What’s in My Sloth Bag?

Hmm, I sure took a large bag with me on this evening’s drive. Cute bag, isn’t it? I got three or four of them to hold knitting stuff and am getting a lot of use out of them.

Happy rainbow sloths

I’ve been working on two projects at the same time, a blanket for a toddler and one for the niece Kathleen. I hit a milestone on the camouflage blanket today, since I’ve been riding in cars with Lee a lot this week. So, what’s in the bag are 63 granny squares.

Practically invisible camouflage squares.

Of course, now that the squares are done, I need to turn them into a 7X9 rectangle. 63 squares; I did math.

The first two. It will look better once the ends are covered.

I’m using the zigzag joining method because it lays nice and flat. I’ll make 9 strips of 7 squares, then crochet the strips together.

First strip, artistically draped.

When it’s all together, I’ll make a border out of the brown yarn. I’d like to do something interesting but I may not have enough of the yarn. I look forward to winging it! It will be loved, no matter what.

Bonus photo: ground beetle with purple side stripes seen at Anita’s house.

Lee’s Tahoe has been having issues and had to be towed to the dealership. It’s a good thing my plans for tomorrow don’t involve our trailer!

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.

I Never Get Tired Of…

Sunsets. Tonight’s even featured some rain in the distance. And a cute dog.

I got to enjoy this sunset because I had a nice dinner with my friends Mike and Martha. I got so used to not doing things with friends that it’s been hard to get back in the habit. The last two weeks have helped!

Fancy girl

The other thing I’ve done for the last couple of days is look at horse hooves. Nope, I’m not tired of that, either. I’m learning a lot by watching Sara learn farrier skills for her own horses. As the above picture hints, I found Soltara and all her mane a bit distracting.

It’s a good thing I didn’t have rubber bands!

Yesterday I learned a lot about Apache’s foot journey, and I’m glad it’s good now! Lots more some got scraped off even though he’d just been trimmed a couple of weeks ago! Interesting.

Happy foot.

And wow, Aragorn’s therapeutic shoes are complex. I’m in awe of both Tarrin and Sara for knowing how to do this work. Still, glad I can pay Trixie for my farrier work when possible! Who knew I’d learn so much about this stuff!

Work in progress.

I’m pretty good with bugs, though. I never get tired of taking pictures of them. Too bad disaster has befallen my naturalist friends. The iNaturalist site went down! Oh no. Thus. Here are two red and black insects.

I’ll be back tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be more interesting.

I’m Rich! I’m Rich!

Hot damn! I knew one day this blogging thing would pay off. All those chicken, horse, and dog photos have finally made me a wealthy woman!

Who, us?

No, no, no. I’m not rich. But a couple of years ago I thought I’d give it a try and put ads on my blog. I find ads incredibly annoying, but I was curious to see if a small-time blogger like me could ever get any payoff whatsoever. It turns out you get paid by how many times an ad is served up, so months when I get lots of hits from people looking at photos don’t garner as much as months when I post long things with more opportunities to stick ads in. This is not going to change a thing; I just find it interesting. In any case, after at least two years, I will get PAID for blogging!

That’s right. A hundred US dollars.

They don’t pay you until you hit $100, which is hard to do unless you have a lot of followers and hits. I just hit 900 followers, so I should be earning more per ad after I make it to 1,000. Follow me, follow me! (One reason all this takes so long is that I’m not very big into marketing and self promotion. Another reason is that people my age just aren’t usually the kind of people who get declared “influencers” today.)

But, I blog to connect with friends and meet new people, not for fame. Fame is no fun if you’ve got my mental health issues, where criticism makes me a big ole mess, even when I know it’s fine. I enjoy reading about the lives of people around the world in their blogs, so I’m returning the favor.

Even if I am not always fond of the institutions where I live, I sure love my home. That’s what counts. Home, sweet home.

Now I’m off to make my surroundings sweeter. I bought a hammer, a screwdriver, and some nails for the tack room! And I still have money left from my $100 (which has not arrived yet).

Dizzy in the Head and Feeling Blue

That’s a song lyric from The Who. But I did get a sudden dizzy spell this afternoon that’s still with me. At least I’m not nauseated anymore. It has been unpleasant, though we’ve had more nice rain. It’s not flooding like north of here.

Fiona tried to kiss me and make it better.

