How Nature Deals with Trauma

You may remember that a couple of days ago we were surprised by a fire alarm in the building where we are staying, right in the middle of important meetings I was supposed to be holding. Going down all those stairs, then trying to train people in software from an overly sunny condo balcony was hard on my nerves. I am not convinced that it was traumatic, but it was most assuredly unnerving. I ended up getting rid of all my nervous energy by taking a very, very brisk walk up and down the Myrtle Beach boardwalk, which is about a mile and a half.

Some of the boardwalk area is not even a little sleazy.

I felt a lot better after that and was able to get through the day. I must admit, however, that I walked more briskly than I realized, because my legs still hurt today…and I’m used to doing a lot of walking! I’m sure I look like I’m old and arthritic when I try to haul myself up out of a chair or go downstairs.

Latest reading matter

Anyhow.

Here’s some more of that synchronicity that’s been happening to me ever since I declared myself someone who didn’t believe in such things. I sat down in bed last night to read more from Mark Rashid, the horse trainer who talks about people’s relationships with horses and how horses’ minds work. One of the first stories I read in Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between Horse and Rider was about a horse who had been through some rough times just could not settle down and whose person had tried “everything” to get it to do her bidding. Except one thing.

I feel as if some trauma is about to happen.

Rashid suggested that if the horse wanted to run, to let it run. Sure enough, after the horse ran all its energy off, it calmed down. He shared how his mentor had done the same with another horse that was a bundle of nerves. They just ust let it go run and run until it got all of the nerves out of its system and felt better.

Perhaps I will need to run and run to feel better after this lady takes away the torture device and stops shining scary lights in my mouth.

Huh, I guess that works with people as well as horses, because I’m just great now (other than sore legs), even after enduring a sales meeting!

I think I will take a nap, instead.

I remember letting Drew loose to run and run soon after I got him back in July of 2021, too. He came back much calmer and has not acted jumpy or upset since then. Rashid posits that it’s how animals who get scared often, like prey animals, get rid of their post-scare adrenaline and go back to calmly grazing and otherwise going about their normal prey-animal lives. Interesting.

I may be woozy, but not so woozy that I don’t want to cuddle up with some hay. And my teeth feel better.

Back at the Ranch

As you can see from the photos above, Drew got a visit from Bonnie, the equine dentist, yesterday. He has a cracked tooth, so she looked at it and did some work to make it less likely to get worse. He did just fine and thanks to sedatives, he was not traumatized. Dental care is really important for young horses whose teeth are still coming in, so I’m grateful that she was able to get him seen along with her horses.

Now Drew is back home with his friends at our part of the ranch after his little vacation among the green g

We’ll see if tomorrow brings more adventures than canceled meetings and gale winds, but I’m afraid my fun field trip on another boat tomorrow may be canceled. I may just have to watch the lifeguard making fun tracks in the sand that will soon get overwritten by the high tide. That’s fine. I’m safe and warm and my family is mostly all right.

Rain, and Other Things That Pass for Excitement around Here

You know when we are bordering on yet another drought around here when the grass starts to crunch under your feet when you walk across the fields. In the past week or so, even our relatively green pastures had started to get crunchy. Other parts of the state have it a lot worse (not to mention other parts of the US. But we here in scenic Milam County care about the Hermits’ Rest microclimate the most! Because of that, I was extra happy to hear drops falling onto the roof this morning.

A welcome sight.

I went out to feed the chickens (and would have fed Drew, but he ignored me) this morning and saw we’d gotten two tenths of an inch. Even that much made Lee happy. I was really hoping for more, since we hadn’t even gotten any puddles yet. I watched the forecast and tracked clouds on the radar. More was coming.

Thank you, clouds

April is a kind of weird month here. Sometimes we get hardly any rain and sometimes it’s a lot. This year has been on the scant side.

Today’s rain will make this month no longer the least rain since Lee has been measuring (and yes, the dates go right to left – thanks to Lee for the graphic).

Today has gone well, though listening to the steady rain makes me a little woozy. We are getting the good kind of rain, with no tornadoes, hail (far as I can tell), or other severe stuff. Just a nice rain that has finally filled up Lee’s “pond” and given the new gutters a workout. The fact that it’s up to a half inch is exciting for us!

