Heat. Sick.

Feeling bad today. Stomach stress and literally falling asleep randomly. No COVID, so my social life didn’t kill me. Glad for those free test kits. I think I’ve just tried to do too much outside the past few days.

Me and Carlton. Zonked.

I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow. At least I picked colors for our next renovation project and look forward to a bigger project coming soon. More details soon!

Why I couldn’t take a nap. Four howling dogs and one trying to escape. Look at Alfred!

It really needs to rain here. Even with the pool, it’s getting to us all. The horses just stand in the shade. The dogs lay around the house. The people do their best. I just feel icky. Sleep should do the trick, and electrolytes.


Creature of the Day. Large wolf spider. Now outdoors.

Why I’m Thankful for the Pool

Maybe you’ve been reading this blog long enough to remember how I decided I wanted a swimming pool last year. I called it the Pool of Dreams.

Pool of Dreams today—notice the guard garden spider (a good one that eats black widows)

I think some people thought I wouldn’t use the pool. After all, I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I don’t blame anyone who thought this. But while I don’t swim much, I do love water and being outside, especially here.

Things you see from the pool include Vlassic.

I’ve really loved spending time in the pool, and am there nearly every day. The salty water is very soothing (Lee says it’s great for his eyes). I float in my floating device and practice deep breathing. The breeze cools me then the sun soothes me. Then I start observing.

Today I watched starlings flocking.

I see so many birds, especially right now when the herons and egrets are chowing down on the little catfish in the now-shallow ponds. Swallows fly over me and the English sparrow family hang out in their messy nest.

When they took off, it was a big whoosh!

I truly enjoy the time to myself. And the pool lets me be outdoors even in this historic heat. I’d be stuck inside other than when I sweat myself silly taking care of the horses, if it weren’t for the pool.

I’m very grateful to my spouse and family members who helped get this dang pool built.


Wait, I forgot my creature of the day! Here’s a beelzebub bee eater with its prey. What a scary fly!

Oh, Fifi!

That little donkey of ours is always up to something. This morning I stayed in my room drinking coffee for a while, then realized I needed to go feed the chickens. I looked out the front window and had a start!

Why yes, that’s the fence behind me.

Fiona was being herded back onto our property and the gate was being shut behind her. That little escape artist! I threw on my clothes as fast as I could but everything was under control before I got down.

Yep. I’m on the short grass.

The horses were in a kerfluffle but Fiona was just standing there, looking like she was thinking, in donkey thought.

Oh, we’re fine.

I went down to her and said hi. I asked if she wanted to go back in with the horses. She answered by trotting right behind me as I headed to the gate.

I’m coming!

I realized why she was following me: she was thirsty! I guess she hadn’t found the wet area.

Mmmm

It was easy to see how she got out. The fence wire is pretty high near the gate. She left “evidence” of where she got out, so that confirmed it. I’m told that’s the only way she could have gotten out.

We don’t want to see a poop picture.

She’s staying in with her buddies now, so maybe she’s gonna stay with the water. Drew and Dusty didn’t care. They’ve been happy hanging out today.

Meanwhile, I went to feed the chickens and found our creature of the day, a very lumpy rat snake. I hope the bumps in it are mice. It was awful early for the chickens to have laid many eggs. Go eat rats, snake!

Social Life!

Not much time to blog today, because I’ve been busy seeing people and doing things. I DO have friends in real life! My friends are darned interesting, too. Plus, two horses have trimmed hooves. That’s it, other than a few random ranch pictures.

Today’s creature is NOT poisonous! It’s a damselfly. I saw four different colors today: blue, green, tan, and white.
My spotted buddies. One standing in poop, one rolling in it.
Aww, a sweet nest hiding in the stock trailer.
Flowers some dear friends sent.
Enjoying their new space. Can you find Fiona?

My Thundering Herd

Today’s electrical work got delayed, but not to worry, the next priority awaited. That was moving the fencing for the horses so they could eat some of the grass that hadn’t been touched yet. It’s still dry, but at least it’s long.