I can’t explain, I think it’s love? No, that’s the song again. People have so many diagnoses for me. I should know that if I mention feeling bad, there will be theories! But it means people care, so I appreciate their kindness. Here are the theories so far:

  • Vertigo
  • Dehydration
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach virus
  • Electricity in the air
  • COVID (took test, negative)
  • A-fib (added later)
  • Inner ear infection (added later)
  • Migraine from pressure change (added later)

So if it’s still here, I’ll go to the clinic tomorrow. For now I’m drinking lemon water. Maybe I’m allergic to lemons. Ha ha.

Grass. Yum. Note poop growing mushrooms in the foreground. No I did not eat them.

The horses were entertained this afternoon as the pond got de-silted. Both our backhoe and the regular tractor got in there. Lee had lots of fun making giant piles of rich, dark dirt, which then got to the clay layer.

Dirt. Or soil.

One reason there is so much nice black dirt is that when it rains, it all washes from the field across the road. I think we have half their topsoil. No wonder they have to fertilize.

Deep in the mud.

It was lots of fun to watch the digging. Even when I got extra light headed and barfy, it was fun. I even managed to get the horses fed before the rain arrived. Then I curled up in bed. Fun times. And here I remain, missing whatever fun activity I had planned for tonight.

Ah well. I’ll just make no sudden moves and it will be ok. I have much sympathy for my friends who deal with frequent vertigo. And on that note, I’ll leave you with two things I can’t explain, wasp edition.

What’s Bugging Me

No, not people and what they do. It’s bugs. And they are bugging me in a good way, because at least they give me something to look at. There isn’t much else out here. People keep commenting about how quiet it s at night. Drought is no fun.

Thank you, Mr Widow Skimmer, for entertaining me today.

I’m so glad for the willow trees by our driveway, because they give me a shady place to enjoy insects when I go check the mail. Today there were many dragonflies, though I only got photos of three species.

Eastern pond hawk, female (green)

I also saw a damselfly and a Halloween pennant, but they were too busy to stop. This one was very pretty, though it didn’t photograph well.

Blurry skimmer, roseate or neon.

The widow skimmers were posing, though. I got enough closeups that you can see good details on both the males and females. the top four are the females.

I also see lots of wasps ever day. Usually it’s mud daubers, yellow jackets, and such, but I also see very pretty orangey-red wasps, and today one I don’t see much, black with a red abdomen.

There are still birds around, but not in the usual numbers. There’s the woodpecker I always hear, a few remaining barn swallows, cardinals, mockingbirds and lots of thirsty starlings. The egrets and herons (blue and green) are still here because one pond in pretty full. Today’s exciting birds were this tiny orchard oriole (they are here this time of year) and a beautiful red-shouldered hawk I saw from the car. I love summer hawk sightings.

Or a warbler.

There are a very few flowers blooming, but I found a couple. There are lots of passion vines, but the flowers look funny. I guess the herbicide got to them. And there was one sad Mexican hat flower. Of course buffalo bur is blooming and one or two others that nothing can stop. Ooh and in the best plant news: I found milkweed seeds blowing around! More for the butterflies.

I figured I should do a nature post since I had my Master Naturalist meeting tonight. It was on turkeys! The speaker had a beautiful turkey shirt on, too.

I learned so much about Rio Grande turkeys!

Why I’m Thankful for the Pool

Maybe you’ve been reading this blog long enough to remember how I decided I wanted a swimming pool last year. I called it the Pool of Dreams.

Pool of Dreams today—notice the guard garden spider (a good one that eats black widows)

I think some people thought I wouldn’t use the pool. After all, I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I don’t blame anyone who thought this. But while I don’t swim much, I do love water and being outside, especially here.

Things you see from the pool include Vlassic.

I’ve really loved spending time in the pool, and am there nearly every day. The salty water is very soothing (Lee says it’s great for his eyes). I float in my floating device and practice deep breathing. The breeze cools me then the sun soothes me. Then I start observing.

Today I watched starlings flocking.

I see so many birds, especially right now when the herons and egrets are chowing down on the little catfish in the now-shallow ponds. Swallows fly over me and the English sparrow family hang out in their messy nest.

When they took off, it was a big whoosh!

I truly enjoy the time to myself. And the pool lets me be outdoors even in this historic heat. I’d be stuck inside other than when I sweat myself silly taking care of the horses, if it weren’t for the pool.

I’m very grateful to my spouse and family members who helped get this dang pool built.


