss.

I don’t own a huge, black horse.

Hmm. Droodles and Apache were in the bull’s pasture and Haggard was relaxing in a horse pen. Interesting.

We like having him around.

I was briefly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to set them back to not, but as the photo hints, the horses came back to be petted as soon as they saw me. Then Haggard just got up and sauntered back where he belonged.

Fiona wouldn’t come back, so she was stuck on the other side once I re-shut the gate (which some equine must have opened). By the time I came back to ride horses, she was braying to come back. No bull!

In Conclusion

It was just a nice day yesterday. It ended with a big family dinner including the whole gang, for once. Vlassic enjoyed that we were all outside a lot. It was too nice to stay inside! We Texans treasure pleasant weather whenever it shows up.

Martha and Vlassic had a lot of catching up to do.

A Night of Pride and Joy

Yesterday made up for a lot of struggle and hard work for many in my family and community. Cameron held its Spring Festival, and everyone got to relax and let our hair down a bit. We even got to have Kathleen join us, which made us all happy. I’m so glad she got a break from taking care of things in Yorktown!

It was so nice to hang out together again! And have margaritas from the local winery trailer.

There’s a lot to be proud of here. The Railfan team has nearly finished another two spaces that will eventually be local businesses, and the antique shop was all set up and looking great last night (I forgot to take photos of that, darn it).

We really enjoyed the new “annex” space last night. The new sliding doors open up so it’s like you’re outdoors. It was an incredibly comfortable place to relax, laugh, listen to music, and enjoy pizza and crawfish (separately).

The highlight of the night, though, was a very special event. The musicians paused, and Melanie Reed from the Chamber of Commerce called Chris, Mike, Kim, and Dylan up to the stage (they would have also called my kid up, if he’d been there). They had a special presentation for our extra-talented nephew to thank him for all the hard work and creative vision that’s helped the McMahon’s make huge improvements to the buildings downtown that were vacated by the city offices moving to another place. I have to say I smiled so hard that my cheeks started to hurt.

Mike tells Chris it’s all him, yep.

The presentation was a blown-up photo of Chris at work outside one of the downtown buildings looking like the true craftsman he is. We all loved the “cash” sign above him. It was wonderful to see Chris getting the credit he deserves for his part in bringing this vision to life (he would point out it’s a team effort, and that Mike, Kim, Dylan, and Declan also have added their ideas and effort). I’m so glad Kathleen was able to be there to see it, too. We are very proud.

It sure was great to hang out with friendly people and talk and laugh at all the antics. I met many new folks, got to hang out with some of my favorite local friends, actually heard some good news, and for a few hours, didn’t worry about anything. We all need some time to take a break and celebrate friends, community, and accomplishments. I’m looking forward to future progress and pride in little Cameron.

Better Days, Better Vision, Coming Soon

First off, I have NO idea where yesterday’s whiny-ass post came from. Of course I know there are many good things in my life and people who like me. I was just thinking about other things.

I needed clarity

The week is still weird. I mis-remembered when my appointment in Austin was, so I rushed to feed the horses quickly. Of COURSE they decided it wasn’t time to eat yet and took forever to get there to eat. At least no one escaped.

I did get a little time to pull some weeds and enjoy the sunshine and nice temperatures, briefly. I got to pull some “bastard cabbage,” too. I have to leave our property to get much, though, because I’ve mostly eradicated it.

Not eradicated: June bugs. It’s March. They just know I want to swim.

Things are looking up. I finally made it to the eye doctor today, after postponing a couple appointments due to horse events. I found out our eye doctor is going camping with us and other friends next month. Yay. And I had so much fun picking frames with my favorite employee there. She knows just what I like. I did order a pair that are different from what I usually get. They have wire rims!

Sneak peek

After overdosing on cool frames, I got to enjoy a delicious Italian dinner with two of our former Bobcat neighbors and we filled each other in on news we don’t put on social media. Ah, I love in-person meetups. They fill me with positive energy.

Of course, I invited everyone I saw today to come stay at the vacation rental. More in person meetings to come, I hope.

I ordered new computer glasses, too, since they have a new way of doing them. These are so pretty I just want to look at them.

Things are looking up in other ways. This weekend promises to be fun and full of good stuff. I’m reminded of how grateful I am for people who are kind and care. See, I can be positive!

Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?

I’m not feeling too great today, probably because I’m coming down from a day of socializing. I wanted to take a nap, but there was really no good place to do it. The dogs were having a conference with the cattle again. If I tried to go upstairs, Lee would be working because the upstairs is also his office, so that’s not really a great place to nap either.

You could hang out with meeeee again. You never get too much Droodles time!

I thought of the tack room over by the horses, but there they get all excited and start jangling the gate around, and Fiona starts saying hee haw. When I show up, it’s time to eat or run around in circles. All exciting.

And Mabel makes me want to sing my new song, “Dirty Steed and She’s Not Dirt Cheap.”

Why did I not remember I owned a king size bed, parked in a giant parking garage otherwise known as Seneca the motorhome. I can take a nap, rest, read, do whatever I want, and no one cares.

Just me, the mice, and the sparrows walking on the roof. Peace?

But really what I discovered is that there is no place on a ranch that’s actually quiet. The men at the house are outside discussing the sewer or the septic or something like that. Oh well. They are allowed to do what they need to do, right? And as I’d predicted, Lee came to check on me, luckily while I was still dictating this.

The coast is clear, now.

I’m glad he dropped by, though, because he got the heat on and it drowns out Fiona. I can still hear a chicken declaring a successful egg production. It’s ok. I now find it all charming. That’s what a change of scenery will do for you!

Cheers to Friends and Family

Not much to say about today, but there was much goodness involved. I’ve been spending a lot of time with friends this week and it’s left me feeling mellow and connected. That doesn’t happen often, so cheers!

And yes, I went overboard with my St. Patrick’s Day theme. Not shown are sparkly green shoes. The shirt says “Lucky,” not what you’re thinking.

I enjoyed lunch with my friends Trixie and Sara, next door. We hadn’t seen Trixie since a health crisis, so it was excellent to do some chatting about horses.

I had breakfast with these gals. The wind was so bad last night that it blew their door open. They just followed me back in when I fed them. Sweet hens.

After work was something very wonderful and long awaited. The Venue that our family members worked on for so long officially opened and had its ribbon cutting by our Chamber of Commerce buddies. Barbara, who is running her catering business there, is so excited. Her entire extended family was, too.

Everyone was so happy. The renovation team got to be in the photos, too. See if you can find my family hiding.

Another exciting part was that my son and his band-mate, Austin, got to be part of the entertainment. It was their first gig in Cameron. They did good, and I got to enjoy it with my friend Pamela! I was thrilled to know so many of my local friends were seeing him play. Proud mom overload!

Serious jazz musicians

I get so proud to be a part of a small-town community and to see how it’s growing through so many people’s hard work and vision. Cheers to the folks with vision and forethought who are making our town fun and full of culture. Now, please enjoy some photos.

Anyway, life is good. Friends are good. Community rocks.

something poetic

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