I had many outdoor plans today but ruled many of them out due to a pounding wind from the south. Activities like cleaning up trash and shoveling horse poop were curtailed pretty quickly. I did manage to get some square bales of hay out to the horses with minimal bits of hay going into my eyes.
Once I put the bales in, each horse seemed certain that the next horse over had a better selection, so they ended up moving in circles just like a merry-go-round. Such comic relief.
Soon they got a new round bale, which calmed them down. Maybe having enough hay will keep them out of the dang cockleburs. Fiona apparently slept in them, because I got 20+ off her right side and there are still some left. I wore out her patience.
The rest of the day included highlights such as kitchen cleaning and re-organizing my nail polish strips. Whee.
I watched US football playoffs and worked on the last border of the rug project. I’m growing quite fond of the back side of the rug!
At least I got to see friends at dinner and laugh a lot. Our conversations veer off into strange territory sometimes! I’ll be more interesting tomorrow, perhaps. There will, at least, be horse riding if the wind stops. It might have toppled me today—the gate nearly did so today!
I spent most of the weekend working with my family on getting our vacation rental ready for a trial run this weekend. We still have some things to get done, but I tell you what, if you want a pillow, I can give you one (unfortunately, there were NO king-size pillows where we shopped, so I’ve ordered some for the back bedroom). I’m really happy with how this project has come along, after many delays waiting to close on the property so we could really work. So many people have helped out, too. It takes a village, or at least a small town.
The place will be called The Red House on Fannin, for a good reason. It’s a red house on Fannin Avenue. Visit the link above to like its brand-new Facebook page. Then you can see if we ever actually have anyone rent the place! There will be a website soon; I am working on it!
The only real issue is that we have not yet uncovered the dishes and flatware we plan to use in the house among all the boxes labeled “kitchen” from my Austin house. By “we” I mean my dear spouse, who is looking for them every day. I can’t even lift the over-packed boxes, so I’m no help whatsoever. He is one step closer to Heaven, as my friend Janet van Sickler used to say. If we don’t find them by Saturday, guests may need to use substitutes. It’s a “soft opening,” anyway, and we hope the first couple of renters will help us out by telling us what else we forgot or could do more differently. As many of these things as I’ve stayed at, I’m sure there’s more we forgot! Oh, like the refrigerator that has to be moved from one building to another. That’s a hard one. But it will happen (and may have even happened today, for all I know).
I did manage to put up No Smoking signs and we have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. That makes me feel good. The HVAC system, washer and dryer, dishwasher and microwave all work, too. Yay. The leaky bathroom sink leaks no more, as well. All systems almost Go!
Lee kindly put up all the curtains, which was made harder by the fact that Lowe’s sells ONE curtain per package. I guess that new trend had bypassed me, since I thought there should be two. My big job was to put on all the sheets. If there is a hell, it will include putting sheets on bunk beds. I also built the clothes rod for the front bedroom, which has the bunk bed and trundle, because it lacks a closet. What were they thinking in the 1930s? Oh, and by the way, the living room sofa is also a bed, so this place can sleep more folks than you’d think!
Anyhow, we’re pleased with how it has come out and look forward to using it for movie nights, ourselves (those fancy houses in town can get cable and good Wi-Fi). And no doubt it will be used by grandchildren and other family of our own (no, no grandchildren for me as far as I know). It’s really comfortable and cozy, and should be pleasant to stay in.
Why not? I was all tired after helping a lot of folks at work, but when I went out to see the horses, I felt so much better that I did my scheduled ride and enjoyed the nice afternoon.
The bulldozer is still plowing away. I think that project will be done tomorrow. He’s made it wider and is building an excellent berm that will be fun for the horses and provide a bit of sound insulation for us (you know, ALL that traffic we get!). Lee says he keeps finding springs, which doesn’t surprise me. But even in this drought to see moist areas surprises me!
And after yesterday’s rant, I’m embracing my quirky decorating style. It helps that Kathleen has made some really pretty fall and Halloween wreaths and gave me one. Doesn’t it look great?
To top it all off, my additional cream yarn showed up, so I can keep going on my afghan project. in the meantime I made part of a narrow border to put on at the end. This is gonna be a project, all right.
Glad to have some calm time in life every so often.
Hooray! I have a ranch project I can talk about! We’re getting the front pond dug out more, so it will be bigger, deeper, and hold more water. The pond was originally made from an arroyo (ditch) that made it hard to build a driveway into our homestead area. The dam is our driveway.
While it’s all dry, the tenants have had the ponds (cattle tanks) in the area between our house and the creek dug out. They silt up and need it every so often. since the guy already had the dozer here, Lee seized the chance to dig ours out, too.
