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.
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.)
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.
Tell you what, it’s been a whirlwind around here the past couple of days. Lots of it’s been fun, but there has also been challenging stuff.
Kathleen, Lee, and I have made a kind of unspoken pact to just go with the flow as our plans constantly shift due to weird circumstances. We’ve just been trying to start a business, deal with an elder care challenge, and remodel a building.
But all sorts of paperwork issues, legal surprises, scallywaggery (I made that up), illnesses, and twists and turns have meant schedules and priorities change at a moment’s notice. I’m proud of how patient we’ve been, though I think I could do better.
There’s always a surprise lurking around the Hermits’ Rest. Some of them are dangerous. I came home from checking the chickens and snakes yesterday evening to see Alfred with “something” between his legs. He sure looked happy.
Upon closer inspection it appeared to be, um, skin. Huh? He was loving it. If Carlton or Vlassic approached, he roared like a lion. It seemed to be skin from a deer.
Lee said Carlton found it by the arroyo. But Alfred took it over. Okay.
Later, I needed some exercise, so Lee and everyone except Alfred went for another walk. The light led to many stunning photo ops. I turned around after taking a picture, I saw Vlassic emerge triumphantly from the tall grass, with something as big as himself in his mouth, with Carlton trailing behind.
Oh my. I think it’s the other side of the deer. Yep. Where’s the inside? Where did it come from? Our guess is that someone had the hide on the back of their truck after dressing a kill, and it blew off. Well, it isn’t deer season. Hmm.
Any ideas? Who or what did this?
And watch your toes! And your nose!
As Lee and I were heading back to the house, we saw what looked like yet another hunk of skin. Oh no.
But I quickly recognized the shape. It was Snappy, our resident snapping turtle. Or maybe Son of Snappy (or daughter). I was glad the dogs were off rolling in poop, because I could do without them losing a toe or nose.
Luckily only Vlassic spotted Snappy, and he listened when we told him no. We got the dogs in safely.
I later looked out the window and saw Snappy ambling on toward the pond behind the house. I guess it was pond switching time.
I’ve had enough weird and dangerous things for a little while.
You’ve heard all about our snake and chicken issues. Today I was happy to see the hens in the chicken yard, so I could give them some new food. But as I walked toward the yard with the food, I saw a funny-looking garden hose. That was yet another snake. It was heading under Tyler’s bedroom, where I’m thinking the eggs now are. Sigh.
The chickens didn’t care. They just wandered by it and went out to eat bugs. Sigh again.
I’m beginning to think my poor chickens are living under a black cloud, are haunted, or broke a mirror sometime in their past. They really just can’t catch a break.
You may recall that just last Saturday, I found an adult Texas rat snake curled up happily in the henhouse, with three eggs embedded inside him or her. That snake was removed, so I was really thinking all was well.
Nope. Wednesday night, Seth, the chicken tending volunteer, got scared witless when he saw TWO snakes in the hen house. He didn’t stop to try to identify them. For someone who lived in the boonies most of his life, he’s not real “ranchy.”
He called his mom, who told me. I said, hey, remember Tyler who lives right there? He can take care of snakes. Then I heard nothing.
I asked Mandi how it all went, and she said she wasn’t sure. He wasn’t talking about it. Wow. Nature is not kind to that boy (age 19). But I do understand that many people have big issues with snakes, even non-venomous ones.
So, I asked Tyler, who IS ranchy, what the heck had happened. He said the two snakes were the same kind and size as last week.
What, are they a family? If so, one of them ought to tell the others that the fun times at our coop don’t have happy endings.
Mostly, though, I feel bad for those poor remaining 8 chickens. We took care of one set of predators, only to be joined by another one. I think my friend Mike and I need to get working on the new and improved coop, not just talking about it.
Spring is the time when things get moving around. We’ve had mouse visitors at the ranch house, but the dogs took care of that.
The Hermit Haus office also got a visitor yesterday. Our neice, Kathleen, was there working when, to her surprise a little wriggly fellow crossed the floor. Luckily she’s a farm gal (she lives on our farm in Yorktown where Lee’s dad used to live).
According to her, it took a while, but she got the little fellow to exit the building, and he or she quickly beat a retreat down the drain outside the door. We’ve been checking for our neighbor since then, but there have been no further signs.
And those ducks
I continue to get a lot of joy from the whistling ducks. This morning, three of them were sitting on top of our house across the street. It just seems weird to see ducks up high like that.
Of course, I scared them off before I could get a closer picture. But they made that hilarious whistlig duck noise, so it’s okay!
Hope your Friday is or was a good one. At least it’s no longer cold here. Monday started off in the 30s, and on Thursday it was well over 90! Texas weather is something else!
Our Austin house is minutes away from Bull Creek District Park and Greenbelt, a popular recreation destination and one of Austin’s most charming assets. It’s sad that Anita and I haven’t made our way over there after living in the Bobcat Lair for over a year. Today I was working from home and needed a break, so we grabbed my son and his partner, had some delicious barbecue at the County Line. There we enjoyed all the turtles and the massive carp hanging around wanting to be fed.
Then headed over to check out the greenbelt. This was sort of a reconnaissance visit, since we knew we would not have time to go on a long walk or explore much, but we had plenty of fun.
There are beautiful oaks here that you know were here all along, not planted by someone.
What a joy it was to explore the quiet creek and riparian area in peace and quiet. This place can be quite busy, but we shared it only with a mother and her two sons, who reminded me of myself twenty-something years ago. The littlest one was buck naked and running around with a stick, poking it into chunks of algae and laughing in the way only a little kid with all the time in the world, cold water, and a stick can laugh.
It’s been raining since yesterday afternoon. Apparently a big cold front is on its way, so I should be glad it’s not snowing. Nonetheless, I’ve been wandering out in the rain looking at houses and such.
Because I love you, my dear blog readers, I even went out to check what’s blooming and interesting in this soggy soil.
I was so overjoyed to look out behind my office house to see that the paperwhite narcissus (narcissus papyraceus) were blooming that I ran through a LOT of puddles to take a photo and pick a stem. Glad I am wearing my fabulous waterproof shoes.
They look pretty droopy, but they tell me that in a week or two it will be glorious back there. I hope my friend Martha likes them, since she’ll be living in this house soon!
On the way back in I saw this poor, damp baby snake. This is not a great time of year for snake birthing. Maybe it’s an adult of a small species. It was identified by iNaturalist as a rough earth snake; at least that was the closest one I found. I hope it makes it to a warm den.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