Brody Update

I have to spread out my legs so I don’t fall over. Don’t do drugs, fellow doggies.

You may remember that our Australian Cattle Dog, Brody, has been limping since early last week. Lee was unable to get him to the vet last Thursday, due to the floods, but this week he got Bro-Bro in to Dr. Amy (she is only in town on Thursdays, and Brody is not great at traveling long distances).

For her to be able to look at his foot, she had to sedate him, so Lee left him at the Fancy Vet Trailer and came back later to find a dopey fellow who had trouble licking his face.

The diagnosis was a severe cut between his toes, but nothing broken. It also was not infected or healing wrong, so that was even more good news. Because Brody is out in the woods and such all the time, we got some antibiotics just in case it gets messed up later.

As a bonus, he got clean ears. He seems to have some proclivity to messing them up, too. Otherwise, he’s now back home, still limping, but putting more weight on his foot. He’ll live!

Mandi’s Bruised Behind. Yes, Really: A Guest Post

We have a guest blogger today, my friend and fellow member of the Hermits’ Rest community, Mandi.

First, I will go back to lay the scene. When the sheep first came to the ranch, I set out to make them understand I was a friend, because sheep and goats can get through any fence that water can get through. Many years with goats and every fencing imaginable has taught me that. I needed to be able to call them somehow, if I ever needed to put them back in the pen (hich has happened).

Pardon me, but do you happen to have any treats?

I am very much one of those people who is going to give my animals, your animals, a passing by animal, etc. a treat if I have the chance. The two sheep would hang around, fascinated when we fed the horses. They wanted what was in their feed bins.

This made Fiona (or FiFi as I call her) very annoyed. Apache (Patchtastic) and Spice (No real nickname, I just yell, “Hey Spice! Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!”) had the “Munch, Munch, GET BACK, Munch, Munch.” reaction to them. But Fiona is only little, so to the sheep she is just a really weird looking sheep with big ears.

Continue reading “Mandi’s Bruised Behind. Yes, Really: A Guest Post”

Poor Bro-Bro

Hey guys, my foot hurts. Otherwise, I’m cheerful as usual.

Here’s a doggie who could use your thoughts for a while. Our poor Brody always seems to get the bad end of his brotherly altercations with the other dogs (mostly Harvey; they are so well matched that they have never been able to decide who’s number one).

I’m gallantly limping along.

Last week they had their monthly battle while I was in Austin, so I missed it. Lee said Harvey bit Brody on the foot, causing it to bleed. He got that stopped, but Brody still can’t put weight on his foot. Of course, the day the vet was in town happened to be the day Lee was stuck at the ranch because of the rain.

We’re pretty sure he has a broken toe, and since you can’t really put a dog toe in a case, we are just treating him with pain killers and rest.

Harvey and I are friends again, and we’re taking off to run!

Well, we try to get him to rest, but he has figured out how to run and jump and perform all his usual antics on just three legs. We went on a long walk yesterday, and he even took off after a rabbit.

That dark spot is a spring that flows into our little stream, then into Wakler’s Creek, which has been very wide lately.

Unfortunately, Carlton, the very white dog, also took off after it. The rabbit went through the spring that’s been flowing again since all the rain started the past few months. Carlton came back very strongly resembling a dalmatian. He had fun, though.

A bonus horse story

The horses had less fun in the mud. There is a spot near where they usually eat that has mud like a foot deep. Both Apache and Spice have slipped in it and nearly fell. When Spice did it, she ran off, splattering Sara’s back with another dalmatian effect! Nonetheless, we have found the water hazards that have popped up are great horse confidence builders. Apache is always really proud of himself when he gathers his courage and marches across a big puddle.

I’ll get those photos taken and continue with the arts and crafts series next!

In Praise of a Dog

It was very nice of the humans to get this giant dog bed for me.

Let’s recover from my downer of a post last time by looking at a beautiful animal that can defend itself, good old Alfred the Anatolian Shepherd.