It turns out the bulldozer is the same one that built the pond in the first place! The current operator got it from the previous guy when he gave up the dozing. It’s pretty cool! Plus the dozer guy (see, I’m not naming names) grew up right down the road, so he knows how the drainage works from first-hand experience.
I’m looking forward to seeing how much our budget will buy in pond digging. He’s first digging deeper into what’s already there, then enlarging it. I’m confident all the water plants will return. After all, they showed up quickly once the pond was dug in the first place!
I took a walk and enjoyed the cool October morning air today, too. What a refreshing work break! I got to pat all the equines and see what was blooming and growing. The horses were mostly ignoring me and staring intently to the north, though.
It turns out one of Sara’s horses was walking down its pasture. They sure keep an eye out for each other! I know they miss Drew, who is making new friends, I hear.
All right then, these are some more pictures from my day. One good thing about starting work at 6:30am is having time to take pictures after work!
As they say, getting out in nature is good for you, even if it’s just a horse pasture.
Are you one of the hordes of people who’ve been looking for a comfortable, rustic retreat to stay in for a few days while you do business, visit family, or vacation in Cameron, Texas? Do you have more visitors than space in your home when there are big events like football weekends, Steaks Stein & Wine, or livestock events? Look no further, because we here at the Hermits’ Rest Enterprises (that’s me and Lee and our family helpers) have something you might be interested in coming soon!
We’ve acquired one of the most charming homes on one of the prettiest lots in the area, colloquially known as the Red House. It is convenient to the airport, schools, and the town, but off the main road. Family friends owned it until they needed to sell, so we did one of our famous quick cash purchases. That’s a joke, because just like the one we just sold, this one took a lot longer than we anticipated. So, I’ve been sitting on my photos for a while now!
We have repainted the interior, removed all carpets, added fresh window coverings, and will soon have some new appliances to put in the cute blue and white kitchen. The house has good heat and air conditioning and is on a shady lot.
We can imagine lots of fun being had on the porches and in the amazing screened-in garage, which will soon be a recreation area. We can also imagine small conferences and meetings being held on the big table in the large dining room. The previous owners did a great job fixing this house up for the occupant, and then they cleaned the heck out of it before they left. That’s unusual for a house we purchase, but then, they are great folks.
While the house has only two bedrooms and one bathroom, it will sleep a family or small group, with a king bed in the main bedroom, a bunk with trundle in the front bedroom, and a sleeper sofa in the living room. We haven’t put the furnishings in yet. That’s next!
We will list the house once it’s furnished. I’m glad I had a lot of kitchen stuff from my other house that’s in good shape and usable, and that we have some nice furnishings and decor. I can’t wait to get the house ready to rent!
We will keep you posted on the progress. In the meantime, use the comments or Facebook messenger to ask questions.
Sometimes I wonder about myself. Other times I laugh about myself. Today I am laughing. You may recall that I am making an afghan that looks kind of like a quilt with a heart in it for Kathleen. When the yarn arrived, I realized that the cream color for the heart was not in the order. Well, I figured, I’ll order it and by the time I get to the heart, the yarn will be here.
Time marched on. In the meantime I got halfway through the squares for the macho camo toddler blanket I’m making for Kathleen’s grandson for Christmas. It looks like that one will be done in time at the rate I’m going!
I began to be annoyed at how long that cream-colored yarn was taking to get here. I got ready to give those people at Knitpicks a piece of my mind! What slow shipping! Grr!
I headed on over to the website to check on my order, in quite a huff. Um. There was my order, just sitting there. I remembered I’d also wanted to get a collection of striped yarns to make something for the tack room. They were there, too. Someone had not clicked the “order” button. I was that someone.
That certainly explained why the yarn had not arrived. I placed the order like the competent adult I often believe myself to be. And lo and behold. The yarn took less than a week to show up. I think I will buy that yarn winder that’s on sale to make amends (since I haven’t found the missing part of my old one).
I was so happy to see the yarn that I started singing, “Yarn, glorious yarn!” to the amusement of the entire family.
In other senior moments, I did start work on the heart afghan again last night. I decided to work on it when I could concentrate and keep the camo blanket for long meetings and when I chat with friends on Zoom. It took less than a day to get frustrated by leaving the crochet hook where I last worked and having to fetch it.
At around 9:30 pm last night it dawned on me that I own more than one size G 4.0mm crochet hook. I’d bought two sets recently just for this kind of situation. All right, then, I’m set. Let the festival of squares continue!