Other things that pass for exciting are small. For example, I’ve had a pot that appeared to be a pot of dirt sitting on my porch for going on two months. I was beginning to think that Lowe’s had sold me a pot of dirt rather than some bulbs in dirt. At last, things have poked up and someday there will be calla lilies and caladiums in there.

At last, life appears. I am proud of myself for not digging in there and checking to see if anything was growing.

My nails also are exciting this week. I had been doing them in boring ways while some problem nails grew out, but this week I layered flowers over a nice turquoise color and got something that really goes well with my overly abundant rings. By the way, I am using the ColorStreet stuff. I find it works very well for me and lasts about ten days. I can even do nail repairs and it helps keep them looking fine. (I’m actually going to break down and do an MLM party for this stuff, just because some friends want to get some of the colors, and I could use some freebies.) I don’t like it (or anything) enough to sell it, but I can help some other woman make money, even though I am not a fan of MLM “small businesses” in general (here’s where I ranted about that once). The particular sales person I am using right now actually is a good marketer and has nail tips even I, a person who’s been doing her nails since 9th grade, didn’t know.

And that’s it for my blissfully rainy day. Oh, wait, one more thing. I got us more of the pool floats that we like so much. I call it my yacht. Kathleen has a much bigger yacht, but it likes to blow away. One of the man-folk in the family actually asked if I could get a bigger one for him, so I got one in XL. When they arrived I got a chuckle out of the stereotypical bathing-suit lady in the regular one and manly man in the XL (though he is not an XL man, in my opinion). At least they are racially ambiguous; they could be mixed, white, black, Latinx, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or maybe even Pacific Islander. That’s rather good. My favorite part of the packaging, though, is where they have one of those square things to scan. I found the fact that “scan me” is “scanne-moi” in French is pretty funny.

Like I said, it doesn’t take much to pass for excitement around here, and with all the other stuff going on, anything that brings a laugh is good with me.

Horse Home Decor and Spa

What lucky horses I have. Also they are so sweet and good that they deserve to be pampered. Why do they deserve it? Wow they are well behaved.

Yes. Me. I’m getting my hooves trimmed right now.

Trixie came today to trim the horses’ hooves. You may recall that when I got Drew he could not even lift his back leg. Today was another story. She got him trimmed in less than ten minutes. No arguing or anything. By the time she was finished he was dead asleep and I had trouble getting his halter off. I just stood there and petted him and loved on him. It was fantastic.

I love my spa day

Apache was the same. Just stood there and took a nap. It’s so great to see his feet in perfect shape after struggling the past few years. My heart was so full just being with these calm animals. Trixie just exudes calm with horses.

Even though my ears are back, I’m good.

So yep, these precious beings deserve nice things. Or maybe I deserve a nice thing to support them. But today the crew did more work on the tack room. They built a nice shelf for the supplements right over the feed bins.

Feeding station

They also put excellent hooks and hanging pegs on the wall. I can’t wait to see what Kathleen and I do with them!

You may have to zoom in to see everything.

You may see a hat on the wall. It’s not a hat! It’s a riding helmet with a “brimmer” on it. It’s made of real palm fiber. It will give me lots more shade on my face when I ride. Sara got one, too. The helmet may look slightly dorky but it’s not too bad. My head will be safe and shady! that’s what counts.

Trying on my brimmer.

The other thing they added inside the tack room are hooks to hang each horse’s. Rifle and halter with his or her saddle. There is still a shelf or two to be built, but I’m pretty thrilled as it is.

So nice. This will be great for us.

The thing I like best about the tack room is the big, wide steps outside the door. I won’t fall down when carrying heavy items. I am just so impressed with how thoughtful they were in building it!

My new happy place.

We got everything done in time to close all the windows and put away all the outdoor furniture in preparation for yet another tornado warning. This one was even closer. I went in the storm room.

Not happy.

It missed us again. But it hit very very close. Not my favorite thing. People were hurt in nearby Salado and in the tiny town of Burlington just to our north.