I walked into the living room at the ranch last weekend to see Big Al stretched out on the new couch, and he looked so beautiful and peaceful that I couldn’t bring myself to ask him to move.

I look wise. That’s all that matters.

He’s looking pretty good other than a couple of burrs in his ears, and is feeling so good now that he is on a daily glucosamine and pain medication regime. It makes me so happy to see him romp and play with the other dogs. Something that large acting like a puppy just has to make you smile.

You guys, I was napping. (There were no non-blurry photos of them playing.)

Since he’s feeling better, he’s a lot more patient with the younger dogs, and will sit there and bat at them as they crawl all over him, like a very patient elder statesman.

He isn’t all that old, probably a bit over 2 years, but his size and dignity lend him a kind of gravitas.

Hope you little dogs are having fun (even though Carlton is NOT little anymore).

He does great work keepying the coyotes at bay (and they do like to get close), and at the same time, he’s very kind to the cattle behind the house. He knows he is protecting them.

About the Cattle

I just have a little aside about the other dogs and the cattle. Brody the cattle dog and Carlton the extremely white fellow love to chase cows. Well, the ones we have behind us now have been there for many months, and they are wise to the dogs.

When Brody goes after them like a rocket, they turn around and look at him like, “oh, him again,” eventually herding HIM back to the fence, where he barks as if he’s in command.

We like a little fun. Not too much, though.

And the cattle have developed a game with Carlton. He will chase them back about twenty feet. Then they will chase HIM about twenty feet. Back and forth they go until someone gets tired. The cattle are really obviously playing, which usually they don’t do once they get to a certain size.

I know the dogs aren’t supposed to make them run, so they will be more marbled, but these are mama cows who get to hang around a long time. They can have a little fun, I think!

Rio Guadalupe Love

Today was our day to get out of town, so we decided to head down the most scenic highway we could think of, the road from Fredericksburg through Kerrville and on to Hunt, Texas. You may recall that I took this same drive when I attended the Bennett Trust Women’s Conference.

This time, Lee, Anita and I took things slowly, stopping for lunch outside of Kerrville at an excellent local Mexican restaurant, which happened to be on the banks of a dam by a creek leading to the Guadalupe River. It was our first glimpse of this winding waterway and its many tributaries, which many claim is the most beautiful river in Texas.

As we drove down the road, we enjoyed many crossings, then dropped by to visit some friends of ours, the Hudsons, who build and sell amazing hand-made lawn furniture. Lee has known Jack since high school. We got some great pictures and caught up. We should visit more often, that’s for sure.

Then we went back on a long road with many Guadalupe River crossings. I hope you like my photos through the car window!

The highway also wound through some of the most beautiful Hill Country ranch property there is. One reason it looks so great is that the ranchers have made a huge effort to remove most of the ashe juniper (cedar) trees, so the land looks more like it used to look.

I think one reason I find the Guadalupe so fascinating is that it goes through such semi-arid territory. And the banks are so white, thanks to all the limestone.

The terrain strongly resembles African savannahs, especially since we saw, for the most part, mainly African animals behind all the very high fences. This is the heart of the exotic ranching area, and it’s quite obvious. We didn’t see a cow other than one herd of longhorns, until we were almost back to Kerrville. There was one flock of goats, but otherwise, gazelles, antelope, pronghorns, and other animals I have forgotten since I visited the exotic animal organization headquarters filled the pastures (well, mostly it was empty, because of good range management).

The animals didn’t hold still, so no photos, but hey, you know what they look like: funny looking deer.

Tomorrow we hope to go somewhere and hike with at least one of my kids. More then!

Austin, You Make Me Smile

I love a mule in a hat.

Anita and I were driving to our last haircut by our current hair person (she’s moving to Dripping Springs). Glancing up I saw the totally Austin spectacle of Santa riding a bay mule down South Congress.

Don’t let the trees fool you. He’s right in front of St Edwards University.

Yee-haw, Santa.

