Self Care: Dog, Yarn, and Cow Edition

Hear ye, hear ye! I’m taking today off. I am not doing regular work, volunteer work, or family stuff. I’m having a self care day!

I even gave the Bitmoji new glasses and shirt.

Much of my day will be spent looking at these guys.

A symphony in earth tones.

Or this guy.

It’s my scarred-up white haid!

Vlassic is out visiting Jim again so no picture, but I got all emotional about losing him last night and got all weepy. Harvey immediately ran to my side and started licking me. Then Penney came. Vlassic licked me, too. That was the first time I really cried in ages. I don’t think it was actually about Vlassic, but about losing all my lost loved ones.

So that made me decide to take the day off. The rest of the family went on a trip, so it’s just me and Lee until dinner, which will be pizza with the Sunday dinner gang. I’m gonna take a bath and do my hair, read, and knit! Yes, knit!

Yarn from Blue Mule, near Round Top.

It’s going to be a cowl you can also wear like a shawl someday. It’s called Nomad. It’s on Ravelry.

It’s not too hard, not too easy.

The most strenuous thing I’ve done today is go look at the chickens and the young cows who are currently behind the house. They just love the chickens and the dogs.

Y’all don’t scare us.

They are such friendly young ladies. I think they were the first ones born here after the pink mamas showed up. They are all named 18. Or they’re new. I don’t know. I just enjoy how friendly they are.

Got any food?

I enjoyed taking some portraits, and hope you like them, too.

I hope your day is peaceful, or that it’s fun, whichever you need. How are you doing self care today?

I’m just gonna snooze.

Why I Am "Too Busy"

You know what’s extra-extra nice? It’s nice that people care. And people do care about me! One way I know is that I am very frequently told I am too busy, or asked why I do so much. This is not new. Sensei Larry, who taught the kids karate, always called me “the Joiner,” because I did so many things at my old church.

And when I was in La Leche League, I certainly had a lot of jobs, though all that volunteering led to an actual paid job, followed by a career!

Case in point. My new knitting project has followed me to the office, so I’ll have something to work on after I run off to the park to do a Master Naturalist bioblitz. This is the calmest Saturday I’ve had since last year.

It’s true. I may be an introvert, but I like to keep busy. Boredom is not an issue for me. My whole life I’ve had a book in my hands, knitting in my lap, or some meeting to go to (choir, yarn shop, LLL, political things, my women’s group, etc.) I like being around people who are doing things. That’s how I learn.

Sure, there have been times when I’ve over committed. I’m able to figure that out and eliminate some things, honest. Right now I am totally at my limit. I can’t take on another committee chairmanship, event to organize, or new hobby (even though I’d love to learn to paint).

In the last week I’ve said “no” to several things. I’m mentioning this so that those of you who are concerned will see that I DO say no. I just don’t write about those things, since the Joiner always is sad to disappoint people. I was born this way, sigh. But I’ve had therapy!

The things on my plate right now support the things I care about passionately: animals, nature, writing for my LLL friends, our new business, and my paying job (which I love, so I’m not quitting). I’m going to be careful to not take on any new sub-jobs, and to ask for help when I need it. I just LOVE to do work I’m passionate about.

You, my friends, can help by pointing out to me when I’m frazzled and short-tempered and reminding me to ask for help. I’m glad you care. And I know that a lot of my busy-ness is to keep me from thinking about losing contact with my beloved son. I know.

This is me and Jenecia (JD), who I met in Master Naturalists, and is now my good friend. We were celebrating our two-year Facebook friend-a-versary yesterday. The nice thing about a small town is that you get to see your friends so often!

Still, I’m glad I have such kind friends in real life and in the virtual community. You help me see that life always has positives and negatives, and that you can make your own positives by getting out there and DOING rather than STEWING. Hey, did I make a meme? I’m too busy to go create one and post it, though. Heh heh.

By the way, having spent the week here in Cameron, I tell you what: I’d be exhausted if I were here full time. My goodness, I went to a lot of meetings, events, and such. I think it was just an exceptional week, though. At least I got some relaxing social time with my Cameron friends, too. Cheers to my new Bistro wine happy hour buddies, and to the wonderful servers and staff friends there!

Clearly I Care

I’m not talented with construction and building things. But I can clean stuff.

The crystals have ferns etched on them.

The big chandelier in the main room at the Pope House is a mess, since it’s been hanging there through the remodel. Yesterday, Randy patiently took down all the crystals, which was quite a job. There are over 90 glass crystals and who knows how many plastic ones, which I don’t know what they do, exactly.

It’s naked!

So I took the crystals home last night and washed them. Geez. That took longer than I thought it would! So many crystals. But they are pretty.

Soaking away.

They are also quite heavy. I carefully packed them in a box so none will break. It looks like I’ll get to the plastic ones tomorrow. I’m sorta hoping we can not use the plastic ones. In any case, I’ll have to buy a few replacement crystals. I hope they make similar ones still.

Drying.

Going Up!

