What’s Blooming and Growing, May Day edition

Around May, the dominant wildflowers change from bluebonnets and paintbrushes to Indian blankets and Black-eyed Susans.

Our front field

What else is blooming now? Here are a few familiar friends I was glad to see back again.

But the best new thing over in our world is an animal. Look who Sara saw shortly after I left her place this afternoon? And she had kits! exciting new life!

Beautiful gray fox!

The chickens say this is why I need to lock them in each night, however. No foxes allowed in the henhouse.

This way we don’t have to sleep with the snakes.

Good night from the Hermits’ Rest, where we spent a lovely evening watching ducks and tiny birds flying in formation. I hope they were eating all the swarming termites…that’s another story. Still. A good life.

Murmurating. Or whatever.

Skunk-tastic Day of Chores

Honest, I was so proud of myself for all the chores I’d accomplished today. House, tack room, trailer, and garage floor, all clean. Horses all fed. I sad down to eat some cereal in mid afternoon. The dogs went nuts. And one of them foolishly went after a skunk.

I blame you, Suna. You moved my house.

I started the day enjoying my horses’ love of hay. Don’t these guys look happy?

Mmmm

I had on gloves so I could lift the hay bales after Sara brought them to me when she returned the trailer. Then, when the hay was out and everyone was chomping, I patted Apache. I guess I’ll be grooming away later.

This will be fun to clean. Maybe I’ll just soak it in skunk juice.

Lee and I went to Tractor Supply to get Apache food and more food for the other four, who are really looking better after I started giving them senior food and a magnesium supplement. I got a shovel for horse poop in the trailer and wanted a little wagon but couldn’t find one.

What is this? A cleaner tack room!

Then I cleaned. The trailer looks good now, even after Drew’s copious output yesterday. Then off I went to load up that food and clean the current tack room. I’d been waiting to clean it until the new one was ready, but I couldn’t take it anymore. At least most of the remnants of the rat invasion are gone and some debris is out.

Isn’t the garbage can Kathleen’s friend painted for her cute? It’s full of senior feed!

The room needs lots more work. Someone just tossed some boxes in there and now they are a mess. I think some may be my knitting stuff. That room would make a cool craft room, after it’s next use.

Meanwhile, Lee moved the new tack room closer to its final destination. Part is even on a block. That is probably what caused the skunk issue.

The occupant of the shipping container was not amused.

I got finished and just sat down to eat some weird healthy cereal when the dogs went nuts. Lee went out to check, and the two big dogs were running around foaming at the mouth. One or both had gone after a skunk in the side yard. Oh great.

Poor skunk.

We think it was the one who lived over by the horse pens. It’s smelled skunky there for months, and we’d each seen one. I’d hoped to live peacefully, but once it came into the yard during the day, its hours were numbered.

It’s been disposed of. That was also stinky. I’ve sprayed the dogs with Angry Orange stuff and Febreeze. It’s still bad. We sealed off the bedroom and my office.

Nothing covers up skunk.

What a day. We will wash the washable dogs with Dawn dishwashing detergent. That works better for us than tomato products. Thanks in advance for not telling us what to do. We are handling it!

Three bottles!

Lucky for me, I unpacked more wine from the Austin house. When I looked at my Cabernet Sauvignon section, I saw I have three of one of my favorites! This is so good. I now have two, and also a 2016 and 2018. I think I drank 2019 already, but it may still be in stores.

And I’d thought today would be lonely and boring! Ha!

Not a Good Day to Be Harvey

Things can go downhill really fast when you have seven dogs with seven different personalities. Just last night, Goldie and Carlton played and played and played. Goldie would put her entire mouth around Carlton’s neck, and Carlton would gleefully gnaw on Goldie’s jowls. They invited each other to play with a toy and just had so much fun.

Today, Goldie had a totally different interaction with Harvey (who is a totally different dog from happy-go-lucky Carlton). Harvey has a history of getting grumpy with other dogs, as anyone who has known the dogs for a while is aware.