Ok. We looked it up. That was Sam Gray Horse, who rides the mule all over town. Here’s an article!

So shiny! Blinding!

Also I made the nail lady in Cameron do fancy holiday nails. I guess I’m all set.

A Winter Ride

Today was beautiful, sunny and cool, but not cold. It was a perfect day to saddle up the paints and explore the big pasture.

Sara and Spice survey the cow pastures. The ranch house is in the distance.

Apache was amazingly well behaved as we warmed up, but Spice had a hard time when Sara went to mount her and the men working with unhappy bulls decided to turn them loose. So much yelling and mooing!

But she was fine after that, and we checked out many interesting things, including delicious sedge in the wet spots, Mandi’s house across the road, many pretty heifers, and a fascinating stick.

Things that interest horses are very different from what interests us!

I was both chagrined and happy to realize I’d forgotten to leave my phone at the tack room (because I don’t want to fall and break it). The light was golden and bright in the late afternoon, though, so having the camera let me record these moments.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

What’s in Bloom? Who’s Happy?

Stork’s-bill lights up the lawn.

That’s the question I asked myself this weekend. So I wandered around with my head down to see what’s there.

I

Speedwell is so tiny, but it lights up the ground as it opens by midday.

was surprised to find the lawn (sorta) around our old church property blooming away. Granted, they were tiny wood sorrel, blue speedwell, and pink storks-bill flowers, but they were enough to keep at least four kinds of small butterflies happy.

These are prettier in person. Their bodies look blue.

I saw lots and lots of these lovely tropical checkered skippers, plus elusive little sulphurs and a hairstreak. And my friends the fiery skippers still are hanging around. Not bad for December.

The fiery skipper loves the wood sorrel.

Looking Up

When I looked up, I noticed the big oak tree (the only tree on the property) seemed to be shaking, even though there was no breeze. Then I heard a whole lot of chattering.

The tree is holding up well, even though it lost some limbs in recent storms.

The tree was filled with fat, happy squirrels. They ran up and down, jumped over branches, and tussled.

I’m a happy rodent.

Why were they so happy? Well, it’s autumn, and this tree alone has provided enough acorns for an entire city of squirrels. Why go elsewhere?

The ground is solid acorn. Busy tree.

I wish you the bounty and happiness these little guys have found. I also hope you are finding the life and beauty wherever you are. It’s there!

The Joy of Horses

One of the most satisfying activities we engage in here at the Hermits’ Rest is to go look at the shared Wild Hermits property on horseback. Sara, who co-owns the property with us, knows it backwards and forwards, and always has something to show me. Plus, we see things from the perspective of our horses, Apache and Spice, who always have a surprise for us.

Yep, it’s pretty out here.

Yesterday was the perfect day for a ride. It was neither cold nor hot, the sun was behind clouds but it wasn’t dismal, and it wasn’t too windy. The ground had finally dried out enough that we felt okay venturing forth; it’s taken a long time to get over the big rain event, and we still hesitate to go out to the “bottom,” where it’s still spongey. And all the trees are changing color. 

Spice points out that the sun did come out, once we finished the ride. Here, she is asking to be brushed.

Since it’s still a bit damp, Sara, the horses, and I just walked to one of the pastures, I believe it’s the one she calls the trap (they have names for all the pastures that I can’t keep track of very well, not being a cattle rancher, I guess). 

Apache and I smile for the camera. I have riding helmet hair.

The horses kept stopping and sniffing the air. Even Spice, who usually is the pacemaker, kept stopping. We kept looking to see if there was anything weird going on, but the only thing we smelled was the unusual but sort of pleasant smell of the fermented hay the cattle owners had given the cows in the next pasture. Sara said it reminded her of her childhood on the dairy farm in Illinois.

When we got to the end of the race (the skinny passageway to the distant fields), we had to stop and take a breath. At the end of the passage is a very large post oak tree. This time of year, all its leaves are a golden brown, but have not fallen yet. When you look at the tree, you see nothing around it but fences and other trees. What a great feeling. 

