What Else Is New?

at the ranch, that is. There have been a few tidbits and sightings I wanted to share.

Weather. Ugh.

It’s bone dry, but there aren’t any bones.

First off, I know it’s hot and dry here, because the little runoff pond is bone dry. The dogs went in there to check for crawfish, but didn’t find any.

And the ground is now full of holes and big, long cracks. Along with extra-crunchy grass, this tells you we’re in the bad part of summer.

Hello, down there.

Yep. It’s hot. But there’s a stiff breeze making the front porch bearable for the moment.

Other Stuff

Three prickly pears.

Walking with the dogs always brings discoveries. Today I found things in threes, like these morning glories and prickly pear fruit. (Which reminds me of the carne asada con nopales I had Friday. Mmm. )

Three morning glories

As I was looking at the cactus, I heard a thump. Just to my left I saw that a large grasshopper had flown into the very sturdy web of one of our numerous yellow garden spiders. I started recording only seconds after it landed, which explains why I didn’t turn the phone landscape. 40 seconds later it was wrapped and paralyzed.

At least it didn’t suffer. Sara asked if I’d speeded the video up, but nope. Those spiders can MOVE!

It’s so weird. Those are holes, not raised mounds.

The other natural phenomenon I’ve been watching are the traps laid by doodlebugs, as they call ant lions here. I watch the ones over by the tack room spitting dirt out of their traps. It looks like little explosions.

Chicken Time

And I’ve figured out that two of the chickens roost next to their food. At least the other five seem okay back in their coop. For now. Tyler cleaned up the place where Buffy was hiding, but she still hangs out in the barn.

Buffy and Big Red stake their claims.

And I have a final piece of good news. After spending quite some time trying to figure out who could fix the cattle guard leading to the cabin, I looked up this morning to see the Vrazels had found someone. We thought that was part of their lease agreement, but Ralph had informed me it was my job. Dodged a bullet there. I thanked Mr. V. And the welder a whole bunch.

Dim photo of welding truck.

To sign off, here’s a differential grasshopper. Hey, it’s not a spider!

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Is Everything Dead Yet?

This time of year, it’s usually looking pretty bleak out here in central Texas. By now, the grass is usually very brown and crunchy, and there are good-sized cracks in the soil. But this year it’s rained a lot more than usual, so how’s it doing?

Checking out the territory. Some green, some not.

It hasn’t rained in a couple of weeks, and that’s about all it takes to turn things back to their typical summer state. Sure enough, the grass is crunchy and the cracks are out. But the tanks (ponds) have lots more water in them than usual and the creek has plenty of water in it.

The Vrazels have made another bunch of hay out of our front pasture, which is also unusual. They are out there baling it right now, making round bales. The dogs enjoyed having a couple of days to look for vermin in the piles of grass as it was drying out. Both Vlassic and Penney like to pounce.

Future hay, full o’ vermin.
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Sunrise, Sunset, and Fishies

Fer sure, yesterday was really hot, and so was the day before, but it was certainly not without beauty and the potential for fun. I’m so glad the dogs pestered the heck out of me to go outside Saturday night, or I’d have missed a spectacular sunset. The one below is my favorite image, which I shared on Facebook, but I didn’t want blog readers to miss out.

This is facing EAST at sunset. I wish I could get my hair those colors.

Last night’s sunset was also good, but I didn’t get out until after the exciting part, thanks to eating lovely food cooked by my sister. I was also still recovering from my late afternoon activity.

Fishies

Mandi is officially on vacation, so she wants to have some outdoor fun. I accompanied Mandi and her son, Matthew, over to the pond behind Ralph and Sara’s to do some fishing. Of course, it was 100 degrees out there. But, we persevered. The pond is stocked, so we know there are good fish in it, but it’s so pretty and relaxing, that I didn’t care.

The pond behind Sara and Ralph’s house.
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The Storm Passes

Last night we had quite a strong storm pass over the Bobcat Lair, our Austin house. Just as we were emerging from our dungeon…I mean, office, to go pick up some plants, the sky let loose.

The edge of this little storm front stayed over our house a long time.

That was okay with me, since I was dealing with that panic attack/anxiety thing last night. I went into self-care mode and concentrated on my own needs.

I burned candles, smelled appropriate aromatherapy oils and blends, watched HGTV, and finally sat in my room and meditated for a half hour.

See, there’s a reason my notebook says “omm” and I have a little crystal ball on my desk. You never know when the need to empty one’s mind will come up.

The best thing about the storm was that we ate dinner early and went to bed early, thereby enabling me to get enough sleep. I’ve noticed that my antsy days tend to be when I haven’t slept enough, which is usually Mondays (I have to get up early to drive to Austin).

A few minutes after the first picture. Eventually, storm clouds will pass.

Today I’m still feeling sensitive to “stuff” around me, but I’ve been able to get much work done, even a meeting with the boss of my boss’s boss. I am back to myself!

Donkey and Storm Update

I’ve been so busy writing about Fiona that I haven’t had a chance to talk about the horrible weather that’s been going on here (what else is new? the weather has been bad everywhere!). But I know the donkey fans out there will also want to know how the little darling is doing.

Feisty Fiona

Well, she hasn’t injured anyone since Wednesday! Hooray! Actually, when Mandi and I went to feed and medicate her yesterday, it went really well. She is always so glad to see me that it makes my heart swell. It’s great to be loved! And with me holding her head and Mandi squirting the medicine in her mouth, everything was over in a moment.

You aren’t gonna give me a shot, are you?

Fiona even took a treat right after the medicine (when I first was working with Apache, he would not take a treat from anyone until at least a day after you gave him his worming medicine, but now he trusts me not to worm him twice).

She is not walking 100%, but is not hopping or anything. Whew.

Wait, are treats involved?
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Now, That’s Nature: Post Oaks Plus

It has rained so much the past few days that it feels like I live at a mosquito farm. Everywhere I go I’ve been eaten up, though the barn swallows are trying to keep up with them at the ranch.

“Lake Travis” in Cameron. Photo by Martha Nethers.

Martha says that our old office on Travis is now located at “Lake Travis.” Birds love to bathe in it, but they can’t enjoy their lovely patio at the moment. (By the way, they recently saw a mother opossum and all her babies on her back–sure with I had a photo!)

Sink spider

The rains have also driven a lot of things indoors. A group of wolf spiders is hanging out in the kitchen of the old church building. I hope they scoot back out before the pest control dudes come!

Continue reading “Now, That’s Nature: Post Oaks Plus”

I’m Getting RICH

Am I offended that my “live blogging” experiment has been a dismal failure (9 hits so far)? Nah. Nothing attracts readers like sick or injured animals, and I don’t have any more of those (and it is FINE). So, I’m due for another round of low visitor count on the ole blog.

I know I captivate so many of you with images of geometrically pleasing cacti that are about to bloom. It’s part of my very tiny cactus collection. And most of the cacti are very tiny, too.

But it’s OK! I’m making money off my humble posts about nature, books, and domestic animals! I monetized my blog when I finally got to 100 followers (thank you followers, even though many of you are businesses trying to sell something). Mandi has faithfully clicked on many ads. And now I am raking in the WordPress ad cash:

That’s RIGHT! I’ve made FOUR CENTS in genuine US currency. It looks like it will take a while for the total to reach $100 and a check to show up. I’m not quitting my day job.

The view of the wetness from Anita’s balcony. She has plants, mostly her cactus and succulent collection.

Nature content: Another big rain day. That makes a month of large amounts of rain at least once a week.