I had gone to get a delivery from the UPS lady, and all the dogs happily barked at her as we exchanged pleasantries. I set that package down and went to the mailbox to see what was crammed in there today. As I did so, the dogs kept barking. I got the mail, and heard some really upset barking coming from Carlton, like a cry-bark. So, I turned and saw six of the seven dogs all in a big ball. Then Harvey ran off and everyone else sniffed the ground.

It turned out that he and Goldie had gotten into a disagreement of some sort, and the normally mild-mannered Goldie must have snapped or something. Harvey was bleeding profusely and I saw blood everywhere. Carlton had blood on him, Goldie had blood on her, and even Penney had some. Vlassic and Gracie looked okay, and luckily Alfred was inside.

Goldie had cuts on her face and ear, and I thought Carlton did, too, but later it was clear he just was in the way of blood flinging, as was Penney. Harvey looked so bad that I got upset and called for Lee, who was not happy with me for my “hysterics” (no woman likes to have being upset labeled hysteria, by the way). He kept telling me they were all just fine, but I disagreed. Harvey looked bad.

See, no more blood on Carlton. And Lee cleaned the house, for which I am grateful.

He was sitting in a corner on a rug, trembling and bleeding. I realized it was Thursday, the day Dr. Amy is in Cameron, so I knew she could see him. We somehow got him outside by dragging the rug but could not lift him into the car. I called Dr. Amy, and the assistant said they were really busy and already had two house calls to do, so could we please try to bring him in?

STOP HERE IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SIGHT OF BLOOD. THANKS.

I had to call Chris (sorry, I had to name him for this one post) and ask him to come help us, which of course he did, along with Marcus, who’s helping on Anita’s house. It took a while, but they guys got Harvey in the car by using a sheet to carry him, and we all took off to the mobile vet place.

Poor ole Harvey just sat there and bled, though he was interested in the car ride. I tried not to look at the gaping holes in his fur.

At least I got to go on a ride!

At the vet place, Amy bravely injected something in Harvey to settle him down, and after the second injection, he snoozed off. The clock was then ticking on repairs.

The poor assistant had a hard time shaving around the injuries, but Chris was able to help her out, so by the time Dr. Amy was finished neutering some dogs, he was ready. Some of the bites were BAD. There were big teethmarks and puncture wounds. Goldie must have really been pissed off, because his neck, shoulders and back legs were a mess.

Before shaving the wounds.

There was even a tendon sticking out of his leg. The tendon was what made me decide a vet visit was in order in the first place! Luckily, it was not a major tendon, and he will be okay without it.

Big ole tooth holes. And tendon.

I was impressed with how fast Dr. Amy worked to test each injury to see if it had damaged any organs. Harvey’s layer of fat helped a lot in that respect. See, Harvey, it’s good you are no longer Starvey. One set of holes went in and out, so she put a drain in it. The deeper holes were also left to drain, so there would be less likelihood of a big ole abscess forming.

Inserting the drain

More superficial wounds got stapled. All wounds got some goopy stuff slapped in it that will help heal. We will put more of that in the open wounds daily for a while. Harvey also got pain killers and antibiotics, a Z Pack for dogs.

Stapled up and heading home.

We got some for Carlton and Goldie, though it turns out Carlton doesn’t need them. Goldie may. I wish I knew what set the dogs off!

We got Harvey back in the car and back into the house. I’m glad Chris is so strong. Harvey is now in my office, separated from all the other dogs, sleeping his ordeal off. He is going to be in a lot of pain for a while, and we will be watching to see if he has blood in his urine or coughs up blood. Poor guy.

Sleeping it off.

I’m glad my coworkers were able to help me out when I missed a meeting today, and that my Indian colleagues forgave me for not being able to answer their questions immediately. Harvey came first!

She looks all right. Just has a few flesh wounds.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted on how the dogs are recovering and what we do about the issue. I want everyone safe.

PS: our sweet neighbor, Seth, got Harvey some get-well treats. He made sure to get soft ones, in case Harvey’s mouth was sore. Sniff.