Yuck. Much worse elsewhere.

Other Than the Wind, It’s All Good

Yet another windy day. My friend Martha says it seems like it’s windier every year. I got tired of chasing chairs and objects around.

Those chairs spent much of the day in the dirt.

Lots happened but nothing earth shattering other than Apache finally jumping obey his obstacle, which had collapsed in the wind.

Okay, I won’t say “other than” again in this post. I’ll write more coherently tomorrow, when I’m not in a food coma from Family Dinner. Martha made a good homemade hamburger helper.

We ate it all up, and she made a lot!

Let’s hope for a reasonable, uneventful week. That’s all I want right now! I’m the meantime, enjoy some nature sightings.

How about Those Tornado Warnings?

Yikes, last night was not a lot of fun for anyone in the vicinity of central Texas. It was our turn for one of those giant gatherings of storm clouds to come through and send tornadoes off hither and thither. None of us were in the least amused.

Remnants of the storm (wide-angle shot – the telephone pole doesn’t actually lean).

My son and I both have some PTSD leftover from some tornado experiences when we were younger, so I know he wasn’t thrilled to be instructed to come over to our house where the storm shelter is, just in case. But when the warning happens, not a watch, I go into protective mode. We didn’t build that storm room for nothing!

The storm room is also the butler’s pantry and dog feeding station. But on the left is the cool thing: the steel doors we can slide shut to protect us.

As I shared yesterday, I’d battened down the hatches outdoors, so by the time the weather got bad, I was cooking dinner and watching the three or four straight hours of weather coverage on the television. I know someone in nearly every place that tornadoes were threatening, so that was nerve wracking. Even the cows were unhappy. They all crowded into the woods, mooing and bawling, which is what I guess they do when they feel a storm coming. The dogs liked THAT.

Dogs and cows discuss barometric pressure and how it affects them.
We were in the middle, as shown by the purple dots.

Cameron and Walker’s Creek (also known as Silver City, another non-existent town) lucked out and were squeezed between the paths of two potential tornadoes. It was so interesting and a little terrifying to look at how very close we were to danger, but it never quite got to us. We just got strong winds and lots of thunder and lightning.

On the other hand, the path was right over where we train horses, so we spent a lot of time worrying about everyone in Milano. And I have many elderly Master Naturalist friends in the Gause area, too, which had me concerned. At last the warnings ended, I heard that Tarrin and her family were all right, and I let the young folks go home.

But after we went to bed, yet another round of storms came and that’s when we got the rain…close to three inches, which we truly needed. Now all the ponds are full, and Walker’s Creek can once again be seen from the house as it does its best to pretend to be a temporary river.

Second wave.

The horses are enjoying the water in the arroyo and the chickens seemed fine this morning. The dogs survived, but were not thrilled, to say the least. We heard lots of news of damage to places in Round Rock, near where we used to live. Many friends got storm damage, especially coworkers at Dell. And we worry about the towns between here and Temple, which also got it bad.

I’ll be driving by some of the places that were hit tomorrow, and I hope not to see the amount of devastation we saw last time a tornado came through. These weren’t too big, though, thankfully. The storms did take down the main weather radar we use for a while, though. It’s like they wanted to be incognito.

It filled up the pool, too.

Spring in Texas, wow. From the perfect day to a perfectly awful storm in 24 hours!

Weather is always changing here, but it brings us flowers and crops, too. It’s all fine.

Here’s a quote from the KMIL website (I’d link to it, but it’s not a permanent link):

(CENTRAL TEXAS) Mother Nature reared its ugly head Monday afternoon as a severe storms and tornadoes ripped through much of Texas. 
Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings were the order of the day Monday afternoon and evening for a wide swath of Central Texas. Multiple tornadoes are thought to have touched down, including several in Central Texas. Milam County Sheriff Mike Clore reported damage in the 5000 block of FM1915, the 6000 block of FM1916, and the 6000 block of FM908. Damage included a barn, a residence, metal buildings, and a roof that was blown off. There were also multiple reports of power lines down. Much of Thorndale was without power this morning because of downed lines. Sheriff Clore also indicated that a trio of roads are closed to traffic this morning. Those closures include CR442, CR445, and FM486 at Brushy Creek. The National Weather Service has since confirmed a tornado touched down in southern Milam County. Funnel clouds were also spotted near Rosebud.

http://kmil.com/news.php

And here is a link showing the damage south of us.