Wait, I forgot my creature of the day! Here’s a beelzebub bee eater with its prey. What a scary fly!

Social Life!

Not much time to blog today, because I’ve been busy seeing people and doing things. I DO have friends in real life! My friends are darned interesting, too. Plus, two horses have trimmed hooves. That’s it, other than a few random ranch pictures.

Today’s creature is NOT poisonous! It’s a damselfly. I saw four different colors today: blue, green, tan, and white.
My spotted buddies. One standing in poop, one rolling in it.
Aww, a sweet nest hiding in the stock trailer.
Flowers some dear friends sent.
Enjoying their new space. Can you find Fiona?

Shocking News?

It’s shocking, all right. The electric lines are being laid for all our outbuildings, but we do t think any actual shocks will happen since we are using professional electricians. It’s nice to see a little bit of progress after all the setbacks and such.

The Ditch Witch chugged into action on Wednesday and started digging the trenches for the electric lines. Then, it suddenly stopped working after getting the lines to the tack room, shipping container, and much of the chicken house done. That was disappointing, since the electricians were due today.

One long trench

Luckily, they got her up and running again this morning and finished the trenches so that the conduit could go in. None of this was easy in the baked clay soil we have in this part of the ranch. The worst parts were where they had to dig by hand and carve out curves in the path. My son looked like he was about to pass out, though of course he was well hydrated and got breaks.

Conduit, with curve, hard earned.

Now that all the pipes are in, the electrician could get exact measurements for all the wiring and such that they’d need. Everything’s so expensive right now that no one wants to waste any money on excess supplies. They will be back tomorrow. By then there should be an air conditioner for the tack room, too. Am I excited? Yes, I sure am. And very grateful. The chickens will be, too, when they get a fan to help keep them cooler.

Long…

What else is new since I got all whacked out about my diagnosis? Well, it IS the Hermits’ Rest Ranch, so of course it’s not shocking that another poisonous beast had to show up. This little darling was right under my feet while I was working. It is now a former bloodsucking conenose (or kissing bug, Triatoma sanguisuga). These bite people on their mouths and feed on the blood while the people are sleeping. Then the people get sick. Luckily, they have never been seen upstairs here.

Also luckily, Marcus spent part of his day spraying all around the house and pool for spiders. He found a big nest of black widows on the back side of the pool. They are former spiders now. I may be a Master Naturalist, but things that want to kill me need to go live outside my personal bubble. I’m tired of killer insects and spiders.

Yesterday

And it’s not a day at the Hermits’ Rest if someone doesn’t need to see a doctor. Today it was Goldie. I noticed a swelling on her yesterday, and thought it looked odd. It wasn’t there last time I looked.

Much bigger!

Today the swelling was bigger. It being Thursday, her favorite human was able to take her to see Dr. Amy and get it looked at. Turns out it was a scratch or bite or some other kind of “booboo” that got infected.

I gots an owie.

Dr. Amy drained it and disinfected it and put poor Goldie on antibiotics. She seems fine now, but now she has lots of scars on her belly!

Let’s hope tomorrow is a peaceful day. We could use one.

Who Says I Don’t Have Friends?

I have some, but most are online friends. I have some local ones, but the only one I’ve seen for the past month is Tarrin, and she got paid to show up. Just kidding. It’s my fault as much as anyone else’s!

I had a nice chat with this friend today. She said it was hot outside. (Obscure bird grasshopper)

My car has had a flat tire since before we left for California. At least it got me home. There’s been just too much going on to get the tire off and take it in to get fixed or replaced. So I have gone nowhere except to the hospital to see Kathleen.

This friend and I chatted while I fed the horses. He said he appreciated the shade. (Differential grasshopper)

Yeah. I’m also working my butt off. No time to galavant around Cameron. Work is good though. I feel appreciated!

You know who is no longer my friend? The UPS driver. She’s stopped dropping off by the garage and now dumps heavy boxes buy the road. Today I had to wrangle a 45-pound bag of coconut stuff for the horses. I was glad I had a wagon!

My wagon is a great friend! These are the boxes huge feed containers came in. The wagon also helps with all my hay moving.

I have no idea what’s up with UPS but I’ll just deal with it. No time to fume and fuss. I’ll just be grateful for good things, like Kathleen being back again and looking better.

Wine, yarn, and a white dog friend will keep me positive, too.
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