I’m enjoying being in Cameron this week. I got to go to Rotary Club yesterday. Most cool, though, is construction supervision. I’m excited to see our electric boxes are in.

This will be nicely covered.

Best, though, the stairs are going up today! Here’s the first step. Heh heh. Step.

Ready for stairs.

Want to know the plan?

Chris’s stair plan.

How to Perk Up a Small Town

Chris, Kathleen and Jean waiting to eat their meat.

Last night I went to the Cameron Chamber of Commerce banquet. When you are in a bunch of organizations, as well as more than one business, that’s a member, you sort of feel like you have to go. Since Hearts Homes and Hands was a Gold Sponsor, we got to sit up at the front of the place, which I’d never done before (never having spent the money to sponsor anything). At the event, I learned lots of ways to get things going and make small towns better. The first one was the most fun.

Surprise Someone

There we are, right under the BIG sponsor.

Lee, Kathleen, Chris and I were the HHH representatives, but we invited two of my Milam Touch of Love Board members to come, as well (wish we could have invited them all). It was nice to bring Jean Schara and Mark McKibben along with us for a fancy meal and some beverages. (Once again, though, there was nothing for non-drinkers in the wine and cheese time before the meal.)

Lee and Mark paying attention to Judge Young.

At the end of the evening, the Chamber gives out awards to citizens and groups. After the big awards, they give out Excellence Awards to groups or people who didn’t quite make the cut, or aren’t in the in-group of Cameron movers and shakers, which is who usually gets things (not complaining, just noticing). In fact, Lee won one of these last year for our work renovating houses and buildings in the community.

It was really great, then, to see the look on Mark’s face when it was announced that Milam Touch of Love received an award for the work we have done for animals in the area. Jean had a clue something was up, because I’d told her it would really be a good idea to reschedule her Facebook Live event for her essential oil business. Mark just showed up for the food and friendship, but hooray! We were recognized. Both Jean and Mark have spent SO much time, effort and money for the group. It was great to have them join me.

We are very happy to get our award.

ALL the volunteers and donors for MTOL are part of the recognition, though, because, as with all nonprofits, it takes a lot of work to succeed. I am really proud of them.

Remind Them It Doesn’t Suck

I have to admire Judge Young, who has been personally dragging the county into modernity by courting businesses and proposing things that disrupt the status quo. He spoke for “two minutes” at the banquet, and reminded everyone how much good has happened in the past couple of years.

Melanie is timing the judge, who I don’t recognize without his cowboy hat. There were lots of them in the audience! Texas, y’all.

He’s not kidding. All sorts of solar power companies are moving in, and I can’t complain about that. We in Milam County are also some sort of bitcoin mining capital of the country, and wile I’m not the biggest fan of that sort of thing, it does bring in jobs. And while a lot of people complain about moving the city offices to the former hospital in town, it WILL provide opportunities for new businesses to come in and make downtown Cameron an actual destination.

I hope he perked up a few people…

Bring in a Motivational Speaker

Sarah collects vintage hats. Flowers came from down the road from us at Silver City Flowers.

Another way to perk up a town like Cameron is to get the movers and shakers to think differently. So, this year, Melanie Reed brought in a young woman who has worked with small towns throughout Texas to improve their images and such.

Sarah O’Brien had actually done her homework, and presented a talk that wasn’t just ideas, but had concrete suggestions. She’d taken a tour of the town a few weeks ago (including the Pope Residence – so THAT was the lady who Melanie dragged through our construction zone).

Sarah used local buildings as examples of positive and negative mindsets. We laughed when Jean’s business was used as the negative (Ms. O’Brien has NO idea what’s in there).

One thing she said, in a talk about Lee’s favorite topic of mindset, just geared toward small town leaders, was that to get people to be positive about Cameron, we have to be positive. I saw myself and my blog about potholes in that one! Oops.

We laughed even harder when OUR building was used for abundance. I guess she didn’t notice the peeling paint on her tour.

You do hear a lot of folks around here saying how hard it is to get good people to work for you, how the poverty mindset has made the citizens unmotivated to do better, etc. I see how being more positive might very well rub off! I’m going to make an effort to portray Cameron more positively and to continue to work to make it a place where people enjoy living.

Look! It’s our award. If only we had an office to hang it in.

Hey, at least I’ve helped increase the population by about ten people at the moment, some of whom are eating LOTS of donuts (the construction guys) and all of whom are buying things here! Thanks to Canova, Martha, Mike, Kathleen, Chris, Jim, Nicole, and Easton for saying yes to Cameron, even if you aren’t all here forever.

It’s fun being part of a small town trying to re-invent itself. No one gives a flip about me in the leadership of Austin, and that anonymity is nice, but it’s also nice to feel heard here in Cameron. I say YES!

Light, of Many Kinds

Today was all about light. I am staying at the ranch this week, for the first time in ages, so I got to wake up after sunrise, though it was so foggy. Nice, gentle light.

As the only bush at the Pope Residence, the nandina, shows, it was damp this morning.