New fence has ties to make it visible.

It was such a hot, hot day for the guys to work in the sun, but they set out poles and moved an electric fence out to the driveway. They also put one up in the back so we can rotate. The original idea was that we’d keep Apache and Fiona there, but I’m told Apache violently vetoed that idea and got all worked up.

Do NOT separate me from my friends. (Mabel just wants grass)

It took a while for the horses to figure out the fence moved, but the agitation got them moving. I didn’t see the beginning but I did get to enjoy watching them running around like a feral herd. The video features a lot of Apache snorting, too. Like he’s the stallion king.

I think Fiona styled herself the lead mare. Drew was the fast little youth. That horse can GO. I watched him come from behind and pass all the others.

Glorious.

I just enjoyed their beautiful selves and got a laugh out of their curiosity about the pond and the area around it. We had worried they’d sink into the pond, but they didn’t. I hope they stay safe while seeking out delicious treats. I also hope it doesn’t mess up Apache. But really, it’s all dry.

Checking it out.

The horses ate dinner just fine and are now grazing calmly. The world changed on them, but they are okay. Here are some of my pictures of their fun.

There was even a bonus! Tarrin was able to analyze Apache’s form when he was running. In one picture he was in a tizzy and out of alignment, and in the other, he looked all lifted and balanced. That one is our goal under saddle.

And in Pest News

The trend of poisonous creatures visiting daily has not ended. Today I heard a rustling noise. I looked down and there was a scorpion. I wish the black cloud delivering plagues would move along!

Not dead yet. Dead now.

Shocking News?

It’s shocking, all right. The electric lines are being laid for all our outbuildings, but we do t think any actual shocks will happen since we are using professional electricians. It’s nice to see a little bit of progress after all the setbacks and such.

The Ditch Witch chugged into action on Wednesday and started digging the trenches for the electric lines. Then, it suddenly stopped working after getting the lines to the tack room, shipping container, and much of the chicken house done. That was disappointing, since the electricians were due today.

One long trench

Luckily, they got her up and running again this morning and finished the trenches so that the conduit could go in. None of this was easy in the baked clay soil we have in this part of the ranch. The worst parts were where they had to dig by hand and carve out curves in the path. My son looked like he was about to pass out, though of course he was well hydrated and got breaks.

Conduit, with curve, hard earned.

Now that all the pipes are in, the electrician could get exact measurements for all the wiring and such that they’d need. Everything’s so expensive right now that no one wants to waste any money on excess supplies. They will be back tomorrow. By then there should be an air conditioner for the tack room, too. Am I excited? Yes, I sure am. And very grateful. The chickens will be, too, when they get a fan to help keep them cooler.

Long…

What else is new since I got all whacked out about my diagnosis? Well, it IS the Hermits’ Rest Ranch, so of course it’s not shocking that another poisonous beast had to show up. This little darling was right under my feet while I was working. It is now a former bloodsucking conenose (or kissing bug, Triatoma sanguisuga). These bite people on their mouths and feed on the blood while the people are sleeping. Then the people get sick. Luckily, they have never been seen upstairs here.

Also luckily, Marcus spent part of his day spraying all around the house and pool for spiders. He found a big nest of black widows on the back side of the pool. They are former spiders now. I may be a Master Naturalist, but things that want to kill me need to go live outside my personal bubble. I’m tired of killer insects and spiders.

Yesterday

And it’s not a day at the Hermits’ Rest if someone doesn’t need to see a doctor. Today it was Goldie. I noticed a swelling on her yesterday, and thought it looked odd. It wasn’t there last time I looked.

Much bigger!

Today the swelling was bigger. It being Thursday, her favorite human was able to take her to see Dr. Amy and get it looked at. Turns out it was a scratch or bite or some other kind of “booboo” that got infected.

I gots an owie.

Dr. Amy drained it and disinfected it and put poor Goldie on antibiotics. She seems fine now, but now she has lots of scars on her belly!