Welcome Rain, Unwelcome Wind

It’s been drier that usual the past couple of months, so we are happy to see a reasonable amount of rain today. One of the cool things about the ranch house is that there’s always a porch you can sit on when it rains.

Goldie is looking for that darned pool robot, her enemy.

Rain doesn’t stop the wildlife action, though. I went out in the drizzle to get the mail and heard a sound. I looked up to see one of those huge flocks of starlings going over.

And who doesn’t love a rainy wildflower, even an annoying one?

The crows are in full murderous activity, too. They’ve been trying out all their caw variations and flying back and forth, as if on a mission.

That’s where they are, but not at the photo time. I’m glad to see the cleared area growing some cover.

It’s funny. The minute the crows stop, the songbirds start up. Cheerio cheerio! Peep peep! Chirp chirp! Cardinals, sparrows of various kinds, and the little chickadees enjoy breaks in the rain to get some food.

A full pool

The wind keeps whipping up and making waves and waterfall splashes in the pool. I foresee spillover. But at least so far the new plants are holding down the outdoor rug. Suna triumphs over nature! So, that was at lunch…

Wave action.

Time Marches On

I went back in and tried to work. It’s gotten windier and windier, and sure enough, we are now under a tornado watch. Of course, I’m alone. So, I hefted all the patio furniture up close to the house and tried to make everything as heavy as possible. Usually things up against the house make it in our heavy wind periods. I think the horses will be fine all lined up in their shelter.

Whatcha doin’ Suna? This is fun!

If there’s a tornado, well, I just wasted a lot of money on plants.

Nope, that’s not gonna help in a tornado, but it does keep them from blowing all over the yard in a gale.

I’m sure all will be well, and if not, I’ll get to try to herd the dogs into the storm shelter. Let’s hope all is well, ok?

Hail Drops Keep Falling on My Head

What a day! I’ve experienced laughter, surprise and true joy today. Where to start?

Surprise

Let’s start with surprise, shall we? I got a voicemail from the local florist saying I had flowers and I’d better hurry over before they closed. I’d been in a long meeting, so we went over just in time to get the flowers, all the while wondering what the occasion was.

This is some fine floral arrangement.

Well what a surprise to find out that these beautiful spring flowers were sent to me by the four horses I’ve been caring for since my niece has been dealing with health issues. I guess they really appreciate the magnesium supplements?

Awwwww

I’m just glad they are okay! It what a sweet surprise. I was really touched. Now let’s talk about laughter.

Moo!

The dogs were going on and on this morning while I was trying to concentrate. There was also much mooing. It turns out that the young cattle next door wanted to play and were actually mooing to get the dogs’ attention.

The sky was beautiful.

Lee and I got a good chuckle watching the dogs and calves run and play with each other.

Speaking of laughing, I’m laughing because we actually managed to get most of the skunk smell out of the house! The stuff we used worked! Even Alfred is ok. Go Angry Orange stuff!

But what about the pure joy? It has to do with the hail drops in the title of this post. It was getting stormy tonight, so I enjoyed taking some cloud photos.

Rain on the horizon.

I ran out to put the chickens in and let the horses out after dinner as raindrops began to fall.

Storm front.

After dinner I took a few photos, because it was cool how it looked clear to the south and very stormy to the north.

The pretty side.

By the time I could get out to the hot tub to try to soothe my back, drops of rain were falling. Poor Lee really needed the hot tub after falling yesterday. We both made it in as the rain started falling harder.

There was lightning and constant thunder, sounding like machinery. Now, I know you should get out of the water when lightning is happening. But I thought what the heck. I’ve achieved all my life goals. Let’s enjoy the show.

Aftermath.

While I didn’t care about me, I didn’t want to damage my phone, so there are no photos of my joy. But wow, it was beautiful to sit in the hot water with cold rain falling and making beautiful patterns on the water.