Harvey would say thanks, if he was awake.

It’s Not Sunday, It’s Sunaday

Have you ever wondered what Suna would do with a day entirely to herself with no one else’s agenda (other than a deadline)? Truthfully, neither did Suna.

Samhain greetings, by the way.

But, today was indeed Sunaday, and I got to do whatever the heck I wanted to, all day long. I did have a newsletter to make, so I did it MY way, and gave myself little incentives like if I worked for an hour I could knit four rows, go for a walk, or have a mini Hershey’s bar (you know, in case anyone knocked on the door looking for candy, which did NOT happen in this building full of old people).

I looked at nature, duh.

Other than that, quirkiness ruled. I did many things I can’t do at home, like set food on the coffee table with NO consequences, burn a smelly candle all day long, sit around in bed watching CBS This Morning (what a comforting show), and watch things on the computer (gasp, not eating up all Lee’s bandwidth!).

Right outside the resort.

One thing that I did that wasn’t atypical was watch football all day. But, I did do other things, so there was no lolling on the couch without being productive. I still can’t manage that.

Tree hugging another tree.

The highlight of the day was going around the neighborhood. It wasn’t too cold yet, so I got to look at all the trees and listen to all the fun birds around here. The most fun birds, for sure, were the magpies, who were very vocal and active. They and the crows seem to be the biggest birds here.

My other favorite site was perhaps the cutest squirrel I ever saw. It was an Abert’s squirrel. They are small and have fun tassels on their ears. Of course, I did not see any moose or other large animals, since I was in a neighborhood of condos and resorts.

You could hear it chewing

Still, there were a lot of remnants of flowers and beautiful evergreens to enjoy. It smells quite nice here up in the sky.

In other news, I got a few photos of the pool, and I was surprised to find out that the little tiles they put on the steps glow in the dark! I guess we hadn’t gone outside after dark since they put them in.

That will look cool under water.

According to Lee, there is still a lot of tile work to go, since we chose that difficult but visually stunning Versailles pattern. Good for us.

Tomorrow starts my week of 6 am meetings. I have a great attitude and am sure I’ll do fine. Today put me in a great mood. A Sunaday is a good day, whatever day of the week it is.

So Good to Have Tan Friends

I didn’t plan this, but I’ve spent my last evening at the ranch for a while with my animal friends, particularly the ones the color of deerskin. It rained a lot last night, and a cool front came in, so it was a beautiful end to the day.

Thanks for the nice day, Suna.

I went out to see the horses, with some grooming implements in my hands, and told myself I’d spend time with whatever horse wanted to hang out with me. The winner was Remington, who is definitely like Drew in his love for people (at least when Dusty isn’t here). I completely groomed him, massaged him, petted him, and made him happy.

This is me, all relaxed after grooming. ZZZ.

After at least a half hour of hanging out together, I took him for a nice walk around the yard. He’s such a good guy. We just walked and looked, and he had a couple of nice snacks of grass. I really think it’s good to spend time with all of them, if they want to.

I’ll just nap here for a moment.

Apache, Fiona, and Mabel were just not interested in grooming or getting petted, even though I did give them a chance. My guys will get plenty of attention as it is, and Mabel just really isn’t people-fixated. She likes Apache. And by the way, they all acted extra friendly when it came time to eat dinner.

After I had a nice porch visit with Mandi and Vlassic (she talked more than he did, but it was nice to hang out with them both), I spent time enjoying the other tan friend, Goldie. Lee and I couldn’t help but laugh as she enjoyed the wet sand that’s just hanging around waiting for the pool guys to get their supplies and get back to work. All the dogs had fun, but Goldie was the best. She blended right in, and stretched her golden self out as if we made that smooth space just for her.

You can’t see me. I blend in.

We really enjoyed watching her, with the setting sun highlighting her golden eyes that match her coat.

Those pool guys will just have to start over smoothing this out.

