Armadillo Encounter!

It’s been a good couple of days in the Austin neighborhood. The weather is so nice that we’re able to be out a bit more. So, we see things. On top of that, we meet people. Here’s what and who I have seen and met in the last 24 hours.

I thought I’d share the progress of our yucca bloom. I think it makes a really pretty pattern.

I met a charming pre-teen youth yesterday who was running sprints back and forth between two mailboxes, and doing push-ups in between. I was trying to leave him alone, but Vlassic loved him, so we chatted. I asked him what he was training for, and he puffed himself up to full height (shorter than me, I think), and informed me he was the starting quarterback at his middle school team, and he had to keep in shape to keep his position. “We play tackle!” he happily informed me. I told him he was showing all the signs of someone who has sports success, and he just beamed at me.

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Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney

I just got home from another fun Milam Touch of Love event, the Blessing of the Animals, which is a yearly celebration at many Episcopal churches in the US. Today the one in Cameron was at All Saints Episcopal, a church attended by a lot of my friends. They’d invited MTOL this year, and we really appreciated it.

Fifi is very friendly.

Our group brought two sweet dogs looking for homes, Henry and Fifi. The kittens Jean S. is fostering were also there, and darn, they are cute.

This sweet dog is all scarred, but so well trained and sweet, you’d never know she’d had a hard past.

I brought Vlassic along, as an example of the dogs that are dumped out in the country, which shows the need for helping animals out here. I was really proud of how well he behaved. He played a lot with Henry, who was thrilled to have a friend to play with, though he eventually wore V. out.

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Fun with Foxes

Today we have a guest photographer! My coworker, Jen Clower-Brown, has been lucky enough to spend the summer watching a family of foxes grow up in her neighborhood north of Austin.

As you can imagine, there has been much cuteness and beauty as she captured images of them playing in her back yard and climbing her fence. Jen reports that these images are the result of much time sitting quietly on her back porch, waiting for them to show up!

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Walking around Lake Travis

This morning I took a walk while waiting for the rest of my team to arrive. This is an interesting area, because it was all laid out to be neighborhoods, then no one showed up to build houses, so the land has stayed pretty much untouched. Now, people are finally starting to move in, as the Austin suburbs move further and further out. Still, where we are staying has a lot of empty property.

Typical terrain in this area. Lots of juniper, little oak trees, and some mesquite.

This means that you can get a good idea of what the area around Lake Travis looked like, at least since the advent of all the cedar (ashe juniper) trees.

The lake is low. But it’s been MUCH lower.

I’ve been here in the spring, and know the wildflowers are spectacular. It was easy to see from all the dried seeds heads I saw.

Mexican hats and seed heads. Camera stubbornly focused on the back one.
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Deer Watching Retreat

Our real estate mini-business has to have a board meeting every year. So we decided to do a weekend retreat somewhere we could concentrate. So Lee and I used our condo points to book literally the only available 2-bedroom condo in Texas.

At least the lake is not totally dry.

It’s in Lago Vista, an oddly endearing resort village on the north shore of Lake Travis. Well, it’s a condo all right. I think it’s the least charming one I’ve ever been in. It appears to be the same age as the Bobcat house, only with very few upgrades. (Bathrooms have been done, on a budget.)

The arrow shows the nice condos and the sliver of lake we can see from our deck. Check the lower right for a photo bomber.

It appears it once had a lake view and lots of green space. But someone sold that land and put fancy condos on it. Now there is a sliver of lake and some rich people you can glimpse between units.

Oh well. It’s almost free. And it has deer.

White-tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Majestic buck.
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Cattle Drama! Newborn Interventions!

That’s right, I’m posting about calves again, even though hardly anyone has read the other post on calves (cattle drama is nowhere near as interesting as my personal drama I guess). And, to be honest, this is not drama if you live on a cattle ranch, but it’s fun if you’ve never been around them. So I’ll share my action shots.

I’ll get you!

The dogs went crazy, and I looked outside to see a mama cow and a very new baby trotting around. I then heard the unmistakable sound of a utility vehicle. A quick glance at the little tan calf told me what was up: it hadn’t been tagged yet.

Run! There’s a guy coming after us!

One reason that the cows get checked on so often during calving season is that each newborn needs to be checked out quickly, to make sure everything is okay. The cattle owners also check to be sure there’s no cow in distress or anything like that, too.

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Do You Have a Favorite Calf? I Do.

Here’s the whole family of cattle I can see from the house. I hope those clouds bring some rain.

Yesterday, I’d been lamenting that all the mamas and babies in the cattle herd had been put right behind our house, but I never got to see the cute little spotted calf I’ve been enjoying since the day they were born (still don’t know male or female).

I think it may be a female.

Today, though, I noticed that they were all in the back tank/pond, which still has a good amount of water in it, bathing and mooing. There was also a bonus creepy cow staring at me from within the willow trees. She looked menacing.

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