Then, ooh, little sharp pains hit my face and ears. Hail was falling! There were tiny ice cubes all over the patio. It was so much fun to sit there and experience Nature in her fury.

Horses on their way to hide. I knew all was well when they came back out of their shelter!

Soon the storm passed. I was so full of joy. I was also lucky. Apparently the storm picked up strength and is bringing bad hail to the east of us. I’m glad giant ice rocks didn’t fall on my head!

It’s All Good Until You Start Feeding Dog Treats

What a beautiful day it was. I think we needed a reminder that Mother Nature is still doling out the beauty to at least briefly distract us from the things humans do to each other.

Glory, glory, peace on earth.

As a reward for doing my least favorite thing about work (Agile stuff, not vital to this story), I tidied up the pool area and gave my back some more hot water love. I heart the hot tub.

Day swimming. Wow.

Later, after feeding the precious horses, we checked out the trailer lights. Ooh. There’s even an interior light for night loading and unloading!

That’s cool.

I’m pretty excited to use the trailer. I was glad they checked out the lights and other safety features. So shiny.

It was a good evening to rest on our laurels and tell each other we appreciate our efforts. I think Lee even set up the auto-fill system on the pool! We’re really enjoying it. What else do we enjoy? Sunsets, of course. Tonight’s was cherry red at times. Thanks, Mother Nature.

All was well until I opened the monthly Bark Box. I handed out really cute chew toys, then opened a box of dog treats. I handed them out to each dog, which got them all excited. I realized Alfred hadn’t gotten one, so I reached over to give him one and Harvey jumped up to steal it. Unfortunately, he also got my thumb. Ow. It was an accident.

Got me right on the edge of my nail.

May the sun warm all our brothers and sisters who are afraid, worried, or suffering.

Part 2: Still Don’t Like Unpacking and Still Worried about Drew

There have been developments! There will be more! So, I’ll start with Drew. Once Drew’s trainer started texting me after I posted yesterday, it came back to me that when I picked him up, she’d mentioned that he had a spot that might be an injury or might be “a little sarcoid.” That had slipped my mind. Here’s his lovely leg.

Yuck.

It is not enhanced by the fact that it has been raining all day. That means it’s above freezing, which is dandy, but it’s still pretty darned cold, and wet, cold horses are pretty miserable. Fiona and Dusty seem particularly unhappy. I’m looking forward to it warming up and drying out tomorrow. The icky weather also makes Drew’s leg look worse. I can’t see the issue very well for all the mud, wetness, and blood.

I think the area has grown since I made it bleed a few weeks ago. I read that it is a possibility.

So, Tarrin said it’s not an injury, but a sarcoid tumor. You hear the word tumor and get all scared, at least if you’re like me and the daughter of someone who died of lung cancer. But, she kept telling me there are resources, she is there to help, and we can deal with it. I did my best to believe it.

Sara reminded me that her horse, Spice, has been dealing with sarcoids the past couple of years. She kept putting stuff on them, as I recall. The good news is that it’s not deadly, just not pretty.

Of course, I went off to the internet to read up on equine sarcoidosis. Every article repeated that only very rare ones are deadly, and that it’s the most common form of cancer in equines. I read about all the different types, and figure Drew has the kind that spurts when disturbed, because, well, his spurts when disturbed. The article I linked to here is the best one I read, and the most updated. It talks about lots of new therapies and treatments that are under development, all of which made me feel fetter.

Tomorrow, when I go to pick up Apache, I’ll take Drew so Tarrin and I can look at the foot together and figure out a plan. I assume veterinarians and money will be involved, but that’s fine. He’s my buddy, and I want to help him. We do have an immediate plan, which is to separate him from the other horses. That’s because they are big on kicking and biting and are also biting his poor coat all over. I’m going to put Apache and Fiona in with him, since they are pretty chill. Let’s hope that remains true.

I’ll get them some hay and give them half the shelter, so each group of horses will have shelter and their space as the grass starts growing and they have more to eat. The smaller area will be good for Apache, anyway. I’m sure glad I had Tarrin’s ideas to help me figure this stuff all out! And I’m glad I have Sara as a resource, too, since she has some leftover medicine. I need to remember I’m not alone and have help and support nearby.