I’ve been steaming away on my latest project, which is a crocheted ruana called Augustina. I used a bunch of leftover yarn from other projects (mostly that Lion Brand Mandala, but with a couple of other “el cheapo” Red Heart yarns along for the ride), along with one new colorway of Mandala that I bought to be sure I’d have enough to finish. Last night I finished the last triangle (it’s a big square with three full and two half triangles, which create the opening).
Last night, I spent some time looking at different ways to join crocheted pieces, since I wanted to try something new. They certainly could not stay like this forever!
At last I decided to try a zigzag slip stitch join for the squares. I even endured a video with sappy music playing over it to be sure I understood the technique. That’s dedication from this gal who hates to learn from videos (I just MAKE educational videos, not USE them). I think it comes out interesting and I’m happy at how flat the join is.
Then, I looked on the other side of the first triangles I sewed together. Well, huh, that looks pretty good, too. As long as I use that shade of yarn, it’s almost invisible.
Now, the colors didn’t work out quite right, so one half triangle ended in the gold color, but I think it will still look fine as long as I don’t run out of that tan color, which I’m pretty sure I won’t. Once the seaming is done, the ruana gets a double crochet edging all around, and then it will be ready for any hippy-dippy outing I care to take it on. I swear it looks just like the vests my grandmother crocheted for me in the 60s. I could probably still wear the turquoise and purple poncho she made me back then. (Yes, she DID make me stuff.)
Anyway, I’m ready for my next project! And what do you know, the yarn for it arrived today in a giant box. I’m making a blanket for Kathleen out of these lovely colors, which she selected and surprised me with.
Now, my job will be to put all these colors together and surprise her back. The blanket (shown below) will have a cream center rather than white and use these purples and pinks. I can’t wait to get going on yet another crochet project, one that takes me back to my granny square roots! Yes, my first childhood project in crochet was a granny square afghan in many bright colors with black borders. I still have it stored in my blanket box.
I will have one more crocheted item to make before going back to knitting. That yarn may be here tomorrow. I’m so glad that stress makes me crochet fast, because I’m just churning stuff out!
Today’s electrical work got delayed, but not to worry, the next priority awaited. That was moving the fencing for the horses so they could eat some of the grass that hadn’t been touched yet. It’s still dry, but at least it’s long.
It was such a hot, hot day for the guys to work in the sun, but they set out poles and moved an electric fence out to the driveway. They also put one up in the back so we can rotate. The original idea was that we’d keep Apache and Fiona there, but I’m told Apache violently vetoed that idea and got all worked up.
It took a while for the horses to figure out the fence moved, but the agitation got them moving. I didn’t see the beginning but I did get to enjoy watching them running around like a feral herd. The video features a lot of Apache snorting, too. Like he’s the stallion king.
I think Fiona styled herself the lead mare. Drew was the fast little youth. That horse can GO. I watched him come from behind and pass all the others.
I just enjoyed their beautiful selves and got a laugh out of their curiosity about the pond and the area around it. We had worried they’d sink into the pond, but they didn’t. I hope they stay safe while seeking out delicious treats. I also hope it doesn’t mess up Apache. But really, it’s all dry.
The horses ate dinner just fine and are now grazing calmly. The world changed on them, but they are okay. Here are some of my pictures of their fun.
There was even a bonus! Tarrin was able to analyze Apache’s form when he was running. In one picture he was in a tizzy and out of alignment, and in the other, he looked all lifted and balanced. That one is our goal under saddle.
And in Pest News
The trend of poisonous creatures visiting daily has not ended. Today I heard a rustling noise. I looked down and there was a scorpion. I wish the black cloud delivering plagues would move along!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was a surprise waiting for me when I got home last night. My bedroom was no longer a poop brown color. It’s now yellow! Maybe it’s not the exact perfect shade, but it sure is more cheerful than before.
Lee knew how much I liked my bedroom in the Bobcat house, so he had the guys paint it while we were gone. Then he rearranged all the furniture and put up the art again.
I’m very happy with the new look. Everyone says the room looks bigger and lighter. I still have some chests of drawers to bring in, along with my good mattress. Then the room will feel like it’s partially mine, not just Lee’s and the dogs. Of course, the dogs slept on me last night, but it was sweet.
Outside of the house things look less good. The drought is taking its toll. The big pond is going down fast and the little pond dried up completely.
The grass is horribly brown. And it is very crunchy. Of course the grasshoppers are still here, but fewer of them.
I asked my son to start giving the horses hay while we were gone (I can’t open the door to the storage container) and we’re going to keep that up until we can give them more grazing.
If things settle down a little more we can put some temporary fencing on the part of the front that we’d planned to fence in this spring. Keep your fingers crossed that Kathleen improves! At least the in-law suite is done and Lee’s brother is happily installed there. Progress!