Let’s hope tomorrow is a peaceful day. We could use one.

Found Out What’s Wrong with Me!

Well, I found out one thing that’s wrong with me. More accurately I have finally identified the name of the syndrome that reflects the set of symptoms I’ve been trying to cope with my whole life. And great news, it’s not curable! To be honest, though, just knowing how I feel is an actual “thing” that other people share helps a lot. Here’s how I came to realize that I have Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD). I have words for my mental issues!

As sometimes happens, the same message kept coming to me yesterday. First, one of my Master Naturalist friends posted about a book she was getting ready to read, The Courage to Be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Funitake Koga (2018). It’s not a brand-new book, but I hadn’t heard of it before.

If I hadn’t heard of it before, how is it on my desk?

I said in response to the Facebook post that it sounded like a book I needed to read, given my weird drive to act in ways that I think would make people I care about like me. She posted a link to the book, and I resolved to get a copy. Then, this showed up on my Facebook feed.

From Tiny Buddha, one of my favorite sources of inspiration.

I went to tell Lee about that coincidence, and he said I didn’t need to buy the book, because he’d already bought it and gotten through some of it, but he wasn’t enamored of the style. Sure enough, there it was (and that’s how I got a photo of it). Obviously (at least to me) the Universe was trying to tell me something!

And the Universe was right. I’ve shared before how I’ve been hurt by people judging me and how I seem to attract people who feel the need to let me know just exactly how awful they think I am. If it’s someone I don’t care that much about, I handle it pretty well (like our former contractor’s wife who took it upon herself to write me a letter telling me why she didn’t want to be my friend, because of…whatever, who cares?). I had another one of those happen just last month.

Do I want to hide in a cool dark place like this toad? Sometimes. Don’t we all?

Some do hurt. A former coworker I was always there for when bad things happened to her, who I listened to cry and bemoan the loss of pets and partners, etc., told me that no, she didn’t want to have lunch with me before she moved away to be happy with her new partner, because she only had time to see a few people, and you know, we’d see each other on social media. Ouch. I got to enjoy seeing photos of all the people she did care about enough to see.

Here, Suna, enjoy some hardy flowers. That will help.

Those are just examples. Therapy and long discussions have made it clear to me that I’m not always the one with the problem, and that my sensitivity to rejection came from childhood when my mother’s mental issues made her unavailable to me and my father’s conditions on love made me go well out of my way to be perfect to make him like me. This continued with future relationships and led to all sorts of mental mayhem for me. But, I’ve got tools to help me deal with it now, for the most part. Just sometimes, one backslides.

It does sorta make me feel prickly as a buffalo bur, but hey, flies like them.

I backslid last night. I spend nearly all night lying awake watching a parade of my (perceived) mistakes, hurtful things people have said and done with me, especially family members on my mom’s side (my great aunt wrote and demanded a beloved ring be returned because I was not a good enough niece, and my half-sister just up and left one day (taking nothing with her) and hasn’t spoken to me since last fall. I don’t even know how to get in touch with her other than through a third party. Members of my mom’s family have just never liked me, for exciting reasons like I’m a bastard (Mom didn’t annul her first abusive marriage), I was “fat” (leading me to do the Atkins diet when it first came out and I was only 11 years old to try to make them stop picking on me), and I didn’t do very well with “children should be seen and not heard.”

Yeah, TMI, Suna. Too bad, it’s my blog. I ended up posting the link to the Tiny Buddha, then in the middle of the night, I wrote:

I’ve been awake most of the night dwelling on how many times I’ve tried to change who I am to get people to like me. Starting from childhood, so it’s a long list. I get hurt so deeply by rejection and some people have relished doing it. I get better then I backslide. I know it’s normal to do that. I’m working not to be so hard on myself when I let it get to me. I keep repeating that no one is universally beloved!

agitated Suna

I immediately regretted it, because when I re-read it, I felt like it was just begging people to say they liked me, but that actually wasn’t my intention. I am completely aware that there are many fine people who like me!