The horses better love me, since I went back and forth feeding them and getting their troughs refilled with water this evening. It was a big ole mess, so I am glad we have the water back on. The fish will be glad, too.

Unpacking?

I did say there was an unpacking part 2. Yes, since it was raining, I forced myself to do more unpacking and organization, this time in my closet. I still had a bunch of clothing to sort through and clean clothing to hang up. I also hate doing that. But, I did it! I got rid of the hangers I don’t like and gave them to Lee, who does like them. And I labeled all my boxes that I’d recently put stuff in.

I’d had a lot of trouble organizing my jewelry, but at last have it all done, too. I didn’t realize how much I love costume jewelry until it was all in one house! Eek. I know there will be more organization needed as I bring more things in from the other house, but I think I have a plan. Wish me luck.

Closet, all walls but the wall o’ shoes.

I shared this photo of my closet on Facebook and got everyone all in a tizzy at its size. I probably should not have taken one of those wide-angle photos! It does make the room look immense. Please note that it is not luxurious other than the slab of marble on top of custom cabinets in the middle. That IS nice. Everything else is simple stuff from particle board.

Allow me to remind anyone who’s new and didn’t follow us building the Hermits’ Rest house that there are reasons that the closets and bedroom upstairs are larger than in a usual house. The original plan was for a house with a reasonable sized bathroom, closet, and bedroom on the second floor. But, we decided to build the house more like a “barndominium” than a standard house, with a steel frame. The people erecting the frame said it would be way easier, and more structurally sound if the house was more rectangular and the second floor the same approximate size as the first. We said okay.

That widened the second floor and allowed us to turn three knee-wall closets into three big ones, so Lee has two closets the size of most normal main bedroom closets. I had the kitchen enlarged by the architect, because I wanted an island. That added 6 feet or so to the kitchen. Guess what is above the kitchen? My closet. So, with four extra feet on the exterior and six extra feet on the inside, my closet ended up the size of a normal bedroom. I do know I am lucky. But I didn’t plan the house to make the closet big, it just benefited.

I hope you enjoyed my excuses for the hugeness of my closet. Our bedroom is equally huge, but I guess that’s good since it is now also Lee’s office and a sitting room. As I mentioned in my “Trapped” post, I only have 1/8 of the bed and a side table. But, hey, I enjoy the coffee in there. I’m trying to cope better.

Chilly Day Opportunity

The weather turned very cold and windy. Sara and I canceled horse fun, so I told my son we could go get some stuff in Temple. First, I took the chance to play with the new phone camera and take artsy dog photos.

Diva Goldie

After that, we went off to the Western-wear store and I got belts to wear for horse shows. I think I’m supposed to wear a belt. It was hard to find ones that weren’t all sparkly. I found a nice brown one with tooled flowers and a black one with a sort of snakeskin background. It will go great with my snakeskin boots and Drew’s coloring.

I got the kids some ranch-appropriate shoes, too, and ones that will be good for my son to wear working on renovation projects (yes, we still do that, I just don’t write too much about it).

Current project: Anita’s new floors and old cabinets that will be recycled.

The weather improved, and we had lots of fun trying to buy groceries on one of the worst days of the year. The day before the Super Bowl is not a good one, crowd wise. There are no Fritos to be had. This is a tragedy for the menfolk at the ranch, who worship the Texas classic, Frito Pie. I’m a Dorito fan myself. Those were all gone, too. Oh well.

I’ll just watch the Olympics

Well, with a couple of household items obtained and a space heater borrowed, I think the cabin residents are in good shape. Yep. There are also no space heaters to be had anymore, thanks to the last cold snap. This was not a good week for their heater to die!

Snow Carlton

Tomorrow should be more interesting. But I’ve enjoyed my restful day and a chance to spend quality time alone with my kid. I remember how much I loved to be alone with my dad and talk freely. I hope my son enjoys our times together, as much as we do like the rest of the family. It was a nice opportunity opened up by some cruddy weather.

Hug your loved ones.

sara annon

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