Of course, Goldie isn’t the only cute dog. Gracie was pretty cute as she walked all over the edges of the pool, trying to decide if she could get in or not. There was plenty of water in there today, enough that I even saw a little frog swimming around happily.

Should I jump? Yes? No?

Don’t worry, when the dudes come back, they will be able to drain it to keep working. They have a pump. I’m looking forward to reports on the progress.

Arrivals and Departures

The population of the Hermits’ Rest is always changing. Today there’s someone new who arrived and someone old who departed. No one died, to put a spoiler in there.

Pet me once more

Dear old Granny, the skinny old mare with the inability to properly eat grass, has been sent off to hang out with Dusty and Kathleen’s other horse at the farm in Yorktown. She can wander around and squirt and quid all she wants, hang out with cows.

Enjoy your new friends!

I must admit I’ll miss her bony old self. She is awful with other horses, but she’s a real sweetie with people. I enjoyed hanging around with her, and gave her lots of love every day.

New resident

This little guy just moved into Lee’s pond. It’s one of our many baby bullfrogs from the spring mating fest.

I like my rocks.

He’s not as friendly as Granny, but he isn’t too afraid of people. Somewhere around here is a little toad, too. Lee found it in the house and put it back out.

I’m a toad.

Another new arrival is this skink. I think they are really cool. I’m not sure if we have one or multiple. I’ve spotted skinks a few times in the last couple of days.

One other visitor I have no photos of, but my guess is it’s a pocket gopher. I hadn’t seen any here, but Sara had some. I guess they hiked over here to enjoy chicken food. I blocked the holes last night, and lo and behold, there was a lot more food left this morning. I may end up just sharing my fancy chicken food with them.

Stay out of our food!

And in other chicken news, I tried letting Babette back in with the other chickens. An hour later, she was all bloody-headed again. Darn. So, she’s back in her isolation ward.

I’m a delicate flower. But at least I’m finally laying eggs regularly.

Apache has normal eyes again, and the dogs are fine. That’s it for our comings and goings.

Rainy Escapades

I know it’s October, because the rains are back. No pool guys today! But, that is just fine.

I went out this morning to feed Granny and the chickens, and heard a strange noise. What was it? Goldie. She had somehow gotten out and had joined me. I figured I’d determine what happened there later. I headed out to feed Granny, only to be met by four hungry faces.

All the other horses were out and wandering around. Huh. What in the world? I then ran the gauntlet of Apache, Remington, and Mabel, with Fiona trailing behind. I was impressed that I managed to get the food to Granny and not slip in the mud while doing so.

Gleeful escapees

Next, I walked toward the gate to Apache’s paddock. Apache and Fiona nicely followed me, so they were easy to get in. I saw that the gate had been pushed open. So, either one of them unlocked it or (more likely) I had it draped over and forgot to fasten it when I went back to the house yesterday.

Then I went to find the other two horses, which is when I took the photo above. They were just milling around, so it was easy for me to just lead them into the pens by holding their halters. They got lots of pats and love, too.

At least the baby chicks had not escaped, so I managed to keep one type of animal where it belonged! And when I took Goldie back inside, I went out and saw that she (or another dog) had managed to move the big gate that is leaning across the patio to keep the dogs away from the pool. I managed to give myself a couple of nice, sharp cuts trying to put it back (it’s heavy!), but for the rest of the day, so far, everyone’s been in their places.

Tiny cut, but was actually pretty deep. Hurt like heck.

It sure is nice to see the tanks/ponds starting to fill back up, even if it means pool delays!

I also wanted to share that I have a new friend right outside my window. She has a beautiful web, as orb weavers tend to have, but she seems drawn toward my hanging web decoration. I’ve had that thing since I lived in Champaign, Illinois! The rain isn’t bothering her, or her smaller friend who is up higher on the window, one bit.

Pretty White Things

While I’m pretty tired from the amount of meetings and learning I’m going through, I’m grateful to be surrounded by kind people and fun friends, including the non human ones.