Not the tree we saw, but another majestic ranch tree.

We couldn’t get a photo, because we don’t take the good phones out on our rides (it sure would hurt to fall off a horse and land on your phone, plus that can’t be good for a phone). That’s why you have a substitute photo of a cedar elm.

Trees are great fun for horse exercise, too, as we can do circles and figure eights around them. I even trotted in a circle. I am not big on trotting, since I came rather late to my equestrian career. Apache enjoyed it, though, and so did I. We are in no hurry and have no show plans. Just fun. I’ll keep moving toward more adventurous stuff.

When we returned from the ride, having let the horses sniff every downed branch and check out every bunny that hopped by, Sara got a text from the friend who leases the pastures on the other side of the road. She’d seen a juvenile wild cat headed to the next ranch. Well, that may explain why the horses were hesitant to just head on out. The cat probably came from our area, or at least its scent did!

Harvey is on the alert for cats on the prowl.

We are watching our little pets carefully. I don’t want to lose Vlassic the dachshund, and Sara doesn’t want to lose her cattle dog puppy!

How Are the New Dogs?

A couple of people have asked me how Carlton and Vlassic, the two dogs we most recently brought into our ranch community, are doing. As I work on my next family history post, I’ll take a break to talk about these two sweethearts.

As people keep saying, he’s SO white!

Carlton the Dog Man

Carlton was the little, sad dog I got from the Cameron dog pound, A Touch of Love. He had been chained up outside since separating from his mother at just 6 weeks. I thought he’d make a great small dog to take back and forth to Austin with me. I wrote a long post on his genetics a few months ago.

Carlton is now a great, cheerful, medium-to-large dog who stays at the ranch with his three other ranch dog buddies. He is still one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen, and he is full of love and happiness. He will be a year old the first of the year, so we hope he has mostly stopped growing. It’s nice that he is about the same height as Brody the cattle dog and Harvey the chunky Rottweiler-ish mutt.

They bought this massage chair just for me!

He does not look much like we thought he would. He is slim and muscular, with very long legs. He runs like the wind, as long as he knows where he is going. We’ve had his eyes looked at again, and he seems to have a cataract in one eye that’s slowly growing, but he sees much better than we’d feared he would. 

He is as soft as he is lovely.

Classic Vlassic

Vlassic just showed up out of nowhere in August, right as we were realizing Carlton did not have the personality of an indoor Austin dog. We took him home from the neighbors’ house, intending to find him a home. Well, we found him our home!

Where is my human to sleep on?

This little dachshund-mix charmer melts hearts everywhere he goes. and has turned into a great little commuter. He goes back and forth with me to Austin, where he’s brought out the “real dog” in his friend Pickle. They run and play, and it makes us so happy to see Pickle not acting like a grumpy old lady all the time.

The vet said he was about a year old when we got him, so we have assigned him a birthday of when he showed up. 

I’m trying to get my smell all over the new couch, says Harvey.

Sleeping at our house

With all these dogs, sleeping might be a challenge. We do not have crates for them all! So what do we do?

  • Alfred the Anatolian Shepherd sleeps outside. He guards the ranch.
  • Brody the cattle dog mostly sleeps on the couch in the bedroom, but joins us some of the time.
  • Carlton has a dog bed he likes in the bedroom, unless it is really cold. He usually gets in bed at sunrise for snuggle time.
  • Harvey sleeps in the bed and growls grumpily if anyone moves and disturbs his beauty rest. He is quite an immovable object.
  • Vlassic sleeps directly glued to a human being all night, preferably completely under the covers. It’s a good thing he doesn’t stink. 

Amazingly, Lee and I sleep fine.

I finally don’t hate the way the living area at the ranch looks. Come see us!

PS

We replaced our stinky dog couch with one less likely to get ruined by the dogs. We also got a new rug, table, and lamp. Don’t worry, the dogs have already messed up the rug. But, that’s life with five dogs on a ranch.