Little Wonders

It’s a beautiful day today, so I’ve done a bit of wandering around. I’m always surprised at the beauty I see, just walking around the ranch.

Just a beautiful day to have dog fun.

Today the dogs and I checked out the arroyo, and they had a lot of fun sniffing and stomping, as usual.

That is a BIG hole. Glad I know where it is, so I won’t step on it.

I was surprised to see just how big the armadillo’s hole has gotten. Every time I walk by there’s more dirt outside it. That is one busy dillo.

You can’t really see as much orange as I saw in person, but hey, these will be a lot of delicous berries!

The trees and bushes are all budding out, and sometimes the color really surprises me. The dewberries are all red and yellow, and look almost autumnal!

A brief pause between screeches.

There are also many, many birds out today, including a family of mockingbirds who would really like to be left alone. They yelled and yelled at me for messing around in “their” tree, trying to get a picture of some raccoon poop. I think the raccoon may hang out in the tree, too.

But the best!

The best nature sight came slightly off the ranch, on our county road. I saw something white as I was driving into town this morning, so when I came back, I parked to check things out. There, in the middle of a field, were dozens of white irises. They were so pretty.

The irises are right in the center of this picture.

I wish I could have gotten closer, but you know, snakes. My guess is that there was once a house where the overgrown trees and such are now. There is still a huge oak that may have been planted by someone. And, next door, there are a lot of the same flowers planted around a tree. Maybe they dug some of the ones in the field up.

Here you can see the flowers and the big tree. And an annoying post.

I’ll just have to ask the people who live there one day!

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That Dog

Just a funny little Vlassic story.

I’m friendly, that’s all.

This morning I had to gas up the car before heading to Cameron. I pulled into the bay, got out, and Vlassic jumped out right after me.

I was worried he’d get hit by a car at the very busy station.

But no. He ran around the car at the pump next to me, which had also just pulled up, and jumped into that car. He was ready to go.

The man at the other pump laughed and laughed. He said, “He must have known I have a dog that looks just like that!”

How dare those men park here!

Right now we are waiting for Lee at the scenic Buckholts State Bank, where Vlassic is focusing his laser vision on people who have the nerve to park next to us.

Scenic Buckholts State Bank, as seen through a wet windshield.

(Weather report sidebar: yes, it’s raining again. We sure enjoyed that one sunny day this week.)

I need a knife.

When the people leave, he’s trying to break into my giant box of egg cartons.

The Sun Came Out! And Eggs!

Yes, that’s right, after nearly three days of the temperature outside not varying beyond 40-43 degrees, the blazing ball of sky fire showed up again this morning.

Hooray for blue sky. Boo for being stuck while equipment goes across the street.

I had a lot of time to see it, since I kept being stopped by flaggers at the many, many pipeline construction areas along my way from Cameron. I’ll write more about those later, but wow, they make a mess.

Lee is excellent. I knew it.

I was in Cameron last night to attend the 85th Annual Chamber of Commerce banquet, representing both our Hermits’ Rest Enterprises company and the Master Naturalists. I was proud to see so many people I admire being singled out for honors, but MOST proud that my very own spouse got a special award for his contributions to the town this past year. He was truly surprised. Aww. I guess we are fitting in!

Bob told great stories.

We enjoyed hearing the speaker, too, Bob Phillips, who has been doing the Texas Country Reporter television show since 1972. It’s the longest running independent television show in the US. He sure had some cool mentors, like Tom Landry and Charles Kurault.

Chicken Report

I got ALL worried yesterday, when Mandi reported that no eggs had been in the nest boxes for two days. That seemed weird, since I got seven on Sunday, and at least two of them were definitely from the new birds (they are laying smaller “pullet eggs” still.

Variation in egg sizes. Top left is a pullet egg. Bottom left is the big “rosy” one that I am not sure who lays, but it’s BIG. The other two are normal brown eggs from brown hens.

So, this morning I felt compelled to check on the hens before I left to go back to Austin to work. I gingerly walked in, disturbing two hens who were trying to lay. I looked in the last two boxes. There were a dozen eggs, plus evidene that the poor chicken who lays dud eggs had also laid.

Both eggs are from leghorn hens. One’s a year old and the other is 5 months old (top). Yes, they will be cleaned before anyone eats them.

My guess is that the chicken feeder/egg feeder person either didn’t look all the way in the nest area, or actually didn’t check and just told his mom there was nothing there. He also said someone else had fed the chickens, so there’s still some kind of mystery!

Hawk Report

I’m the boss of this parking garage.

I’m happy to share that the hawk couple who nested where I work in Austin have returned. We’ve been enjoying watching them fly around together. This morning I heard some weird bird sounds, and looked up to see one of the hawks was scolding me. Aww.

Just Good Morning!

Let’s take a break and celebrate the sky. The sunrise yesterday was made more beautiful by the silver clouds shining above the sun. What a great way to start the day!

Sunrise, February 28, 2019.

I hope you saw the snow moon last night, too. I remembered it when I saw a light reflection on the glass coffee table that didn’t match any of our fixtures. Sure enough, the moon was saying a misty good evening.

Beef ribs by me and crispy potatoes by Anita.

I am doing well with the Instant Pot thing, by the way. These beef ribs came out so tasty and tender. I even properly deglazed the pan. I’m a chef!

There’s rain today, but I’m driving back to the ranch to attend an event. I can check up on the critters, too. Then back to Austin. Busy social schedule. Never thought I’d say that!

Beachy Keen

Tree trunk with ocean decor

We spent last night in a misty Galveston Island, Texas. I’ll write more about it later, but thought I’d share a few pictures of things I found washed up on the beach.

The tree looks like a whale from this angle.

One particular piece of wood that had been in the water enough for barnacles to grow on it really seemed beautiful. Such a mix of land and sea.

What’s your guess as to what this is?

We also found another rock or piece of tree or coral. It was hard to say. But there were some cool worm tubes on it, too.

Little shells in a heap.

Of course there were shells, mostly broken up, but in many shapes and colors. Where they washed up in piles I kept thinking they’d make a great computer monitor background.

Coral, and my Valentine nails, which are red, pink, coral, or watermelon.

I did find a small piece of coral, too. I have to say these and the oysters in the bay kept distracting me from my bird and plant recording duties, but that’s okay. I had time to enjoy all the gifts the ocean and wetlands gave me.

Eww. Ocean foam.

More tomorrow!

Blow Me Away

The sun will come out tomorrow! Or later today, here in Belmena (a hamlet apparently nearby).

It’s time for a brief weather report. It’s windy. Very windy. Our windows are rattling and things are banging around outside. The wind chill makes it feel ten degrees colder. I agree with the profane weather app!

Horrible weather calls for horrible language. Note that this app believes I am in Burlington, a slightly larger hamlet than Belmena.

When you live in a big field, you really feel the wind. Plus, anecdotal evidence says it’s windier here than in many places. That’s based on long-term neighbor observations and our own careful study when we were siting our ranch house.

Finally! An app that says I’m in Silver City! That’s right, actually. It’s a nonexistent hamlet that used to be here.

We lived weekends in an RV, and Lee recorded the wind direction. Thus our house doesn’t face the road. It’s a little crooked.

And there is always a patio out of the wind, or in it, if that’s helping when it’s hot.

That’s an important ranch life principle, to get to know your microclimate!