On the other hand, I’m so glad I did post it, because a wise friend of mine (whose dear friend is one of those people I truly love and care about who got mad at me and disappeared without telling me why) said (paraphrasing), hey, that looks a lot like Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, something that comes up a lot in the ADHD world. Another wise woman posted this link, which opened my eyes WIDE in the middle of the night.

Here’s what the article, “Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and ADHD: What to Know,” said:

The symptoms of RSD can vary among individuals, but they may include:

  • Obsessively thinking about negative experiences, especially experiences of perceived or actual rejection (only last night)
  • Perceiving rejection when it is not actually occurring (me)
  • Viewing minor rejections as catastrophic (me)
  • Misreading constructive criticism, or requests for more information as rejection (me, but I’m lots better)
  • A sense that you’re not liked by others (me, but often I’m right)
  • Low self-esteem based on how you feel others relate to you
  • Social withdrawal (me)
  • Negative self-talk (formerly me)
  • Emotional outbursts (rare now but unpleasant)
  • Perfectionism or people-pleasing tendencies (sadly, formerly me)

Although symptoms of RSD can mimic other conditions, one distinguishing factor is that symptoms of RSD tend to come on suddenly and can feel very intense.

 This article: What Is Rejection Sensitivity? provided me with more “aha” moments when it defined rejection sensitivity, which isn’t quite the same as RSD.

  • Misinterpret harmless or mildly negative social cues or behaviors as blatant rejection (improving)
  • Ignore other explanations or reasons for the perceived rejection, including reassurances from the perceived rejector (I try not to do this)
  • Expect rejection and overreact to any type of negative social cues (me)
  • Be avoidant and anxious in romantic relationships (me)
  • Pay more attention to all of the times they were rejected than the times they were accepted (working on this)
  • Evaluate every interaction for perceived rejections (I don’t think I do this)

I don’t do all those things, but wow, this hits so close to home. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told I’m too sensitive, that I over-react, etc. It gets to where I have a hard time identifying when I am actually being treated poorly, so I let it go on a lot longer than I probably should, thinking it’s all in my head. I end up avoiding certain people or situations, so I won’t do that embarrassing overreaction to criticism. Lordy.

And of course, there aren’t any great drugs other than the kind I already take to deal with my anxiety. The article also suggests “cognitive behavior therapy, and stress-relief strategies.” I have those up the wazoo! And they do help, so much of the time.

I guess I’m writing all this down to remind myself that I have challenges to deal with and that I need to be gentler with myself when I can’t cope as well as I’d like to. Certainly, rehashing every mean thing anyone ever did to me is not helpful AT ALL. So, I now know what it is that I’m dealing with, and I’ll get on with dealing with it. We all have our struggles and challenges, and mine at least lead me to try to be kind to people! (I do not think I have ADHD, though, so lucky me, I got the RSD without that issue.)

These animals like me, which is helpful.

So, thanks to everyone who rallies around me and supports me. While the line above about putting more emphasis on negative feedback than positive may have been true in the past, I am much better now about really appreciating the people around me who are kind, who listen, and who patiently remind me that they do care, even when I repeatedly ask.

And to those of you who need to give me negative feedback, know that much of it IS appreciated and taken in the constructive spirit it’s given…it just takes me a while to get there, thanks to the RSD.

Who Says I Don’t Have Friends?

I have some, but most are online friends. I have some local ones, but the only one I’ve seen for the past month is Tarrin, and she got paid to show up. Just kidding. It’s my fault as much as anyone else’s!

I had a nice chat with this friend today. She said it was hot outside. (Obscure bird grasshopper)

My car has had a flat tire since before we left for California. At least it got me home. There’s been just too much going on to get the tire off and take it in to get fixed or replaced. So I have gone nowhere except to the hospital to see Kathleen.

This friend and I chatted while I fed the horses. He said he appreciated the shade. (Differential grasshopper)

Yeah. I’m also working my butt off. No time to galavant around Cameron. Work is good though. I feel appreciated!

