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?
Continue reading “Donkey and Storm Update”
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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.

Native Beauty

Once the weather settled down a bit yesterday, the local insect-eating birds had a feast (including my chickens). There were a couple of phoebes sitting on our fence wires and zipping down to pluck tasty morsels, but the most excited birds had to be our barn swallows, who view our home as a very nice barn to live on.

When will that human LEAVE?

We discovered a new nest right above the door the dogs use to go in and out. They are a poly family, I guess, with an extra member to help feed the little ones once they hatch. Here are two of them looking displeased at me while the third one was in the nest thinking about pooping on me, no doubt. Because they are so close to the dog door, their chattering and chirping is very easy to hear in the family room. Luckily we like our noisy neighbors.

Getting back to Austin

This morning I drove back to Austin later than usual, so I’d be sure to be able to see any flooded spots along the road. I saw a lot of places that obviously were road closure spots over the weekend, judging by the debris patterns.

Just to the left is the main road, with soda machines. Apparently a church got all messed up, too.

The saddest thing, though, was driving by the old building in San Gabriel that held the hamlet’s only “business,” two soda machines. It was surrounded by red tape declaring it a danger. The darned tornadoes got it. Here’s an article.

Today is another day

Happily, today turned out to be beautiful. Anita and I enjoyed looking at some of the native plants and insects we pass by on our walks. Two were right outside our house, next to a steep rocky slope.

Cedar sage outside the Bobcat Lair (our Austin house)

No matter how hard the landscapers try, they can’t get rid of all the beautiful plants that were here before the development was here. Case in point is the cedar sage you see here. It’s native habitat is cedar brakes on caliche, where the ashe junipers are located. They like the rocky hillsides. Yep, these beautiful flowers cover the rocks our house sits on, right under the native trees that got to stay when the neighborhood was built (now they qualify as “heritage” cedars, so allergic people can’t cut them down).

Slender false pennyroyal

Nearby were these lovely little plants with tiny pink blossoms. There are many tiny plants with pink blossoms this time of year, but these looked different from all the others I’ve been finding. Sure enough, they are slender hedeoma (Hedeoma acinoides). There is not much about them in iNaturalist, but a quick check of their habitat shows it’s mainly the middle of Texas. It’s a local! Further checks found that their common name is slender false pennyroyal. I learned something new!

At the mailbox, my housemate, Anita, started jumping around, and I saw that there was a large winged insect flying and landing, which caused that reaction. I got everything nice and calm so I could photograph it.

Extreme crane fly closeup.

It appears to be a crane fly, but I’m not sure which one it is. It could be Tipula tricolor or Tipula furca, juding by the wings. I assume someone on iNaturalist will set me straight. I thought it was nice of the crane fly to hold still so I could get such a good picture!

What have you been seeing? Care to share?

Tornado and Flooding. Not the Apocalypse.

Whew. It’s been a rough couple of days. It was time for the annual spring flood! We needed the rain, though, as we hadn’t had any appreciable rain in three weeks, according to my husband.

We’re in the storm room. Harvey is under my feet.

We had a really strong band of rain come through yesterday, and we got the long side of the front. Lots of rain ensued. Then in mid afternoon, the tornado sirens went off in town, and we got reports of touchdowns not too far away.

Brody and Carlton day thanks for keeping us safe.

So, Lee and I joined all five dogs in our fine storm room for over an hour while the system touched down four times, the last one just a few miles from us.

We were surprised at how well the dogs did in the little space, but it did keep the sound away. The wind broke a few things but we were okay.

Continue reading “Tornado and Flooding. Not the Apocalypse.”

Office Snakes ‘n Stuff

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.

This li’l guy is a rough earthsnake.

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).

Onviously it was a small snake. Those are small holes.

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.

Three ducks on a roof.

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!

You disturbed us!

Weather?

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!

We Had a Little Spring. Now Chilly.

My friends the blue-eyed grass have returned.

Well, shoot, just when I was really getting into long walks and frolicking amid the wildflowers, a late cold front has driven me indoors. Yesterday, we hosted an event at 11 am at our office. The front showed up right as all the attendees were coming in or trying to find us. A big wind and brief rain surprised everyone, and blew away my meeting signs. March decided not to go out like a lamb after all!

We have a patch of pink evening primrose that is nearly white. It’s striking against the green grass.

But, I did get a lot of flower-viewing, pet walking, and iNaturalist uploading done before the front! It’s a great year for flowers, thanks to the winter rains, so I know I’ll be out finding more to share soon.

Yellow Flowers

The wild and crazy collard green in bloom.

Here’s something I’ve been grappling with lately. Many of the flowers that are blooming right now are yellow. They’re just beautiful, but when I try to photograph them, they are all washed out, making it hard to see details. Luckily, the collard greens I let go to seed (I ate off this ONE plant all winter) look pretty good. Perhaps the blue sky helped.

Poor little glowing flower.

But this ragwort, like many other yellow ones I’ve photographed, looks like a bright blur. I have tried adjusting the color on my phone, but no luck. Suggestions? Get a real camera! Yes, I know.

Just a giant dog, making ripples in the pond!

I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon. I know the dogs are, too. Alfred had a fine time yachting around in the pond on Friday, but I don’t think he’ll try today!

Take care, friends, and don’t forget to like, share, and comment!