Ready for his closeup

Lee took this beautiful picture of Carlton today. I need to frame it! Between him and Gracie, there’s a lot of white dog beauty around here.

Gracie taking over the big bed.

One more white thing is very new! Billie Idyll has finally laid an egg, and it’s a big one for such a small chicken. And it’s a lovely, creamy white. I wish Henley hadn’t stopped laying, so you could compare it to her extremely white eggs.

Compared to a Buff Orpington egg from Blondie.

Good ole Billie did good! Yay funny-looking hen!

You think I look funny, you should see Babette’s head! No wonder she’s sticking her chicken butt out.

I think this means just Betsy, the Americauna is still not laying, though since Babette got bopped on the head, she quit. I have quite the collection of merely decorative hens at the moment.

Betsy is upper left. She’s big enough to lay!

But they all bring peace and joy to the ranch, and that’s what counts. I’m glad for all the white, tan, red, brown, black, and spotted creatures around here.

My eggs may be small, but they’re the bluest.

We are still checking Star every day for chicks. They have food and water in case they hatch when I’m in Austin.

Bonus pic, because I love them.

I Have a New Shadow

A cute quick story for today. You see, Kathleen went on a quick trip, and I agreed to feed her old lady horse, Granny (formerly known as Amaretto). Granny’s teeth don’t work well anymore, so she can’t grind up grass enough to swallow it. Thus, she needs her high-calorie food twice a day!

I still eat a lot. Honest.

Granny is currently out in the yard so she can suck some grass and spit it out (it’s called quidding). It’s also because she HATES being confined to her pen and paces around nervously.

Example of quidding.

She gets darned excited when she sees a food tub, though. Yesterday, she ran up to me and I couldn’t get to her pen before she started chowing down. This morning, she followed me nicely into her pen. Since then, every time I go out, she trots up for pets, then follows me wherever I go, at a very polite distance, like a well-trained horse.

Here she comes.

She was right with me every step when I was setting up Apache’s schooling patterns, which made me laugh and laugh. I did put her in my pen while I was riding.

I won’t leave your side.

But the best thing was when I went to go back into the house. I figured she’d drop off and start grazing before I got there. But no, I heard her clip-clopping on the driveway. When I got to the front door this is what I saw.

Can I come in?

No, she could not, because part of her old lady issues includes peeing a lot, all the time. But you know what? It’s nice having her around. She can’t kick and bite the other horses this way, but she gets lots of human love on her skinny frame. We will take care of her as long as possible, too. Kathleen has her closely monitored by veterinarians.

Hey. Can I come in the tack room? My food is there.

And I’ve learned what quidding is!

Goldie the Great Dane Goes Mudding

You don’t have to go out of town to have adventures, as the Hermits’ Rest’s biggest canine, Goldie, discovered today. We made it home from Bandera and getting new job paperwork done in plenty of time for daily chores and a bit of fun.

Explorer Goldie.

The deer stand on the property had gotten blown over by the wind, so I went along to watch the tractor right it. Goldie ran alongside us.

It’s pretty here.

Once the stand was righted, we just had to enjoy the beauty of the back part of the ranch. I love it there, where all you see is grass and trees. It’s really fun on a horse, but pretty darned good on foot.

Up it goes.

We wandered around a bit finding big rocks for Lee’s pond. Then we went to check one of the small tanks/ponds that hides back there. I got all distracted by this walking stick on a Christmas cholla cactus.

The brown thing is an insect.

Goldie decided she was thirsty. After all, it got over 100 degrees today, and she ran all this way. She did her best to get to the water in the muddle of the pond, but nope. The mud was up past her knees.

I can’t get to the water.

The sound of Goldie pulling her feet out of the mud was the definition of “suck.” It was pretty funny, but I was glad she didn’t get stuck. She was too.

She was sooo dirty.

It’s hard to say what’s more

This evening, though, we looked down and saw Carlton patiently cleaning Goldie’s legs. They made a lot of progress before all the dogs erupted in play. Yeah, we miss our dogs when we leave.

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