When I got to the office, my first task was to check out the progress with the Pope Residence. Behold! There’s a new window where the laundry room door was, which will light up that room!

They recycled a lot of old siding to rebuild the wall.

Back at the office, the UPS dude showed up and brought a giant box. Was it my chandelier? Nope. It was a beautiful lamp I’d ordered for my desk. It’s called a turtle lamp, for the glass shape. The bottom lights up to be a night light, too. It will look so cool!

Quite red, isn’t it? But it casts white light for reading.

So, where is my chandelier? I finally called up Lamps Plus, and they looked into it. The customer service lady kept saying how gorgeous it is. It turns out the label had fallen off and it never shipped. They were appropriately apologetic and promised to ship the new one immediately! We will see.

However, more lights appeared this afternoon! Kathleen picked up some old hanging lamps she bought from some friends of ours. They are all dusty now, but we’re really looking forward to cleaning them up.

I plan to hang one by the Grape Throne. By the way, here are the grapes.

The throne’s grapes

And finally, the day ended with a light show. I just can’t feel sad when Nature keeps reminding me of her glory.

Okay, jet contrails helped with the beauty.

Good evening from the Hermits’ Rest.

Chickens Like Toys

The new chickens have ended up being a very popular addition to the Hermits’ Rest collection of animals. Even Lee has been seen sneaking out to give them some treats. Lee’s brother, Jim, who is staying in an RV in our garage area, mowed the grass this weekend, and made sure when he went by the chickens that he’d send clippings in their way, which went over very well. Jim’s been helping with feeding them, too, which gets him out in the fresh air.

Another picture of Mike coaxing the chickens to eat out of his hand,

Yesterday was a darned good day for the hens, who are just about old enough to lay eggs, we hope. Not only did they get a visit from my friend, Mike, but they got a new toy!

I’d picked out a second limb for them to climb on, but hadn’t put it in the chicken run yet. I drafted my friend Meghan to help me install it, and then I just sat on the grass and watched them check it out. (Hint: the first time you wear short sleeves in the spring, you should remember sunscreen. I did not.)

The new branch, being inspected by Elsie, plus hens looking for shade.

Indeed, they had fun. Elsie pecked a lot of things off it, which I guess were bugs, but Ginger liked it the best. She climbed up and down, flew off it, and even flew from one branch to the other (I missed getting a shot of that). It makes me happy to see them doing more than just scratching around for food.

I think I can! Ginger climbs the limb.

Of course, they get a LOT of food. I gave them trimmings from salad last night, and they immediately started fighting over the radish tops. Later, they descended very quickly on strawberries. I hope all this nutrition is helping them grow big and strong, I’ve noticed the ones with combs are growing then in now, too. They are in their late teens, for hens.

Yesterday I showed how Ginger had climbed up into the little roosting area, which relieved me. Later in the day, I saw more than one of the young ladies perched on the indoor roosting area. That gives me hope that they have figured out how to get out of the rain, and will find their nests for laying eggs.

Ginger is on top of the world! Elsie managed to get on, too.

The next thing I am going to work on is providing a little more shade for them. Lee says soon we can add on to the chicken run, too! See, he likes them.

PS

Somehow, yesterday’s post got posted TWICE, which sure messes up my stats. I deleted the one with fewer hits. I have NO idea how that happened, but the internet is full of mystery.

A Visit Cut Short

I was about to start writing this, when I got more and more annoyed at a phoebe flying around me. It got SO loud. I looked up, and she was sitting right on the porch with me. Missed that photo op!

Speaking of photos, you might enjoy a visit to the Master Naturalist blog, where I posted some photos of yesterday’s field trip. I’ll have more later.

Not to worry about missed opportunities, though. I got plenty of photos today, since my dear former work friend, Mike Y, finally came to visit after quite an absence. I sure was happy to give him a hug and show him what’s going on around here.

Feed the birds…

Of course we visited the chickens, who have finally figured out how to climb up their ladder. See proof below.

Chicken butt!

We had lunch at Dutch Towne, where he fit right in with his VFW hat. Too bad he took it off to eat.

Hey.

I then showed him all around the Pope Residence and introduced him to the family. He really liked the upstairs bedroom, where he just had to try on the church lady hat.

He’s in heaven.

He also found a 3D Jesus, which we had not noticed before, which I gave him as a souvenir. We then ambled over to the Hermit Haus, where Lee tried to convince him to also take Buddy Jesus home. But, no. We still have him.

Two Jesuses are better than one.

I got a real treat when we went up to the sanctuary and Mike fired up the organ and played me a rusty version of the Marine Hymn. He even used proper pedal technique. I was impressed. He had me take many photos of himself preaching and worshiping, which I do hope he made into a photo montage!

Rock on, Mike!

On our way back to the ranch and a glimpse of the Nash house, his check engine light came on. Ugh. So, we cut the day short, and he headed to the auto parts store to see what error he got. It appeared safe to drive home, so off he went.

As fondly as he’s looking at this guy, I think he will return soon.

He WILL visit again soon! He missed Sunday dinner!