You know who is no longer my friend? The UPS driver. She’s stopped dropping off by the garage and now dumps heavy boxes buy the road. Today I had to wrangle a 45-pound bag of coconut stuff for the horses. I was glad I had a wagon!

My wagon is a great friend! These are the boxes huge feed containers came in. The wagon also helps with all my hay moving.

I have no idea what’s up with UPS but I’ll just deal with it. No time to fume and fuss. I’ll just be grateful for good things, like Kathleen being back again and looking better.

Wine, yarn, and a white dog friend will keep me positive, too.

Life. Challenging. Frustrating.

Drew agrees. He had to learn hard lessons today. Look at him kicking up dust and swishing.

I hope whoever deals with me and my family and their challenges and frustrations will be firm but patient and kind, like Tarrin is with a confused and annoyed horse.

Love to you, readers.

Closer to Rancher-hood (and drought wrestler)

The endless stretch of rainless and ridiculously hot days has not ended here, so I feel much sympathy for my friends in the northeast who are finding out what it’s like here! No fun, right? Well, there is SOME fun.

This is a bale of hay. What the circle is on the shipping container is a mystery.

You might say that a bale of hay in a wagon is a pretty boring photo, even though the building and shipping container certainly are nicely painted. But what you don’t know is that this is a very special bale of hay! You see, I got it out of the shipping container ALL BY MYSELF. Any member of our family will tell you the shipping container doors are extra hard to open, even for adult males. Getting them open myself takes me one somewhat large step closer to true rancher-hood. Ranchers should be able to get their own hay out to feed their animals.

Hay? Is Drew eating hay? We better come check that out!

As you can see in the above photo, we do not have enough grass for the horses anymore. They need to have hay to supplement their nibbling. I’ve opened all the paddocks so they have as much grass as I can give them, but it’s not enough. I kept hoping and hoping it would rain and give us more grass.

No rain appeared from these clouds this morning.

Now, we have an area with some green grass still and a part of a field that hasn’t been grazed yet. But we can’t build the fencing, since welding will cause a fire. There are already too many pasture fires out here for the busy fire departments to take care of. I’d rather keep them safe and sound, since I happen to be fond of some of them!

Hey, Mabel, SHARE already!

There is a Plan B, which was going to start next week. That was to just put up some temporary electric fencing so the horses (except Apache, who doesn’t get to go eat a bunch of green grass due to his delicate constitution) can get some nutrition and “mow” the parts we can’t get to. We will have to fence off a couple of spots, so they don’t hurt themselves (like where the overflow comes out during floods (what are those, again?), which has a lot of debris in it to keep down erosion). I’ve been taking Drew out there to snack after we do our exercises every day.

Sure, there’s a hay pile for each of us horses, but we all want to eat from THIS one, except the plump one, who has a pile all to himself.

However, all plans are again on hold as Kathleen is back in the hospital dealing with pneumonia and perhaps something else, which we will not know for a while. The fencing isn’t something the work crew can do without anyone to direct them (they have been painting the Pope House in the meantime, which I am sure the neighbors appreciate).

Yay, Fifi made it!

So, I’ve been putting hay out where I can. I have a feeder where I groom them, plus a bonus one that will last longer than the hay that’s just on the ground (I still don’t have one of those nice feeders). And I have another slow feeder in the paddock, where Drew and Apache will spend tonight, so I won’t have to wander the earth trying to get them to come in for their lessons tomorrow (yay to have Tarrin back!).

Two hay stations are shown. Note lack of grass. Also lack of poop!

One thing’s for certain, bagging hay and scooping horse poop are good things to keep your muscles in shape, and the heat provides free weight loss. Mainly, though, the rhythm of chores helps me deal with all the uncertainty in our lives, just as much as doing crafts, like I mentioned yesterday. And the more things I can do for myself, the fewer things I have to ask others to do, which is true rancher-hood!

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